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Gfgdfgv
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Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:21 am

Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Tue Aug 16, 2022 6:49 pm

As my flight-log will attest to, I'm slightly obsessed with low cost airlines and thanks to my equally obsessive mindset I'm really enjoying researching the extensive number of carriers that came and went, especially during the 90s-00s boom. I've complied a list and would appreciate any help or directions in finding even more information about a number of these carriers. Sadly there's not much on the internet about many of these failures (and I'm having to persevere with the a.net archive) - does anyone have any experience, stories or more to share?

My list so far:
    Air Asturias
    Air Berlin
    Air One
    Air Polonia
    Air Scotland
    Air Southwest
    Air Service Plus
    Air Turquoise
    Albatros Airways
    Belle Air/Belle Air Europe
    Bmibaby
    Centralwings
    Clickair
    Color Air
    DBA
    Dauair
    Debonair
    Due Airways
    Ernest
    EUJet
    Flybe
    Flyglobespan
    Flying Finn
    Fly Romania
    Fly Me
    Fly Nordic
    Flywest (France)
    Germanwings
    Go
    Hapag-Lloyd Express
    Helios Airways
    Iceland Express
    Joon
    KD Avia
    Laker Airways
    Lauda / Nikki
    London European Airways
    Monarch
    Myair
    Mytravellite
    On Air
    Norwegian Airlines (AOCs)
    Primera Air
    SkyEurope
    Smartwings
    Snowflake
    Sterling
    V Bird
    Virgin Express
    Volare
    Windjet
    WOW Air
    Zoom Airlines

(Mods this is the first ever topic I've started since about 15 years, please let me know if anoher sub-forum is more appropriate for my questions)
 
ReverseFlow
Posts: 540
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Tue Aug 16, 2022 8:04 pm

There was Buzz (yellow livery etc). They were a subsiduary of KLM. I did fly they around the 2000's but can't remember much.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buzz_%28airline%29

I did fly HLX as Hapag Lloyd Express rebranded themselves.
I think I paid more for the coach fare to/from Stansted than the return airfare.

Not sure if it counts as a low cost airline but I flew Blue1 once (subsiduary of SAS at the time).
I remember having the smoothest landing I've ever had in their RJ85 at Helsinki Airport.
 
ACDC8
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Tue Aug 16, 2022 8:13 pm

Deutsche BA was an interesting one, starting off as a subsidiary of BA and then just turning into a LCC overnight, but then again, many of the LCCs started off as a more mainstream (usually regional) carrier vs new airlines created specifically for the LCC market.
 
masi1157
Posts: 579
Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:56 am

Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Tue Aug 16, 2022 9:09 pm

How about GEXX (Germania Express)?


Gruß, masi1157
 
IADCA
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Tue Aug 16, 2022 9:18 pm

That's a long list to be asking for general information on. I'd just note that a number of those (like Joon and Germanwings) were never fully independent carriers, but rather contrived low-cost spinoffs of majors, and some were more akin to travel charter operators than true LCCs. Like most people on here I'd imagine, I've flown a few of those on the list - and even saw a Flybe Embraer still in full livery out of place at a remote stand at a US airport last week - but you'd have to let people what you actually want to know beyond additional names.
 
davidjohnson6
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Tue Aug 16, 2022 10:51 pm

Have a look at airlinehistory.co.uk or wikipedia for info on expired airlines
 
bhxdtw
Posts: 1201
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:28 pm

Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Wed Aug 17, 2022 1:09 am

Does Thomsonfly still operate or as another name? I'm not euro based anymore .. however I did fly an interesting route ...
Coventry - Pisa - Bristol. The CVT - PSA leg was interesting as you had a gate guard opening a barrier for access to the airport and check in was at a porta cabin which was also the departure lounge. Service was fine, tidy little 737- something flight.

Flew mytravel between LGW and YYZ. like a long haul Ryanair flight on an A330. Lavs were downstairs which was cool.

Air Berlin between STN and TXL. F100. real nice crew, original color scheme, pre-lowco service. Nice big free sandwiches and a warm cookie.

