Air Transport World

Building up from a firm foundation. (Air Europe expands services) (company profile)

With an eye firmly on 1993, Air Europe is expanding in scheduled services based on its background in charters. By Arthur Reed.

London-Established as a charter airline 11 years ago with three Japanese-financed brand-new Boeing 737-200s, Air Europe has expanded into scheduled services and continues to grow at a galloping pace in anticipation of the aviation freedoms that will come when trade frontiers go down among the 12 European Common Market states at the start of 1993.

At this writing, Airlines of Europe, the holding company for AE and five partner airlines, has 59 airliners-36 jets and 23 turboprops-in a fleet that is expected to grow to the area of 140-150 aircraft within five years, according to Rod Lynch, AE managing director.

Harry Goodman, chairman of AE and also of the parent international Leisure Group (ILG), whose interests cover tour operating and hotels as well as airlines, pooh-poohs the possibility of rapid-growth overreach, a not-unknown syndrome among newcomer airlines in the U.K.

Says Goodman: I have to agree that every carrier that has pitched for rapid growth in the past has gone bust. But there are major differences between our approach and those of Freddie Laker, or even British Caledonian. They turned their backs on the traditional bedrock of passenger support-charters. We are determined to ensure that every one of our European joint ventures involves partners who have access to large numbers of leisure clients to match our own resources through our tour operating company, Intasun."

Provisional forecasts for the ILG group's 1988-89 fiscal, which ended last October, show turnover at [Br pound] 700 million (U.S.$1.19 billion), and profit around [Br pound] 30 million ($51 million). This compares with [Br pound] 600 million and [Br pound] 20 million pretax in fiscal 1987-88. Airline finances are not broken out from the ILG figures for public consumption, although ILG says that Air Europe has shown "consistent operating profits" and was "the major contributor" to the group's 220 million figure. …

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