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AmericanAir88
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The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Sun Jul 12, 2020 1:19 am

ULCCs seem to have had the most ambitious schedules. They fly from hard hit areas such as California, New York, and Florida.

I personally am a fan of ULCCs. I think they get too much hate by people who don’t know how to fly them.

How are NK, F9, and G4 doing right now and how does the future look? Do they usually do well? Im curious about performance in places like NYC or LAS.
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:41 am

AmericanAir88 wrote:
They fly from hard hit areas such as California, New York, and Florida.

Probably because those are three of the four largest markets in the country....
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
ewt340
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:47 am

They know most passengers would try to save money once the economy start running again. They are in better position to grab the market share compared to Full Service Airlines.

This is a good opportunity for them to grab the market by its neck.
 
Noshow
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Sun Jul 12, 2020 8:53 am

I agree, if they keep some funding now they have the market almost for themselves. Both big companies and private travelers have to save on cost now so the lowest cost model should be able to make the best offers it seems. Some ULCC have heavy weight investors behind them so I see some of them order the now available white tail aircraft at firesale prices as manufacturers face cancellations and have to deal with inherited production rates being too high.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:04 am

We see the same thing happening in Europe, where Wizzair is expanding a lot currently. Ryanair would be expanding too if it weren't for the MAX issues.

Some legacy airlines don't expect to be back on full capacity until 2024, the ULCCs expect recovery much sooner. They mention 2021 as their goal to be back. The years in which the legacies aren't fully up yet will be used by the ULCCs to gain market share. In times of economic downturn (which will be the case the next few years) ULCCs always perform better than legacies. People have less money to spend, but still want to fly. That makes them pick an ULCC over a legacy airline.
 
oschkosch
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:22 am

AmericanAir88 wrote:
I think they get too much hate by people who don’t know how to fly them.



I try to avoid airlines such as FR or W6, but please do elaborate. What do I need to know, on how to fly them?
:stirthepot: :airplane: "This airplane is designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys" :airplane: :stirthepot:
 
Noshow
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:27 am

You need to know that a lot is sold on top as an extra. From checked bags to manual check in. Also you need to respect the sharp carry on dimensions and boarding times.
Know the fine print and you can fly very cheap.
As many legacy airlines have quietly eroded their comfort down to the same levels without telling everybody, sometimes the ultra low cost flight experience feels to be the purest and most balanced these days. Better than having paid a lot more and getting the same in the end.
 
SpoonNZ
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:30 am

oschkosch wrote:
I try to avoid airlines such as FR or W6, but please do elaborate. What do I need to know, on how to fly them?

Check in at the time they tell you to check in, the way they tell you to check in. Only bring luggage that matches the dimensions and weights you have paid for (or that is included with your ticket for carry on). BYO snacks or eat beforehand.

I flew easyjet once. Man in front of me in the boarding queue was lamenting how this was the fifth time that year that he’d been charged for excess luggage, and how terrible easyjet were. I don’t think easyjet were the problem.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:51 am

oschkosch wrote:
AmericanAir88 wrote:
I think they get too much hate by people who don’t know how to fly them.


I try to avoid airlines such as FR or W6, but please do elaborate. What do I need to know, on how to fly them?


You need to know what they charge for, and thus how you can avoid those charges. If done that, you can fly for very cheap. Main thing is that you adapt to the airline because the airline won't adapt to you.

I've flown them quite a bit and never had any problems because I knew exactly what to expect. Saved me a whole lot of money compared to legacy airlines.
 
oschkosch
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:56 am

so, anything new on "how to fly" ulcc? Because all of the above stated things are clear...

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:stirthepot: :airplane: "This airplane is designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys" :airplane: :stirthepot:
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Sun Jul 12, 2020 11:23 am

oschkosch wrote:
so, anything new on "how to fly" ulcc? Because all of the above stated things are clear...

Gesendet von meinem SM-G950F mit Tapatalk


I think most things have already been said, but one thing deserves to be mentioned.

Most ULCCs don't have any frequent flyer programs. It doesn't matter if it's your first or thousandth flight with the airline, the price and conditions are the exact same.

With legacies, part of the fare of each flight is being put into a fund. Out of that fund the frequent flyer benefits of your later flights are being paid. ULCCs are able to offer lower fares because they don't put any part of the fare in a fund, they just use that part to make their tickets cheaper. This does mean you never build up anything with the airline.

Frequent flyer programs work great for those who do fly often, they actually see the returns of their fund deposits. But for most people, specially those who aren't frequent flyers, those fund deposits are just a waste of money. They prefer cheaper tickets instead of building up status which they'd never use anyway.

Here's my flight history over the past 5 years:

https://ba97.com/report.asp?handle=PatrickZZ

As you can see, I don't fly enough to build up status. Also I switch airlines quite a bit, I fly whichever airline is the cheapest and adapt my schedule around that. How would legacy airlines have benefited me?

So unless you're a frequent flyer, why you don't fly ULCCs is beyond me.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Sun Jul 12, 2020 11:24 am

AmericanAir88 wrote:

How are NK, F9, and G4 doing right now and how does the future look?


NK and Allegiant are publicly traded. You will have load factors, RPM, and TRASM or PRASM data for publicly traded U.S. carriers starting next week. Load factors and PRASM will have crashed from a year ago - we know that from repeated Airlines for America statements (and recent UA charts). The questions become:

1. Are ULCCs doing relatively better than other carriers?

2. Will they avoid running out of money long enough to go into 'normal' traffic and fare levels (whenever that may be) with some strength?

