Friday, 4 December 2015
Budget long haul flights - will they last?
Will the rapid expansion of low cost long haul flights prove sustainable in the long term? Iceland's WOW is showing how it might, widening its catchment area any introducing new links with its trans-Atlantic flights from Reykjavik. The carrier's latest move was to announce the launch next May of flights from Bristol that will connect with its services to and from Boston, Washington, Toronto and Montreal. It will operate three round trips a week from the UK West Country airport. A recent survey showed that 83% of UK senior UK travel industry executives thought new low cost long haul operations would continue to be introduced over the next five years. But some expert observers question whether such expansion would be able to weather a sharp rise in aviation fuel prices, which remain low. They are currently less than half their peak level in the past seven years. A big spike would reduce the percentage savings budget airlines are able to offer. Aviation history is littered with low fare long haul operators which have come and gone. It is also worth noting that Ryanair, now the world's largest airline in terms of international passengers carried, has so far avoided the temptation to join the fray, limiting its operations to short and medium haul destinations.