View Full Version : EZY/FR Ruining BA's Shorthaul

Sqdn Ldr Weather
5th Sep 2001, 20:56
Friends at EZY tell me that the article in last Sunday's Telegraph has been put on all the crewroom noticeboards. They all seem pretty bullish about their future expansion plans.

I wonder if the same has happened at Ryanair - they have much to be smug about also it seems.

Who would have thought it a few years back - the Nation's supposed Flag Carrier reduced to talking about shrinking the fleets and laying people off. The only thing "flagging" at BA it seems is the share price!

Augustus Finknottle
5th Sep 2001, 22:55
I feel the old adage...."Pride Come'th before a fall" might be an appropriate response to this ridiculous post.
Having said that, why anyone in the low cost sector should feel any pride in any form is beyond me. I am however always willing to learn, so next time I have a beer with my mates who used to fly for British Caledonian, Air Europe, Loganair, Manx, Dan Air (to mention a few) I'll pass on your comments.

Might I suggest that your time , like hundreds of other " low cost" drivers might be better spent on applications to mainstream airlines rather than hours spent justifying your bottom of the barrel existence with the likes of Ezy, Ryanair etc. on this web site.
Now, where's the cheese board ???

Gussy. :D

[ 05 September 2001: Message edited by: Augustus Finknottle ]

6th Sep 2001, 01:20
BA will undoubtedly weather the current bad patch by redundancies and cut backs. However, few would disagree that they are badly out of sync with the present market conditions that the low cost operators are better optimised for.
That is not to say that they will not suffer from reduced profit margins and some hard times, merely that when people feel the pinch on their pockets they will not be prepared to pay the price of the 'premium' fares that BA charge.

[ 05 September 2001: Message edited by: Airbrake ]

The Guvnor
6th Sep 2001, 01:34
The reality is that the low cost/low fare operators will weather the upcoming economic hurricane which according to Warren Buffet (who knows a thing or two about these things) will last for up to eight years - unfortunately there will be a lot of 'full service' high cost operators that will not. I remember what things were like at my first employer - Laker Airways - at the back end of '81 though to 'black Friday' - 5th February 1982 - and I have huge sympathy for those who will be affected.

6th Sep 2001, 01:41
It's almost a reassuring certainty, like the ticking of a clock, that the 'guv' will pop up with his little two penn'orth predictions.

How about the numbers for this Saturday's Lottery, guv? You seem to know everything else!

BTW, Guv: wasn't Laker a LOW COST airline? If the much trumpeted recession bites, Mr&Mrs Shellsuit won't be going on so many trips from, say, Glasgow to Paris (or should I say Ayr to Beauvais) - low cost thrives on volume, when the volume disappears, so do the profits, followed shortly by the airline. Lowcosters, crow at your peril.

[ 05 September 2001: Message edited by: overstress ]

Wee Weasley Welshman
6th Sep 2001, 02:08
Didn't SouthWest see off two US recessions whilst remaining the only consecutively profitable airline year on year?

"Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." George Santayana.



no sig
6th Sep 2001, 02:21
Augustus me old.. think you need to learn a little bit about what the low cost airline business is all about before you go much further. Hardly, if any comparisions to be made with the likes of those former airlines you mention.The new low cost carriers are a different bird in a different time. And the unquestionable success of EZY, RYR and of course our North American cousins like South West and the new JetBlue has long since validated the business model.

Norman Stanley Fletcher
6th Sep 2001, 04:03
I am a turboprop Captain and have just turned down an offer from easyJet in favour of an Airbus job with a 'full service' airline. It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made as I was most impressed with easyJet. Apart from the travel to LTN, a big factor that swayed it was the enormous risk easyJet are running with this expansion programme. They are taking (so I am told) 165 pilots this year and a similar number next year. That is an enormous training budget and I felt concerned that such an expansion would be too risky and unsustainable over any period of time. In essence, I had a doubt about their long term survivability.

I have absolutely no axe to grind and admire both my future employer and easyJet. I heartily wish them both great success. As an ex-Debonair pilot, I know first hand the awfulness of redundancy and sincerely wish all my professional colleagues to be spared that. If some airline goes under soon then there will be no winners and I would hope none of us would be ungracious enough to wish that on anyone else.

[ 06 September 2001: Message edited by: Norman Stanley Fletcher ]

6th Sep 2001, 10:29
Surely there is a place in the market for both "low cost" and "full service" airlines. It may mean that some companies will have to reduce services on some routes but the likelyhood of a successful airline collapsing completely is unlikely.

