Academic discusses findings on report into low-cost airlines

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Date: 17th May 2018

The Associate Head of School for Aviation and Security at Bucks New University has been in Brussels contributing to a discussion on the findings of a report by the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) into any role low-cost airlines play in bringing countries in the EU closer together.

Dr David Warnock-Smith, who has published widely on relationships between low-cost carriers and airports, was among invited speakers convened, with executives from Ryanair and representatives from the European Commission, among other bodies, discussing the findings at the CEPS offices in the Belgian capital.

The report, 'Low-Cost Airlines: Bringing the EU Closer Together', partially funded by Ryanair, said low-cost airlines were helping to make Europe more integrated.Dr David Warnock-Smith

It highlighted the fact that budget flights linked peripheral areas with the densest and busiest parts of the continent, making travel more accessible and looked at factors like labour and student mobility, business travel and leisure tourism, that have been aided by low-cost carriers.

Dr Warnock-Smith told the audience that low average fares, ‘bold’ approaches to setting up bases in areas not always previously well used, and increased flights connecting places in Europe, had all contributed to people travelling more for work and leisure.

He said: “It was a real privilege to be invited to share my views at this prestigious event and I complement CEPS on the completion of an excellent study.

"Access to affordable fares has been the single biggest factor in increasing the amount of leisure and business travel, facilitating new opportunities for leisure, discovery, education, and business and, importantly, allowing Europeans to stay physically connected with family and friends.

“The report also finds low-cost carriers across Europe have assisted in increasing the average number of trips per person, opening up opportunities for longer distance business and education commuting not possible without the presence of cheaper advanced booking opportunities.”

Dr Warnock-Smith said, in the context of its impact on integration, there were some downsides to the low-cost airline business model.

He said it can involve using smaller airports but, depending on demand, low-cost carriers can quickly take trade elsewhere leaving such airports in a vulnerable position.

“Airports need to find ways to build relationships with low-cost carriers by tailoring what they offer to what those carriers require," he added.

"At the same time they also need to look for ways to increase the total number of carriers they are serving, reducing reliance on any one carrier."


Dr Warnock-Smith said a large number of Bucks New University Pilot course graduates were now working for EasyJet and Ryanair, with many, for example, in first officer roles with these airlines.

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