European low cost carriers may face a brighter future than the gloom predicted by Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary.
David Byron, managing director of UK no frills carrier bmibaby, said his airline was carrying 21% more passengers than it was a year ago and had enjoyed a continued improvement in yield.
Ray Webster, ceo of easyJet, said it had had a “sound” first quarter and was to date performing “positively” in the second quarter.
Mr Byron said: “Despite alarmist and misleading statements about the general outlook for low cost carriers, bmibaby will report increases in yield, passenger volumes and load factors for the financial year ending December 31, 2004.
“This improving trend has continued into the first month of the 2005 financial year with a 5.2% increase in yield compared to the previous year.”
“Services from our new base at Birmingham International Airport which started on January 7 have got off to a flying start with our most successful new base launch ever. Nearly 200,000 bookings have already been taken for the summer months.”
EasyJet said that in the three months to the end of 2004 it carried 26% more passengers than for the same period in 2003.
At a recent conference in New York Mr. O'Leary said that things would get “awful” and that “fares were going to get lower and lower.” Yield had not declined as severely as he had feared but that was partly because an ongoing bloodbath among low costs was knocking capacity out of the market.
But low cost operations across Europe are continuing to grow. German carrier Air Berlin has started a new, three times weekly link between Leipzig-Halle and Stansted and Slovakia's SkyEurope, after a near fivefold increase in its passenger numbers in 2004, said it would continue expanding this year.
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