Is Long-Haul LCC viable?

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 28, 2018, © Leeham News.: Robert L. Crandall, the former CEO of American Airlines, questioned the viability of Long-Haul LCC (LH-LCC) in a discussion with LNC two weeks ago.

Given the limited network of a dedicated Long-Haul LCC like Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian) or WOW air, the legacy airlines can spare as much capacity as is needed to block the LH-LCCs from gaining traction on attractive city pairs. “At some stage, it’s going to be who’s going to be prepared to lose the most money,” was Crandall’s verdict.We shall examine the LH-LCC model and its chances in a series of articles. Here some first observations.

The Long-Haul LCC model

The Long-Haul LCC companies set their future on the greater public’s will to travel, once the cost is low enough. A trip from New York to London used to cost at least $2,500. Now one can buy a direct ticket with Norwegian for $550 or a two-hop ticket over Reykjavik with WOW Air for $800.

The LH-LCC flights are not for the business traveller. The prices above are for a weekend to weekend return flight, a typical leisure itinerary. If we instead book Wednesday to Friday next week, Norwegian charges $2,000.

The premise for LH-LCC is there is a major pent-up demand for leisure and adaptable low-cost business travel which can be captured once the prices go below 50% of normal fares.

Prerequisites for LH-LCC

The precondition for a viable LH-LCC is there is a demand which can fill the aircraft to at least 80% on the routes. Another condition is the average traveler spend must be beyond the lowest prices we have seen above.

American Airlines’ Crandall invented revenue management for the airline industry. Revenue management or yield management, as it’s also called, means the seats in the cabin are sold at different prices. The price you pay for a ticket depends on several factors:

  • Low season prices are lower than high season prices.
  • Flights leaving unattractive cities are cheaper than conversely. To fly cheaper to London, take the car to the nearby town and fly from there, not from New York. And don’t fly to London Heathrow or Gatwick, fly to Stanstead.
  • Early bookers get a lower price than late bookers.
  • Once a flight is booked over a certain load factor, the prices go up.
  • If the flight is filling up badly, there is suddenly great last-minute deals on the Internet.
  • And so on…

All this is to fill the aircraft to the maximum because the cost for flying the aircraft from New York to London is almost 100% fixed. Only some airport handling and catering costs vary with the passenger number. Booking costs also vary with passengers, but with the booking of flights over the Internet, booking costs are negligible compared with other costs for the flight.

The LH-LCC consistently fills the aircraft to around 80% load factor, even in the off-season (like right now for New York-London). The lower interest for traveling to a rainy and cold London means the airlines sell the seats for a lower price. The revenue per sold seat, the yield, is lower.

Selling extras

To prep up the yield after having sold the cheap ticket to fill the flight to London, the LH-LCC works hard to sell you extras.

Let’s say you booked the flight for $550. It doesn’t include any seat assignment, no meals and no checked bag. You want this? Now you are at $750.

You want the flexibility to change the ticket? Now you are at $1,200. You want more legroom? Now you are at a Premium seat for $1,550.

For the LH-LCC, it’s about selling the best spread of tickets with the highest possible total revenue for the trip. It’s better to sell the last 10 seats for half the price, then not sell them at all.

What counts is to generate enough revenue on the flight between the airports to cover the costs of flying the aircraft and its crew.

This is counted over the seasons of the year, and for upstart routes after a first quarter or two. If the flight is not following its seasonal revenue curve after a couple of quarters, it will be axed and the aircraft and crew will operate some other route.

Revenue and Cost parameters

When we look at the costs of operating an LH-LCC aircraft and what revenues are needed to cover these costs, there will be some parameters we will need to know the meaning of:

ASK:  Available Seat Kilometers. This is the distance the aircraft flies’ times the seats the aircraft carries. It describes the transport capacity entered on the route. It’s also used to describe the total production capacity of an airline.

CASK: Cost per Available Seat Kilometer. This is the cost of operating the aircraft divided with the ASK. This is given both as including fuel and excluding fuel costs.

