Lufthansa is still unhappy with the super cheap fares operated by some of its European low-cost rivals. In a recent interview with a German language newspaper, the airline’s CEO, Carsten Spohr, confirmed views he made clear earlier in the year.
Back in May, Simple Flying questioned whether low fares were irresponsible as Ryanair’s Laudamotion used Mr. Sphor’s comments in its advertising. However, the issue has clearly not died down yet, as an interview Lufthansa’s CEO gave earlier this week to the Swiss newspaper NZZ’s Sunday edition goes to prove.
What was said?
Lufthansa’s CEO told NZZ,
“some competitors are working with prices per flight less than €10. This is economically, ecologically and politically irresponsible.” (Note that this is a translation of a quote in German).
He goes on to claim that as a result of low fares, a number of problems arise. These range from clogged airspace to attracting criticism of the industry.
However, upon reflection, you may remember that the Lufthansa group has a low-cost arm of its own; Eurowings. I flew on Eurowings earlier this year, and while it wasn’t as basic as some other airlines, there was a distinct difference to the full-service Lufthansa offers. However, despite criticizing €10 fares for being irresponsible, Sphor defends Eurowings fares which can often be as low as £25.
He defends the fares by stating that there is a need to defend their home markets. He adds that low fares have made the “democratization of flying possible”. However, Eurowings has recently been streamlining its operations with some optional extras being removed from certain fares.
Are low fares really irresponsible?
This is the second time that Lufthansa’s Carsten Spohr has called low fares irresponsible, but are they really? Personally, I’m not completely sold by the argument. In fact, in certain cases, I’d argue that low fares are more responsible than those offered by full-service carriers such as Lufthansa.
Let us take a look at the ecological argument. It could be argued that by encouraging more people to fly, low-cost carriers are increasing the detrimental environmental effect of aviation. However, I’d argue this is not necessarily the full picture.
Take Manchester to Frankfurt as an example. While Ryanair operates the route once a day, Lufthansa operates five connections. Now, take a look at each carrier’s average load factor. Ryanair cites that its passenger load factor for January was 91%. Meanwhile, in the same month, this sat at 76.4% for the Lufthansa Group.
What about this point of view?
Given that Lufthansa’s CEO has voiced his concerns twice now, it is unlikely that his opinion will change any time soon. However, while I may not agree with his point of view, it is certainly valid. As such, I’m not going to argue that his opinion is outright wrong.
Do you think low fares are irresponsible? Let us know in the comments.