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Meet: World Low-Cost Airlines Congress

Expect turbulence at this London conference (September 23 — 24). We asked four airline execs for a flying tour of the summit.

Herb Kellesher

Founder and chairman emeritus of Southwest Airlines

"If low-cost carriers have the capital to survive high fuel prices, they will find considerable new opportunities. In the U.S., legacy carriers are not only increasing fares but also adding a lot of fees. There is a bigger cost differential between Southwest and legacy carriers than there has been in a long time."

Andrew Cowen

CEO of Saudi Arabia's Sama Airlines

"In the Middle East, we're seeing the opposite of what's happening in the U.S. and Europe. The oil-price boom has generated enormous amounts of wealth. As that wealth trickles down, we're seeing an immense travel boom."

Howard Millar

Chief financial officer of Ireland's Ryanair

"The critical question: Are customers willing to pay more to fly? The industry is facing a tsunami of high oil prices and falling consumer demand. Fuel prices have doubled in the last 12 months. That's going to kill off a number of inefficient carriers. Those who remain are going to suffer a fall in profits."

Tony Fernandes

CEO of Malaysia-based AirAsia

"Low-cost airlines will have to become more innovative and find new ways of earning revenue. AirAsia has a huge database of customers. We can be retailers in many areas. If I can get each customer to spend an extra $5 on odds and sods, I have another $100 million in revenue."

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