Budget Airlines – the saviours of summer holidays?

Budget Airlines, those “jackals” of the travel industry which more often than not are damned for “penny pinching and price gouging” are now being praised by one tour operator for saving this summer’s holiday season.

Said Laurence Hicks, Director of tour operator and holiday rentals company CLC Leisure, “In the face of a double dip recession it looks like 2012 is going to be a bumper year for holidays abroad. Much of the credit must go to the budget airlines for making sure that holidays to the popular sunshine destinations remain affordable and accessible.”

His comments come on the back of figures from Easy Jet which reported that passenger numbers increased by 10.9% to 16 million in the three months to the end of June driven by demand for holidays to the top three beach destinations of Malaga, Alicante and Faro. Meanwhile, Ryanair’s latest figures show a fall in profits primarily due to keeping fares down while fuel prices have increased by 27 percent.

“Budget airlines have also helped keep the lid on scheduled and charter air fares,” continued Hicks. “Sales figures across the board have confounded the doom merchants who were predicting a staycation summer. The wet weather and favourable exchange rates have helped but what has become a bumper summer for holidays abroad would not have happened without affordable air travel.”

Have budget airlines saved the summer holidays, or, with all the extras they add on, are they just as expensive as traditional, full-service airlines?