The boss of Leeds-Bradford Airport based low-cost airline Jet2.com has gone head to head with his opposite number at Ryanair after his rival claimed the Yorkshire firm would go out of business because of soaring fuel costs.
Philip Meeson, chairman of Yeadon-based Jet2.com, which was European short-haul airline of the year in 2006 and 2007, said the airline had already secured fuel supplies for a year ahead.
He lashed out at Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary, who said in a TV interview that other low-cost airlines such as Jet2.com could go bust this winter if oil stayed at $130 a barrel.
Mr Meeson said: “It won’t be Jet2.com. I’m sorry Mr O’Leary, unlike you, Jet2.com has bought all its fuel for this summer, this coming winter and next summer at attractive rates. And because people enjoy flying with Jet2.com, we are having a great year yet again. Our passengers can rely upon us for many, many years to come.”
Mr O’Leary, announcing Ryanair’s results, insisted that the airline would not be imposing fuel surcharges.
Asked if he thought the cost of fuel would force other airlines out of business or to adopt the Ryanair business model, Mr O’Leary said: “No, they’re going to go bust. I mean, there’s no doubt an awful lot of airlines around the UK and Europe who were losing money last year when oil was $70 a barrel, will go bust this winter with oil at $130 a barrel.
“We’ve seen it already with these transatlantic business-only airlines like Silverjet and Eos and if you continue with the so-called smaller airlines this winter, the likes of Jet2, flyglobespan, in Spain Vueling and Clickair, in Eastern Europe SkyEurope, then many if not all of those will go bust if oil stays at $130 a barrel.”
Jet2.com flies to more than 40 European destinations from six UK bases including Leeds-Bradford.