With the review of the Air Services Regulation, (EC) 1008/2008, and of other acquis with a relevance to air travel, EPF has been focussed on the case for further safeguarding price transparency and improving competition for passengers. Chris Irwin represented EPF as the keynote speaker at a breakfast event in the European Parliament on the impact of airline consolidation on SMEs and consumers.

In Europe the industry is increasingly consolidated: the top four carriers – IAG (which includes BA, Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus), Lufthansa Group, Air France-KLM and Ryanair – now control around 40% of the market. Indeed, in some key territories, as much as 80% of the market is held by just one of the groups. Critics warn that this limits consumer choice and that, unless price transparency is safeguarded, prospective passengers can’t compare offers and services to get the deal that suits them best.

EPF is calling for effective regulatory action to ensure that the air services market remains dynamic and competitive: passengers need access to comprehensive and transparent information when choosing how best to travel. This allows them to make an informed consumer choice between operators and even modes. As Chris recalled, the European Commission accepts that price transparency is a core passenger right – across all modes. EU’s Consumer Agenda has long acknowledged that empowered and confident consumers create thriving markets. Price transparency is good for passengers and good for the economy.

An EPF position paper is available here.