02 October 2010

Would the Real Low Cost Carrier Please Stand Up

The model for LCC airlines has changed over the past few years. At last week's World Low Cost Airline Congress, that question kept popping up.

Ralf Anker of Anna.Aero does a good job of keeping things in perspective. I really like the website and recommend people who are interested in the model to read it on a regular basis.

He gave a spirited presentation last week on the subject comparing the top real LCCs. The interesting thing is that he has so far not taken into consideration the GCC carriers such as Fly Dubai. Nor does he rate Vueling as a LCC - which is understandable as they have become more like a full service airline.

The emergence also of long haul airlines is beginning to show. Feel Air CEO Kai Holmberg was on one of the panels.

Clearly across the board the adoption of some of the successful LCC characteristics are paying off. You see the unbundling of the product occurring in almost all instances. At the same time you also see the hybridization by the LCCs of things like - offering a frequent flyer program, participating in the GDS and moving to regular airports. But the core principles seem to stick. Focus on costs and simplicity of product.

As was said several times during the conference - the big boys are coming to the LCC model. Few are going the other way.


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