|Here Comes the Train Again, Is The Clock Turning back?|
By Yossi Fischer
Sunday, 27th May 2012
The end of an era of the European Low Cost airlines in its present form is in sight. Super- speed trains gradually replacing flights with super- speed rail network connecting major cities on the continent links.
According to recent news agencies reports the EuroStar is planning to add another 10 destinations to its railway network over the next five years.
Thee planed destinations are: Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Cologne, Lyon, Marseille, and Geneva.
The announcement comes after previous announcement of the German railway company - Deutsche Bahn in which announced earlier this year of its intentions to operate its ICE super-fast trains offering connections from Europe and the British island. This will start a competition between the EuroStar and DB but also push flight prices down.
Super-Speed trains are turning more and more popular for travelers and gradually becoming the preferred means of transportation connecting major cities in Europe.
The main reasons for this are:
During the past 10 years, the low-cost carriers have transformed the map of European travel causing quite a 'headache' to the traditional scheduled airlines.
- High-speed trains such as the - TGV, ICE, EUROSTAR, ITALO, AVE, connect between city centers compared to flights that are connecting the airports which are traditionally located outside the city centers and require in many cases more than an hour drive.
- Travelling on trains doesn't require for long check-in times compered to flights
- Trains have minimal language carrying restrictions compered to low-cost carriers that charge you from the first kilo or hand-bag.
- The accuracy of the trains is vastly superior to that of the flights affected by weather and congested main airports of Europe.
- Increasing the speed of high-speed trains in Europe (A new Train – the ITALO recently launched in Italy by the Chairman of Ferrari is travelling at an average speed of 300 Km per hour)
- The trains offer very competitive prices compared to the traditional carriers and even to Low-Cost carriers. Especially if we add to the calculation the extra costs related in most cases to flying such as transportation in and out of the city centers as required if you take flights.
- The Low-Cost carriers ticket prices have gone up significantly this year due to the big increase in fuel prices
Ryanair, Easy Jet, Air Berlin became huge competitors of the national flag carriers.
Recently, Iberia has launched its own Low-Cost carrier, Lufthansa has also its own Low-Cost and BA might turn the BMI brand into a Low-Cost arm. But Now, Low-Cost carriers find themselves at a major crossroad.
These fast approaching changes will undoubtedly require strategic changes fleet reduction and reducing of seat capacity. Low-Cost carriers will need to consider dropping major European cities from their flight plans. Namely, those cities which have the infrastructure for high-speed trains
So, what is the future for Low-Cost carriers in Europe?
Joseph Fischer is the Owner's Representative & Executive Board Member of IDB Tourism Ltd. He writes the occasional column and submits regularly traveler’s photos to 4Hoteliers.com.
- Connecting secondary cities that are not being served by Super-Speed trains
- Flying from the major cities of Europe to European resort destinations such as Spain, Portugal, The Greek Islands, Turkey, Bulgaria and Croatia.
- Connecting with destinations that are difficult to be serviced by high speed trains like Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Mediterranean countries.