Luxair CEO: Show solidarity with airline choice
By Patrick Jacquemot and Emery P. Dalesio
The head of Luxembourg's struggling national airline is appealing to customers to fly on Luxair rather than low-cost competitors as a matter of national solidarity.
"In this period of crisis, I appeal to the common sense of our national customers in particular. I want to tell them, fly social. By choosing to travel with Luxair, you will also do good for the overall country", Luxair CEO Gilles Feith said in an interview.
Feith said rivals Ryanair and EasyJet are aggressively pursuing Luxembourg customers on routes to destinations including Lisbon, Faro, Malaga, Bordeaux and Marseille.
But a comparison of Luxair and EasyJet round-trip flights for later this month on each company's website found a 45% difference in fares. The Luxembourg carrier asked €312 to depart for Lisbon on 27 June and return three days later, while EasyJet charged €173 to leave on the same day and return two days later. Luxair's price included a baggage allowance and on-board refreshments.
Luxair suffered a 71% drop in passengers last year, resulting in a €73 million operating loss.
Those grim details have barely improved this year. Luxair's passenger count remained 75% below pre-pandemic 2019 levels during the first three months of this year, the airline said in April, and reservations for the second half of the year were about half compared to 2019.
Luxair, like all airlines, is struggling particularly with business travellers resuming in-person visits to customers and conferences after more than a year working remotely.
"Businessmen are slow to get back on the plane. This has a strong impact on some destinations with strong international connectivity" like Geneva and London, Feith said. "Before the crisis, we made seven daily flights to the British capital. Today we have gone to two."