RASK: Revenue per Available Seat Kilometer. This is the route’s total revenue divided by the flown Available Seat Kilometers. It’s also given as the airline’s total revenue divided by the airline’s total ASK.

Next article

In the next article, we will look at the costs of typical LH-LCC operations and calculate the minimum revenue needed to cover these costs. With this knowledge, we can discuss how we fill the aircraft with what ticket prices.

63 Comments on “Is Long-Haul LCC viable?

  1. Thanks Bjorn. Just reading through this makes me think if comfort is not a major criteria there could be merit for a “large” single aisle with 4500-5000Nm range?

    Seat mile cost should beat even an “797” and lower MTOW should reduce airport costs. Boarding and de-planing times not critical on medium/long haul.

    • Like a modern DC-8-63? After a certain length of the body of a fix diameter the weight penalty kicks in, like the A340-600 vs A340-300.
      In theory you could have a light weight narrowbody fuselage at the nose and tail with a widebody fuselage in the middle to increase moment of intertia (like in bridge design) with a blended wing/body design you could put 4-5 rows of pax in the wing roots all the way to the pylon attachments.. You replace windows with big OLED screens showing an enhanced reality outside. Some smart engineer need to solve the emercency exits for those “in the wing/body blend” maybe down the MLG Wheel wells. Like making a pax Aircraft out of Lookheed Martins new RR ultrfan hybrid BWB freighter design with a longer nose.

      • The A340 weight gain was related to a larger wing. Wing area was increased from 363.1 m^2 to 437.3 m^2.
        A340-300 with a length of 64 m has an OEW of 130 t while the 68 m long A340-500 is at 170 t. The 75 m long A340-600 weights just 7 t more.

        • Interesting thanks. This means that the OEW of an 340-300 and 789 is virtually the same?!

          Think there is still a niche market for long over water flights with 4 engines (now I give my ages away) but with 4 x LEAP’s it wont be a terrible aircraft.

          • not a large enough niche to bother building/certifying a unique aircraft for though.

            there are probably 10 routes in the world (basically Australia to southern south America) that would want this type of plane and even then airlines would be extremely reluctant due to lack of divert facilities in Antarctica.

            IIRC one of the things they did on the A330NEO was to strip the unneeded A340 related structure out of the wing saving weight and complexity.

          • Absolutely no economic market for such an aircraft. But having flown RSA to Aus there is a mighty lot of nothing if you do the South pole circle

          • There is normally a problem with maintenance cost of a 4 engine Aircraft vs. a 2 Engine Aircraft of similar size. 4 Engines can be more effective but it is easier to design a larger Engine with lower SFC at high Power (only used at T-O and climb)
            You pay MRO of 4 Engines + QEC’d spare Engines, you also have 4 thrust reversers and pylons that by time cost in maintenance.

            In the future you might have shaft driven fans driven from a “mother” Engine. I.e. only one gas burning Engine with T/R per wing but 2-3 fans giving a high bypass ratio. This allows a smaller/lighter/cheapr set of landing gears.

          • New to the aero game but I would love to see an analysis on a 75T OEW MoM’ster — 4 engines vs 2.

            4 @ 25/30K lbs thrust.
            2 @ 50/60K lbs thrust.

            4 = Latest Tech units.
            Already in service, in production — very high volume units with known levels of reliabity and on wing usage.

            2 = Brochureware units or 20 year old tech at least.
            New units will have a development cost, investment reqirements and some big questions to answer. Volumes will be interesting — can the tech be leveraged into any other markets?

            Would the switch to 4 engines shorten the critical path?
            How far down the development road have any potential MoM’ster engines managed to make so far without any publicity leaking out?

            My thoughts are that 4 engines work in this case.
            Then there is the capex angle and the maintenance costs.

            Again the choice is high volume vs low volume / specialised.

    • Comfort will always be an argument and the stake of a small wide body can satisfy different markets.

      1) Higher capacity in cargo and seats for Asia.

      2) and less seat for longer mission 5000-5500 Nm with route across the Atlantic and US domestic line.

      A single aisle A321neoLR / A322neo type can not meet this demand.

