February 27, 2019

Open skies and a low-cost revolution

February was a busy month for Skyscanner: our industry experts attended three CAPA events around the globe. If you weren’t able to attend, here’s a quick summary of what was discussed and some key takeaways from our senior leadership team.

CAPA Qatar Aviation Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit 2019 / Doha, 5-6 February

The event centred on the overall regulatory background for the aviation sector, with a particular focus on the open skies policy.

Hugh Aitken, Skyscanner’s Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships, delivered a keynote speech around Asia’s emerging markets and how open skies policies have resulted in traffic expansion. Using exclusive Skyscanner data, he highlighted how the liberalisation of the skies is benefitting travellers and pointed out that increases in demand help airlines offer competitive prices. This will result in new opportunities for direct routes (previously underserved) that will ultimately enhance the overall travel experience.

CAPA India Aviation Summit 2019 / New Delhi, 12-14 February

In India, demand is soaring, thanks to a growing middle class with higher disposable incomes. In fact, Indian carriers are expected to deploy 30 to 35 aircrafts on international routes by the end of the year. Given the large proportion of Indians looking for efficient, affordable routes, there was one key question amongst delegates: would this demand open the door for India to be a long-haul hub for low cost carriers (LCCs)?

Gavin Harris, Director, Commercial at Skyscanner, discussed these opportunities for Indian LCCs while on a panel with other industry leaders. Having become the dominant model on domestic routes, many are now looking at aggressively expanding their international footprints. Using insights from our Travel Insights data, Gavin revealed the international routes with high search volumes on Skyscanner that do not have a 'direct' flight option.

CAPA Global LCCs Summit 2019 / Singapore, 25-26 February

Most recently, Hugh Aitken, Skyscanner’s Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships, sat on a panel discussing the drivers behind the low-cost travel revolution as well as the impediments to growth in the sector. He argued that, whilst there is still room to scale, airlines need to understand that traveller behaviour is changing, and work to ‘be where the traveller is’ to remain competitive. This means thinking mobile-first is absolutely crucial to LCC’s success.