Zoom was a Canadian low cost service.
 
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TheFlyingDisk
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Wed Aug 17, 2022 5:59 am

Never flown on Niki, but if I recall correctly Niki Lauda continued his tradition of captaining scheduled flights from time to time.

To be honest, it's amazing that he had the time to manage the airline, take up flight ops while at the same time also being an F1 pundit for German TV as well.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Wed Aug 17, 2022 6:35 am

bhxdtw wrote:
Does Thomsonfly still operate or as another name?


They rebranded as TUI.
 
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conaly
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Wed Aug 17, 2022 7:33 am

Was Air Berlin even a LCC? Maybe partly in certain times, but even when they operated mostly as charter for touristic destinations, they offered complementary meal service. They also had seat reservation, were part of a global alliance, had a frequent flyer program and tickets were never as cheap as Ryanair or Easyjet. Besides that, they also had long haul operations with business class, spoke-to-hub operations and so on. So not really a low cost carrier.
 
ACDC8
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Wed Aug 17, 2022 7:37 am

conaly wrote:
Was Air Berlin even a LCC? Maybe partly in certain times, but even when they operated mostly as charter for touristic destinations, they offered complementary meal service. They also had seat reservation, were part of a global alliance, had a frequent flyer program and tickets were never as cheap as Ryanair or Easyjet. Besides that, they also had long haul operations with business class, spoke-to-hub operations and so on. So not really a low cost carrier.

They were briefly, or at least somewhat a LCC during the 2000s - Air Berlin went through numerous transformations in a very short period of time.
 
SeaDoo
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Wed Aug 17, 2022 7:00 pm

I believe Snowflake was SAS
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Wed Aug 17, 2022 9:36 pm

Maybe you can add BasiqAir to the list. It was a low-cost sub-brand of Transavia when Transavia was still a full-service leisure airline, they used BasiqAir to explore the low-cost market. Later BasiqAir was abolished and Transavia was turned into a low-cost airline itself.

But BasiqAir wasn't really an airline, it was just a brand name. It was fully operated by Transavia.

ReverseFlow wrote:
There was Buzz (yellow livery etc). They were a subsiduary of KLM. I did fly they around the 2000's but can't remember much.


Buzz was later acquired by Ryanair. They kept it for many years without using it but a few years ago they decided to relaunch it in Poland as a replacement for the Polish subsidiary Ryanair Sun. So in a way Buzz is still around, even though it's a whole other airline now.
 
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SRQKEF
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Thu Aug 18, 2022 4:56 pm

IADCA wrote:
That's a long list to be asking for general information on. I'd just note that a number of those (like Joon and Germanwings) were never fully independent carriers, but rather contrived low-cost spinoffs of majors, and some were more akin to travel charter operators than true LCCs. Like most people on here I'd imagine, I've flown a few of those on the list - and even saw a Flybe Embraer still in full livery out of place at a remote stand at a US airport last week - but you'd have to let people what you actually want to know beyond additional names.


Germanwings, while owned by LH Group, was fully independent under the 4U/GWI AOC. However, there are airlines in the list there that never actually had their own aircraft. Iceland Express for example was more akin to a travel agency than an airline, as all their aircraft were wet-leased from other airlines (mostly Hello in Switzerland and Astraeus in the UK).
 
IADCA
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Thu Aug 18, 2022 7:39 pm

SRQKEF wrote:
IADCA wrote:
That's a long list to be asking for general information on. I'd just note that a number of those (like Joon and Germanwings) were never fully independent carriers, but rather contrived low-cost spinoffs of majors, and some were more akin to travel charter operators than true LCCs. Like most people on here I'd imagine, I've flown a few of those on the list - and even saw a Flybe Embraer still in full livery out of place at a remote stand at a US airport last week - but you'd have to let people what you actually want to know beyond additional names.


Germanwings, while owned by LH Group, was fully independent under the 4U/GWI AOC. However, there are airlines in the list there that never actually had their own aircraft. Iceland Express for example was more akin to a travel agency than an airline, as all their aircraft were wet-leased from other airlines (mostly Hello in Switzerland and Astraeus in the UK).


