The global financial and economic crisis has created many problems for airlines - falling business and 1st class passenger revenues, increased insurance costs, problems in getting loan finance, volatile exchange rate and the challenges of steep increases in aviation fuel prices to name just a few. We could also add the shockwaves from the spring 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the Arab Spring and a decline in tourism, and the steadily deteriorating global economic outlook - with the Euro Zone crisis threatening a second recession for Western Europe.
But discount airlines - carriers that offer no-frills and charge plenty for extras on top of low basic fares - seem to have fared pretty well despite the turbulent conditions. Many passengers now appear willing to sacrifice luxury for cheaper flights and there are plenty of news stories of low-cost airlines in Europe, Asia and Africa who are announcing expanded route maps for 2012 and beyond.
What economic factors help explain the continued expansion of low-cost airline carriers?
Low cost carriers flying high
Singapore Times: A testy year ahead for global aviation
BBC News: Business bites: Trade row fears over EU airline carbon emissions tax (December 2011)