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Joined: Mon May 21, 2001 3:48 am

Low-cost Airline, Which Aircraft

Wed May 21, 2003 9:37 pm

Hi everybody,

I looked at major low-cost airline operating today and noticed they all operate 737 or A320 aircraft. I do know the 737/A320 are well suited aircraft for low-cost operations but why are there no low-cost airlines operating regional jets or turbo prop aircraft? Is there a reason why low-cost airlines operate aircraft in the 737/A320 range and not smaller (or larger) aircraft? Does it have to do with operating costs or generated revenue from the aircraft? Why does a low-cost airline does not use regional jets or turbo props to fly thinner routes where a 737/A320 is too large to use? High frequencies is one of the success factors of low-cost operations, when using a smaller aircraft on thinner routes wouldn't this allow a low-cost airline to still offer higher frequencies with higher loads because of the smaller size of regional jets/turbo props? I also know that low-cost airlines have their fleet based on one aircraft type, does it make much of a difference to operate two aircraft types, like 737 or A320 for the bussy routes and CRJ or ERJ or ATR aircraft for the thinner routes? Air Tran operates the CRJ as well (I know its a partner airline that operates on behalf of Air Tran). Is Air Tran satisfied with their CRJ operations?

I was just wondering whether the regional jet hasn't attracted the intention of low-cost airlines such as EasyJet, Ryanair, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue and the likes. Are these aircraft too small? Does their route network not allow smaller aircraft (or larger ones)? Can we see JetBlue operating the A321 in the future or EasyJet operating CRJ or ERJ aircraft on the thinner routes?

Regards A388
Posts: 2200
Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2002 5:35 pm

RE: Low-cost Airline, Which Aircraft

Wed May 21, 2003 11:38 pm

There are several low-cost regional airlines in Europe:
Flybe. (DH1,DH3,DH4,141,142,143) http://www.flybe.com
Gotlandsflyg (SF3) http://www.gotlandsflyg.se
InterSky (DH3) http://www.intersky.biz
Kullaflyg (S20) http://www.kullaflyg.se
SkyEurope (EM2, 735) http://www.skyeurope.com
Swiss aviation news junkie living all over the place
Posts: 1443
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 10:53 pm

RE: Low-cost Airline, Which Aircraft

Wed May 21, 2003 11:49 pm

AirTran, through partner affiliation, is operating CRJs and will soon add A320s. The smaller CRJs have been very successful in increasing frequencies and load factors in shorter business markets. ATA has a wholly-owned subsidiary, Chicago Express, that uses Saab 340s.
I work for Southwest, but the views expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent those of Southwest.
Posts: 474
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2003 4:25 am

RE: Low-cost Airline, Which Aircraft

Thu May 22, 2003 12:12 am

My sense is that the LCCs go into the higher-volume, higher-margin routes (e.g. NY-FLA). It is also cheaper to fly 175 people on one flight than 65 people on two or three flights (fewer flight crew, ground crew, etc.).

Also, leisure flyers are less time-sensitive, so you can fill one flight to Florida with vacationers, but not expect to do the same with business travelers.

Lastly, the newest 737s and 320s are capable of coast-to-coast operations, and in the Continental US it allows one type to cover just about any route.

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