Thread: Southampton-2
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Old 21st Sep 2017, 21:36
  #18 (permalink)  
The Nutts Mutts
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: In the doghouse (usually)
Posts: 143
MARKEYD- I'm by no means an expert but I've noticed the same and my thoughts on this are:

You're right in that the flights may not be selling very well. In my experience SOU really isn't strong on its marketing of routes beyond social media and occasional public competitions to win tickets etc. I can't remember ever seeing SOU-specific flights advertised on buses, trains or billboards etc. I guess this may be more the responsibility of the airlines though.
I've had a few conversations regarding holidays with people recently who had no idea that easyJet were now going to be flying from SOU, and these were all people who lived in the local area, so I'd say there's work to be done to increase awareness of these flights.

I've always thought of SOU routes as slow burners in that perhaps due to the above they seem to get off to soft starts and then eventually (if given time) build up to strong loads. See BMI to MUC, Flybe to DUS, Volotea to PMI for examples. KLM and Flybe now seem to happily co-exist on the AMS route and pax numbers on that route are going from strength to strength.

On the other hand, in their BOH-GVA route easyJet have a strong, stable and long-standing ski route that no doubt has a large number of returning customers year on year. Therefore, they can increase ticket prices for a higher yield knowing that up to a point, people will still buy them. They don't have this customer base at SOU yet, and as you say are up against direct competition from Flybe, indirect competition from Powdair to Sion, and even competition for passengers' wallets from routes to ski destinations in other countries such as Innsbruck. They are the new kid on the block at Southampton and although they are arguably already the biggest and most recognisable ski flight operator from there, they will have work to do to penetrate the market and carve out their own share.
Low ticket prices could be the way they plan to do this, in order to stimulate demand, take pax from the competition and begin to generate brand/destination loyalty and repeat business, like they have from other airports such as BOH where they're more established.
It may be that EZY have more cheap tickets on sale from SOU for this reason so it will take longer for each date to start showing high prices.

If they get enough people on their aircraft from SOU this year, even if many are at at low-yielding fares, then they may see the potential to return to the market next season and aim for a higher yield, and so on. No doubt low fares will be at least partially offset by incentives from the airport who I'm sure are delighted to have EZY there and will be desperate to keep them.

I may be completely wrong and the flights will just end up going out empty most of the time. Obviously I hope that's not the case and it's more to do with aggressive pricing. It would be good to see a few more dates showing high fares though.
Does anyone know whether any tour operators will be buying seats on these flights, or will easyJet sell them exclusively?
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