I wouldn't call anything owned by LH Group a fully independent carrier. If someone outside your airline's HQ can shut it down and transfer its aircraft to another carrier with only a modicum of paperwork, you're not independent.
 
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SRQKEF
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Thu Aug 18, 2022 10:17 pm

IADCA wrote:
SRQKEF wrote:
IADCA wrote:
That's a long list to be asking for general information on. I'd just note that a number of those (like Joon and Germanwings) were never fully independent carriers, but rather contrived low-cost spinoffs of majors, and some were more akin to travel charter operators than true LCCs. Like most people on here I'd imagine, I've flown a few of those on the list - and even saw a Flybe Embraer still in full livery out of place at a remote stand at a US airport last week - but you'd have to let people what you actually want to know beyond additional names.


Germanwings, while owned by LH Group, was fully independent under the 4U/GWI AOC. However, there are airlines in the list there that never actually had their own aircraft. Iceland Express for example was more akin to a travel agency than an airline, as all their aircraft were wet-leased from other airlines (mostly Hello in Switzerland and Astraeus in the UK).


I wouldn't call anything owned by LH Group a fully independent carrier. If someone outside your airline's HQ can shut it down and transfer its aircraft to another carrier with only a modicum of paperwork, you're not independent.


I was just referring to it being an independent airline insofar as the AOC goes. But indeed, it was not exactly independently run in the business sense.
 
Flyingsottsman
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Fri Aug 19, 2022 5:34 am

If its the Laker (Freddie Laker) I dont think they were a low cost airline, I think they were a full service airline like what Virgin Atlantic is today that competed against BA, and BCAL at the time across the Atlantic and through some suspect practices involving BA and couple of other airlines put them out of business.
 
Flyingsottsman
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Fri Aug 19, 2022 5:36 am

What about Dan-Air London were they ever considered an LCC not that they wee known as LCC's back in the 1970,s and 80's.
 
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conaly
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Fri Aug 19, 2022 6:55 am

IADCA wrote:
I wouldn't call anything owned by LH Group a fully independent carrier. If someone outside your airline's HQ can shut it down and transfer its aircraft to another carrier with only a modicum of paperwork, you're not independent.


Germanwings wasn't even a LH Group airline until 2005. From 2002 to 2005 they were a subsidiary of Eurowings, which itself was an independent airline with Lufthansa owning just 24,9% and later 49,9% of EW. Only after 2005 LH had a majority in Eurowings and therefore also in Germanwings. GW operating for LH/EW started only after 2011.
 
BealineV953
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Re: Defunct Low Cost Airlines in Europe

Fri Aug 19, 2022 2:51 pm

Flyingsottsman wrote:
If its the Laker (Freddie Laker) I dont think they were a low cost airline, I think they were a full service airline like what Virgin Atlantic is today that competed against BA, and BCAL at the time across the Atlantic and through some suspect practices involving BA and couple of other airlines put them out of business.


For an impartial, factual account of the reasons Laker Airways failed I thoroughly recommend ‘The Rise And fall Of Freddie Laker’ by Howard Banks, published in 1982. Banks was Industrial Editor at the Economist when this book was written.
Chapter 13, ‘Anatomy of the collapse’ lists the key reasons for the failure, including:
In 1979 at the start of the peak travel season, the DC-10 was grounded for six weeks following the crash at Chicago.
Laker had three large loans:
$58 with Mutsui covering 3 DC-10-10s.
$228m with Exim covering DC-10-30s.
$131 with a Midland Bank led consortium covering 3 A300s, at a UK Government subsidized interest rate.
All three loans were taken in US Dollars. The loans, at the time they were taken out, were at an average exchange rate of $2.2445 to £1.
Incredibly, despite being exposed to loans of over $400m, Laker had not hedged for the pound weakening against the dollar.
In 1981 the world went into recession.
During that year the Pound weakened to $1.80 to £1. This exchange rate shift meant that for the 1982 financial year Laker would need to find £37.6m extra (extra, not total) to cover its loan repayments. £37.6m in 1982 would be worth around £126m today.

