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 The low cost airline revolution

The low cost airline model epitomised by the likes of Ryanair in Europe and South West Airlines in the US are slowly coming to represent the future of the aviation industry.

Today more and more passengers are taking to the skies because of the competition provided by these carriers.

In the US, it has been estimated that the competition brought about by low cost, low fare airlines has saved the public billions of dollars. And this trend is being replicated around the globe.

The Middle East and Africa are the next regions where the low cost air travel phenomenon is set to take hold, according to Rimize Ismail, Head of Services Initiatives & Customer Affairs, Dubai Airports.

Ismail is a speaker at the marcus evans Service Quality Excellence Conference taking place in Mumbai, India on 22-23 September.

With a new economic reality being faced by people the world over this business model fits right in where a lower disposable income has become the norm, she believes.

“This is the future. If you look at Dubai we never even thought of it for a long time as we were always focused on legacy, long haul carriers like Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways. Air Arabia took off five years ago in Sharjah and has really proven itself to be a fantastic model of running a low cost airline in the region. That propelled the success of Fly Dubai today a Dubai-based low cost airline.”

Ismail underlines the inevitability that this will become a dominant model in the future.

“It’s just a matter of time. If you look at the history of low cost airlines; Southwest Airlines started about 20 years ago in the US and it was a domestic operation because there was a lot of domestic travel. Nobody thought it would ever take off till the likes of Ryanair and AirAsia X and even Easy Jet came into the equation and showed how the model works, which is not diluting the traffic of the long haul or the legacy airlines.

“They have actually created a new market of travellers who never flew before because they couldn’t afford it. They can now fly to shorter destinations for the weekend for half the price and it’s affordable. They have changed the model of the travelling public.”

The low cost, low fares model migrated originally from the US to Europe into the Far East and eventually to Australasia. It is now taking off in the Middle East 10 years late, says Ismail.

“It will soon move into Africa and more and more of these airlines will fly into airports that are not in the capital hence serving a regional market at a more affordable price.

It’s the large economies and large populated countries that will be the growth areas for low cost airlines – India, China, Brazil and Russia,” she predicts.

The marcus evans Service Quality Excellence Conference is taking place in Mumbai, India on 22-23 September.





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