F9 and Sun Country are privately held.
 
32andBelow
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:11 pm

Noshow wrote:
You need to know that a lot is sold on top as an extra. From checked bags to manual check in. Also you need to respect the sharp carry on dimensions and boarding times.
Know the fine print and you can fly very cheap.
As many legacy airlines have quietly eroded their comfort down to the same levels without telling everybody, sometimes the ultra low cost flight experience feels to be the purest and most balanced these days. Better than having paid a lot more and getting the same in the end.

I’ve only flown spirit once. I knew all the things people didn’t like about them. But I have to say they advertised and informed on every single of these things. It was fair king straight forward what you needed to do to not get charged extra if you didn’t what to. The service was fine and they follow the procedures exactly the way they said they would. No monkey business.
 
StrandedAtMKG
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Mon Jul 13, 2020 12:29 am

SpoonNZ wrote:
oschkosch wrote:
I try to avoid airlines such as FR or W6, but please do elaborate. What do I need to know, on how to fly them?

Check in at the time they tell you to check in, the way they tell you to check in. Only bring luggage that matches the dimensions and weights you have paid for (or that is included with your ticket for carry on). BYO snacks or eat beforehand.


So far what you've described is flying on any of the US4. There are no substantive differences between the LCCs/ULCCs and the legacies. All of the US4 have luggage allowances and charge extra for exceeding them. None of them enforce their carry-on luggage policies anymore, thus the 45-minute boarding process with Glen and Karen of Paducah who brought the kitchen sink on the plane with them. Most of them have very few staffed check-in counters at non-hub stations or paper tickets and boarding passes anymore. Meals and snacks haven't been a thing on airplanes since 9/11 unless you pay for BoB or fly J/F. The legacies charge extra for assigned seating and to sit in certain seats unless you wait until boarding time and let the computer randomly assign you a seat (which may or may not be with/near the rest of your party).

I'd say that at this point the terms "LCC" and "ULCC" refer only to the airline's internal cost structure, but at this point the best-paid pilots and FAs in the US are at the original LCC, WN. The only outlier in this area is G4, well-known for shirking their maintenance responsibilities to the point where a crash is all but inevitable as soon as traffic returns to pre-COVID levels (Friends don't let friends fly Allegiant).
 
jplatts
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Mon Jul 13, 2020 3:01 am

There are still opportunities for ULCC's, WN, B6, and Breeze to add additional nonstop routes out of RIC with ATL, BOS, and BNA being the only markets outside of Florida that currently have nonstop service out of RIC on a LCC.

Here are some adds that could be made by G4, F9, NK, WN, and B6 out of RIC:
G4 - RIC-AUS/VPS/FLL/JAX/LAS/AZA/SAV
F9 - RIC-DEN/LAS/MCO
NK - RIC-ORD/RSW/LAS/MSY/TPA
WN - RIC-MDW/DEN/BNA
B6 - RIC-LAX/JFK
 
SueD
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:33 am

Tell what a ULCC is;I just don’t know.

I understand the concept of the so called low cost operating business model , lease capacity out source everything including your staff effectively one variations of zero hours contracts whilst creaming off the top.

Use unbundled fares and complex algorithms to cream off the top; whilst extensively using heavy tools of marketing to deceive and bewilder the customer.

Finally pay sub contractors late without exception or indeed enforce terms of 90 to 120 days .

How does this so called ULCC differ ?
 
Galore
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Mon Jul 13, 2020 4:12 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
AmericanAir88 wrote:
1. Are ULCCs doing relatively better than other carriers?


The one thing that Spirit does better than the “legacy” airlines is that you can almost always pay around $50 one way extra for a super comfortable wide seat where no one spills into your space.

If you want that on AA, you must purchase first class for insanely more than just $50 one way.

BFS is the main reason why I choose Spirit over AA here in DFW whenever possible.
 
argentinevol98
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Mon Jul 13, 2020 4:50 pm

SpoonNZ wrote:
oschkosch wrote:
I try to avoid airlines such as FR or W6, but please do elaborate. What do I need to know, on how to fly them?

Check in at the time they tell you to check in, the way they tell you to check in. Only bring luggage that matches the dimensions and weights you have paid for (or that is included with your ticket for carry on). BYO snacks or eat beforehand.

I flew easyjet once. Man in front of me in the boarding queue was lamenting how this was the fifth time that year that he’d been charged for excess luggage, and how terrible easyjet were. I don’t think easyjet were the problem.


I generally agree with the sentiment but I will add that Easyjet employees did screw me over once flying ALC-TXL. I had made sure my baggage fit all the dimensions and weights multiple times over and yet they still claimed it was "too large". I even showed them the measurements to prove it was correct (in an assertive but polite tone) but the main check-in person wanted nothing to hear of it. She said she could tell "by looking" and "didn't need measurements". One of the other employees tired to object to her opinion and said she thought the bag was not too large but she got told that "I am in charge of this right now" and "it is my decision". In the end I was faced with missing my flight entirely (I was the last pax that had not boarded) or paying the 60 euros. Missing the flight was not an option so I ended up paying and sat angry for the rest of the flight.

