Ryanair stated (25-Sep-2013) more than 20% of its passengers travel on business and Ryanair has improved its services to meet the needs of its business passengers. As part of this, the carrier has signed a new American Express acceptance agreement which will provide passengers, business travellers and corporate travel departments with more ways to book the airline's fares on its website. Ryanair deputy CEO and CFO Howard Millar said: "We estimate that 20% to 25% of our passengers are travelling on business, with online check-in ensuring they avoid airport queues, while the option of priority boarding and reserved seating has proven extremely popular not only with business passengers, who can board and exit the aircraft first, or choose one of 45 pre-reserved seats, but also with families and those travelling in groups. Indeed, a recent survey of Ryanair passengers in Spain, where Ryanair is the largest carrier, highlighted that 22% of our passengers were travelling on business. It’s a similar trend across Europe; for example we currently operate approximately 32 daily flights between Dublin and London, the busiest international route in Europe and with more than 20% of business passengers on these flights, we expect that percentage to grow as we roll out a range of business-tailored services, including the option now of booking Ryanair flights with American Express. When it comes to the lowest fares, the most on-time flights and the best range of services, Ryanair is the business.” [more - original PR]
Ryanair: 20-25% of pax are travelling for business
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For the first time ever in Europe, in 2016 a low cost airline carried more passengers than any other airline or airline group, as Ryanair's 117 million passengers pushed Lufthansa Group's 110 million into second place. Ryanair had beaten Lufthansa itself, but not the whole Lufthansa Group. IAG's first full year of including Aer Lingus helped it to take third place from Air France-KLM. Europe's number two LCC, easyJet, was ranked fifth.
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Most of the faster growing airline groups in the top 20 are LCCs and the main growth drivers for Europe's big three legacy groups are their LCC subsidiaries. Just outside the top 20 are some fast growing legacy airlines in Eastern Europe, demonstrating the potential there. Nevertheless, unless there is a big merger or acquisition, Ryanair looks set to remain at number one for some time.
Lufthansa folds Brussels Airlines into Eurowings, keeping dual brands. LH has many balls in the air
On 15-Dec-2016 Lufthansa’s Executive Board formally decided to exercise its call option for the 55% of shares it does not already own in the parent company of Brussels Airlines. The deal will close by the beginning of Jan-2017. It had been expected that Lufthansa would fold Brussels Airlines, at least partly, into its Eurowings low cost brand. Lufthansa has now confirmed that the new acquisition will join Eurowings and be fully integrated into the Group as of 2018.
Nevertheless, there are clear differences between Brussels Airlines' business model and that of Eurowings. Brussels Airlines is a network airline (and a Star Alliance member), while Eurowings is primarily a point-to-point airline. Furthermore, Brussels Airlines is not low cost in CASK terms, although, ominously, its unit cost is below Eurowings'.
Strangely, and perhaps tellingly, Brussels Airlines will retain its brand while adding that of Eurowings. This hints at the tension between Lufthansa's urge to expand Eurowings rapidly to compete with LCCs and the necessity to work out exactly how Brussels Airlines can fit into its low cost operation. Perhaps the delay between completion of the Brussels Airlines acquisition and its integration into Eurowings will give time for further refinements to the model. In short, Lufthansa has a lot of balls in the air. Where they will fall will be critical to its future.