Jet2.com vs Ryanair - when two budget airlines go to war
When it comes to the recession, budget airlines have put their fingers in their ears and are shouting LA LA LA LA LA very loudly. At least that's what the headlines would have you believe. After last week heralding additional routes for Newcastle, Jet2.com has this lunchtime announced a new base of operations at East Midlands Airport.
The seven new routes on offer from the budget airline are Lanzarote, Dalaman, Corfu, Heraklion, Paphos, Tenerife and Sharm El Sheikh. All routes are now available for departures from May 2010, with starting fares from £59.99 one way including taxes. Last week new routes for Newcastle were announced, departing to Dalaman, Crete, Gran Canaria, Paphos and Sharm el Sheikh.
Between the two announcements Jet2.com are claiming up to 700 new jobs will be created. Now we can't knock that - more passenger choice and new jobs are very commendable - but will this be all there is to this story? Let's look at Ryanair - on August 11th, Ryanair announced a massive expansion in operations at Leeds-Bradford Airport, increasing the number of destinations served to 17 and creating 1,000 new jobs. Less than a week later, Ryanair announced it was closing down all services out of Manchester with the exception of a single route. 600 jobs will be lost.
Jet2.com's main base of operations is Leeds-Bradford Airport, where they now have Ryanair potentially outgunning them in terms of prices and PR. Jet2.com clearly aren't happy about the situation, not least because they seemingly weren't told Ryanair were moving in on their patch. While it's unlikely Jet2.com will quit Yorkshire, it seems from today's announcement that Jet2.com is gearing up for a turf war; Ryanair already operates nearly 40 routes from East Midlands airport. It's good news for the consumer in the short term (unless you live in Manchester) but will both airlines survive?