For the first time in Northeast Asian aviation, low cost airlines are poised to overtake full service airlines in a significant way. The market concerned is that between Japan and Korea, where LCCs are rapidly growing, while full service airlines are decreasing capacity. Overall market size and visitor figures are at record highs. This refutes any legacy airline thinking that LCCs "steal" market share; LCCs are growing the market and becoming the future – as they already are in other parts in the world.
LCCs accounted for 1% of available seats between Japan and Korea in 2009, reached 37% in 2016, and so far in 2017 will account for 49% of the market. Limited airport data indicates that LCCs, operating at higher load factors, already transport more passengers than full service airlines, and by the end of 2017 LCCs should easily account for the majority of capacity.
LCCs already fly more airport pairs than their full service counterparts. The LCC development between Japan and Korea illustrates underlying LCC opportunity in Northeast Asia but also reflects on the importance of liberalisation, and for full service airlines to have efficient cost bases.
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