To be fair, that is the only time that has happened to me on any ULCC and I've flown many of them many times. But occasionally you do get some stuck-up employee on an authority trip that seems to just want to mess with your day even if you've done everything correctly. That can also happen with the legacies as well, of course, but I think the ULCC's low pay sometimes exacerbates the issue. ULCC employees, in my experience, tend to be shorter-tempered and less helpful, perhaps understandably so.
----------
As for the main topic at hand I think that the ULCC's low cost of operations plays a large role. It is cheaper for NK to do the same flight as AA, DL, WN or UA. That means less risk per flight and thus a more risk-oriented expansion. That's my guess, at least.
"He sospechado alguna vez que la única cosa sin misterio es la felicidad, porque se justifica por sí sola"-Jorge Luis Borges
 
WN732
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Mon Jul 13, 2020 4:57 pm

oschkosch wrote:
AmericanAir88 wrote:
I think they get too much hate by people who don’t know how to fly them.



I try to avoid airlines such as FR or W6, but please do elaborate. What do I need to know, on how to fly them?


Agreed. I know all of their quirks, but that doesn't mean I like them!
 
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lightsaber
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Mon Jul 13, 2020 9:11 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
AmericanAir88 wrote:

How are NK, F9, and G4 doing right now and how does the future look?


NK and Allegiant are publicly traded. You will have load factors, RPM, and TRASM or PRASM data for publicly traded U.S. carriers starting next week. Load factors and PRASM will have crashed from a year ago - we know that from repeated Airlines for America statements (and recent UA charts). The questions become:

1. Are ULCCs doing relatively better than other carriers?

2. Will they avoid running out of money long enough to go into 'normal' traffic and fare levels (whenever that may be) with some strength?

F9 and Sun Country are privately held.

Allegiant has been open with information. In general open companies are better run. Ongoing discussion in the Allegiant thread:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1438059&start=200

1. G4 Revenue up to $2 million/day (much better than $750k/day predicted).
2. G4 losses $350k/day. They can survive
3. Running 85% of 2019 schedule.
4. No layoffs

Allegiant has mostly a used fleet, so their fixed costs are low. (Very low.)

Once used A320CEO prices hit a new normal (fall), I expect them to buy in quantity.

Lightsaber
Flu+Covid19 is bad. Consider a flu vaccine, if not for yourself, to protect someone you care about.
 
Miamiairport
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:39 am

ULCC are not being hit by the severe drop in business travel because for the most part it's not their market, albeit I'm sure some small businesses fly them. As long as there is demand for leisure travel they will do fine. However, at least in the US they are facing potential continued issues with COVID 19 and a very questionable economy, particularly after and if the $600 in Federal Unemployment benefits cease at the end of this month.

Time will tell how they do. G4 is probably the most protected as they normally fly routes only 2-4x a week and have second hand a/c. Versus a Spirit that flys many routes daily, in most cases more than 1x day, and has brought lots of new shinny a/c and jammed them with seats.
 
CRJ5000
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 12:17 pm

Historically ULCCs have always weathered economic downturns far better than the legacies. Usually they've used them to grow.
This is a bit different, as it's a global pandemic coupled with what is and will continue to be a severe economic downturn.
I think it comes down to who has the money to make it through the pandemic, however long that may be. If F9/NK/G4 can make it to the other side, I think they emerge in a better position than AA/DL/UA.
They have the advantage of being able to lose less money on the $20 fare than the legacies which have a far higher cost structure. They also don't cater to business travelers, which is basically done for the rest of the year, and likely a lot of 2021 as well. A portion of it will probably never be back. I'd be surprised if AA/DL/UA don't gradually start to make more "enhancements" that bring their service and costs down to compete. They've already added fees for most things, introduced the basic economy fares, and seats have certainly gotten tighter. I expect this to continue.

Though the ULCCs have had ambitious schedules, they are cutting back in August. Early indications show that they will be cutting further in September. If that continues they'll need to pump the brakes on new aircraft deliveries and expansion to conserve cash.
 
tphuang
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 1:17 pm

NK/F9 are back to cutting more in July/August
https://crankyflier.com/2020/07/14/dema ... -the-lead/
a lot of late cuts by NK/F9
Those $15 fares out of EWR are just not sustainable.
 
CRJ5000
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 1:58 pm

tphuang wrote:
NK/F9 are back to cutting more in July/August
https://crankyflier.com/2020/07/14/dema ... -the-lead/
a lot of late cuts by NK/F9
Those $15 fares out of EWR are just not sustainable.


September will be even lower than August.
 
Miamiairport
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 4:17 pm

The "temporary changes" made by legacies such as no beverage service in Y (or flights of less than 4 hours) I think are here to stay. Also, I expect to see at least BE fares to have more and higher fees. AA isn't going to be able to continue to fly paxs MIA/DFW for $51 rt (essentially when taking out taxes is getting nothing in revenue) without forcing the flyer to either pay to check a bag or pay to carry it on. The fee structure will look like an ULCC. Presumably a certain elite level say in Y might still get a complimentary non alcoholic beverage, assuming beverage and food service eve returns in Y.

Also, I think all airlines will permanently cut capacity if the economy remains weak.
 
CATIIIevery5yrs
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:36 pm

CRJ5000 wrote:
tphuang wrote:
NK/F9 are back to cutting more in July/August
https://crankyflier.com/2020/07/14/dema ... -the-lead/
a lot of late cuts by NK/F9
Those $15 fares out of EWR are just not sustainable.


September will be even lower than August.


I suspect it’s the drop off in demand that’s being experienced by all air carriers that is not sustainable, not the $15 fares. That’s kinda how ULCC’s work.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:50 pm

CRJ5000 wrote:
Historically ULCCs have always weathered economic downturns far better than the legacies. Usually they've used them to grow.


Got evidence of that strength through downturns, specifically evidence that can be parsed out from the long-time share loss of legacies to WN, B6 and ULCCs? The OP was talking about U.S. ULCCs in particular.
 
