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AIRLINES


Transatlantic temptations


ByGARY NOAKES


Low-cost carriers with new aircraft are disrupting the


transatlantic market. Are travel buyers persuaded to use them?


J


UST WHEN YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD GOT TO GRIPS WITH ONE low-cost, long-haul concept, along comes another.


First Norwegian, Scoot and Air Asia X


brought low-cost, long-haul flights to the market; then the legacy airlines tried to match them, with Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Lufthansa, among others, introducing tiered economy class. You would be forgiven for not noticing,


but a third part of this revolution began this summer in an understated way at Stansted airport. At first glance, Stansted


(or New Engine Option), which will further extend the sweep of budget long-haul flights and looks likely to cause a ripple effect throughout the market. The new aircraft, fitted with a premium economy cabin, can carry around 200 passengers transatlantic at a cost 25 per cent cheaper than the equivalent aircraft, Boeing’s 757. The 757, another single-aisle jet last produced in 2005, in the absence of anything else, is still the stalwart of long-haul transatlantic routes from the UK regions. There is more to come next year, when the A321neo LR (Long Range) enters service (see box, p51). This will fly 600


“When the A321neo LR enters service, it will fly 690 miles further, giving a range, fully loaded, of around ten-and-a-half hours”


and a single daily flight to Newark on a narrow-body aircraft from a Danish leisure airline does not scream revolution (or business travel), but stay tuned, because this is another part of the trend. The airline in question is Primera Air and


the aircraft is a new version of the Airbus A321 workhorse, known as the A321neo


48 BBT July/August 2018


nautical miles (690 miles) further, giving a range, fully loaded, of around ten-and-a-half hours – and with per seat costs 40 per cent lower than those of a 757. These aircraft are Airbus’s response


to the Boeing 737 MAX jets that budget brand Norwegian is already using to cross the Atlantic from Scotland and Ireland.


BUYINGBUSINESSTRAVEL.COM


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