The history of budget airlines is the history of the designed austerity of airport terminals. Reducing the amount of time that an aircraft is grounded is essential to the budget airline business model as it reduces airport costs and allows more flights per day. In addition to speeding up the process of disembarking passengers, cleaning the aircraft, and embarking passengers, this includes reducing the time and costs associated with jet bridges, ramp operators, airport crew and liaisons with the gate.
Over the past two decades, airports have changed and built dedicated terminals to meet these budget airline requirements. Low-cost design, lack of airbridges, thermal cooling instead of air conditioning, offices without fixtures, minimum services and affordable shops: budget terminals are less expensive than regular ones, but they have not been designed with flexibility. In 2020, low-cost carriers accounted for about 35% of the world’s total seat capacity, but if travel trends change, or the agreements between the air carriers and the airports cease, airports risk becoming unused buildings.
The video shown in the windows of this terminal-inspired installation depicts this evolution. Based on Ryanair’s 35 years of activity, the timetable shows its network of destinations and air bases. Information about its subsidiaries runs along the rope barriers.
An Economic Analysis of the Low-Cost Airline Industry (Oct 2020) Link
Small regional airport performance and Low cost carrier operations (2017) Link
AirAsia Urges Malaysia to Build More Low-Cost Terminals, Cut Taxes (2006) Link
Low-Cost Airports for Low-Cost Airlines: Flexible Design to Manage the Risks (2007) Link
Under one roof – designing low-cost terminals (2011) Link
How much noise reduction at airports? (2010) Link
Cinzia Bongino is a graphic, information and web designer. She develops projects focused on current geopolitical issues with a strong research background. Tackling systems and infrastructure from different entry points, she usually conveys multiple layers of information and narration into accessible databases.