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Back in June at the 'CAPA LCCs in North Asia Summit' (held in Seoul, South Korea) I was invited in a panel discussion on the topic of: What do Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) want from airports?
The simple answer, as I see it, is that LCCs want the same as all carriers, when it comes to airports: lower operating costs, greater value and more agility.
To elaborate on these key themes, here are five things LCCs want from airports, and how airports can provide them.
No two carriers are identical. Yet most airports offer a ‘one size fits all’ solution, rather than one which is adaptable, agile, and customizable to suit the unique and constantly evolving needs of airlines.
For example, the business model of some LCCs requires travelers to check in online or pay an additional charge at the airport. Therefore, their use of check-in and service desks is much lower when compared to other carriers. Ideally, those LCCs would like to pay less, since they are using less.
With a one size fits all airport solution, this is not possible. All airlines are charged a flat fee for use of the service desks. A more flexible system would only charge for what they actually use. This of course requires…
In order to facilitate a more flexible pay-per-use system, airports will need to provide greater transparency with regards to the actual use of airport facilities.
For example: How many boarding passes were printed per airline? How many desks were actually used and for what period of time?
The cloud-based Amadeus ACUS solution is able to provide usage data so that airlines have a better understanding of their usage.
LCCs and airlines in general want consistency of service, whichever airport they are operating in.
A consistent service across multiple airports reduces complexity of operations and establishes a baseline of customer expectations. It means staff need to be trained on fewer systems and removes the need for specialist staff with knowledge of specific programs.
Rostering is also made easier, as without the need for specialist knowledge across multiple systems, more staff have the skills needed to complete operations.
2. Simpler networks with fewer connections
With a typical common use system, airlines are responsible for their own Departure Control System (DCS)-to-Airport connectivity. It means the airline has to pay for a link between its DCS and each airport.
A better method is leveraging cloud computing. Using this technology, we remove networking costs by eliminating the need for airlines to provide dedicated communication links to each airport. Instead, they can use a single, secure Airline-to-Amadeus connection, while we manage the airport connectivity for all airlines.
1. Greater value
Of course, cost will always be the primary driver for low cost carriers.
They are not looking for all the options and benefits that a full service carrier might expect; they want cost effectiveness. More than anything, they want airports to offer lower costs and the best value possible.
Ultimately, the demand for greater flexibility, transparency, consistency and simpler networking is being driven by the desire for greater value from airports. LCCs want more efficient systems that actively lower their costs.
Learn more about Amadeus ACUS on our website.