Wizz Air ceases negotiations to establish base at Bratislava Airport
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Ryanair's 117million pax in 2016 tops European airline groups. The first time an LCC topped rankings
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.
The big five can be expanded into a big seven to include Turkish Airlines and the Aeroflot Group, although these two had contrasting growth rates in 2016. A chasing pack of middle sized airline groups includes three LCCs (Norwegian, Pegasus and Wizz Air) and three legacy airlines with varying challenges to establishing sustainable profitability (SAS, Air Berlin Group and Alitalia).
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.
Indigo Partners assesses ultra-low cost airline (ULCC) investment opportunities in Southeast Asia
US airline investment firm Indigo Partners is assessing new low cost airline investment opportunities in Asia with a focus on the ultra-LCC or ULCC model. Indigo has not had an investment in Asia since selling its stake in Singapore-based Tigerair five years ago, but currently has large stakes in LCCs based in Europe and North America.
Indigo believes there could be room for a ULCC in the Southeast Asian market despite already intense competition and a huge LCC order book, because the LCCs now operating in this region are not true to the LCC model. Several Southeast Asian LCCs, including Tigerair, are owned by full service airline groups, leading to a dilution of the typical LCC model.
India is also a market of interest for Indigo. However, the firm is not interested in North Asia at this point, despite that region's much lower LCC penetration rate. Australia is also not of interest as it is already mature.