Lufthansa’s CEO is attacking low cost carriers easyJet and Ryanair, calling the cheapest flights they offer “economically, ecologically, and politically irresponsible.”
The German flag carrier of course matches low fares in the market and is resructuring its own low cost Eurowings. They would prefer if governments banned low fares so they themselves could charge customers more than they do today.
Towards this end he argues that the small-d democratization of air travel, making the world more accessible to more people through lower fares, is bad for the environment. He doesn’t want to ban air travel, he runs an airline. He just doesn’t want low fare air travel.
As One Mile at a Time points out European low cost carriers operate more fuel efficient fleets than Lufthansa does. Increasing fuel efficiency, which is made possible by growth and economies of scale, reduces emissions.
Meanwhile business and first class passengers take up more space on an aircraft than the same number of economy passengers, so Lufthansa’s premium-heavy approach entails more emissions per person.
We’re probably barking up the wrong environmental tree focusing on air travel anyway since streaming online porn “generates as much CO2 per year as is emitted by countries such as Belgium, Bangladesh and Nigeria.” (HT: Marginal Revolution)
In the U.S. the Civil Aeronautics Board used to determine where each airline could fly and what prices they could charge. Airline deregulation didn’t really ‘deregulate’ the airline industry (it remains one of the most heavily regulated industries in the U.S.) it meant the end of the government preventing ‘ruinous competiton’. U.S. airline regulation was designed to protect airline profits, not consumers.
It was only the end of this approach that made travel more affordable and more accessible. Airlines, however, prefer to be protected from competition by government regulation.
Meanwhile in terms of whether the fares being offered by easyJet and Ryanair are economically responsible, European low cost carriers have been more profitable than legacy airlines have been.
(HT: One Mile at a Time)