The geography of European low-cost airline networks a contemporary analysis

Topics: Airline, Low-cost carrier, Southwest Airlines Pages: 14 (10842 words) Published: October 30, 2014
Journal of Transport Geography 28 (2013) 75–88

Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect

Journal of Transport Geography
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jtrangeo

The geography of European low-cost airline networks: a contemporary analysis Frédéric Dobruszkes ⇑
Transport Studies Unit, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Keywords:
Low-cost airlines
Low-fare airlines
No-frills airlines
Air transport
Airline networks
Europe

a b s t r a c t
Low-cost airlines (LCAs) have become essential actors supplying nationwide and continental air services. This paper focuses on the European case and investigates how the LCA spatial strategy has evolved since the last available comprehensive analysis in 2004. Using comprehensive data, the analysis is conducted at three levels: global, cities and networks. It shows that LCAs now represent 31% of intra-European airline seats. Although LCA business has expanded to Central-East Europe, Morocco, and a few remote areas, it remains mainly focused on the intra-Western market. In general, LCAs serve large cities and tourist destinations. The use of secondary, regional airports is put into perspective. Service volatility is low at the city level but significant at the inter-city level. Average distance has increased, but most flights are short-haul. LCAs play an important role in launching new routes, thus diversifying the European airline network, and in increasing frontal competition with traditional airlines on pre-existing routes. The niche markets are common in terms of routes but are rather limited in terms of seats supplied. Actually, the main specificity of the largest LCAs is the provision of flights that do not serve the home country. A typology of networks demonstrates that there is no a single European low-cost model.

Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Air transport is only one example of the various sectors in which industry leaders are facing increased competition from low-cost companies (Ryans, 2008). However, as Casey (2010, p. 176)
suggests:
The current revolution that the advent of LCAT [Low Cost Air Travel] has ushered in (. . .) is one of the biggest revolutions in tourism and travel since the package holiday’s arrival half a century earlier.

Indeed, low-cost airlines (LCAs) have indisputably contributed to changing how people travel, the geography of air services and competition between airlines and between cities or regions. By taking advantage of air transport liberalisations, cutting costs as much as possible (see Vasigh et al., 2008) – notably through more intensive and flexible use of planes and labour (Hunter, 2006) and receiving state aid as well as various incentives from local or regional authorities and/or from airports (Barbot, 2006; Graham and Shaw, 2008) – LCAs provide low-fare air services that have become more and more global; nowadays, they serve very different spaces

⇑ Tel.: +44 (0)1865 285538; fax: +44 (0)1865 275885.
E-mail address: frederic.dobruszkes@ouce.ox.ac.uk
0966-6923/$ - see front matter Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2012.10.012

and passengers. The original low-cost business built by Southwest Airlines in the US was a niche market focused on intra-Texas routes and secondary airports, inducing new traffic through marketing that ‘‘flying is fun’’1 rather than competing with other modes or with incumbent airlines (Doganis, 2006). Things have really changed. Southwest has expanded at the Sun Belt scale and to the US scale to become a nationwide carrier competing with legacy carriers and also serving conventional airports.

The LCA model started in Europe in 1995. Irish private airline Ryanair’s M. O’Leary visited Southwest in 1991 and then adapted its model a few years later (Creaton, 2005). easyJet was launched directly as an LCA in 1995 (Jones,...

