mardi, juillet 04, 2006
The series of postings regarding Malta's great dilemma of whether or not to welcome the so-called Low Cost Carriers (LCC's) continues. Until now J'Accuse has questioned the main priorities for government: Is it the Maltese citizen's interest in travelling? Is it the private industry's interest in moving with the trend and legitimately receiving most of the trendy travellers who nowadays opt for LCCs? Or is it towards the ex-parastatal companies that are still run like dinosaurs?
Matthew Vella at Maltatoday has just uncovered a secret Air Malta report about the "strains" of low cost travel. Reading the excerpts of the report you would be forgiven if you wondered whether this was really some extract from a new Hollywood movie. Air Malt depicts the new "strains" that our poor island would have to bear should the LCCs bring about the promised increase of 50% in visitors in one year. Here they are for all to enjoy:
1. Tour Operator Businesses would be lost.
Any blockhead on the continent could tell you that tour operators have had to ADAPT to the change. Travellers with a modicum of internet knowledge can bypass the tour operator in every minute detail of their voyage. Continental tour operators still manage to compete by focusing on travel packages. You basically get to chose: either fly low cost, book low cost rental cars, book low cost hotels and find your way around the country you visit OR just buy an all inclusive package for the lazy. You'd be amazed how similar the end price turns out to be. Having said that, who cares about Tour Operator Business anyway? It is like worrying that telegrams will be used less if we buy more fax machines.
2. Hotel Accomodation would be diverted to LCC traffic.
You might note that the report does not say that Hotels will have NO clients. They will have different clients. Get it? Hotels will not be forced by Tour Operators to sell their five star suites at a premium three star rate any more. The increase in demand might allow them to juggle their prices a bit more decently. How does that harm anyone then?
3. High Risk Strain 1: Hotels have to organise coaches
So. We discover coach transfers now. LCC passengers need coach transfers from the airport to hotel. Which makes you wonder... how did tour operator passengers get from the airport to the hotel? Flying? On the back of an Air Malta employee? For heaven's sake. Is this an argument?
4. High Risk Strain 2: Government must improve public transport
Woohoo. Tell me again. Is this a negative? How? When? Why? What? Who? Did AirMalta PAY someone to do this report? Why? When? How? Jeeeezus.
5. Tourist Venues get more visitors
My sides are splitting. I am dying. Air Malta is telling us that LCCs would be BAD for Malta because all Malta's major tourist venues would get more um.... tourists.
I have a bit of a suspicion when it comes to audit firms like PWC and the like. Must be from the rivalry in our university days - avukati vs accountants. But today I love PWC. Their report for Air Malta cannot but be a massive eyeopener that LCCs are the way forward. Cheap and Cheerful flights indeed.
On a more serious note, PWC were doing their job. They were commissioned by Air Malta. And they told Air Malta the truth. The above is bad because it basically means that Air Malta would be elbowed out. Slowly but surely. It's a pity. But then what is more important - having the service or having a flag carrier to wave around proudly like Stalin's fake army trucks and rockets on the Revolution Day parade?
For an in-depth study on Low-Cost Carriers and their effects read this report.