Will European Airlines consolidate even more?

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A period of consolidation among European airlines similar to what has occurred in the US is to be both expected and welcomed.

Speaking at a panel debate in World Routes 2017 in Barcelona focusing on Europe, Austrian Airlines senior director network management Alexandra Goldschmidt said the recent issues of both airberlin and Alitalia pointed to a wider truth.

She added: “Consolidation of European traffic has been expected for a long time. It has probably just started and will go on for a couple of years. We are still facing competition and we will do in the future and there’s nothing bad about it.”

Bmi regional chief commercial officer Jochen Schnadt said the European aviation industry tends to be ten to 15 years behind the US industry which has gone through its own period of consolidation.

SunExpress head of network planning and scheduling Wilken Bellman agreed, adding: “There are now four big US carriers which are highly profitable and still growing.”

Flybe chief commercial officer Vincent Hodder argued consolidation could take a number of different forms, from joint ventures to franchising.

He added these could often be positive moves allowing both partners to benefit from one another’s strengths.

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Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.