Friday 23 May 2008

End of Cheap Air Travel?

Now sit down for this one. BA chairman Willie Walsh, yes he who presided over the Terminal 5 fiasco at Heathrow, claims that we've hit the end of cheap air travel.

According to the Guardian Willie has said; "... the soaring cost of oil allied to global economic uncertainty would force airlines to raise fares in a scramble for survival that will see many of them go bust." Not good news for the consumer obviously. Less airlines = less competition = the backside being ripped out of the market.

This announcement comes the day after the world's biggest carrier, American Airlines, announced huge cuts in routes and jobs because of rising oil prices. Walsh also said that; "budget airlines would have to increase fares and add-on charges such as baggage check-in fees and that many unprofitable companies would simply go bust. The industry has no future if it does not price in its costs." Ah, has that not been happening already Willie? Aer Lingus and Ryanair have both announced increases in baggage charges and boarding fees over the past few weeks.

The prediction is likely to send shivers down the spine of Irish owners of property abroad, many of whom bought on the back of cheap access and who rely on such cheap access to visit their properties regularly.

Let's hope Willie's predicitions are as reliable as his ability to open a new passenger terminal.

You'll find Mr. Walsh's rather unpopular prediction here.


For an advice article on the risks of basing your purchase decisions on the availability of cheap flights click here.

For other stories referring to airlines click here.

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