      A size A321 with American Airlines transcon comfort does not allow to carry beyond 3-class 150 passengers. I do not think your A322neoX will be able to line up against a bigger jet (200-220 passengers and 240-260 passengers) for the reasons clearly stated.

      https://www.seatguru.com/airlines/American_Airlines/American_Airlines_Airbus_A321_new.php

      • An A330-200 size aircraft is most likely what is required. But then you have to take 30-40 tons out of OEW and must have a CATD wing, range around 5000Nm, good cargo capacity for the Eastern markets. Not impossible, basically an A300-600 with slightly more range.

        • I agree on size but with lots of engineers and money you only get 18tons in empty mass reduction.
          It helps but is still half of what Anton wants.
          A slight stretch fwd of the wing of 4-5 rows makes the economy look better together with the much reduced MTOW and OEW reduction. If it can use the same efficient 797 engines it will be a touch competitior.

          • I think Airbus (engineers) must realize that its near impossible to panel beat the 330 into a “real” MoM. Even if its good and efficient Boeing’s marketing will kill it.

            So the writing must be on the wall that AB needs a clean sheet twin aisle medium range aircraft, not just to compete with the 797 but for airlines using 330’s on 3000-6000Nm range missions that needs replacements.

            For aerodynamic optimization and cargo capabilities an 8 abreast fuselage possibly the best? EIS around 2017 with Ultrafans?

            Often wonders if the 322 coming in at $5-7Billion will be a success, rather spend that towards an MoM.

            An 321+/LR+ estimated at around $2Billion should give good returns and could potentially compete with an BA NSA.

          • A300 fuselage taken out to 58M — Is an OEW target of 90T achievable?

            All day long would be my answer.

            64M would be the stretch objective for enough real estate to support 360 standardised Economy seats and the hotel facilities needed to deal with 12 hour flights.

          • Hi Anton,

            I do not think it’s always a question of Marketing, but a question of the characteristics of the future NMA emanating from the different needs of regions and customers.

            I think that Boeing (and maybe Airbus later) is conducting a study to have the perfect NMA. Marketing will come later but not before … 😉

      • The A322 can be a long range 199 seater, it is not as comfortable as a twin aile but it is cheaper both in purchase and mainly operation and it has the range.
        We will see how many pax the 797 need to fill to give the same profit margin as an 199 seat A322. It can be for longer routes where the A322 needs to start to dump pax or payload. Flying a 787-9 from LHR to JFK is an overkill as the plane has so much more range.

  2. The large single aisle is the worst enemy of the “B797”, for sure.

    Regarding viability of LH-LCC: I think there is a market. The question is how the competition reacts. In theory, a network carrier can discount a part of its tourist cabin even more than the LCC. He can also have different classes, for example an economy flight without meals and checked bag. An A380 could easily hold 2-3 different classes on its main deck, less characterized by its arrangement, but rather by services and branding. Lufthansa in front, Eurowings in the rear (or Iberia/Vueling, Air France / Joon).

    The single aisles have quite low CASK, but hard to beat a 12-15 year old A330 with all-eco.

    • A well funded LH-LCC buying 20-60ea 787-10’s and getting good slots can outrun most of the competition flying older/smaller models by time, especailly if fuel prices increase alot. That makes the airliners operating with the most cost effective equipment win. If you look at London you compete Trans Atlantic mostly agianst 747-400, A340-600, 787-8/-9, 777-200, 767-300ER, A330ceo’s and some A380’s.

      • The exit limits of the 787-10, 339 and 359 are all 440, the 789 is 420 while that of the 338 is 406.

        • You can also compare cost/seat mile for different fuel prices. For routes within the 787-10 range fully loaded it becomes the choice when the fuel price crosses a certain value.
          Björn’s analysis most likely can say at which fuel price the 787-10 is the choice trans Atlantic.
          Airbus might respond with a A350-9.5 (an A350-900 with -1000 fuselage) for higher pax load, but don’t know if it can compete fully loaded LHR-LAX on Cost per Available Seat Mile vs the 787-10?

          • End of the day depends if an airline can fill the seats on a specific route whatever the aircraft is.

