Low fares, low fares, everywhere—nor any drop for the corporate travelbuyer. The face of transatlantic air travel is changing as
low-cost entrants pour into the
market. Norwegian Air Shuttle
is expanding service to the U.S.
this summer, following a years-long battle for approval from
the U.S. Department of Transportation and resistance from
the three U.S. legacy carriers.
Iceland’s Wow Air also is building a network between Europe
and the U.S. via Reykjavik. Both
carriers regularly offer base
fares below $200.
Legacy carriers are getting
in on the action, too. British
Airways parent company International Airlines Group this
summer is launching a low-cost
carrier, Level, to fly transatlantic
from Barcelona. Air France-KLM
plans to launch its own long-haul, LCC, Boost, this year with
flights to Asia, and transatlantic
expansion also is a possibility.
Lufthansa’s low-cost Eurowings brand also is considering
expanding its current limited
transatlantic service offerings.
In Canada, LCC WestJet began service to London’s Gatwick
Airport last year and is eyeing
further transatlantic expansion.
Air Canada is boosting its transatlantic service, and its LCC
Rouge is a part of that.
In the longer term, U.S. LCCs
Travelers can forward travel confir-
mations to iJet’s Trip Sync for up-
load to their iJet profiles. And Traxo
Connect gathers on- and off-chan-
nel bookings from confirmations
forwarded by travelers and from
TMC and booking tool data feeds.
Traxo also connects with Lufthansa,
and more suppliers are to come, ac-
cording to chief commercial officer
Cara Whitehill. But again, without
an established platform to connect
them, one-off solutions start to look
like a lot of integration work.
Rose said Concur Risk Messaging
provides the three legs of the travel risk management stool: security
information, traveler location and a
communication method. “It doesn’t
mean there are no other alternatives
that a TMC can work with to try to do
that,” Rose said.
And there are limits to the service.
For example, credit card transac-
tions usually feed into the expense
system on a lag, according to Pang.
The frequency of that feed depends
on the service level agreement be-
tween the third party and the credit
card company, he said, though he
is not familiar with Concur’s card
company agreements. “To be fair to
Concur,” he said, “it’s a good idea in
concept—this is the first time any
expense management vendor has
ventured into that space and used
data for that purpose—but in terms
of making it completely real time, I
don’t think we’re quite there yet.”
Perfection, however, need not be
Concur’s avenue to market dom-
ination with travel risk manage-
ment. Pragmatism with the quickly
expanding concept of end-to-end
travel management is a more likely
route—leveraging previously dark
data to advance its march. In an in-
creasingly fragmented market and
an increasingly volatile world, Con-
cur provides a salve for a lot of pain
points. Is it imperfect? A lot of clients
will say it is. Will it be good enough
to solve a lot of problems for a lot of
programs? The market won’t lie.
eventually could be a factor.
Last year, JetBlue amended a
purchase agreement with Airbus: The 15 A321neo aircraft
to be delivered over the next
several years now come with
the option to configure them
to long-range aircraft, opening
the door to European routes.
Southwest also has not ruled
out transatlantic expansion.
Lower Fares on the Horizon?
All this low-cost competition
could result in lower fares for
corporate travelers, as well,
right? Think again, said Scott
Gillespie, managing partner
of airline data analytics firm
tClara. “No doubt these new
entrants will put significant
pressure on their full-service
rivals for the leisure crowd,” he
said. “The question for the cor-
porate crowd is how much cor-
porate market share these LCCs
will take. My early guess is not
much at all.”
For starters, most do not
connect major business hubs.
Norwegian’s new routes, for ex-
ample, connect not to the major
airports in New York or Boston
but to T.F. Green Airport near
Providence, R.I.; Bradley Inter-
national Airport near Hartford,
Conn.; and Stewart Internation-
al Airport, about 70 miles north
of New York City.
Even on routes where these
carriers make sense for corporate travelers, the ancillary
LCCs Heat Up the
BY MICHAEL B. BAKER
Where the New
The LCC flies to Can-cun, Las Vegas, Miami,
Montego Bay, Orlando,
Punta Cana & Seattle.
In June, routes will
launch from Barcelona
to Buenos Aires, Los
Angeles, Oakland &
This summer, service
will expand to routes
from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland
to Providence, R.I.;
Hartford, Conn.; and
north of New York City.
Seasonal service destinations include Athens, Barcelona, Berlin,
Venice & Warsaw.
The Canadian LCC flies
year-round to London
and seasonally to
Dublin and Glasgow.
The Iceland LCC connects 32 destinations
in Europe and North
America via Reykjavik,
and it will grow its fleet
from 17 to 24 aircraft
by the end 2018.