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13 Oct 2017

BY Sophie Griffiths


'Adapting' is key to airlines' survival

Air Europa’s UK and Ireland boss has stressed the need for airlines to continue “adapting and changing” if they are to survive.

Dreamliner Air Europa

“We are partnering with [Ryanair]. We have to change to survive – we’re always looking at cost”

Speaking at the Online Travel Training Agent Evolution conference on the day of Monarch Airlines’ collapse, Colin Stewart said that for Air Europa “change is important; it’s necessary”.

He highlighted how the market had seen significant consolidation within the past two decades and cited Air Europa’s partnership with Ryanair, which enables Ryanair customers to book 20 long-haul flights with the Spanish carrier to 16 countries. “We see Ryanair as an OTA,” he said. “We are developing phase two and three [launching later this year], which will enable us to sell flights to cities such as Buenos Aires with through-check-in.”

Stewart stressed that the move was “not a codeshare”. “We are partnering with [Ryanair]. We have to change to survive – we’re always looking at cost,” he said.

Asked whether he was concerned about the partnership given Ryanair’s recent troubles, Stewart said: “Phase one of Ryanair is an opportunity for us, and with any kind of merger you’re bringing together two different brands. We look at this as the start of a relationship.

“Yes, Ryanair has to deal with some big challenges at the moment but they are not going anywhere – they are trying to make a change. For us to turn down an opportunity like this wouldn’t make sense.”

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