Monday, February 23, 2009

Major Low Cost Airlines in Europe


In Finland the national carrier Finnair lowered prices so that the low-cost competitor Flying Finn was forced to cease its operations. Three months after Flying Finn's bankruptcy, SAS's regional wing Blue1 began flights to three of Flying Finn's most profitable destinations.


In Norway the first low cost carrier was Color Air in 1998. Their low prices were matched by competitors SAS and Braathens and Color Air folded in 1999. The next low cost carrier, Norwegian Air Shuttle (or Norwegian), starting their Boeing 737 operations in September 2002, provided tougher competition for the merged Norwegian part of SAS and Braathens. Although Norwegian started with domestic routes, today their international operations are larger than their domestic service. By launching nonstop flights from cities likeStavanger, Bergen, Trondheim in addition to Oslo, they soon became very popular. Norwegians are amongst the most frequent fliers in the world, mostly due to the geography of the country but also due to the high level of income.


The era of low-cost carriers in Germany began in February 2002, when Ryanair opened its base atFrankfurt-Hahn Airport, a few months later Germanwings and TUIfly went in service from Cologne Bonn Airport, In December 2003, easyjet opened a base at Berlin-Schonefeld Airport which is now (2008) the second biggest base of easyjet in Europe. Today, each fifth flight in Germany is realised by a low-cost carrier and nearly each airport can be reached by them.

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