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[INGLÊS] Michael O'Leary e sua visão para a aviação européia


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Originally published Friday, October 31, 2014 at 9:09 AM

Say goodbye to lots of European airlines?

Michael O’Leary, outspoken CEO of the rapidly growing budget airline Ryanair, expects many European carriers to shrink or merge in coming shakeout.

By Chris Jasper and Flavia Rotondi

Bloomberg News

Scandinavian Airlines, Alitalia and Air Berlin are among the European airlines that Ryanair CEO Michaell O’Leary expects to shrink or merge. That would prompting a growth spurt at Ryanair, Europe’s top discount airline, said O’Leary, who has signed up for five more years in charge.

Other competitors that O’Leary predicts face “cutbacks and consolidation” include Olympic Airlines of Greece; TAP- Transportes Aereos Portugueses; Iberia of Spain; -- and Ireland’s Aer Lingus, in which Ryanair has a minority stake.

O’Leary last week signed a contract extension that will keep him at Dublin-based Ryanair until September 2019, spanning a period during which he predicts an “endgame” in the transformation of European airlines, with weaker carriers going bust and those network operators that survive shrinking short- haul operations. Ryanair aims to carry 120 million people a year by the end of the period, compared with 81 million last year.

“There are going to be significant changes in the short- haul industry in Europe,” O’Leary said in an interview in Rome. “We are seeing this in discussions we have with many airports across Europe, both primary or secondary. All of them are becoming more and more anxious to encourage Ryanair so that we can help them to make up the traffic they are going to lose.”

Ireland’s Aer Lingus said that O’Leary was making “broad, sweeping generalizations” and that it operates a successful business model in the fifth year of significant profitability.

O’Leary pointed to tumbling earnings announced this week at Air France-KLM Group — which curbed plans for low-cost flights after a pilot strike wiped 330 million euros ($415 million) from operating profit — saying the trend will accelerate capacity cuts at Europe’s biggest airline. Rome-based Alitalia will also pare short-haul operations after an investment by Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, he said. Alitalia spokeswoman Antonella Zivillica said it had no comment.

Some of the airlines highlighted as vulnerable by O’Leary are already cutting back, with Air Berlin planning to pare capacity this winter and into the summer. Spokesman Aage Duenhaupt said the fleet will be cut to 130 aircraft from 170 in 2011, while declining to comment on O’Leary’s remarks.

Other carriers have been left out of a consolidation trend that has created three mammoth European airline groups — British Airways and Iberia; Air France-KLM Group; and Deutsche Lufthansa, which combines the leading German, Swiss, Austrian and Belgian operators.

SAS Group, owner of No. 1 Nordic carrier Scandinavian Airlines, said it’s true that European operators are undergoing a transformation. “We need to continuously adapt to changed market conditions and benchmark with our competitors to reach sustainable profitability,” spokesman Henrik Edstrom said.

Ryanair’s growth efforts this winter are focused on Italy, Greece and Germany, where Etihad is also remolding the Air Berlin network after enlarging its stake, he said.

Long-haul discount flights remain a distant prospect for Ryanair given the lack of availability of the most modern, fuel- efficient planes such as the Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner, with “no realistic possibility” of trans-Atlantic operations in the next four-to-five years, he said.

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