Aviation Business News

Low Cost & Regional May/June 2024

Low Cost and Regional May/June 2024

Bonza Airlines was launched in a blaze of publicity last year. Headed by an ex- Virgin Blue chief, equipped with brand- new aircraft and with a cheeky, but very Australian brand image it looked like it was going to wake up the competition with its low fares and all-economy cabins. However, just 15 months after launching, it was all over. Within hours of the airline posting a notice saying that flights had been “temporarily suspended” all of the aircraft had been repossessed and other airlines were blatantly trying to poach the crews.

If you think this kind of risk goes with running a low-cost model, that isn’t always the case. In the northern hemisphere, BermudAir launched with an all-business class configuration on its E-jet fleet. However, within weeks of the launch, the airline gave up on that idea and reconfigured the cabins to a more conventional two class layout (I wonder where they got the seats at such short notice?).

It isn’t just regional carriers that are feeling the heat. Norwegian’s all-economy transatlantic flights were not a success (and a couple of the almost new A350-900s went straight to the breaker). Cast your mind back a few years and you might remember Silverjet, MaxJet, Air1 or any of a dozen other business-class airlines that popped up in the early 2000s, only to disappear as fast as they came.

Meanwhile, carriers that once boasted about how they were ‘pure-play’ or ‘ultra low-cost’ are now introducing a bewildering array of seats and upgrades. Southwest, once the poster child of the modern LCC, now has a four-class layout on some flights.

I guess the moral of the story here is that while you can cram an aluminium tube full of passengers, they won’t ever all fit in the same box.

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