Aer Lingus provides serious opposition to easyJet and Ryanair on London-Belfast route

In the week that Aer Lingus began its new service from Belfast International to London Heathrow, anna.aero’s farewatch looks at what they are up against. With two Belfast airports and five London airports to choose from there are currently eight different permutations provided by six different airlines. The only permutations not currently served are Belfast City to Luton and London City to Belfast International. On no airport pair is there currently direct competition.

To enable non-LCCs bmi and CityJet to be included in the comparison day return fares for Belfast originating passengers were determined for travel in the next two weeks.

Logo: Cologne Bonn Connect
Source: Airline websites on Wednesday 16th January.
Green shaded period is Saturday/Sunday.
All fares include most taxes, fees and charges but do not include easyJet’s baggage charge and Ryanair’s check-in and baggage fees.

Although just about the cheapest overall, Ryanair’s pricing on this route is not as aggressive as might have been imagined. Only bookings made at least two weeks in advance can take advantage of £10 return fares on this route. Curiously the normal taxes and charges of £49 disappear and are reduced to just £10 which is attributed to the UK Government APD charge.

easyJet’s fares are similar across all three London airports and are usually cheaper than Aer Lingus, though not by much. Then comes Flybe and finally bmi and CityJet are in a whole different league, except at weekends when bmi’s fares are comparable to Flybe. Bmi does have plenty of lower fares during off-peak periods, but these are still some way off the regular fares of the LCCs. Details of the routes analysed are summarised below.

Airline Frequency Share Capacity Share Number of Routes
Germanwings 32.4% 35.5% 34
TUIfly.com 18.2% 22.0% 30
Lufthansa 22.0% 19.1% 5
Air Berlin 11.3% 12.5% 7
Condor 0.9% 1.7% 4
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 14 January 2008

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