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International Transport Operations

The article ‘How do the demands for airport services differ between full-service carriers and low cost carriers? ’ is a research study about the needs of low-cost carriers. Basically, the study focused on how the demands of airlines changed since the deregulation of airlines that resulted to increased level of competition among airlines and airports. It does not address the issues on competition between low-cost and full-service carriers but on the competition among airports across Europe.

Since airline has been deregulated in Europe, low-cost carriers have emerged to be a strong market in the airline industry. It was the emergence of the low-cost airlines which actually caused the emergence of new airports because these airlines had no access to slots and cannot afford the high charges of major hubs. There were also underutilised airports across Europe which became active in the airport industry, providing services to the low-cost carriers that cannot be met by major hubs.

To be able for airlines to provide low-cost services, they have a set of airport requirements to complement their services. The author himself interviewed the CEO of Ryanair, the leading low-cost carrier in Europe, to be able to determine the choice factors for airport of low-cost airlines. Such choice factors include: (1) low airport charges; (2) quick 25 minute turnaround time; (3) single-storey airport terminals; (4) quick check-in; (5) good catering and shopping at airport; (6) good facilities for ground transport; and (7) no executive/business class lounges (Barret, 2004 p. 37).

The choice factors of full-service carriers for airlines were not detailed in the article but according to a related research (Jolicoeur and Khattak, 2001 p. 3), aircraft operators’ demands for airports, in general, are functions of airport service and airport context. Airport service includes airport facility and available services such as facility with a long run way, weigh bearing capacity, fuel service, repair service, and instrument approaches. Airport context on the other hand refers to the nature of the airport location.

The nature of location pertains to the population and employment, economic condition, surrounding development, accessibility to highway, distance to the nearest city, and the amount of traffic at the nearest primary airport. Consequently, airports that can provide these demands to airlines are more likely to be chosen by airlines. Moreover, in a research conducted by Gardiner (2006) about the choice of airport for cargo airlines, it was concluded that location, infrastructure, slots, facilities, road networks, and cost as well as good road access, and availability and cost of labour all determine the choice of airport.

In other words, the demands of airlines for airports are basically the same: good facilities that enable airports to accommodate more airlines and provide them more slots that will lessen turnaround time; cost which is considerably less important for long-haul operations but is important to low-cost carriers which operations are mostly domestic or short-haul; good road access and ground transportation which are very important to passengers; appropriate airport terminals; and availability and cost of labour.

Therefore the difference between the choice factors of low-cost carriers and full-service carriers are the requirement for airport charges and the structure of airport terminals. This is primarily because the markets of these two airlines are also different; the market of low-cost carriers includes the economy class and the middle-income passengers while the market of full-service carriers includes the business, executive and the first class passengers.

The low-cost carriers wanted to give their passengers value to their money by giving only the most essential services while the full-service carriers can charge more expensive fare rate to their passengers along with a full-service accommodations such as serving of food and drinks, lavatory use and sometime limousine services on the ground. In terms of airport terminals, low-cost carriers want airports to have shopping and catering because they do not provide such services inside the plane. Full-service carriers may not require airports of their choice for such services because they already provide the needs of the passengers on board.

Full-service carriers may also require airports to provide their passengers a separate airbridge for the comfort of their passengers. Critique The study provided a good explanation on the demands of low-cost airlines but did not give justice to the title of the article because it does not provide a clear list of the demand of the full-service airlines. Instead, the article provided a discussion on how the low-cost airlines changed the needs for airports and the trends in the airport business. It does not compare and contrast the demands for airport of full-service carriers and low-cost carriers as the title of the article suggests.

The limitation of the research is that it focused so much on the demands of the low-cost carriers and assumed that the readers are already aware of the demands for airport of full-service carriers thus further research about the choice factors for airports of other airline types must be conducted. Another further research that can complement this research is a study about how airports both primary and secondary hubs meet the demand of airlines. In conducting such research studies, it would be better to interview not only one but many airlines and airport businesses to come up with more reliable and more comprehensive results.

Nevertheless, the research is a useful resource in studying airline and airport industry and competition. The study utilised earlier studies that served as the primary sources of a qualitative research like this.

References: Barret, Sean (2004), How do the demands for airport services differ between full-service carriers and low-cost carriers? Journal of Air Transport Management Volume 10, pp. 33-39 Gardiner, John (2006) An International Study of the airport choice factors for http://www.tiaca.org

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