Low-cost carriers – everything you need to know
Have you ever wondered how the low-cost airlines can offer such competitive fares? Find out all you need to know about the low-cost companies that keep on growing on the aviation market.
What is a low-cost carrier?
A low-cost carrier (LCC) is an airline that offers lower fares by eliminating some of the traditional services that you normally find when you are traveling by air. This can mean that checked-in luggage isn’t included or that there is no catering to be offered on the plane. There can also be extra fees if you want to bring carry-on baggage – or even use the bathroom on the plane.
A low cost carrier, as defined by the global association IATA, normally works point-to-point operations, short-haul flights and focuses on price-sensitive traffic. They offer no loyalty programmes, a simple management and aren’t a part of any of the major airline alliances. The vast majority of the tickets to these airlines are booked online.
How do they manage to be cheap?
The difference in price setting between low-cost carriers and other commercial airlines depends on several different things. The lack of traditional services obviously affects the price. The low-cost airlines also normally have a short turnaround between operations, meaning their planes are back in the air faster than the average commercial flight. Another thing that can bring down the prices offered by low-cost carriers is that they normally operate out of secondary, or even tertiary, airports.
Low-cost carriers in the US
This American airline is one of the so-called ultra low-cost airlines on the market, meaning they work with an even more low-cost business model than the other LCC’s. Allegiant Air was founded in 1997 and operates both charter and scheduled flights.
Frontier Airlines is another ultra low-lost carrier in the US, with its headquarters in Denver. The airline offers both domestic and international destinations.
One of the biggest low-cost airlines in the US is JetBlue Airways. The airline operates thousands of flights daily, and serves both domestic and international airports. Even though JetBlue isn’t a part of any major airline alliance, the company still has codeshare agreements with several other airlines.
Southwest Airlines is the largest low-cost airline in the world and has its headquarters in Dallas. The airline has a long history on the market and was founded back in 1967. Today Southwest Airlines offers flight to more than 40 US states and several other countries.
The ultra low-lost carrier Spirit Airlines operates from Florida and offers flights throughout the US and to Latin America.
Low-cost carriers in Europe
The British low-cost airline EasyJet has its base on Luton Airport and is one of the biggest low-cost companies on the market. EasyJet offers several hundred destinations in both Europe and other parts of the world.
Norwegian was founded in Norway in 1993 and offers both charter and scheduled flights. The airline is the biggest one in Norway. Norwegian is one of few low-cost carriers who used to offer long-haul flights. This part of their operation was canceled in the beginning of 2021 due to the effects of covid.
The Irish ultra low-cost carrier Ryanair was founded in 1984 and has grown to be the largest budget airline in Europe. Ryanair has the majority of its routes in Europe.
Vueling is a Spanish low-cost airline based in Barcelona. It is the largest airline in Spain and serves both Europe, Asia and Africa.
In 2003, the Hungarian ultra low-cost carrier Wizz Air was founded. Wizz Air offers flights to hundreds of airports, mainly in Europe.
Low-cost carriers in Asia
Air Asia is a Malaysian low-cost airline founded in 1993. The airline is the biggest in Malaysia and operates both domestic and international flights.
The Indian airline Indigo is the biggest in India, and also the biggest low-cost carrier in Asia. The airline operates thousands of flights every day.
Jetstar Asia Airways
This low-cost carrier has its base in Singapore and operates in the Southeast of Asia. Jetstar Asia Airways was founded in 2004.
The Chinese low-cost carrier 9 Air is fairly new on the market and started its operations in 2015. It is the only low-cost airline to be found in South and Central China.
Nok Air is a low-cost airline from Thailand that operates out of the airport in Bangkok. It was founded in 2004.