            One thing that often cross my mind is that LCC are orientated to leisure travelers. Premium economy is proving very popular but generally you find only 3 or 4 rows on a legacy airline.

            Norwegian for example only offers 5 rows at 2-3-2 at 46″ pitch, think that’s over the top for an LCC

            Could a mix of premium economy in front of the wing with full service (where business is usually located) and typical LCC layout behind the second door (twin aisles), LCC onboard service, luggage rules, etc. not be the answer for LH-LCC’s?

            Example of premium layout on an A330 could be 2-3-2 with seat pitch of 36″-42″, nothing over the top. An 787 with 2-4-2 and 36″ pitch in the front could be popular in a mixed LCC layout.

            Such a mixed layout could open some belly space for additional cargo revenue.

          • @Mopani,

            38” pitch in PE is probably the bare minimum as these seats must also allow for reclining, not to mention sufficient legroom for anyone taller than 5’6”, and for most, the inclusion of some sort of footrest to justify the added expense.

            As it is, unless one is in the bulkhead row of a PE section, when the seats ahead are fully reclined, at 38” many find that to be pushing the envelope already.

            So, it’s hard to see how 36” pitch works. (But agreed, 46” may be ‘too generous’ [something seldom said nowadays in any conversation about airlines, except of course, when the topics are: Executives’ obscenely generous salaries and compensation packages; the wildly excessive stock buybacks; or the now ridiculously “generous” cost of the endless “options”, “perks” or penalties/punishment demanded from flyers’ wallets…as regards airlines, those things are way too generous, too!!!])

            Therefore, at best, 36” pitch might be something below PE and above garden variety E+…

            After all, let’s not forget that it wasn’t that long ago when E+ itself usually meant 35-36” pitch, instead of the 34” pitch of today (or of course, the nebulous “up to 33” pitch” Dougie P at AA & Oscar M/Scottie K at UA are probably already waiting with baited breath to roll out as their respective airlines’ next copycatting round of “passenger pleasing ‘options’ and ‘perks’” 😉)!

  3. I guess the big question is, if the cost basis for the variable costs of a LCC is so much smaller than for a legacy carrier, that it justifies the lower yield.

    Cos it seems, this kind of yield management is done by any airline by now.

    • That’s true, and those airlines that haven’t yet done it, and are profitable, have that option as a buffer ‘when’ things get hard/lean. LCCs have little to play with but actual fares and prices of those ancillary items.

  4. Emirates is the ultimate LH LCC with their 10 abreast 777 seating arrangement and the big A380. So it takes discomfort and very large airplanes, that provide economies of scale and low per seat cost.

    Not sure about the extras, and this is where traditional LCCs have to prove their model in long haul.

  5. LCC success depends on increasing their ASK and accordingly their RASK by utilizing their network effectively so their equipment is utilized as many hours as possible during the day. I believe the only way to do it is to offer both LH and SH and using airplanes with the appropriate size that can serve both markets. Lets imagine an aircraft lands in New York and quickly thereafter integrates with, and serve, the domestic network extracting the most revenue possible for the carrier.

    • Almost all wide body Aircrafts do not like those short haul flights until the 797 comes along.
      Emirates does lots of flying to/from India&Pakistan with their 777’s but it comes at a cost even thogh the GE90 is one of the most durable Engines doing pretty good in that operation.

  6. I think using aircraft like the A321LR can reduce CASK to levels not seen before, changing market dynamics.

    – The investment & maintenance costs will be based on 6000 A320’s paidback manufacturing and huge global MRO networks.

    – Crew cost for a 199 seat cabin 7/8 hour flight will be significant lower than for typical WB

    – High utilization 2 flights / 24 hrs seems doable. Infrastructural requirements are much lower. Smallish A321LR’s are much quieter than WB’s (airport night restrictions)

    For the given NY-London market, Standsted-Hartfort (BDL) including a good car rental might become an attractive alternative.

    And this doesn’t go unnoticed..
    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/jetblue-stands-by-a321lr-amid-talk-of-new-boeing-mod-446738/

    BTW: 199 seats on an A321 provides superior comfort compared to e.g. the average legacy 9 abreast Dreamliner in terms of seatcomfort and cabin noise..