Whatever your personal thoughts on "low cost" vs "full service" you
cannot argue with economics. As an example:

London to Frankfurt: Leaving 28 September and returning on 01 October on evening flights.

British Airways 182.90
Buzz 80.00

Ok, you do get something to eat on BA, but 102.90 is a awful lot to pay for it.

Sqdn Ldr Weather
6th Sep 2001, 10:33
Augustus, thanks for giving me the best belly laugh I have had for donkeys.

You really don't get it do you? BA are working with pax/employee ratios that are unsustainable if they wish to compete. Compare FR's 6000 pax per employee to BA's 650!

Enjoy the contents of the Nigelboard while you can - at this rate it will likely get scrapped as a cost saving measure.

Top Tip - Get yourself on the 747 fleet (if not already there), as soon that's all Auntie will be flying!

6th Sep 2001, 11:37
As said - there is a place for both low and full cost airlines.

Booked a business trip LHR-BRU return, 2 pax this week :

BA - 795
BMA - 595
VEX - 119

No prizes for guessing VEX got the business ! 795 return LHR-BRU for 2 pax ??? No wonder they're laying off 100 poor staff !

6th Sep 2001, 12:01
Of course one could always follow The Guvnors ultimate cost saving business model, no admin, no buildings, no crew, no aircraft! You know it makes sense..... :D :p :D

Amazon man
6th Sep 2001, 12:18
In reply to some above it really is quite sad that some of you so called aviators are sitting there with a smile on your face and waiting for the first airline to go bust therefore justifying the existence of either a low cost or full fare airline.

There is room for both in this industry and if people in general didnt keep talking us into a recession then there is no reason why both won't survive.

I was an employee of one of the biggest airline collapses in the early nineties and believe you me you wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy.

When I started in this industry many years ago it was full of gentlemen and ladies, sadly that doesn't seem the case anymore with an element of the yob culture having crept in like so many other parts of society.

Remember that we are all in the same business whether cheap and cheerful or more expensive but hopefully above all we are professionals and behave likewise.

An airline collapse will do nobody any good whatsoever and whatever your views are on BA it has weathered worse storms than this and survived.It may emerge in a different form but we all have to move with the times. Rest assured it will still be here for a long time yet.

The Guvnor
6th Sep 2001, 22:57
overstress - I think you'll find that Laker Airways was in fact solvent when the liquidators were brought in by the Midland Bank - prompted by one John King. Although not admitting guilt at Laker Airways' murder, BA did pay the lion's share of a multi-hundred million dollar lawsuit that also named BCal, Pan Am and TWA.

As WWW rightly said, Southwest Airlines has made profits every year of its existence except for the first two - rain or shine. That's certainly not the case with the 'full service' carriers who are incurring huge additional overheads with their latest round of pay awards - Delta, for example, added some US$500 million to its costs which is more than its cumulative profits for the whole of the last boom period. How long do you think they'll last with that sort of anchor holding them back?

And as for Mr & Mrs Shellsuit travelling - as long as it's cheaper to go by air than by other means (which it is on FR) then they will. And more importantly, so will the business traveller who will drop the full service carriers like a hot brick - as ramsrc rightly said, you're not getting a lot for the extra 103 on full service airlines.

What's this going to mean for pilots? Well, like investors in lastminute.com you'll find that when it comes to payrises for the next few years you've missed the boat, I'm afraid - and that mythical shortage of pilots is going to translate itself into a glut as carriers start to cut back sharply on staff.

This from fltops.com:

As expected, major airline pilot hiring slumped in August, with 15 major airlines hiring 214 pilots, a 33-percent decline from July. The 214 new hires represents the fewest pilots hired in 2001, and is roughly half of the average 439 new-hire pilots hired by major carriers during the first quarter of this year.

It was the second consecutive month that pilot hiring decreased (see "Pilot Hiring
declines 15% in July," Flightline News, Aug. 5, 2001).

Impacting August figures was the cessation of hiring at Delta Air Lines, plus declines in hiring at five other major carriers. Four carriers increased hiring when compared to July, but only by an average of 6.75 new hires each.

American Airlines paced hiring for the month, with 51 new-hire pilots. The average number of pilots starting training was 14.3, while the average number of new hires among carriers hiring was 26.8. Seven of the 15 largest U.S.-based carriers did not hire any pilots in August, and one--Airborne Express--continues to have pilots on furlough.

