Sunday, January 31, 2010

Irregularly Scheduled Flights for Point-to-point Carriers

While air travel has experienced a significant drop in fares during last decade and numbers of travelers increased, lodging is now the biggest expanse for part of costumers. So far low cost carriers who tend to use point-to-point system has paid no attention on setting their schedules so that trip can be done with maximum days and minimum nights at the destination. Many of destinations are served just 2-4 times a week. A twice-daily service on mornings and evenings would be ideal for travelers but most of routes can not sustain so big passenger flow and aircrafts still need to be somehow utilized during the rest of day.
These low-frequency schedules are usually created assuming that flights must be distributed as evenly as possible trough the week so granting similar headways regardless whether the time between the flights is used on sightseeing and business or sleeping. I think an airline that offers a longer stay at destination city without additional night at hotel would definitely attract and induce new costumers.
How to achieve this? Actually it is very easy – joust bringing some mix in the morning and evening destinations.
Here is an example on aircraft from Wizz air Sofia base. Morning flights are performed to FCO and CLR, evening flights to BGY and BCN. If Wednesday’s and Sunday’s FCO flights are made in evening and BGY flights in morning, Thursday’s CLR flight in evening and BCN in morning we could get 6 superb city break possibilities.

Such transformations also create inconvenient flight pairs but – as LCC costumers are usually flexible with travel dates – most passengers will benefit from the shifted schedule. Midday destinations too can be put in other timing, but the gain will be much smaller.
The convenient flight pairs in mornings and evenings work symmetrically for travelers from booth cities. Actually - if the traffic flow is one sided - problems might appear on some segments. For hopelessly one-sided traffic - to a tourist resort for instance - midday or night flights would suit better.

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