Low-cost airlines

No Flight of Fancy

NLD, Niederlande, Flughafen Amsterdam Schiphol, 05.06.2015: EasyJet Airline, Airbus A319-111 / Registrierung: G-EZIV NLD Netherlands Airport Amsterdam Schiphol 05 06 2015 Easyjet Airline Airbus A319 111 Registry G
EasyJet is taking off to another level of competition.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Many traditional airlines are having to rethink their strategies, especially on business travel, in face of stiff competition from low-cost carriers.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • EasyJet launced its first flight, between London and Glasgow, in November 1995.
    • According to a German aviation study, the number of discount flight routes in and from Germany increased to a record 754 this summer.
    • Lufthansa is trying to trim costs to meet the tougher competition, causing big problems with unhappy employees.
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    Audio

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It’s something you never want to hear your pilot say: “I wasn’t sure if it would ever really take off,” recalled Fred Rivett, who piloted the first EasyJet flight from London to Glasgow in 1995.

Mr. Rivett spoke a few days ago at an event to celebrate the British budget airline’s 20th anniversary — and he wasn’t talking about the actual plane he flew that day, but about the airline itself.

Even a decade ago, budget carriers were thought of as exotic aviation newcomers. But today doubts about the survival of EasyJet — and discount aviation in general — have vanished. After Ryanair, EasyJet is the second-biggest low-cost carrier in Europe, and has just reported new record figures.

For German competitors, including traditional airlines such as Lufthansa and Air Berlin, EasyJet’s profits are anything but good news. The discount airlines have long been in competition with them, and not just for bargain-hunting customers.

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