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aemoreira1981
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 6:13 pm

I honestly believe NK and G4 are in better shape than F9. All of F9's fleet is leased...G4's fleet is more than 90 percent owned (most secondhand and uneucumbered) with other real property in the fold as well, and NK's fleet is 67 percent owned. NK and G4 can get loans against unencumbered assets, as B6 (not a ULCC) recently did. The only assets that F9 really has that could net value are its 1095 annual pairs of take-off and landing slots at LGA (for 3 daily flights). G4 also only flies domestically, and so it doesn't have any problems with international destinations. NK is better off than F9 as NK is pretty conservative with route growth.

In the USA in mainline, I consider F9/G4/NK as the ULCCs, AA/DL/UA/WN as the Big 4, and AS/B6/HA as the 3 regionals.
Last edited by aemoreira1981 on Tue Jul 14, 2020 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
CRJ5000
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 6:16 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
CRJ5000 wrote:
Historically ULCCs have always weathered economic downturns far better than the legacies. Usually they've used them to grow.


Got evidence of that strength through downturns, specifically evidence that can be parsed out from the long-time share loss of legacies to WN, B6 and ULCCs? The OP was talking about U.S. ULCCs in particular.


Sure. After the last economic downtown, the great recession, here is the breakdown of carriers growth or contraction from June 2007 to June 2012:
G4 +130%
NK +49
B6 +23
F9 +3
WN +2
SY -7
AA -14
UA -15
AS -15
US -16
FL -16
DL -18

Source is the DOT/ Inspector General - https://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/default/f ... -24-12.pdf

Before that, 9/11 was the next downturn.
LCC market share more than doubled from 12% in 2001 to 28% in 2006.
There's a lot of data available online to show this.
http://ftp.zew.de/pub/zew-docs/dp/dp11051.pdf
http://businesstravelcoalition.com/statements/195.html
 
argentinevol98
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 7:10 pm

aemoreira1981 wrote:
I honestly believe NK and G4 are in better shape than F9. All of F9's fleet is leased...G4's fleet is more than 90 percent owned (most secondhand and uneucumbered) with other real property in the fold as well, and NK's fleet is 67 percent owned. NK and G4 can get loans against unencumbered assets, as B6 (not a ULCC) recently did. The only assets that F9 really has that could net value are its 1095 annual pairs of take-off and landing slots at LGA (for 3 daily flights). G4 also only flies domestically, and so it doesn't have any problems with international destinations. NK is better off than F9 as NK is pretty conservative with route growth.

In the USA in mainline, I consider F9/G4/NK as the ULCCs, AA/DL/UA/WN as the Big 4, and AS/B6/HA as the 3 regionals.


Good analysis. One quick question, however. What do you consider SY to be? It's definitely now an ULCC for PAX operations but it is a kind of regional ULCC (as of right now) with ops being so heavily concentrated at MSP (even with the DFW, LAS and PDX flying considered). Kind of falls into both of those last two categories, imo.

More focused on topic: Do you think SY has growth opportunity like some of the others (NK, G4, F9)? or are they more constrained by their small size right now? I know they are ramping up for the Amazon flying but I am talking about PAX growth.
"He sospechado alguna vez que la única cosa sin misterio es la felicidad, porque se justifica por sí sola"-Jorge Luis Borges
 
Ziyulu
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 7:58 pm

I attended a travel conference for work. A representative from United said that their basic economy product is a lot better than Frontier or Spirit.
 
Miamiairport
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:21 pm

CRJ5000 wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
CRJ5000 wrote:
Historically ULCCs have always weathered economic downturns far better than the legacies. Usually they've used them to grow.


Got evidence of that strength through downturns, specifically evidence that can be parsed out from the long-time share loss of legacies to WN, B6 and ULCCs? The OP was talking about U.S. ULCCs in particular.


Sure. After the last economic downtown, the great recession, here is the breakdown of carriers growth or contraction from June 2007 to June 2012:
G4 +130%
NK +49
B6 +23
F9 +3
WN +2
SY -7
AA -14
UA -15
AS -15
US -16
FL -16
DL -18

Source is the DOT/ Inspector General - https://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/default/f ... -24-12.pdf

Before that, 9/11 was the next downturn.
LCC market share more than doubled from 12% in 2001 to 28% in 2006.
There's a lot of data available online to show this.
http://ftp.zew.de/pub/zew-docs/dp/dp11051.pdf
http://businesstravelcoalition.com/statements/195.html


The difference was that prior to 2007 there was no US ULCC business model. There was WN and B6 but even their business model was different. The ULCC was modeled after Ryanair and Easy Jet that offered rock bottom fares with the real focal point of ancillary fees, aggressive advertising and packed planes. This stimulated new air travel.

Moreover, I still contend the real impact of this economic downturn has not yet been felt. If it's bad, really bad, even those $19 fares won't mean much. Maybe a few people bored that will fly somewhere, turnaround and fly back the same day. No one really knows.

The airlines that have planes that can be easily parked, owned outright, will be in the best shape. If the economy bounces back quickly I think the ULCCs will see not only minimal damage but will be in high growth mode. Americans have seem very willing to shove themselves into a seat made for a 7 year old for a cheap fare (albeit they love then to complain afterwards on social media).

We shall see.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:23 pm

Ziyulu wrote:
I attended a travel conference for work. A representative from United said that their basic economy product is a lot better than Frontier or Spirit.


