Low cost airlines

Low-cost airlines first appeared in the United States in the 1970s and then spread to Europe and other parts of the world in the 1990s. Some of the main low-cost airlines include Southwest Airlines in the US, Ryanair and Easyjet in Europe, and Air Asia and Lion Air in Asia. Low-cost airlines are able to offer lower prices than other operators by simplifying services, reducing costs, and using secondary or regional airports.

They often have a homogeneous fleet, use subcontractors, have minimum wage conditions, versatile employees, direct sales without intermediaries and simplified marketing campaigns. However, some of the airlines have changed their model to attract business travellers. These Middle Cost airlines serve international airports and sell tickets via computerised reservation systems, such as GDS (global distribution system). Low-cost airlines also charge fees for all the additional services that passengers may need (baggage, meals, priority boarding, etc.), thus generating profitable revenue. Nowadays, low-cost airlines account for around 30% of global passenger traffic, and 40% in Europe.

Véronique Mondou