Globetrotters are likely to see a low-cost long-haul revolution in aviation, according to the World Travel Market 2015 Industry Report, unveiled at World Travel Market London – the leading global event for the travel industry.
More than 1,000 consumers and 2,050 industry executives were quizzed for the report, unveiled today (Monday 2 November).
When asked about the most likely industry developments over the next five years, 83% of trade executives tipped ‘low-cost transatlantic/worldwide flights’ (41% said ‘very likely’ and 42% ‘quite likely’).
Cheaper fuel prices have helped reignite the battle of budget routes across the Atlantic – shaking up traditional low-cost models that rely on short-haul services with quick turnarounds.
Iceland’s WOW air will fly from the UK to Canada from May 2016 with one-way fares from £99. It follows the launch of WOW’s transatlantic services from Gatwick to Boston and Washington DC in early 2015.
The flights include a layover in Iceland’s capital, Reykavik.
Other low fares are already available from the UK to US destinations from Norwegian, while elsewhere in Europe, budget carriers such as Germany’s Condor and Paris-based XL Airways France offer transatlantic routes.
Cheap fares are offered by Air Canada rouge and Air Transat, and WestJet will start non-stop services next spring to Gatwick from six Canadian cities.
Norwegian announced recently (22 October) that it will buy 19 new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. It currently has eight Dreamliners, with 11 on order.
The latest order means its long-haul fleet will consist of 38 Dreamliners by 2020.
The carrier operates Dreamliner aircraft from its Gatwick base to New York, Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, with one-way fares from £149.
Norwegian’s Gatwick-Boston service will be launched in May 2016, and November 2015 sees the launch of direct Gatwick-Puerto Rico flights, with one-way fares from £179. Both routes will be served by Dreamliners.
Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos said: “After two years of operating low-cost long-haul flights, our load factors have averaged over 90%, which proves the demand for affordable flights between Europe and the US and Europe and Asia.”
However, low-cost transatlantic flights have a turbulent history – pioneer Laker Airways linked Gatwick to New York for five years but went bust in 1982, and Canada’s Zoom Airlines filed for bankruptcy in 2008 after six years on the route.
Looking eastwards, easyJet will suspend its Gatwick-Moscow service in March 2016 – although Virgin Atlantic reportedly wants to take over the route.
Low-cost giant Ryanair has mooted the idea of bargain transatlantic flights but currently is focused on becoming ‘the Amazon of travel’, offering hotels, car hire and concerts.
It echoes the strategy of Asia’s leading low-cost carrier, AirAsia, which is reportedly forming an ecommerce arm, whose core areas would include online shopping and social gaming.
Wego.com, a travel search site in Asia Pacific and Middle East, reckons globetrotters can now fly around the world just on low-cost carriers.
Dean Wicks, Chief Flights Officer for Wego, said: “It’s a backpacker’s dream come true.
“Indonesia AirAsia X has announced direct flights between Sydney and Bali, and AirAsia X has hinted at the possibilities of future flights from Australia to London and Hawaii.
“Scoot flies from Singapore to Australia, and Jetstar carries 8.5% of passengers travelling in and out of Australia to 17 international destinations in seven countries across Asia, North America and Oceania.
“Another great example is Norwegian, who fly from Bangkok to Europe, connects Europe with the US, and has just announced flights between the US and the Caribbean, beginning this Christmas.
“In the UAE, FlyDubai now serves a total of 94 destinations and has expanded with flights to home countries of many guest workers including Amman, Beirut, Chittagong, Kathmandu and Muscat.”
World Travel Market London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: “The no-frills carriers revolutionised the short haul travel industry in the 1990s and now they look set to take on the national flag carriers in the long haul markets.”
WOW air is exhibiting at World Travel Market London (stand EU840c), as are two Canadian carriers, WestJet and Air Transat (NA200).
Airline trends will be discussed at the Airline Industry Panel (Tuesday 3 November) and during the Keynote Interview with Christoph Mueller, Chief Executive at Malaysia Airlines (Wednesday 4 November).
About World Travel Market London
WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend four-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.
Almost 51,500 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM.
WTM London, now in its 36th year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals. WTM 2014 will generate around £2.5 billion of travel industry contracts.
WTM London is part of Reed Travel Exhibition’s World Travel Market events, which also includes Arabian Travel Market, World Travel Market Latin America and World Travel Market Africa. www.wtmworld.com
World Travel Market Events
World Travel Market is comprised of the leading leisure travel events in the world; World Travel Market London, WTM Latin America in Sao Paulo, WTM Africa in Cape Town and Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.
New events for 2016 are WTM connect Asia and WTM connect China, which join WTM connect Ski and International Golf Travel Market. These unique one-to-one events are targeted at leisure and niche travel markets, allowing exhibitors to exclusively meet with elite hosted buyers.
The World Travel Market events are attended by the global travel and tourism industry’s senior executives to conduct business deals and discover the latest research, insight and opinion.
In 2014, the World Travel Market events facilitated around $7 billion in industry deals from negotiations between the more than 15,000 buyers, 9,500 exhibitors (1,500 main stand holders and 8,000 stand sharers) in attendance of its four events.
WTM is part of Reed travel Exhibitions, the leading events organizer in the travel industry, and is owned by the world’s leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions.
Reed Travel Exhibitions
Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry. Its wide-ranging portfolio of events around the globe covers leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel.
RTE, which organises more than 22 events around the world, includes three divisions; World Travel Market, IBTM World and International Luxury Travel Market.
RTE is a business unit of Reed Exhibitions.
About Reed Exhibitions
Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organiser, with over 500 events in 43 countries. In 2014 Reed brought together over seven million event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 41 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of the RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.