Of course they say that, they ain't going to talk down their own products. To hear the truth, you should be asking an independent person. A representative from United can't be considered independent, they'll always promote themselves over others. An independent person wouldn't do that.

And while I have to admit I've never flown either and thus got no experience, I'm under the impression that it's more or less equal. The difference however might be that people got higher expectations from United, which after all is a legacy airline so it must be good, and then when their basic economy doesn't live up to those expectations they rank it lower. Meanwhile at Spirit or Frontier people got lower expectations, they're low-cost airlines so how good can it be, and those expectations are being met which leads to a higher ranking.
 
SkyVoice
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:41 pm

Ziyulu wrote:
I attended a travel conference for work. A representative from United said that their basic economy product is a lot better than Frontier or Spirit.


Well, DUH ! ! ! Did you really expect them to say anything different? :shakehead:
"Facing a crisis does not not build one's character, it reveals it."

"Tough times don't last. Tough people do."

- Robert H. Schuller
 
Ziyulu
Posts: 901
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 10:35 am

Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:56 pm

The representative went on to say that with basic economy, you get food and drinks on United. And if there was a delay, they could get you to your destination within 24 hours since they have more flights versus waiting for the next flight on an LCC which can be up to 3 days later.
 
CRJ5000
Posts: 146
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:06 pm

Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:58 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
Ziyulu wrote:
I attended a travel conference for work. A representative from United said that their basic economy product is a lot better than Frontier or Spirit.


Of course they say that, they ain't going to talk down their own products. To hear the truth, you should be asking an independent person. A representative from United can't be considered independent, they'll always promote themselves over others. An independent person wouldn't do that.

And while I have to admit I've never flown either and thus got no experience, I'm under the impression that it's more or less equal. The difference however might be that people got higher expectations from United, which after all is a legacy airline so it must be good, and then when their basic economy doesn't live up to those expectations they rank it lower. Meanwhile at Spirit or Frontier people got lower expectations, they're low-cost airlines so how good can it be, and those expectations are being met which leads to a higher ranking.


LOL... I mean, if given the choice and the price was the same I would take a legacy BE fare every time. It's certainly a better product. There's IFE, a better route network, slightly better seats, a tiny bag of pretzels and a small cup of coke, etc. The problem is, legacies don't have the cost structure to offer it on a large scale and still profit (Obviously no airline can profit right now.) ULCC's run a business that can turn a profit on essentially nothing but BE fares.
And you're absolutely right about expectations. At this point, most people know they get bare bones treatment on ULCCs and are expected to pay for everything. They get confused when booking an economy seat on AA/UA/DL and having it be different than what in their mind was the exact same economy seat they bought the month prior.

Miamiairport wrote:

The difference was that prior to 2007 there was no US ULCC business model. There was WN and B6 but even their business model was different. The ULCC was modeled after Ryanair and Easy Jet that offered rock bottom fares with the real focal point of ancillary fees, aggressive advertising and packed planes. This stimulated new air travel.

Moreover, I still contend the real impact of this economic downturn has not yet been felt. If it's bad, really bad, even those $19 fares won't mean much. Maybe a few people bored that will fly somewhere, turnaround and fly back the same day. No one really knows.

The airlines that have planes that can be easily parked, owned outright, will be in the best shape. If the economy bounces back quickly I think the ULCCs will see not only minimal damage but will be in high growth mode. Americans have seem very willing to shove themselves into a seat made for a 7 year old for a cheap fare (albeit they love then to complain afterwards on social media).

We shall see.


I certainly agree that the worst is yet to come. No arguments there. Will be interesting to see the earnings reports come out in the next couple weeks, and to see what October 1st brings.
 
afgeneral
Posts: 136
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2016 2:43 pm

Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:28 pm

oschkosch wrote:
so, anything new on "how to fly" ulcc? Because all of the above stated things are clear...

Gesendet von meinem SM-G950F mit Tapatalk


- buy extremely cheap base fares however:
- do you research and only fly routes to decent airports that are relatively close to the destination city (skip SXF, BVA for example, do fly if dealing with main airport or decent secondary airports like STN or LGW)
- make sure the airports in question have lounges and you have lounge access
- get priority boarding so they won't make you wait like cattle
- get extra cabin bag
- buy your seat in places likely to have an empty middle or just go for premium seats
- buy onboard food / drink
- often those extras cost less if picked individually than buying as a package

in many cases the price will still be significantly below legacy after all that

for Wizz you can get your employer to buy discount club
 
davidjohnson6
Posts: 857
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:10 pm

Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:41 pm

Afgeneral - I disagree with much of what you say. I say this having flown Ryanair and Easyjet each over 200 times, and who will happily fly 3,000 miles round trip on an ULCC if the fare is cheap enough for a day ttip

SXF is fine for Berlin. BVA is not fine for Paris though
Lounges - unnecessary. Just find some seats away from busy gates
Priority boarding - unnecessary. Don't stand for 30 mins in the boarding queue - just sit down near the gate and board once the queue has gone
Extra cabin bag - LCCs are there for travelling light
Reserved seat - unnecessary
Onboard food/drink - always overpriced on planes and bad quality. Buy better quality and cheaper fresh food (eg sandwich and fruit) for half the price at a supermarket in arrivals at either your origin or destination airports

The way to fly ULCCs is not to spend any more cash than you absolutely have to. They advertise to customers on low base fare (sometimes making minimal profit), but make their money on all the extras. Before you wonder, I'm not a student with no money aged 20 !

