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.
- 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.
- 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.