Low-cost carriers operate no-frills point-to-point services, focusing on medium and short-haul origin-destination markets. Indeed, low-cost airlines sell to travellers a product with very simple features, which enable them to operate at a much lower cost per unit of output, compared to full-service carriers. Over the last decade, low-cost carriers have dramatically increased their market shares and nowadays they control about the 20% of the intra-European market in terms of flight frequencies and more than the 30% in terms of seats offered in the same market. This paper presents an overview of the operational, economic and environmental performances of a sample of European low-cost carriers. Different methodologies and indices are applied in order to obtain a set of quantitative results, so that proper comparisons can be conducted and general conclusions can be drawn.
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