Europe's second tier-flag carriers are unlikely to survive the coming decade as they struggle to find a niche between the low-cost sector and the region's network carriers.
That was the warning given by Professor Rigas Doganis at the Airline Business/Flightglobal 2013 Technology and Innovation in Airline Distribution conference in London this week.
"I can't see how the second-level flag carriers in Europe can survive," said the academic, who is the visiting professor at Cranfield University in the UK and a former chief executive of Olympic.
"They are too small at their home bases to compete effectively with the big boys at long-haul, and too high-cost to compete with the low-cost carriers at short-haul. So they're squeezed by the low-cost in short-haul and cannot compete with Lufthansa, BA and Air France-KLM in the long-haul market," Doganis adds.
Airlines that are facing a battle for long-term survival include Czech Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, SAS, Alitalia and "everybody else below that. I put these airlines into an 'endangered species' list," says Doganis.