Spend the money you save on a better hotel / restaurant instead - the special meal will be remembered for longer than 3 inches of extra legroom or some cheap beer in a dismal lounge
 
Miamiairport
Posts: 665
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:14 pm

Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:01 pm

Agreed the legacies are behind the curve because of their cost structure. Ultimately the legacies may need to start to have the fee structure ULCCs have on BE fares. They might also need to set aside a portion of the a/c that is BE only. Actually AA a few years back was going to have a certain section of it's a/c with a seat pitch of 29 inches I think but retreated to 30 inches for all non MCE Y. AA also retreated from charging BE fares for carry ons. That might change. Last summer BE flyers were constantly being seated in MCE (albeit often a middle seat) in which they got extra legroom and if in the know a free drink.

I suppose that ULCCs are fine for short, less than 2 hour flights. But sitting on the tarmac at JFK during a rainstorm and being number 55 for take off, sandwiched into a 28 inch pitch middle seat with a butt in every Y seat is not my idea of traveling. Of course COVID has altered this scenario for now.
 
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PatrickZ80
Posts: 4263
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:33 am

Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:34 pm

davidjohnson6 wrote:
Afgeneral - I disagree with much of what you say. I say this having flown Ryanair and Easyjet each over 200 times, and who will happily fly 3,000 miles round trip on an ULCC if the fare is cheap enough for a day ttip

SXF is fine for Berlin. BVA is not fine for Paris though
Lounges - unnecessary. Just find some seats away from busy gates
Priority boarding - unnecessary. Don't stand for 30 mins in the boarding queue - just sit down near the gate and board once the queue has gone
Extra cabin bag - LCCs are there for travelling light
Reserved seat - unnecessary
Onboard food/drink - always overpriced on planes and bad quality. Buy better quality and cheaper fresh food (eg sandwich and fruit) for half the price at a supermarket in arrivals at either your origin or destination airports

The way to fly ULCCs is not to spend any more cash than you absolutely have to. They advertise to customers on low base fare (sometimes making minimal profit), but make their money on all the extras. Before you wonder, I'm not a student with no money aged 20 !

Spend the money you save on a better hotel / restaurant instead - the special meal will be remembered for longer than 3 inches of extra legroom or some cheap beer in a dismal lounge


Beauvais can be fine for Paris as well, if you have the time. There is a very affordable shuttle bus service between Porte Maillot in Paris and Beauvais Airport. It's €29 return, so as long as your return flight from Beauvais is €30 or more cheaper than from Charles de Gaulle or Orly it's cheaper to fly from Beauvais. I know Porte Maillot isn't in the heart of Paris, but it's still very near. Besides, Charles de Gaulle and Orly aren't in the heart of Paris either, in fact they're even further.

Agreed on lounges, in my whole life I've never seen an airport lounge from the inside and I've flown quite a bit. I just find it a waste of money, there is always a quiet spot to sit down somewhere.

I mostly don't buy priority boarding either, but do make sure I'm at the front of the "other row". Usually there's only a few priority passengers, so boarding for the other row starts rather quick. Of course you don't want to stand in the end of that line and be the last to board, make sure you're on time. However the advantage of priority boarding can be that your large hand luggage is allowed to go in the cabin and doesn't have to be gate checked. In that case I sometimes buy priority boarding. Not to be the first to board, but to have my luggage with me during the flight.

Reserved seating is totally unnecessary when traveling alone, but when traveling in a group you might want to buy it in order to sit together. Some ULCCs spread people on the same booking all over the plane if they opt for random seat assignment. You're not guaranteed to be seated together.

On-board food and drink is indeed often overpriced, so the trick is to bring your own. Of course drinks can't be brought through security so they need to be bought afterwards, but still they're mostly cheaper airside at the airport than on board of an aircraft. Food is what you can save on by buying it in the supermarket and then stacking it in your hand luggage.

for Wizz you can get your employer to buy discount club


I don't see what my employer has to do with it. I book and pay for my own travels with my own money, so if I want the Wizzair discount club I have to pay for that myself as well. My employer won't buy it for me.

For flying out of secondary airports, always look up which shuttle services exist. There always are some, so it doesn't have to be too inconvenient. PlusAirportLine is a famous one, but there are more. Also public transport can sometimes be an option.
 
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PatrickZ80
Posts: 4263
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Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:55 pm

Miamiairport wrote:
Agreed the legacies are behind the curve because of their cost structure. Ultimately the legacies may need to start to have the fee structure ULCCs have on BE fares. They might also need to set aside a portion of the a/c that is BE only. Actually AA a few years back was going to have a certain section of it's a/c with a seat pitch of 29 inches I think but retreated to 30 inches for all non MCE Y. AA also retreated from charging BE fares for carry ons. That might change. Last summer BE flyers were constantly being seated in MCE (albeit often a middle seat) in which they got extra legroom and if in the know a free drink.

I suppose that ULCCs are fine for short, less than 2 hour flights. But sitting on the tarmac at JFK during a rainstorm and being number 55 for take off, sandwiched into a 28 inch pitch middle seat with a butt in every Y seat is not my idea of traveling. Of course COVID has altered this scenario for now.


That's clearly the American vision of it. In Europe it's another world.

In Europe the difference between legacies and ULCCs is much bigger than it is in the USA. Legacies in Europe are usually of a slightly higher quality than in the US because they don't offer basic economy. Instead they have their own ULCC airlines. European airlines are aware that you can't capture all passengers under the same brand, different brands speak to different clientele. So instead of KLM offering basic economy on their own flights (which would damage the good name of KLM), they got Transavia to capture those passengers. Transavia is able to offer the ULCC experience and prices under the Air France-KLM umbrella without affecting the upscale Air France and KLM brands.

