We’re creating a more connected travel industry, underpinned by sustainability and long-term investor relations.
Former Head of Marketing, Amadeus Rail
Last month there was much buzz around low-cost carriers (as newly formed airline HOP! An Air France-KLM subsidiary is positioning itself), putting forward a new challenge towards high-speed rail.
At the World Aviation Festival, HOP! was represented by Helene Abraham, EVP Commercial. Abraham commented on how the low-cost carrier is planning to compete for the European rail traveller by creating a more hassle-free network, incorporating the hub airports of the three operating airlines which make up HOP!
“One of the biggest competitors in the French market are substitutes; high-speed rail and road. The network must adapt and include destinations not served by rail.” Helene Abraham, HOP!
For example, in France, there are still a lot of non-viable train journeys, which leads to many travel hours and station changes. Travellers can save time and HOP! has seen a huge potential behind this.
Arguments for and against travelling by train/plane are shown at the5-min debate on budget air travel versus railway travelwith Gwyn Topham, The Guardian, and Mark Smith,The Man in Seat61. This debate points out the hassle free need during any travellers journey.
Another example of rail travel vs air travel, this one much closer to home as you may have readin my last blog on my disrupted journey to Yorkshire, and now there seems to be an alternative mode of transport!Leeds Bradford (LBA)returned to British Airways’ route map after three decades, and the carrier now serves it with 27 weekly frequencies:
“The well-timed four flights a day will offer our customers the chance to complete a full day’s business in the capital without the expense or inconvenience of an overnight stay.” James Keegan, Commercial Services Manager UK, British Airways
It might seem risky to compete with a door-to-door travel rail offer, but why choosing air among rail?
So will Low-Cost, Value or Budget Carriers continue to reinvent themselves to counter the high-speed rail threat? Or will they embrace it and join forces to win the battle for the customer? Whatever happens, railways and airlines will need to provide the traveller with a good online booking tool and ticketing interface, that could handle multimodal travel search and a seamless travel experience.