Low-cost Air Operators strongly compete Regular Airlines

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Low-cost Air Operators strongly compete Regular Airlines

After Romania joined the EU, the main low-cost air operators present on the local market - WizzAir, Blue Air, SkyEurope and MyAir - registered a significant growth of more than 50 percent in the passenger traffic, whereas regular airliners saw an increase of just 10-20 percent.

In the first two months of the year, Tarom airlines - the largest local regular air carrier - registered a 10 percent traffic increase on foreign flights and a 25 percent increase on domestic flights.Florentina Ivan, marketing director with Blue Air - the largest low-cost company in Romania - says the carriers' number of passengers increased 148 percent in January 2007 in comparison with the same month of 2006. Both the Romanians who work abroad and travel seekers contributed to the upward trend of the air operator.

MyAir, that currently operates Romania-Italy flights, saw similar results. In comparison with the first months of the previous year, the number of passengers increased 70 percent and as of June this year, the operator will launch flights to Barcelona, Paris and Ibiza.Seat occupancy was 90 percent on the very first flight on the Bucharest - Rome (Central Fiumicino Airport) route launched by SkyEurope on January 12 this year and kept constant in February and March. On March 25, the company will inaugurate the Bucharest-Vienna daily flights.

 Wizz Air, that entered the local low-cost market in 2006, registered a seat occupancy higher than 80 percent both on the outbound and inbound. In December 2006, the company was operating just one flight from Romania, but in January 2007, Wizz Air launched flights to five new destinations, with take-off from Targu-Mures (center) and Bucharest.
 
According to Florin Fulger, director of the Baneasa Airport, passenger traffic on this facility where all the main low-cost companies are operating increased by some 15 percent in the first two months of the year in comparison with the same period of 2006.Before joining the EU, Romania has scrapped protectionist measures that favored State-owned air carriers. Starting January 1, 2007, any company holding a license of EU air carrier can operate in Romania and prices on the low-cost segment dropped on the background of a tougher competition. 

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