In a startling development EU majors Air France KLM and Lufthansa Group are reported to be planning to stop complaining about the success of the leading middle East carriers and instead try competing on quality.
The Wall Street Journal’s story puts the emphasis on premium product, but maybe they will go for a ‘cheap frills’ approach in economy as well, given that they are unlikely to want to see the bulk of travellers continue to be lured away by next to free inflight internet, and edible meals in the (currently) roomy economy cabins in the Airbus A380s of Emirates and Etihad.
The ME3, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, are currently pitched against the US3 (American, Delta and United) in moves by the latter to unwind their current level of access to the American market.
That argument is being fought on political terms, since the US3 don’t like the success of the ME3, even if they aren’t all that interested in competing with them for flights between US cities and the three main ME hubs in Abu Dhabi, Doha and Dubai.
The EU2, Air France KLM and the Lufthansa Group, takes in the latter’s Swiss and Austrian carriers. The European brawl also includes the opposition of its legacy carriers to the rise and rise of Norwegian Air, and a long history of pursuing without much success to show for it regulatory restrictions on the European LCC segment, which is dominated by Ryanair and easyJet .
Perhaps Lufthansa will go the whole hog and bring back its celebrated first class beer kegs from the Boeing 707 era which took it into the jet age in 1960, as shown below.