References: Albers, S., Heuermann, C., Koch, B., 2010. Internationalization strategies of EU and
Asia–Pacific low fare airlines
Bania, N., Bauer, P., Zlatoper, T., 1998. U.S. air passenger service. A taxonomy of
route networks, hub locations, and competition
Barbot, C., 2006. Low-cost airlines, secondary airports, and state aid: an economic
assessment of the Ryanair–Charleroi Airport agreement
Berster, P., Gelhausen, M., Wilken, D., 2012. Demand and supply development
patterns of low cost carriers in Africa, America, Europe, Australia and Asia
Button, K., Pels, E., 2010. International air transport: the impact of globalisation on
activity levels
Campisi, D., Costa, R., Mancuso, P., 2010. The effects of low cost airlines growth in
Italy
Casey, M., 2010. Low cost air travel: welcome aboard? Tourist Studies 10 (2), 175–
191.
Castillo-Manzano, J., López-Valpuesta, L., González-Laxe, G., 2011. The effects of the
LCC boom on the urban tourism fabric: the viewpoint of tourism managers.
Tourism Management 32 (5), 1085–1095.
Castillo-Manzano, J., López-Valpuesta, L., Pedregal, D., 2012. What role will hubs
play in the LCC point-to-point connections era? The Spanish experience
Chung, J.Y., Whang, T., 2011. The impact of low cost carriers on Korean Island
tourism
Creaton, S., 2005. Ryanair: How a Small Irish Airline Conquered Europe. Aurum,
London.
Davison, L., Ryley, T., 2010. Tourism destination preferences of low-cost airline
users in the East Midlands
de Neufville, R., 2006. Accommodating low-cost airlines at main airports. Paper
presented at the Transportation Research Board
de Wit, J., Zuidberg, J., 2012. The growth limits of the low cost carrier model. Journal
of Air Transport Management 21, 17–23.
Degenne, A., Forsé, M., 1999. Introducing Social Networks. Sage, London.
Dennis, N., 2005. Industry consolidation and future airline network structures in
Europe
Dennis, N., 2007. Stimulation or Saturation? Perspectives on European Low-Cost
Airline Market and Prospects for Growth
Journal of the Transportation Research Board No. 2007, pp. 52–59.
Derudder, B., Witlox, F., 2009. The impact of progressive liberalization on the
spatiality of airline networks: a measurement framework based on the
Dobruszkes, F., 2006. An analysis of European low-cost airlines and their networks.
Dobruszkes, F., 2008. Libéralisation et desserte des territoires: le cas du transport
aérien européen (Liberalisation and Services to and from Territories: The Case of
Dobruszkes, F., 2009. New Europe, new low-cost air services. Journal of Transport
Geography 17 (6), 423–432.
Dobruszkes, F., Van Hamme, G., 2011. The impact of the current economic crisis on
the geography of air traffic volumes: an empirical analysis
Geography 19 (6), 1387–1398.
Dobruszkes, F., Schepens, V., Decroly, J.-M., 2007. Eléments pour une géographie de
l’offre charter européenne face à la concurrence des compagnies low-cost
Doganis, R., 2006. The Airline Business, second ed. Routledge, London, New York.
Fan, T., 2006. Improvements in intra-European inter-city flight connectivity: 1996–
2004
Francis, G., Dennis, N., Ison, S., Humphreys, I., Aicken, M., 2006. Where next for low
cost airlines? A spatial and temporal comparative study
Francis, G., Dennis, N., Ison, S., Humphreys, I., 2007. The transferability of the lowcost model to long-haul airline operations. Tourism Management 28 (2), 391–
398.
Franke, M., John, F., 2011. What comes next after recession? – Airline industry
scenarios and potential end games
Friederiszick, H., Gantumur, T., Jayaraman, R., Röller, L.-H., Weinmann, J., 2009.
Graham, M., 2009. Different models in different spaces or liberalized optimizations?
Competitive strategies among low-cost carriers
Graham, A., Dennis, N., 2010. The impact of low cost airline operations to Malta.
Graham, B., Shaw, J., 2008. Low-cost airlines in Europe: reconciling liberalization
and sustainability
Grigolon, A., Kemperman, A., Timmermans, H., 2012. The influence of low-fare
airlines on vacation choices of students: results of a stated portfolio choice
experiment. Tourism Management 33 (5), 1174–1184.
Hunter, L., 2006. Low cost airlines: business model and employment relations.
Huse, C., Evangelho, F., 2007. Investigating business traveller heterogeneity: lowcost vs full-service airline users? Transportation Research Part E 43 (3), 259–
268.
Jemiolo, J., 2012. Central Europe’s low-cost airline sector trends. Paper presented at
the 2012 AAG Annual Conference, New York.
Jones, L., 2007. EasyJet – The Story of England’s Biggest Low-cost Airline. Aurum,
London, 247 p.
Leng Ong, W., Tan, A., 2010. A note on the determinants of airline choice: the case of
Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines
Lian, J.I., Rønnevik, J., 2011. Airport competition – regional airports losing ground to
main airports
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Low Cost Airlines Essay
  • Low Cost Airline Impacts Essay
  • EasyJet the Low cost airline Essay
  • Low Cost Airlines in Indonesia Essay
  • The product comparison between Network Carriers and Low Cost Carriers and forecasting the future market trends and global competition in...
  • Low Cost Airline Essay
  • Competitive Strategy for Low Cost Airlines Essay
  • The Low Cost Airline: Airasia 2 Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free