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Effective Traffic Handling and Implication on Low Cost Carriers in India

Autor:   •  June 30, 2017  •  4,773 Words (20 Pages)  •  349 Views

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Concept of Low Cost Secondary Airports

The concept of secondary airports is close to that of reliever airports situated close to major primary commercial airports. The difference in secondary airports is that it operates as a full time airport with scheduled airliners having home base at that airport. The secondary airport aims at providing the minimum facilities required for airliners to conduct their operations while not compensating on safety and security. The overall investment made to construct the airport is much lower than that of constructing a primary airport. The archetype of airport planning and design changes fundamentally in secondary airports. Low cost airliners have become driving factors for the development of low cost airports. Secondary airports in metropolitan areas act as a supplement to primary airports creating a parallel network among major cities. Innovative low cost airliners could look at using the low cost secondary airports to reduce their airport charges. In primary airports in India, low cost carriers often end up paying a large amount of their operational costs in airport charges. This could act as an added burden to airliners along with high ATF charges. Airport planners and operators must look to develop this multi-airport system in metropolitan airports that serve a large air traffic. With low cost carriers handling a large passenger share in the market, they could be the driving factors to development of low cost airports. LCC’s catalyze the development of cheaper airport terminals which have designs much different than traditional terminals. The competition between legacy carriers and the low cost carriers in their operation costs could prove to be a challenge for airport operators to handle. But from an airport operator’s view, the secondary airport should be treated as a support system or a supplement to handling traffic to the primary airport. To avoid conflict of interest with the primary airport operator a concept of single ownership of both the primary and secondary airport is introduced in this paper. Also, the rule that a new Greenfield project within 150 km of a current existing airport is not allowed by the government will be challenged and scrutinized. The benefits of repealing this rule will be studied in this paper. Looking into the horizon, it is not going to be far when major airports across the country will be looking to develop secondary support airports in close proximities. The 150 kilometer rule is mainly held to protect the interests of the airport operator. But the single ownership concept or the multi-airport ownership by a single owner could help solve this issue.

Concepts relating to reducing building and operational costs of secondary airports will be discussed. The overall issues to be concentrated on during the planning and development of secondary airports are –

- What kind of airport and airport facilities are to be provided.

- Effective ways of encouraging traffic at the airport and benefits to airlines.

- To make the airport economically efficient and not let excessive costs diminish returns.

A secondary airport will only be successful if there is enough traffic at the metropolitan area, that some traffic can be diverted off the primary airport. Also only if the airport is economically sustainable by itself. The secondary airports models of Gatwick and Stansted to the primary Heathrow airport will be studied. The passenger perspective and the airliner perspective play a major role in defining the success of secondary airports as well as primary factors. For both passengers and cargo handlers, a secondary airport seems more attractive, if it provides convenient access to flights and destinations as compared with primary airports. Transfer passengers often look to land at primary airports, as they do not wish to change airports to change aircrafts. Hence the major source of income in terms of passenger revenues for secondary airports are from originating passengers. Originating passengers usually consider two factors, which is the frequency of flights from the airports and also the geographical location of the airport. Passengers usually consider the former, as higher frequency of flights also means more options for passengers to choose their time of flight. Airlines also respond accordingly to this. Airliners usually choose airports that give them a commercial advantage. Apart from airlines using secondary airports when there is some technical snag at the primary airport, low cost airliners would always look to increase their economic efficiency of their flights. That is, look for airports charging lower landing and parking charges. Secondary airports usually become attractive if it provides a good market. That is, if the secondary airports provide high passenger volumes, airliners look to operate out of them. In the case of Indian airports, secondary airports [1]are required to share the growing traffic levels at primary airports. And for a country dominated by low cost carriers, secondary airports could prove as a boon for them to reduce their airport charges.

An outlook of a successful Secondary Airport model:

London has 5 major airports out of which London-Heathrow is the main airport and London-Gatwick and London-Stansted act as the secondary airports. Heathrow servers as a gateway to the world by serving the highest number of international passenger traffic while Gatwick is the base for many LCC’s such as Monarch, Flybe, Ryanair, Easyjet, etc as well as FSC’s such as Turkish Airlines, Garuda, Caribbean, etc. On the other hand Stansted serves the Commercial traffic, VIP movements and the major portion of the general aviation traffic. Heathrow operates at its 99% for the majority of the time and with no room for further expansion both Gatwick and Stansted play a vital role in serving the ever increasing passenger traffic.

The facilities and service provided by all of these airports are very similar with the distance from central London being a distinguishing factor. The Heathrow Airport in 22 kms from Central London while the Gatwick and Stansted are both 48 kms south and north-east respectively.




Passenger Traffic ‘14 (in mil)

73.4 mil

38 mil

20 mil

Increase in traffic



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