France could double low-fare airline penetration, says easyJet’s Brady

FRENCH CONNECT 2010: France only has 19% penetration by low-fare airlines, but could easily double that figure if taxes and charges were not holding it back, according to easyJet’s procurement director Warwick Brady.

Since the middle of the decade the airline has seen its passenger figures in France rise from 5.5 million to their current level of 12 million, Brady reported. “The airports have been witnessing declining passengers from full-service carriers, yet some still have their heads in the sand. Bordeaux, Lyon and Marseille have embraced the changes in the industry to incentivise low-fare airlines, but others are relying on the legacy carriers to prop them up in the next few years.”

Although the three airports mentioned have all created terminal areas specifically for low-fare airlines, Brady said he was not advocating this route for everyone. “Airports don’t have to build new structures, just be more efficient. Differential pricing should be easier and need not represent a downgraded quality of service,” he argued.

Whereas cost is the key for Ryanair, Brady believes the key economic driver is the passenger. “Growth incentives [from airports] should be encouraged for airlines to deliver more passengers. In France, we believe that through inbound tourism, easyJet contributed €2 billion to the economy. So if France were to lower taxes, it would get more money into the economy because there would be more growth.”

Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/

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