7th Sep 2001, 18:04
Sdn Leader Weather,

BA have many more staff than Ryan because they do a lot more in house, like Engineering, Catering, Handling, Pax Services, Bond, Merchandise etc, which Ryan pay others to do for them. Therefore your comparison of no of staff vs no of pax does not work.

I have always been very warey of companies that expand too fast and I worry about easy. Ryan Air remained quite small for some time a built a firm foundation to expand on.

If we go into recession and interest rates go up, so do the loans that Stelios has taken out to fund his new aeroplanes. Higher costs and less people flying, does he have the reserves to weather the storm? BA can afford to lose money for a few years and stay in business and I think that Ryan could too.

[ 07 September 2001: Message edited by: autobrakemedium ]

Sleeve Wing
7th Sep 2001, 23:16
Hey Guv, do you actually get PAID for all the reading you must do ??
Rgds, Sleeve.
;) ;) ;)

8th Sep 2001, 04:21
Guv, I really think you ought to stop this BA/PanAm/TWA/etc. conspiracy moonshine spelling the deathknell for Laker. Freddie latterly was too busy playing on his yacht in Palma with the girlies while a bunch of sycophantic senior managers were telling him everything in the garden back at Gatwick was lovely. By the time he found out it wasn't, it was too late. He thought he'd squared the banks and indeed he told the crew who flew him back from New York a couple of days before the airline went bust exactly that. My source is one of the crew.
However, I do agree with you that the current economic situation is potentially the most serious in over three decades. Buffet's forecast of eight years of stagnation is one of the more optimistic.

The Guvnor
8th Sep 2001, 05:02
Georgeablehowloveindia - if there was no case to answer on the part of BA, BCal, Pan Am and TWA, how come they shelled out several hundred million dollars between them rather than adopting a perfectly reasonable - assuming they were indeed innocent - "sue and be damned" attitude?

You're right though about the sycophantic managers - one in particular springs to mind.

He had indeed squared the banks - led by Midland Bank, which owned the Clydesdale, his bankers. MDFC and GE had agreed to back additional loans to smooth out the cashflow problem caused by a whisper campaign started by BA - telling travel agents that the company was going to go bust (which affected bookings and therefore cashflow) and saying that Laker had to pay cash for fuel, catering and airport services - which wasn't the case. They did the same with Air Europe, Dan Air and Virgin Atlantic.

8th Sep 2001, 14:12
Well Guv, taking the never ending legal dispute between Virgin and BA on exactly the same issue, there must have been a staggering and uncharacteristic outbreak of common sense in agreeing to pay Laker off. If they'd left it to the legal boys, they'd be having fun yet, and the fee would probably have racked up to billions.
I learned, at a tender age, about things getting out of hand at the mill while the "Driving Force" was distracted. My first boss was Harold Bamberg (British Eagle). His nemesis wasn't boats, of course, it was polo ponies.

[ 08 September 2001: Message edited by: Georgeablelovehowindia ]

The Guvnor
8th Sep 2001, 14:26
BA certainly did have an incentive that helped push through the settlement - it was its public listing. Maggie Thatcher personally intervened with Ronnie Reagan to prevent an anti-trust lawsuit from going through that would have resulted in considerably higher damages if proven. You'll recall that as part of the settlement, the carriers involved had to issue refund vouchers to all their passengers for a relatively nominal sum for each transatlantic flight they had taken between certain dates - I can't recall offhand what those dates were, perhaps someone else can?

I met Harold Bamberg a couple of times, including visiting him at home in Sunningdale. Fascinating bloke!

In trim
8th Sep 2001, 15:36
A lot of people (Augustus included!) seem to be assuming 'low cost' means crap quality. I can't speak for RYR, but certainly with EZY 'low cost' means 'no frills' but the aircraft are generally clean, service is good, and punctuality on a par with BA....for a fraction of the price. BA may be great for long haul, but who wants to pay hundreds of pounds extra to get a 'free' meal and an inch of extra seat pitch for the sake of a 50 minute sector?

I think BA's arrogance over the past few years, shrugging off the likes of EZY and RYR, may come back to haunt them.

8th Sep 2001, 19:34
George etc & The Guv et al.

What is a 'full service' airline, as I got my all day deli bag on the flight deck the other day I cast back to sitting in the Three Maggies on the evening that British Eagle went down. They were a 'full service'
airline. An egg and cress double decker is not worth an extra 100 on the ticket. BA watch your six o'clock!

