EasyJet boss predicts more airline failures after collapse of Primera Air

‘A lot of weaker players are in a more difficult situation because of the high price of oil,’ said Johan Lundgren

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Wednesday 10 October 2018 10:56 BST
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The airline's chief executive Johan Lundgren will reduce his salary to that of his predecessor Carolyn McCall
The airline's chief executive Johan Lundgren will reduce his salary to that of his predecessor Carolyn McCall

After the collapse of Primera Air, the chief executive of easyJet has warned that other airlines are likely to fail.

Speaking at the Abta Convention, Johan Lundgren said: “A lot of weaker players are in a more difficult situation because of the high price of oil.

“We are going to see more failures.”

Mr Lundgren declined to name airlines that he thinks will go out of business.

But he told The Independent: “If you are exposed to fuel [price increases] because you haven’t hedged, and you don’t have resilience, if you don’t have a product and a service that people will pay a small premium for, then you should be worried.”

The easyJet boss also predicted that an agreement would be found for planes to keep flying after Brexit, even in the event of the UK leaving the European Union with no deal.

“Everybody wants connectivity,” he said. “There will be a bare-bones agreement with basic connectivity between the UK and Europe.

“It would be inconceivable for politicians to put people in the situation where people can’t go on holiday or on business trips.”

Mr Lundgren also called for progress on expansion at Heathrow. Even though easyJet does not fly from the UK’s biggest airport, the airline has lobbied for a third runway and set out plans to deploy 30 aircraft at Heathrow.

“We fly out of 49 of the 50 primary airports in Europe,” he said. “Heathrow is the one that is missing. We can provide better connectivity at much lower cost.”

The easyJet chief executive also made a jibe at the boss of his larger rival, Ryanair. When asked about Michael O’Leary’s accusation that staff at competitor airlines had fomented strikes at Ryanair, Mr Lundgren said: “We have pilots who fly our aeroplanes.

“If you’re going to have some aeroplanes, get some pilots to fly them,” he advised Mr O'Leary.

The Independent has invited Ryanair to respond.

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