Freddie Laker, who fought for six years to get his low-cost, no-reservations air service between New York and London off the ground, yesterday appealed to the Civil Aeronautics Board to loosen restrictions on charter carriers.
In a speech to the International Aviation Club here, Laker said the low fares the regularly scheduled airlines have been able to institute in the last few months - ostensibly to compete with him - won't hurt Laker Airways but will hurt the charters which had provided the only real price competition in the industry until recently.
"No one has any illusion that the budget, or standby, or Super APEX fares will last one minute longer than it takes to drive out the competition," Laker said. "Skytrain - and that means Laker - will not be driven out, but I am not so sure about the U.S. supplementals."
He said filings for new charters by the supplemental carriers for winter and summer 1978 have shown "framatic declines.
"I submit that the IATA (International Air Transport Association) carriers under the guise of competing with Skytrain, went for the more important and lucrative advance booking charter market," he charged. "If this attack goes on, they will kill the U.S. supplementals because they have nothing to fall back on."
Lake said the CAB should reduce the advance-booking-time and minimum-stay requirements, eliminate group-size requirements, and allow passengers to go and return when they like.
He also suggested banning IATA as an "immoral" and "anti-social" price-fixing cartel.
In a rundown of the new Laker service since it began Sept. 26, Laker revealed:
His planes have been flying an average of 570 passengers a day out of possible 690 seats, for a load factor of 82.6 per cent; he has made a profit, on a fully allocated cost basis, of $682,601.
Although IATA carriers worried that the Laker service would divert their passengers, only 130 of Laker's first 31,358 passengers confirmed that they held reservations on another airline; 81 of them had reservations on IATA carrier flights which had been cancelled.
On night flights from New York, only 45 per cent of the passengers eat; on early evening flights from London, 67 per cent of the passengers pay the additional amount for a meal. "Just think how much money is wasted every day by the airlines of the world carrying food no one wants," he said.