Editor’s Comment: Festival focus

LARA editor Mark Thomas summarises the latest happenings across the low-fare and regional aviation industry.

The annual gathering in London for the Aviation Festival always produces some great insights from airlines, and once again it was executives from low-fare carriers that came up with plenty of interesting observations.

The event’s low cost congress saw players including easyJet, Wow Air, Swoop, Azul, flyadeal, airBaltic, JetBlue and others line up to give their thoughts on some of the key challenges and solutions they have uppermost in their minds.

Data and digital trends kept coming up time and again, an area where easyJet is certainly on its game. “Ultimately, data is a key enabler for us. It is the game changer, capturing and using this data to reduce costs, increase efficiencies, drive revenues and improve customer experience,” said its CEO, Johan Lundgren. “We have billions of data points,” he added, restating its aim to be the “best data-driven airline in the world.”

One three-day artificial intelligence analysis it carried out on fresh food sales helped cut unsold volumes by 800,000 units a year, producing operational savings in the millions and significantly cutting wastage.

He also touched upon the long-haul low-fare market, but only to say its new partnership with Singapore Airlines and Scoot, for example, enables it to participate “without the risk of operating the flights” while opening up its vast European network for its long-haul partners (currently numbering 10).

AirBaltic’s CEO, Martin Gauss, also touched upon LH-LC, commenting: “There’s six million people in the Baltics and no LH-LC yet… We could do it, but we are focused on what we are doing at the moment…. Maybe Primera Air or Norwegian could,” he said.

Wow Air’s CEO, Skuli Mogensen, highlighted the airline’s laser focus on ancillary revenues as its increasingly vital source of growth. The carrier is on course for US$1 billion in gross revenue next year, he said, and considering an IPO within the next couple of years. He added: “We get $57 per PAX in ancillary revenue. I want it to be $100. It’s how we do that. It’s all around innovation.”

He also highlighted the incremental savings that data analytics can bring: “If we carry one extra unused soda can on a trolley, that can is costing us about $150 in fuel per year. If you take that to every single item around the network, you can save costs.”

You can read a full report on the Aviation Festival in the October issue of LARA magazine.


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