Jetstar will largely replace traditional check-in with ‘self service kiosks’ and a new SMS boarding pass system at all its Australian and New Zealand airports by the end of this year. A few staff will still be available to facilitate traditional check-in but there’ll be a fee in a cost recovery strategy “similar way to the unbundling of meals, baggage and other airline services”. Initial reaction has focussed on the fee but there’s been little outrage over the replacement of people with technology. Probably no surprise given that CEO Bruce Buchanan estimates around 75% of Jetstar’s customers already use self service options and recent trials of the SMS system increased that by 10%. Meanwhile, European carrier Ryanair, which has basically set the template that all low cost carriers follow, has reported a 26% increase in annual profit to €401m.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said: “We were pleased to deliver a 26% increase in profits and 8% traffic growth, despite higher oil prices, the global recession, and volcanic ash disruptions in Q1 last year. Revenues grew 21% to €3,630m as av. airfares rose 12% (almost in line with the 10% increase in sector length) while traffic grew 8% to 72m. Fuel increased 37% to €1,227m as av. oil prices rose from $62 to $73 pbl. Excluding fuel, unit costs rose 3%. Sector length adjusted unit costs fell by 7%, thanks to rigorous cost control, including reductions in staff, and airport & handling unit costs. With another strong performance in inflight sales, ancillaries grew 21% to €802m somewhat faster than traffic growth, and amounted to 22% of total revenues.”
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