VS did start out serving LGW
as a 'discount' carrier, offering more seats at the cheapest fares with little notice, including 'standby'/same day flight filler fares. I took VS
in 1987, when they were still a 'discount' carrier. I took PeopleExpress in 1985 EWR
and the service was quite good.
There are several problems with LLC's operating US/Europe, US/Asia for a number of reasons including:
- lack of interairline connections/transfers
- lack of frequency - what happens if the one flight a day is out due to mechanial reasons and cannot transfer to another airline? This was one reason PeopleExpress failed.
- compeition by majors advertising cheap fares with advance purchase, espeically at off-peak times
- as noted above, the many agreements to protect national airlines and keep fares high
- lack of slot space at preferred airports (LHR
- security costs that affect all airlines
- the high costs to get qualified pilots
There is still a chance however for an moderate fare intercontintial airline to exist - look at Iceland which expoits loopholes to offer sometimes cheap fares.
- Many LLC's use the web almost exclusively to sell their seats all over the world.
- Management of pricing of seats is easier and cheaper to do now.
- If an airline operated from the midwest USA and most of Europe, you are still get 16-17 hours of aircraft in flight service a day.
- Make it clear up front, you are not going to get personal video or free food or drinks.
- Serve secondary to secondary airports where have slots avalable (like a PHL
and Stansted). Some of these secondary airports may be ones where LLC's operate (WN at PHL
, EasyJet, Ryanair at Stansted)
- Use efficient aircraft - like 757's instead of 747's
- Push for reduced fees at many airports - Especially in UK, Europe. Many of these airports are adding huge amounts to the fares in fees - sometimes over $100/ Euro 100 on a round trip, even for the cheapest fares.
- Outsource ticket sales, maintenance, other major costs
- Sell at reasonable prices, even at peak flying times - like $499 r/t including fees during the peak summer days US/UK.
While it may be difficult, with good management, a clear business plan and some luck, a moderate price airline, not necessarly an LLC, could work.