Dynamic evolution of European airport systems in the context of Low-Cost Carriers growth
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Airport systems adapted to the influx of Low-Cost Carriers (LCC) as the segment grew in prominence in the European market during the last decades. The generalised perspective that LCCs are attached to remote secondary airports is being increasingly challenged by recent moves of the largest European LCC. The reality is that the impact of LCCs has spread to most commercial airports in Europe, primary and secondary alike. Yet, despite valuable insights on the evolution of airline networks, the existing literature lacks a clear understanding of why this has occurred. This paper explains the dynamics in the evolution of airports systems that resulted in significant growth for the low-cost segment in Europe. A multiple case study involving 42 European airports was used to identify the mechanisms that triggered the traffic patterns leading to the ascendency of LCCs in their respective airport systems. Understanding these mechanisms may prove valuable for supporting airport strategic planning.