Shropshire Star comment: Easy way still needs hard work
The budget airline Easyjet has enjoyed a better time of things than a number of its rivals.
It’s an airline with a better reputation than its fellow cheap-and-cheerful rival, Ryanair, and while it might have made an even better fist of challenging conditions in the airline industry, it remains ahead of the game.
British Airways and Ryanair have both suffered from poor industrial relations, with strikes a constant threat in recent times. Thomas Cook, meanwhile, has collapsed as it failed to manage a mountain of debt or compete in an increasingly-challenging industry.
Easyjet might have hoped to do even better, but the Luton-based carrier found itself facing rising one-off costs from fuel and foreign currency. Nonetheless, full-year profits of more than £400 million represent a triumph when rivals have been mired in difficulty and loss.
There are lessons that other business can learn from Easyjet’s performance, whether they are sole traders, medium concerns or larger companies. The importance of staff is key and Easyjet appear to have a decent policy when it comes to maintaining good relations with employees.
Similarly, the company’s own image among the wider public is also better than that of others. It is frequently viewed as being fun, as being cheap and cheerful, while others are viewed as being cheap and nasty.
Easyjet also has high levels of customer service and most customers are generally satisfied with the experience. Aircraft tend to arrive on time; our railways might learn much from the way it manages its international business.
And yet the company will not be resting on its laurels. Some analysts predicted the company would do much better at a time when such key rivals as British Airways, Ryanair and Thomas Cook were facing huge problems.
With Brexit imminent, there will be huge upheaval and some routes may come to an end. Margins will be squeezed as the value of the pound fluctuates and consumer confidence falls. If we tip into recession, holidays will be abandoned as people baton down the hatches.
There are longer-term headwinds against the company and other airlines. A tipping point has been reached in the fight for better environmental protections. Easyjet has made hay while the sun has shone, it must work hard to maintain its success.