"..Sweet dreams are made of this.."
I heard about them a few weeks ago, and took a deep look at what they want to achieve.
Despite the very risky business we're talking about, I think there is room for relative success if these guys are able not to do what has been done already, but build their own and unique product.
OK, we all understood it aint any other LCC, which is actually good. If we compare with other tourism business, aviation (in EU) is the only one offering kind of a single low-cost choice. Its like hotel choice wud be left to 1star only. Does that make sense ? I dont think so.
Basic Strategy :
Ex AF CEO Alex De Juniac was often saying : "We airlines are basically offering the same product, the winner will be the one that is able to reduce on ground waste of time". When you take a 30min flight to Nice, but lose 2-3 hours in endless procedures, reducing this time to 20min by the use of FBO's sounds pretty attractive to me. A lawyer that is invoicing his client 700.- per hour could be interested in having few more hours to spend in the case, and then invoicing more.
Pricing Strategy :
To me, the fact that they mention "from", like everyone do, seems like their fares aren't flat, and that some yield management will be applied. Regarding fare level, it looks like basic full economy price on regular airlines, but using direct flight from FBO's. If I have to fly to STR, given the choice of a LX flight from main terminal through ZRH, or this direct link from a FBO, for more or less the same price, I wont hesitate for long.
Network Strategy :
Appart from NCE, I think all their planned routes are non-served to date. Despite the fact it seems to me a lil bit risky to enter this specific NCE market, I imagine that 1-2% of the GVA-NCE travellers will be willing to pay more for a convenient offer, schedule wise, product wise, procedure wise. Lots of them are banker that are transfering to a helicopter flight to Monaco, Im not sure all them are pure easyJet fans. Regarding the leisure network, I can imagine they focuss on 2nd home residency, and not on package sold like any LCC/Charter flight. Britanny, Arcachon and Hyères are well known spots in the matter, and 2nd residency owner might be quite happy to be able to reach Arcachon without driving 10 hours. They can go there more often throughout the year, for shorter time, and if they are able to own such a thing, Im sure they are able to spend some 800-900 to fly there.
Schedule Strategy :
Considering I enjoy watching Football World Cup, to be back around 20:00 does talk to me, especially if I can spend this time with friends sharing delicious barbecue and wine. When flying with easyJet, with a return planned to land at around 23:00, chances to be diverted to Lyon or to have your flight cancelled are relevant.
Revenues v.s. Costs sustainability :
This is the point where I see the highest danger. Running such a business is extremely risky. To me, the key is to have a sufficient amount of start up fund, and mid-long term visibility in their costs. Starting with no AOC sounds quite wise in the matter, as you have more flexibility fleet wise, and reduced start up costs (no need to buy airplane, spare parts, to pay crew salaries, ..., ...) Wet lease or ACMI base is a little more expensive when you're a well established airline, but far more affordable when you're at the beginning. As far as my memory goes, that's how easyJet started.
I think no one would have given a single chance when easyJet started operation. I can remember reactions in Geneva, that was in 1998, when everyone was laughing out loud. Today, they own more than 50% of the traffic, and everyone, legacies included, are adapting their own product in order to compete, with pretty limited success. And this could be applied to the whole industry in EU.
Saying that they have a bright future ahead of them seems to me a little optimistic, their hard time are ahead, but if they have a reasonable investment secured, and are able to keep their feet on the ground, their strategy could re-create demand for proper quality air-service.
Asking people around me, all them are complaining about the waste of time at airport. If they can keep this 20min car to plain promise, I'm pretty sure they can meet some success. Personally, I really hope they can make it, having family around Hyères, I'd be happy to visit them more often, without the whole hassle that comes along flying easyJet to Nice and the long drive towards Toulon that follows.