In the US ULCCs mostly fly out of the major airports, where they're prone to delays caused by heavy traffic. Also turnaround times at major airports are usually longer due to longer taxi distances and standing in line for departure. European ULCCs got a stronger focus on secondary airports, where they got the place to themselves. They can negotiate low landing and handling fees there (which they never could at the major airports) and because there's little traffic and short taxi distances they can make fast turnaround times. And those secondary airports work because they got cheap shuttle services running between the airport and the city, often those services are even sold by the airline on top of the tickets but they can also be booked individually.

As for legroom, European ULCCs are no worse (sometimes even better) than legacies. For example Ryanair offers more legroom than British Airways, they're not as crammed as the American ULCCs. As a result of this, European ULCCs are fine for longer flights as well.

The price difference between ULCCs and legacies in Europe is also quite a bit more significant in Europe than it is in the US. In the US the difference is often no more than a few dollars, in Europe ULCCs are easily half the price of legacy airlines if not more.
 
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aemoreira1981
Posts: 3575
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:17 am

Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Wed Jul 15, 2020 12:38 am

argentinevol98 wrote:
aemoreira1981 wrote:
I honestly believe NK and G4 are in better shape than F9. All of F9's fleet is leased...G4's fleet is more than 90 percent owned (most secondhand and uneucumbered) with other real property in the fold as well, and NK's fleet is 67 percent owned. NK and G4 can get loans against unencumbered assets, as B6 (not a ULCC) recently did. The only assets that F9 really has that could net value are its 1095 annual pairs of take-off and landing slots at LGA (for 3 daily flights). G4 also only flies domestically, and so it doesn't have any problems with international destinations. NK is better off than F9 as NK is pretty conservative with route growth.

In the USA in mainline, I consider F9/G4/NK as the ULCCs, AA/DL/UA/WN as the Big 4, and AS/B6/HA as the 3 regionals.


Good analysis. One quick question, however. What do you consider SY to be? It's definitely now an ULCC for PAX operations but it is a kind of regional ULCC (as of right now) with ops being so heavily concentrated at MSP (even with the DFW, LAS and PDX flying considered). Kind of falls into both of those last two categories, imo.

More focused on topic: Do you think SY has growth opportunity like some of the others (NK, G4, F9)? or are they more constrained by their small size right now? I know they are ramping up for the Amazon flying but I am talking about PAX growth.


I forgot about SY, but they don't have much owned assets if any...all of their aircraft are dry-leased or CMI...and having left JFK for EWR, they no longer have flights into any Level 3 airports. I would say that with much of their traffic being to sun destinations, they could be in a bit of trouble, having little to leverage other than accounts receivable. Also, I was mistaken about F9 slots: they also have slots at DCA, the third Level 3 airport in the USA (the other two being LGA and JFK).
 
nws2002
Posts: 916
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:04 pm

Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Wed Jul 15, 2020 4:54 am

aemoreira1981 wrote:
argentinevol98 wrote:
aemoreira1981 wrote:
I honestly believe NK and G4 are in better shape than F9. All of F9's fleet is leased...G4's fleet is more than 90 percent owned (most secondhand and uneucumbered) with other real property in the fold as well, and NK's fleet is 67 percent owned. NK and G4 can get loans against unencumbered assets, as B6 (not a ULCC) recently did. The only assets that F9 really has that could net value are its 1095 annual pairs of take-off and landing slots at LGA (for 3 daily flights). G4 also only flies domestically, and so it doesn't have any problems with international destinations. NK is better off than F9 as NK is pretty conservative with route growth.

In the USA in mainline, I consider F9/G4/NK as the ULCCs, AA/DL/UA/WN as the Big 4, and AS/B6/HA as the 3 regionals.


Good analysis. One quick question, however. What do you consider SY to be? It's definitely now an ULCC for PAX operations but it is a kind of regional ULCC (as of right now) with ops being so heavily concentrated at MSP (even with the DFW, LAS and PDX flying considered). Kind of falls into both of those last two categories, imo.

More focused on topic: Do you think SY has growth opportunity like some of the others (NK, G4, F9)? or are they more constrained by their small size right now? I know they are ramping up for the Amazon flying but I am talking about PAX growth.


I forgot about SY, but they don't have much owned assets if any...all of their aircraft are dry-leased or CMI...and having left JFK for EWR, they no longer have flights into any Level 3 airports. I would say that with much of their traffic being to sun destinations, they could be in a bit of trouble, having little to leverage other than accounts receivable. Also, I was mistaken about F9 slots: they also have slots at DCA, the third Level 3 airport in the USA (the other two being LGA and JFK).


SY has transitioned over the past year or so to owning about half the passenger service fleet. The newer aircraft were all brought onboard as owned, and they've been moving the older aircraft over from leases to owned.
 
Delta777Jet
Posts: 1458
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2000 6:19 am

Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:53 am

I still prefer a full service airline ! I can book their cheapest fare ( light / basic fare ) , being a status customer I can still enjoy lounges , extra bags , priority boarding , etc !

I don’t want to be annoyed with announced entspanne like FR or been charged for a brief case like NK ! I don’t want to adapt ! I can safe money by maintain my status and still fly for cheap !
I still miss Trans World Airlines and the L-1011
 
2175301
Posts: 1866
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 11:19 am

Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Wed Jul 15, 2020 11:49 am

I always have checked baggage as my carry-on is medical equipment and supplies, with perhaps a apple for a snack (I know that in theory medical equipment is not "counted" by some airlines... try arguing that with FA's and Gate Agents..). Often I have 2 checked bags as a 2nd bag is also medical related.

