The network of low cost carriers usually consists of short- or medium-haul flights, emphasizing point-to-point transit instead of transfers at hubs in order to enhance aircraft use and eliminate disruption (P1). Therefore low cost carriers typically operate single fleet type, providing commonality and flexibility benefits. The Boeing 737 and Airbus 320 are the most popular aircrafts used by low cost carriers around the world; both are known for their relative fuel efficiency, operational flexibility and reliability. Handling two different types of fleet is a challenge for low cost airlines. It adds to training and maintenance costs, which is why most low cost carriers fly a single fleet type. They gain economies of scale in terms of maintenance, spare parts, tooling, crew training and scheduling. Uniformity in these areas translates into quicker turn times, higher aircraft utilisation and ultimately, increased revenue per seat (P3). Moreover, newer aircraft seem to be favoured in low cost carriers, despite the advantage of very low depreciation charges associated with older generation aircraft (P1). New aircrafts pay back in five or six years because they require very little maintenance (P3). Therefore low cost carriers prefer having new aircrafts rather than having several older aircrafts in a legacy fleet to maintain, each with their own idiosyncrasies (P2).
Quicker turn time is critical for the cost structures of low cost carriers; turn times of less than 20 minutes can help an aircraft reduce its costs by 10 percent. The sooner an aircraft flies back after a landing, the more it can be put to use, and considering the plane is an airline's most expensive asset, it needs to use it as much as possible. All of which translates into quicker turnarounds and, hence, more flying hours. On average, low cost carriers fly 11 to 13 hours a day compared to eight for legacy carriers. The commissary savings actually accrue under various...