Good 'ere innit

Hand Solo
8th Sep 2001, 20:20
I don't think you can quite right off BA shorthaul just yet, its quite common to find 75 club pax on a flight into LHR these days. Short haul may be expensive, but like all things in BA, the real cost will never be determinable becuase the accounts make it cost what the management want it to cost. There is room in this market for both full service and low cost carriers. Of course the low cost carriers are great if you can book months in advance and you're off on a leisurely break somewhere. Maybe if you're a cost conscious businessman in the provinces then it makes sense to do some essential business travel on a low cost carrier. Despite this, you cannot get away from the fact that some people will not travel low cost, be it for reasons of convenience, reliability or simply taste. Luton, Stansted et al simply arent as easy to get to as LHR if your based in Central or South London. If you're a busy suit, do you really want to spend more time going to Stansted to fly to Hahn then travel to Frankfurt by train? It may be cheap but what happens when the aircraft goes tech and your stuck there overnight? Do you really want to lose the first day of your weekend break because an orange 737 is bust. Getting your ticket refunded for a 12 hour delay is scant consolation if you've little time to spare. If low cost carriers really were the only way to do shorhaul, then why haven't BA and BD lost all their major corporate customers to Easy, GO and Ryanair? Simple answer is people know that you get what you pay for. If you choose a large, scheduled airline you'll pay more, but you'll know that you've got less chance of being stuck in the middle of nowhere for a long time when things go wrong. If cost was everything then the rise of Skoda would have meant the end of Mercedes Benz, but as we've seen there's room for them both.

Few Cloudy
9th Sep 2001, 10:23
What happens when the aircraft goes tech?

OK firstly the EZY fleet is almost new and very well maintained. Secondly there is a system in place for using a spare aircraft and crew these days, to try and avoid the knock on delays of yore.

What happens if a BA ship "goes tech"?

In my experience most delays have been caused by missing/late passengers/late baggage and ATC slots - or a combination of both, (plus at LGW disinterested ground handling by Servisair.)

9th Sep 2001, 13:19
Hand Solo -

"the rise of Skoda would have meant the end of Mercedes Benz, but as we've seen there's room for them both."

- spot on matey

[ 09 September 2001: Message edited by: yorkunt ]

9th Sep 2001, 13:29
Few Cloudy We rarely seem to get delayed due to tech problems. On the flights that I operate the gate is supposed to close 15 minutes before departure. Yet we can still have pax boarding 2 mins before. I don't think the gate is 15 minutes walk away. People seem to think it's okay to be late for their flight. But they wouldn't expect a train to still be in the station if they were 5 minutes late. I say close the gate 15 minutes before. If your not there, tough catch the next one.

speed check
10th Sep 2001, 02:25
Is this the same bunch who are knocking B.A. but at the same time Have been sending in there C.vs to BA.or even been rejected ?

Porn Star 2000
10th Sep 2001, 11:01

What a typical "Head-up-ar**" comment we come to expect from you boys.


10th Sep 2001, 13:30
I am suitably unimpressed by the arrogance of our cousins at BA and the like. Geography dictates to many which airline they will fly with, this in many instances applies to flight crews also. I do not want to live any where near london, I would also hate to take a massive pay cut to go to BA, and that is before I give my excellent share deal back. :)

Few Cloudy
10th Sep 2001, 14:21
Mainfrog 2,

Corblimey ain't communication difficult?
My leading sentence "what happens when the aircraft goes tech?" was a direct quote from Hand Solo's preceding post and my response to that (basically in agreement to your's) followed.

Techs do happen - as in all airlines but it is the pax problem which is the main holdup - specially in Luton. By tthe way what is with the 15min. gate closing? Should be closed before that according my latest info. Pax should be ready to board before that even.

11th Sep 2001, 12:04
Few Cloudy, I totally agree with what you said about delays but the gate does close 15 mins before we are due to push back. Most of our flights are 30-40 mins turn rounds and small a/c. In BA's ticket info at Gatwick check-in for a flight closes 30 mins before. Pax are requested to be at the gate 40 mins before so that all pax can be on board no later than 10 mins before departure. It seems pax get lost between check-in and the gate judging by the number of times we have to offload bags.

Few Cloudy
11th Sep 2001, 15:26
Thanks Mainfrog - we work for the same outfit and a month back I got "confidential"
(for some reason) info in which the closing and boarding times were redefined.

As it was marked confidential I won't go into detail but the main point was that unless there was a significant delay anyway, these restrictive gate closing times were to be respected - even if pax were still showing up.

Problem is that the pax very soon learn when they can check in late and expect it every time - with the results noted above. Even if the pax can be boarded 15 min. after checkin, the baggage will cause a delay. Maybe we didn't get the same info - wouldn't be the first time...