    • An 322 with new wing (~40m?), long range cabin and ~4500Nm range could make a big impact on Transatlantic. Basically all destinations in Europe will be in reach from major airports in India.

      An extreme example is Chennai to Manchester which is 4500Nm, similar is Budapest to Chicago and Rio to Detroit.

      Engines the big question, will most likely need 37/38Klb?

      • Couldn’t the CS300 do this? Range would be a 1K NM short of your example, but other numbers are close.

        • Besides the missing range. Salaries for two cockpit crew distributed over 130+ passengers or over 180+ makes a difference already. I guess, it couldn’t compete on CASK.

          • An A320 with 2 Aux tanks and <151 pax (3 x FA's), higher MTOW and higher thrust engines crossed my mind. Should have a range close to that of the 321LR?

      • Depending on wing design and runways used an A322 could work with 35k Engines. It is a bit like the 737-10 logic of using long runways available at many Airports to compensate for lower T-O thrust.
        As the A321 Engines mature they could climb up in thrust, even think the PW1100G is already certification tested at 35k thrust but “only” 33k used in service.

        • With probable MTOW of around 105T and ~4m longer fuselage can’t see getting away with much less than 38Klb. LCC’s often flies into smaller airports where you don’t always have long strips.

      • This one :
        ” A new door configuration…up to 240 pax…With further options, combining an increased Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) of 97 tonnes and a third Additional Centre Fuel Tank (ACT), the aircraft’s range extends to 4,000nm (7,400 km), allowing airlines to tap into new long-range market opportunities.”

        poor Max 10 , its so SAD, 230 seats, range with an extra tank 3300nm

        Will Airbus make substantially more changes to get 250+ seats and 4500nm?

    • @Keesje

      You are the first to evoke a comfortable business lie-flat seat and when it’s in favor of the A321neoLR business LCC seats work well with A321neoLR which “create a (strange) new dynamic”.

      199 seats work only @ 29-30 “pitch for the A321.

      Sincerely I prefer a seat @ 31-32″ pitch with more comfort on the 787 for flights from two hours missions while your scenario is 6h mission !!

      Add big portholes better air quality more humidity and a smoother flight You can not find the A321neo / -LR

      Just an exemple:

      Scoot 787-8 @ 31” pitch seat (3-class!)
      https://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Scoot_Airlines/Scoot_Airlines_Boeing_787-800.php

      Norvegian 787-8 @ 31-32″ pitch seat !
      (2-class)
      https://www.seatguru.com/airlines/Norwegian_Air_Shuttle/Norwegian_Air_Shuttle_Boeing_787-8.php

      • Correction, A321 is 199 seats in one class at 32″ pitch. And if you want to enjoy an 2 hour flight fly in an CS, 18.5″ wide seats (2-3), the 787 is ~17.2″ on average.

        Wizz Air’s 321’s have 230 seats at 30″ pitch (18″ wide seats).

        • @Anton

          Oh Wooow!

          199 seats 1 class!!

          It must be prestigious for 7-8 hours of flight.😁😁

          No thanks

          • Maybe my mistake, thought we talk LCC’s, but if you want legacy at back try this;

            1) BA, 788, 31″ pitch, 17.5″ wide seats,
            2) UAL 788, 32″ pitch, 17.3″ wide seats,
            3) AA 789, 31″ pitch, 17.2″ wide seats,
            4) DAL 332, 32″ pitch, 18.0″ wide seats,

            Enjoy,

            …but an one class A321 with 200 seats and 18″ wide seats not that bad.

  7. Despite the issues addressed by game theory I’ve wondered for years why geographically remote, hermetic LCC networks don’t cooperate to link their networks together. All it would take would be a JV trial service (6 months or a year) with a designated single hub at each end. If the chosen hubs are small enough, even without some sort of formal interline or code share, I can’t see why many of the sort of passengers who use short haul LCC wouldn’t be interested. It isn’t as if routing through a hub is anything but the norm for many, probably most long haul passengers.

