European Low Fares Airlines Association announces new members // Regional airports considering membership // Low Fares Airline Study to be released in October 2004
Madrid/Brussels - September 30, 2004 - During their first Annual General Meeting, held at the Routes Conference in Madrid, European Low Fare Airlines Association (ELFAA) announced that Air Polonia, the Poland based low fares airline, had joined ELFAA becoming the 12th member of the Association. ELFAA was founded in January 2004 and is aiming to ensure that European policy and legislation promote free and equal competition to enable the continued growth and development of the low fares airline industry. Wolfgang Kurth, president of ELFAA and CEO of the German low cost airline Hapag-Lloyd Express commented: "Air Polonia is the third ELFAA member originating from one of the new EU member states clearly indicating that low cost airlines contribute substantially to the European integration process." Air Polonia was founded in 2001 and currently operates two B737-400.
Air Asia, Asia's first low fare airline to introduce "ticketless" travelling, also approached ELFAA and has now been expected as an associate airline member. "Despite the membership of international airlines ELFAA will solely concentrate on lobbying on an European level, however carriers such as Air Asia - operating out of Malaysia - can learn much in regards to the political decision making process in a liberalized market," Kurth added. Air Asia was established in 2001 and currently operates 19 B737-300.
Kurth was also very pleased about the high level of interest from several regional airports in joining ELFAA within the next couple of months: "We have been approached by several regional airports stating their interests in becoming a member of our association. This shows that airports are coming to understand the needs and potential of low fares airlines and that Brussels too, will have to take the requirements and demands of the entire European low cost industry - not just Airlines, but Airports and suppliers as well - much more seriously than before."
The ELFAA members also approved a draft study being prepared on the "Liberalisation of European Air Transport: The Benefits of Low Fares Airlines to Consumers, Airports, Regions and the Environment." The objective of the study is to better inform policy makers on the low fares model and the enormous benefits low fares airlines have brought to regional airports as well as to the regions themselves. The aim is to finalise the study by October and to publish it on the ELFAA website: www.elfaa.com
ELFAA Members include: Air Berlin, BasiqAir, Transavia, flybe, Sky Europe, Ryanair, Sverige Flyg, Volareweb, Sterling, Hapag-Lloyd Express, wizzair and Air Polonia.
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