The transferability of the low-cost model to long-haul airline operations

Since their emergence in the US in the mid-1970s there has been significant growth in the low-cost airline sector but with a few notable exceptions low-cost airlines have operated on short-haul routes. This paper examines the extent to which the low-cost model is, or could be, applicable to long-haul operations and whether the recent emergence of long-haul low-cost carriers is a sustainable phenomenon. The authors explore the extent to which elements of the so-called low-cost model might be transferable to long-haul operations. The paper seeks to quantify the potential cost differentials that might be achievable on a long-haul ‘no-frills’ service. The paper also speculates as to the development and sustainability of the low-cost long-haul operations.