    • Like if IndiGo were to convert some orders to A321LRs and fly into Stansted, an EasyJet/RyanAir hub.

      Not even sure the JV is necessary, or desirable. Makes it harder to say “tough buy another ticket” when a passenger misses a connection. Something that seems to be part of the LCC revenue model.

      • Turn that around and they’ve got the opportunity to sell add on ‘missed connection’ / ‘independent traveler’ insurance.

    • Its sort of a ‘golden rule’ on short haul LCCs- No interlining. Buying another on connection ticket is your own risk, ie miss a flight and you have to buy a new ticket at your own cost.

      In my country we might be unusual, our LCC doing jet shorthaul has a few small turboprops which serve provincial towns away from its mainline routes. I dont know enough about their arrangements for those passengers delayed turbo prop flights who connected to a jet service.

      • Agreed. Frontier and Volaris are partnering in the U.S.-Mexico market, but it’s pretty unusual. Dealing with missed connections in a codeshare (and even just the IT to support codeshare bookings) is an added expense that doesn’t work well with the ULCC business model. And personally, I would never book two separate tickets on different ULCCs, given the risk of delays/flight cancellations.

      • On short haul LCC absolutely re no interlining. Always been the way and makes sense. But I don’t think it is as easy to dismiss for long haul. Regardless, as I wrote, I think a JV would be a worthwhile toe poke even (or specifically) without interlining. Simply coordinating.

    • Technically speaking we already have something along those lines with the Value Alliance. At Milan Malpensa and Gatwick you have the airports taking on the initiative by setting up a system to link Airlines operating out of their airports to connect between LCC and legacy carriers for an Extra fee in some instances. There’s no data on how well the Value Alliance is doing and what positive benefits it brings to the bottom line for its members. I haven’t seen anyone report in their financials of the benefits to date.

      • Had some exposure to this and not a bad concept, seasonal weather and strikes other side of the Alps do have impact.

        When booking give yourself at least 4 hours to connect or over night close to the airport, actually some hidden gems close to Malpensa with very good and often free airport shuttles for typical red-eye LCC departures or late arrivals

  8. Now that its early in hopefully another Bjorn series, what is the definition of Long Haul?

    From personal experience;
    1) <4 Hours short haul,
    2) 4-8 Hours medium haul,
    3) 8-12 Hours long haul,
    4) 12-15 Hours very long and,
    5) 15+ Hours Ultra.

    Not sure if LCC's are geared for flights of 12+ hours from comfort, onboard service and aircraft range due to high density seating, extra crew, etc.?

    Single aisles are in play with flights <8/9 hours, beyond that it's twin aisles.

    • At a deeper level short haul LCC is all about having extra plane utilisation up to the levels that long haul expect , ie 12 hrs or more per plane per day.
      But if existing long haul are getting 12 hrs + on their more expensive planes how are LCC-LH going to utilise even more?
      Long haul travellors are more sensitive to time of departure and arrival. Not much point having an 8pm departure when you have to vacate accommodation before 10am, same goes for arrival when you cant access accommodation before say 2pm.
      Staying with friends/family is much easier , are more likely on short haul.
      Long haul airlines make money as well by being in the travel business with hotels, car hire, excursions.
      Then theres cargo.
      Flying with Norwegian Long Haul might be a risk but working for them would be priceless, to use the sailing ship analogy – To learn the ropes !

  9. Potential cargo revenue of LH-LCC’s vs Legacy airlines, single aisle vs twin aisles, could also be an interesting subject.

    • Strangely enough the LCC’s flatly refuse to carry cargo due to fears it would make turnarounds longer. Back in the days of 20-30 minutes turnarounds I’m sure it would have been an issue but these days most turnarounds are from 30-40 minutes which gives ample time to load/unload cargo. If you have an A319/A320/A321 then you have the option of a containerized belly, pre-load cargo in a container and you have an extra revenue stream. I understand Norwegian is one of the rare LCC’s that offer cargo on their short haul flights and they operate B737’s.

