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Ryanair And EasyJet Already Greedily Eyeing SkyEurope's Old Routes

September 3, 2009 at 8:59 AM | by | Comments (0)

Even in the short run, SkyEurope's sudden bankruptcy and full-scale flight cancelation will impact more than the passengers whom the airline left stranded all over Europe. The now-defunct airline was routinely ranked as Eastern Europe's #1 low-cost carrier, somewhat because of its services but also because it crowded a lot of its competition out of the region. Now Ryanair and EasyJet, Europe's top two LCC's, are looking to swoop into the airports and routes that SkyEurope used to dominate.

Ryanair and EasyJet have long had sparse-to-no presence in Central Europe. Aside from the occasional WizzAir route, SkyEurope had a firm grip on Slovakia, Vienna, and Prague, taking up gates and undercutting other airlines' prices. Not any more:

'The sharks are circling,' said Stephen Furlong, an analyst at Davy Stockbrokers in Dublin. 'There will be a pick-up in volumes and passengers for the stronger airlines, notably Ryanair, who fly to and from Bratislava.'... Dublin-based Ryanair said it’s keen to hear about the cost of operating to the airports that SkyEurope served. 'The fact that SkyEurope has gone under opens up opportunities for really good low-cost deals at the airports they operated to,' spokesman Stephen McNamara said. 'There will be gaps there at those airports and we are more than happy to take advantage.'

Before you think the Ryanair people are being kind of gauche about "taking advantage" of SkyEurope's still-warm corpse, consider that their original memo about stranded SkyEurope passengers included the line "the best way to ensure travel plans are protected is to travel only with financially secure airlines such as Ryanair." We're not talking about delicate, high-brow charmers here.

Nonetheless, keeping these routes active is arguably good for consumers and great for tourists. More point-to-points from Western Europe to Eastern Europe will drive down prices on those routes and maybe prices overall. We're not saying we're ready to avail ourselves of Ryanair's "the customer is always wrong" approach to air travel, but we're certainly willing to patronize airlines who drop their prices because they're afraid we might.

[Photo: Arpingstone / Wiki Commons]

Related Stories:
· Ryanair, EasyJet May Expand to Exploit Void Left by SkyEurope [Bloomberg]
· LCCs Coverage [Jaunted]
· Airline News Coverage [Jaunted]

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