In March 1981, in an attempt to generate additional revenue to cover the loans, Laker put up its fares by up to 33%. Competitors matched. Laker’s passenger volume fell. Laker rolled back the increases. Competitors rolled back their increases.
Disclosures of the discussions at IATA pricing meetings show that to compete with Laker, BA proposed a 21 day Apex fare, which was approved and became an industry standard. Pan Am and TWA argued for lower, more creative fares.
In November 1981 Pan Am, under new boss Ed Acker, began selling New York to London at $261, below the lowest Laker fare at $299. Laker objected to the Pan Am fare, but the UK CAA approved it, and TWA and BA matched.

In early 1982 as it became clear that Laker was in serious trouble, there were many discussions about putting money into Laker, but Laker didn’t have assets against which to secure further loans.

Laker collapsed in February 1982.

At the time of the collapsed the airline was about to launch low cost services within Europe.
Beginning in 1971, Southwest Airlines had shown that a ‘no-frills’ airline could make money by offering high frequency services using 737s with 100+ seats.
Laker was going to use A300s with 300+ seats.
It seems that Laker thought he had nothing to learn from Herb Kelleher and Rollin King about making money on shorthaul routes.

Laker Airways failed because it was under-caplitalised, had huge debts and had been attempting to expand during a worsening recession. The airline was beyond saving; when it went bankrupt it owed £260 million, the equivalent of around £859m at today’s values.

Nowhere in Banks’ excellent book does he say that ‘it was BA wot done it’.

For the detail, and a good read, get the book.

In 1982 Laker instigated legal action under antitrust laws in the USA against twelve firms he accused of colluding to drive his carrier out of business. He was seeking up to $1.54 billion in damages.

The twelve defendants in the case were British Airways, British Caledonian Airways, Pan American World Airways, Trans World Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Lufthansa German Airlines, Sabena Belgian World Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines System, Swissair, Union de Transports Aeriens, McDonnell Douglas Corp. and McDonnell Douglas Finance Corp.

BCal, KLM, Lufthansa, Sabena, SAS, Swissair and UTA were included in the legal action because they had been party to a telex sent to McDonnell Douglas raising concerns about the aircraft manufacturer and General Electric putting together a rescue package for Laker’s struggling airline.

The case was settled in May ’85 when Laker accepted an out-of-court settlement, receiving $8 million in return for halting legal claims against the defendants.

British Airways paid a share of the $8m to settle the case. BA Chief Executive Colin Marshall said: ''Our agreement with Sir Freddie Laker bears no admission of guilt on behalf of British Airways or the other defendants to drive Laker out of business or to breach US antitrust laws.”

British Caledonian Airways said the $8 million to be paid Laker ''..represents the nuisance value of a private antitrust suit. The sum is considerably less than the legal cost of defending against such spurious claims.''

So, after two and a half years Laker had failed to show that his accusations were valid, and the defendants made a payment simply to bring the case to an end.

As well as filing an antitrust action in the US, Laker’s liquidators filed an action at the Royal Court of Jersey. The liquidators submitted the claim in Jersey because Laker Airways was a subsidiary of Laker Airways (International) which was incorporated in Jersey. As Jersey is not part of the UK, it has a separate tax regime. Being registered in Jersey enabled Laker to avoid UK taxes.

With Laker registered in Jersey, the UK Government could not have offered financial support to the failing airline even if it had wanted to.

As with the US case, that claim was settled out of court. The twelve defendants choose to settle out of court not because they believed there would be a judgement against them, but simply to end the considerable effort and expense of fighting the case.

The two out of court settlements, $8m and $49m, represented a fraction of the $1.54bn in damages Laker’s liquidators had been seeking.

British Airways contributed an additional $35 million on top of its earlier out-of-court agreement with Laker. For BA, the out of court settlements cleared the way for the privatisation of the company.

It is said that history is written by the victors. However, for failed airlines that does not appear to be the case. It seems that people quickly forget why an airline went out of business. They remember only that there was a court case, assume that the allegations, however spurious, were valid and were proven even when they absolutely were not.

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