ON-LINE
agencies are eating into operators’ businesses far more than no-frills
airlines, Cosmos commercial director Stuart Jackson has claimed.

The
trade is quick to blame no-frills carriers for snapping up mass-market
business, but on-line retailers Ebookers and Expedia are proving more of a
threat and are growing at an alarming rate, he said.

“The
no-frills carrier market has given customers more holiday opportunities, but
people are booking by different means. The likes of Ebookers and Expedia are
having a more fundamental effect than no-frills.

“These
e-media companies will put together a flight with a bed, offering customers the
chance to dynamically package.”

He
added: “The growth of these companies shows we’re probably losing more
customers to them. The ability to sell our holidays is diminishing.”

But
he warned if no-frills airlines chose to move into traditional operator areas
such as the eastern Mediterranean the mass market could suffer. He said:
“That’s when it will start affecting operators. No-frills carriers don’t
undermine the package market yet.”

Meanwhile,
Cosmos said it has succeeded in its strategy, unveiled 18 months ago, to shift
more product to the eastern Mediterranean, move its portfolio upmarket and
develop closer ties with agents.

It now has 70% of product in the western Mediterranean
and 30% in the eastern Mediterranean.