Having just flown back from France after a few weeks of sun and wine, it was while slumming it on RyanAir it became clear that Europe is paralleling the airline industry.
Moving people via plane is pretty easy. The airports exist, leasing aircraft is simple and finding staff a doddle too. Entry requires access to capital and some competitive spirit. The industry has created wealth (Virgin to EasyJet) and yet in true capitalistic style seen the mighty TWA, AA, JAL, and numerous others to fall too; often as a result of nothing but poor management.
In Europe we learn Air Berlin is struggling to survive and state owned Malta Airways is also facing the harsh realities of competition. Bloated with aging people and pensions and leaders who are not up to the job, the parallels are strikingly like that of Europe.
RyanAir is truly a leader in this space. It doesn't need state bailouts and has one the highest ontime flight programmes and fastest turnaround of any airline. The people hate it but still use it. Countries like Italy and Spain should take note. Unlike Emirates which is a money is no object airline, most countries cannot even afford to service their own sovereign debt and the quality of its airlines shows the character of the country. Ireland maybe dead but it is coming back faster than Iceland.
We note that RyanAir wants to buy an airport so it can control the full supply chain. Will its products become even cheaper or will it get bloated like BA and lose sight of what its purpose is? I don't thing so but it got me to thinking which country in the EU is like RyanAir? Mmmmm... probably none of them.
Air Berlin (despeigel)
Air Malta (maltatoday)
American Airlines (wp)
RyanAir to buy Stansted (guardian)
RyanAir looking to buy (independent.ie)
Greece to turn itself into an airport.