Under those conditions WN works great. They are not ULCC; but, since I always have bags... They are almost always cheaper than the alternatives, and have great FA's and Gate Agents. Never had a bad experience on WN due to FA's and Gate Agents. Far more schedule reliable than the old NorthWest and Delta.

Of course, not as great as the old Midwest... which I paid premium prices for. I'm hoping that the revised Midwest makes it.

Have a great day,
 
AmericanAir88
Topic Author
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed May 27, 2020 8:59 pm

Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Wed Jul 15, 2020 5:25 pm

Miamiairport wrote:
Agreed the legacies are behind the curve because of their cost structure. Ultimately the legacies may need to start to have the fee structure ULCCs have on BE fares. They might also need to set aside a portion of the a/c that is BE only. Actually AA a few years back was going to have a certain section of it's a/c with a seat pitch of 29 inches I think but retreated to 30 inches for all non MCE Y. AA also retreated from charging BE fares for carry ons. That might change. Last summer BE flyers were constantly being seated in MCE (albeit often a middle seat) in which they got extra legroom and if in the know a free drink.

I suppose that ULCCs are fine for short, less than 2 hour flights. But sitting on the tarmac at JFK during a rainstorm and being number 55 for take off, sandwiched into a 28 inch pitch middle seat with a butt in every Y seat is not my idea of traveling. Of course COVID has altered this scenario for now.


I personally do not mind the seat situation on the ULCCs. Its all about positioning. Plus the “Big Front” or “Stretch” seats are always a better deal than a legacy Y seat.

Also, I find it ironic and funny how you give this realistic JFK scenario, yet JFK does not have any ULCCs.
 
Miamiairport
Posts: 665
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:14 pm

Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Wed Jul 15, 2020 6:56 pm

AmericanAir88 wrote:
Miamiairport wrote:
Agreed the legacies are behind the curve because of their cost structure. Ultimately the legacies may need to start to have the fee structure ULCCs have on BE fares. They might also need to set aside a portion of the a/c that is BE only. Actually AA a few years back was going to have a certain section of it's a/c with a seat pitch of 29 inches I think but retreated to 30 inches for all non MCE Y. AA also retreated from charging BE fares for carry ons. That might change. Last summer BE flyers were constantly being seated in MCE (albeit often a middle seat) in which they got extra legroom and if in the know a free drink.

I suppose that ULCCs are fine for short, less than 2 hour flights. But sitting on the tarmac at JFK during a rainstorm and being number 55 for take off, sandwiched into a 28 inch pitch middle seat with a butt in every Y seat is not my idea of traveling. Of course COVID has altered this scenario for now.


I personally do not mind the seat situation on the ULCCs. Its all about positioning. Plus the “Big Front” or “Stretch” seats are always a better deal than a legacy Y seat.

Also, I find it ironic and funny how you give this realistic JFK scenario, yet JFK does not have any ULCCs.


But some ULCC operate out of delay prone airports. Like LGA. Yes the Big Seat on NK is probably a good deal. But with a legacy airline I can actually miles to somewhere I want to go in comfort. Airline lounges are important to me because my work is very mobile. As long as I have a cell phone and wifi signal I'm ready for worker. But I have to often take and make video presentations, something an airline terminal is not good for. For the once and awhile flyer that cares for none of the extras and just wants to get there ULCCs are a great deal. Assuming they fully understand the fee structure.
 
alpine1989
Posts: 42
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:13 am

Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Wed Jul 15, 2020 9:36 pm

How can NK possibly be making money operating ORD-DFW for 17.10 USD?
 
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aemoreira1981
Posts: 3575
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:17 am

Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:27 am

nws2002 wrote:
aemoreira1981 wrote:
argentinevol98 wrote:

Good analysis. One quick question, however. What do you consider SY to be? It's definitely now an ULCC for PAX operations but it is a kind of regional ULCC (as of right now) with ops being so heavily concentrated at MSP (even with the DFW, LAS and PDX flying considered). Kind of falls into both of those last two categories, imo.

More focused on topic: Do you think SY has growth opportunity like some of the others (NK, G4, F9)? or are they more constrained by their small size right now? I know they are ramping up for the Amazon flying but I am talking about PAX growth.


I forgot about SY, but they don't have much owned assets if any...all of their aircraft are dry-leased or CMI...and having left JFK for EWR, they no longer have flights into any Level 3 airports. I would say that with much of their traffic being to sun destinations, they could be in a bit of trouble, having little to leverage other than accounts receivable. Also, I was mistaken about F9 slots: they also have slots at DCA, the third Level 3 airport in the USA (the other two being LGA and JFK).


SY has transitioned over the past year or so to owning about half the passenger service fleet. The newer aircraft were all brought onboard as owned, and they've been moving the older aircraft over from leases to owned.


Currently, the passenger fleet is 11 owned, 17 leased. Interestingly, some of these lease buyouts have been during the pandemic. (Some of the ex-FZ fleet that was to be leased was instead purchased prior to delivery.) Where is SY getting the money to buy its passenger fleet even now? (At least SY is guaranteed flying with its CMI contract through Amazon.) The aim is to move to an all-owned passenger fleet.
 
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aemoreira1981
Posts: 3575
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:17 am

Re: The status of Ultra low-cost carriers

Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:42 am

alpine1989 wrote:
How can NK possibly be making money operating ORD-DFW for 17.10 USD?


Ancillary fees. That fare only gets you and a personal item on board.

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