The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) has expressed concerns about the dumping of airfares by “certain low-cost carriers”, stating that such practices directly impact competition within the European single market.
The ERA avoided naming and shaming specific airlines in a statement on Friday, but said some low-cost carriers lean on the “irresponsible” practice of unbundling airfares and lower ticket prices to below operational costs.
“These practices create unnecessary and significant pressure and directly impact fair competition. ERA believes this practice, particularly when carried out by airlines who have received State aid, should be investigated as it is a total misuse of public funds,” the statement said.
Amid rising fuel costs, the association said airfares that cost less than €10 are “business suicide” for airlines with price transparency. On Friday, one-way tickets from the UK to various European cities on Ryanair were selling for between €9.40 and €11.80.
The association, which represents more than 50 regional airlines across Europe, stressed that price dumping creates “unnecessary and significant pressure”, particularly for small-to-medium sized airlines.
ERA director general Montserrat Barriga said: “A healthy level of competition is important for our industry but eroding competitors’ margins by selling tickets at extremely low prices, even below taxes or direct costs, will gradually drive airlines out of business and ultimately reduce consumer choice and connectivity in Europe.
“ERA will continue pushing for transparency on prices, and setting prices above taxes in the current discussions with the European Commission regarding the revision of the Air Services Regulation n.1008/2008.”
She added: “With the impact of the pandemic, our industry’s recovery is incredibly fragile, and it is vital that we attract new recruits to our stretched workforce. Increasing the pressure on the industry, and those working in it, is completely counterproductive.”