Opinion: British Airways low-cost attempt could cost punctuality
On a regular day, around 30 flights cross paths on one of the most beloved airline routes in the world – London-New York. For years, industry giants including Delta, American and British Airways dominated the route, however, times have changed. With LCCs moving swiftly into the long-haul market, the dinosaurs have no other option but to cut down prices. UK’s flag carrier is the first one to do so and might be already experiencing the consequences.
Attempting to rival the low-costs like Norwegian Air, Wow Air and many more, British Airways is lowering the ticket prices for long-haul flights by up to 20% according to various sources, rounding up the price for London-New York flight to around €450. Even though this might cost the carrier millions, it is nowhere nearly enough to come close to the LCC’s offering of around €300 for the same old route.
“The price difference is natural and there’s no easy way to close the gap. British Airways is what is called in aviation traditional carrier, while Norwegian Air, Ryanair and others start their economization already back in the aircraft factories – everything from plane configuration, materials, placements, as well as the packages go into the what we refer to as LCC service,” explains Marius Stonkus, the CEO of flight compensation company Skycop.
“Despite that, it seems that British Airways is eager to try out the LCC business and will try to maximize the use of its fleet.” The expert also notes another important difference between traditional and LCC way of business – turnaround time. It’s a term to describe a period of time necessary for a plane to be prepared for the next flight and this aspect is definitely not in BA’s favor with ageing fleet and different ground handling processes.
Even prior to the new way of operating, the UK’s airline has been falling behind its main rivals on the aforementioned route, failing to maintain a respectable punctuality record. According to the data provided by OAG, British Airways is losing out to both, Delta and American in mega airline category by failing to arrive to a destination on time over 22% of flights, while US carriers have a punctuality rate of over 80%. In fact, around 26% of all UK carriers’ flights on route London-New York arrive late.
“It seems that this move might cost the British Airways more than anticipated – if the delays continue, compensations will start pouring in. Even though we are talking about transatlantic flights, EU law still applies to them, meaning all delays over 3 hours translate into flight compensations of up to €600,” concludes M. Stonkus.
Skycop’s CEO reminds that the EU flight compensation law applies for all flights inside the EU, incoming flights with a EU-registered carrier, as well as leaving the continent with any airline.
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