  10. Interesting stuff. Especially on the economics associated with LCC, the question is really one of disposable income. But the law of large numbers seem to work on the side of the LCC, they do have to be a little careful in selling the extras though, it can give them a bad rep, and a discerning consumer can quickly decide that it’s more expensive if they start wanting things like luggage. It is also possible for a discerning consumer can find reasonable fares even on main lines. And those don’t focus as much on ancillary revenue on long haul routes as yet.

    I think what the LCC on long haul are hoping for is a group of customer that have just enough money to aspire to the next level, i.e. a vacation in London, but still need to watch their wallets, and is willing to suffer through the indignities of cattle class.

    • The customer base is broader than this. Certainly there are people traveling leisure who are focused on the price and search widely but there are also those who are time or interest poor and so blindly go with their known LCC rather than really compare legacies, people traveling on corporate, people for whom any smaller airport at either end reduces wasted time, people who really do need to get to these smaller airports that legacy carriers don’t serve and anyone who really needs the higher dispatch reliability that the LCCs manage. I think the package of benefits different people need or want will require more differentiation/flexibility at LH than SH, primarily in needing to go 2 class to appeal partly to corporates that are thrifty but want productivity at the end and partly to leisures.

      • Also once-in-a-blue-moon travellers where loyalty and frequent-flier miles mean nothing.

        • These days Frequent flyer’s mean very little to the average traveller unless they can use their points towards a lower fare. The days of getting a free flight have long gone, now when a traveller wants to use his/her points for that free flight, the airline’s hit them with taxes that pretty much amount to your average paying fare on the route your travelling on. Frequent flyers programs have lost their charm with leisure travellers, no point in being a member of a dead Club.

  11. ASK is a weak parameter to try and judge the economics of an aircraft or a flight.

    All seats are not created the same.

    I have tried to standardise on a particular style and size of seat to try and create a level playing field — 32” pitch / 18” wide to represent a LH economy seat.

    To get the full picture you either need floor area or a seat revenue multiplier to better understand the economics of both Trad carriers or LH LCCs.

    Seat revenue multiplier …

    STD economy seat = 1.00
    Premium economy seat = 1.50.

    This type of seat generates on average 50% more revenue than a STD economy seat as an example. Plug number — might be more, it might be less.

    Trad business seat = 2.50 plus.
    Lie flat business seat = 3.50 to 4.00
    First Class seat = 5.00

    Backpacker seat = 0.80 to 0.90.
    Same seat as economy but no hold luggage.

    How the concept works …

    Super Duper Sixty — 62.5M long SA with MC-21 cross section.
    Set up for 10/12 hour flights — galleys and toilets — means space for 300 standard seats and with that 300 standard revenue fare income.

    However set it up as a Trad 4 Class aircraft — 220 seats approx — and the revenue potential jumps to 350 standard revenue equivalents.

    Set it up as a LCC 2 Class arrangement — 282 seats — and the figure drops to 318 revenue equivalents.

    Best measure to understand an aircrafts capabilities is multiply the either the cabin floor area or it’s capacity in standardised LH economy seats by the maximum range with this passenger load.

    Next step is to multiply the standard revenues by the range to get an aircraft capability figure.

  12. I’ll be curious to see what the LH-LCC model does with things like Austin, TX – London. Norwegian appears to have done well enough to boost frequency sooner than originally anticipated.
    And in competition with British Airways.
    It was not very long ago at all that you had to connect to get to the UK from Aus.
    Big changes as the hub and spoke keeps getting nibbled away.

    • LCC in the EU developed by offering flight pairs no one had ever thought about before.

      This is the great USP that allowed EJ andRA to grow where the majors couldn’t compete.

      Not on price but geography.

      PExp — wrong at almost every level.
      Hardware — 175T OEW to be carried on every flight.
      Destinations — Duplication of existing Big Boy routes.

      LH LCC = high volume SA aircraft or second hand TA units.
      Spread the load when setting up a network.

      Glesga to Detroit — will not work with 125T OEW of high tech lard bucket TA. However it has a much better chance if it uses 50T OEW of high volume SA.

      If you fly it they will come — KC / Airfield of Dreams.

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