Lessons for African LCCs:Designing for a Low Cost Airline

How does one design for a low cost airline? There are a limited number of options if you want to save costs. As has been explained in a previous post, companies must know where it is crucial to ensure quality and where costs can be cut.

In order to win awards, such as the best low cost airline award, by Skytrax’s World Airline Awards, airline companies must save money on things such as extras/options and personnel costs by, for example, having them fill multiple roles. The money low cost airlines can save must be invested in increasing efficiency (further saving costs) and in areas passengers hold in high regard such as the feeling of safety.

AirAsia is the winner of the low cost category for best airline. How did they do it? They are innovation oriented. AirAsia is a pioneer in finding new ways to cut costs while still meeting the needs of its passengers. A British study has shown that they have the lowest unit cost and breakeven point and even say that they are like a Ryan Air clone. Furthermore, they claim to have costs below 2 cents per km. That means they can continue to invest in new innovations.

Ryan Air, compared to its competition such as Air Berlin which was the second best budget airline in the world and Europe’s best by Skytrax, could be considered bare-bones, but that is what its passengers are looking for; the cheapest possible flight. Ryan Air is not only about the lowest possible prices. They know how to market themselves.
Let’s have a look at their corporate design, specifically. A part of this includes the colors they use. Yellow is attention-grabbing and blue is calming and reassuring. That is a good combination because you want to grab people’s attention and keep people calm and give them the feeling of security.

Ryan Air was not awarded anything in the by the World Airline Awards, but in spite of this, they are one of the largest airlines in the world according to passengers carried. They designed their service to meet certain needs and omit others.

To finish off, I would like to ask a few questions. Do you think the award winning AirAsia will also be one of the largest airlines by passengers flown? Do budget airlines such as AirAsia or Ryan Air meet your needs, or would you design a low cost airline differently? Lastly, why do you think Ryan Air has so many more passengers than Europe’s best low cost airline, Air Berlin?

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Article Courtesy:Thomas C. Mylonas
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