Clickair boss: Spanish market will see more budget airline consolidation

There will be more consolidation among low-cost carriers operating in the Spanish market, according to Alex Cruz, chief executive of Clickair, a budget carrier part-owned by Iberia.
Limited demand due to the economic downturn, together with over-capacity from a flood of market entrants, will mean more buyouts and closures in the Spanish market, he said during a debate at World Travel Market.

“We have all seen the cycle before and now everybody is adjusting their flights,” Cruz said. “There will be more consolidation, whether it is a Spanish carrier or not, I don’t know, but it will be one taking part in the Spanish market.”

Spanish low-cost carrier Spanair was withdrawn from sale by parent SAS Scandinavian Airlines in the summer after a year without attracting a buyer. It had suffered a fatal crash, with 154 deaths, at Madrid airport in August.

In September, Spanish-based Futura cancelled flights and began insolvency proceedings, blaming rising fuel costs.

Cruz said more stable low-cost airlines with better financial backing were expected to benefit from the closure of other carriers.

Meanwhile, in the long-haul low cost market, carriers would benefit from business travellers downgrading their flights from business class on established airlines, said Tim Clayton, Asia Air X commercial advisor.

Asia Air X has been trying to drive growth for low-cost long haul flights with innovative marketing, such as promoting surfing holidays on Australia’s Gold Coast to China’s burgeoning young professionals, he said.

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