Rival low-cost carriers are burying their differences to form a new lobbying group to campaign on behalf of the low-cost industry.
The group, named the Low Fare Airlines Association (LFAA), met in Brussels on 5 December, and will be formally launched next month. Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary says that, although he has condemned carriers such as EasyJet and Virgin Express as "high-fares carriers" in advertisements in the past, "they are still lower than rip-off merchants... like British Airways and Air France" and therefore have interests in common.
The association's aims are still unclear. The 10 member airlines, including Hapag Lloyd Express and Ryanair, were brought together when the Association of European Airlines (AEA) failed to represent them adequately in lobbying against increased passenger compensation laws, the association says (Flight International, 12-19 August). But they have yet to agree which issues the association will focus on. "No issues have been discussed...no airlines have signed the piece of paper yet, "the LFAA says, although it adds that it will address "Europe-wide issues".
Source: Flight International