Growth is important for the survival of the airlines, whether it is the legacy network carriers or the low-cost carriers (LCCs) operating in the niche, short-haul markets. Since the LCCs operate in the niche segment under many self-imposed restrictions and limitations with the ultimate aim of providing cheap air tickets to the customers, the continuous process of growth and consolidation on the markets becomes important. It is also a fact that due to operation in the niche segment the market becomes mature over a period of time and there is a need for the LCC operators to do prospecting for the opportunities in the long-haul sectors. The long-haul sectors do have their own additional costs since the time of the flight becomes more and the needs of the passengers such as the requirement of meals, provision for more space for comfort, in-flight entertainment and some other services increase with the increase in the time of the flights.
If the LCCs have to keep offering the cheap international flights to the people, maintaining the vital differentiation from the network carriers, then these cannot provide all the services and facilities which the network carriers provide to the customers. At the same time, there is also a need to provide the upgraded services to the customers since the comfort of the passengers cannot be ignored on the long-haul international flights. This requires the airlines to move away from their policy of providing the no-frills services to the policy of providing the fewer-frills services.
There have been many instances of the LCC carriers plying on the long-haul routes. The Air Asia of Malaysia and the Tiger Airlines of Singapore has been doing it for quite some time now. The LCC operators from India such as Spicejet, Go Indigo and Jet Airways also have plans to begin the cheap international flights on long-haul routes. But, this will require making well-considered and judicious decisions on the upgrading of services, balancing the low-cost model with the passenger comfort.
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