Maik Hüttinger, Vincentas Rolandas Giedraitis

The low-fare airline business has dramatically changed the face of commercial aviation in Europe. The main idea and strategy of airlines following this approach is to focus on cheap fares rather than comfort for passengers. However, the majority of low-fare airlines do not simply copy a given system of their competitors; rather, they design their own strategy by implementing various elements which can be considered as “low-fare”-related. The authors of this article seek to lay a theoretical groundwork in the analysis of low-fare airlines. We employ the “McDonaldization” model of economic sociologist George Ritzer, which was heavily influenced by the German economist and sociologist Max Weber, to analyze cost-saving methods of the Irish airline Ryanair.
The authors show how McDonaldization is able to mirror and describe this current trend in the aviation business. According to the results of this study, ‘Ryanair’ (and not its American counterpart Southwest Airlines often used as a synonym for low-fare airlines) is the airline which has most radically applied the low-fare idea.


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