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Low-Cost Carriers have different business models than those that are characteristic of legacy carriers. This may also mean that the way safety is managed within the company is different. Budget airlines are arguably safer than many of their traditional “full service” airline competitors for a number of reasons:
• Newer Planes
• Streamlined maintenance
• Motivation to keep a flawless safety record
Low-Cost Carriers have especially caught on in emerging markets, taking 60% of commercial flight seating in Asia as of 2014. Thanks to reduced market barriers in aviation, i.e. relaxed regulations, they have been able to attain greater revenues and market shares, in part due to their flexibility compared to major airlines. Though typically used for short-haul flights, LCCs are rapidly making inroads into the medium-haul market, putting greater pressure on commercial airlines. In Europe, the growth of LCCs has led to airlines relocating bases and aircraft to their home countries, shifting demand for pilots to these areas. To meet new demand, firms such as easyJet have partnered with pilot-training curricula to create new programs, graduates of which will immediately be promoted to licensed co-pilots at the firm. 50,000 new pilots and 36,000 new captains will be needed to staff these and other European fleets by 2027.

Potential hazard

  1. Although this way of operating is not necessarily better or worse, the fact that it is different may result in unforeseen misunderstandings, (e.g., in safety oversight by the authorities), or when it comes to joint (low-cost and legacy airline) safety initiatives. EasyJet and Rynair both display very high levels of safety awareness, initiative, and performance.
  2. Some reports from confidential safety monitoring programs, expressed the view that “aggressively commercial ethos” of low-cost airlines could endanger passengers. Some pilots – primarily flying for budget operators – were reported as being under “extreme pressure” to achieve punctual take-off and landing times.

Corroborating sources and comments

2014 – Until recently FTL were based more on operational practices under development since the 1950s rather than on scientific or medical understanding. With the introduction of the low cost carrier (LCC) business model of intensive short haul operations on the one hand, and the ultra long-range (ULR) operations now being conducted on the other, the robustness of these regulations is being pressure tested by line operations. With the burgeoning variety and complexity of commercial air transport operations, these schemes have become ever more complicated to the point where the effectiveness of current FTLs to protect pilots from risk-inducing levels of fatigue have become questionable.

THE AIRLINE INDUSTRY: Trends, Challenges, Strategies; John Wensveen, Ph.D. Dean, School of Aviation, Dowling College, New York, USA;

Counterpoint view:

Most budget airlines only came into existence in the last decade, and as a result have some of the newest models of airplanes currently in service that have the latest safety mechanisms and procedures.

As well as having new planes, budget airlines also typically use only one model of plane. The Boeing 737 is the most popular aircraft used by low cost carriers around the world. By only having one model of aircraft in their fleet, budget airlines streamline their maintenance and repair costs and make staff training much easier, rather than having several different types of older airplanes in a legacy fleet to maintain, each with their own idiosyncrasies.—lccs-still-dominate-the-agenda-as-flag-carriers-restructure-209083 (Insights into the Asian air market, projected to be one of the fastest-growing in 2015; discusses the influence of Low-Cost Carriers, or LCCs, in generating revenue as more major airlines falter.) (Cites the development and increasing market share of LCCs as being caused by lower market barriers and deregulations worldwide.)

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