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CAPA Low Cost Airports and Terminals Report 2022 - Part 1

Premium Analysis

In 2006 and 2009 CAPA published two research reports into what was then a new phenomenon: the ‘low cost airport', or ‘low cost terminal’ (LCAT).

Both arose out of the explosion of budget airline services across the world, led by airlines such as Ryanair, easyJet and later Wizz Air in Europe, and AirAsia in the Asia Pacific region, and the new demands they placed on airports.

Those airports often included substantial marketing support and sometimes zero charge landing fees for a number of years. Even, in some cases, a request that airports should actually pay the airline to fly there, justified by additional jobs created and by back of the envelope projections of how many extra tourists the municipalities that owned the airports would receive by way of these new services.

It is fair to say that the entire mechanism of airport management was thrown into disarray and rapid solutions had to be found. One of those solutions was the LCAT – although it was rarely a silver bullet on account of the response of network airlines, which often felt, not unreasonably, that they were being discriminated against.

Now, 13 years on, this is one of three short reports that looks at how the ‘phenomenon’ has progressed – if it has – and specifically at some of the airports which did build LCC-specific terminals or promote themselves as LCC-oriented airports.

Have they been of any benefit? Have they had to adapt further, for example as both LCCs and full service carriers edged in the same ‘hybrid’ direction?

This Part 1 serves as the introduction and also looks at examples in North America and Latin America.

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