Why Long-Haul Low-Cost Airlines Always Go Bankrupt

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Writing by Sam Denby
Research by Sam Denby and Tristan Purdy
Editing by Alexander Williard
Animation by Josh Sherrington
Sound by Graham Haerther
Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster

Select footage courtesy the AP Archive


  1. TendedTadpole2 Paparazzi

    TendedTadpole2 PaparazziKun oldin

    11:18 Don't worry, that sign is just for people who drank the beer in the past 24 hours

  2. georgesbv1

    georgesbv1Kun oldin

    Low-cost means the customers believe that they can reduce the cost by renouncing some services. It works for short haul since you can go on a quick city-break with a light luggage, you can squeeze a little more for a 1-2 hour flight. or skip in-flight snack.


    MEDICINA EM DIA7 kun oldin

    Considering Azul has lie flat beds should it still be considered low cost ???

  4. Shaun81000

    Shaun8100015 kun oldin

    12:53 what place is this? Looks cool

  5. Goytá F. Villela Jr.

    Goytá F. Villela Jr.17 kun oldin

    Since when is Azul a low-cost airline? Well, even mainline carriers are adopting low-cost methods, but being low-FARE is a different story. Azul may have slightly lower fares in its few long-haul routes (VCP to LIS, FLL, and seasonally OPO and MCO, as well as seasonal flights to these same destinations from other Brazilian airports), but Azul is a full-service carrier that competes with LATAM on those routes. Occasionally, LATAM can be even cheaper, and many passengers from São Paulo, by far the largest Brazilian aviation market, find it a nuisance to take a 1:30-2 hour road trip to distant Viracopos Airport, Azul's main base. However, everybody is unanimous that Azul's service is far better once you're on board.

  6. Matheus Bruno

    Matheus Bruno21 kun oldin

    Never though Azul as low cost cause price is Just 20% cheaper than others (at least flights in Sotheast Brasil), besides it has onboard service. But now I stopped to think and shit#@ they give me chips, soda and gummyes and still 20% cheaper".

  7. jacky mai

    jacky mai22 kun oldin

    The garrulous active only thaw because silver cytochemically tempt about a scary angle. vivacious, maddening french

  8. Marc Edward

    Marc Edward24 kun oldin

    I love how Cebu Pacific is included #FilipinoGang #Philippines I love both Philippine airlines Cebupacific and Philippine airlinss

  9. Sigen

    Sigen25 kun oldin

    The name is Norwegian Air Shuttle. Not Norwegian Airlines.

  10. LawrenceNL

    LawrenceNL27 kun oldin

    'Airlines' is a plural. While we're at it, so is 'phenomena'.

  11. TheSquarecow

    TheSquarecowOy oldin

    I think this video missed that both Tui and Condor are not really "stand alone" airlines, but are heavily intertwined with the german tourism industry. Tui by itself isn't an airline at all, it's a tourism conglomerate that owns hundreds of hotels and also happens to have its own airline. It's customers are mostly generated from package tours sold by TUI where the flight is one component of many and the customers don't care much one way or the other which airline is getting them to their favourite hotel. Condor is the tourism wing of Lufthansa (or at least used to be) and also gets its fair share of package tours. This is different busines model from "we transport passengers from A to B for price X".

  12. Mchannnel

    MchannnelOy oldin

    ZIPAIR is planned to be an long-haul LCC and I'm genuinely worried cuz they're aiming for an model close to Norwegian

  13. fabio cavaleri

    fabio cavaleriOy oldin

    I totally agree, Neos, a small liner company in Italy "born by Tui" and one of the few profitable here, work in the same way, few fly weekly and for tourist/low demand area

  14. Davis Byer

    Davis ByerOy oldin

    Westjet is no longer a low-cost airline. They abandoned the Southwest model years ago.

  15. Tom D

    Tom D2 oy oldin

    Such an interesting and thorough analysis!

  16. Nick Webster

    Nick Webster2 oy oldin

    Having a high number of hubs only works if the airline is based in an air market with multiple disparate hubs and a high population base. That pretty much means the US, the EU, Brazil, China, India, or Russia. I could definitely see one of the US-based ULCCs (Frontier, Spirit, et al) adding long-haul flights to underserved routes, such as Portland-Quito, Columbus-Seoul, or Buffalo-Lisbon. (I pretty much pulled those city pairs out of thin air.)

  17. Daniel Krajnik

    Daniel Krajnik2 oy oldin

    this is amazing also what's happened with the subtitles

  18. S I O M A I

    S I O M A I2 oy oldin

    When I heard Cebu Pacific, I looked

  19. carl rowland

    carl rowland2 oy oldin

    Not really fair comparisons as condor and tui’s passengers are mainly from the companies own travel agents.

  20. Maximus

    Maximus2 oy oldin

    WestJet wasn’t a low cost airline in my opinion. They’re the second largest airline in Canada

  21. jeturner99

    jeturner992 oy oldin

    4 ads during one video... Wendover what are you doing??

  22. Arvind

    Arvind2 oy oldin

    I like Half as Interesting more for the humor content

  23. YourPalAL

    YourPalAL2 oy oldin

    Suspiciously low prices make me nervous, especially when flying.

  24. 2 8

    2 8Oy oldin


  25. Robert Michaels

    Robert Michaels2 oy oldin

    Because fuel costs money

  26. Mudhaffar Adhwa

    Mudhaffar Adhwa3 oy oldin

    "stimulate demand on routes with low demand* Low cost, long haul airlines: opens Pyongyang to Washington DC route

  27. QuarioQuario54321

    QuarioQuario543213 oy oldin

    The captions think he’s speaking Vietnamese

  28. Alestra

    Alestra3 oy oldin

    Im sure TUI and Condors passengers are around 80% people who booked a whole Holiday with TUI or another company. Only a little percentage is booking only the flight which is why i wouldnt call them low-cost Airlines

  29. DOM solanke

    DOM solanke3 oy oldin

    As a Canadian we all know Westjet is not a low cost longhaul Airline, its literally the same prices as the legacy carrier Air Canada

  30. Matthew Riege

    Matthew Riege5 kun oldin

    Yeah, I feel like Air Transat would have been a much better candidate for this video.

  31. NekoRocket

    NekoRocket3 oy oldin

    Aircraft Utilization also has a high R2 at 0.1439. Is there a reason this isn't considered in this analysis?

  32. Noah

    Noah4 oy oldin

    More ✈️ Plane ✈️ Videos!!! ✈️

  33. Serg

    Serg4 oy oldin

    "statistics" on a dozen of observations

  34. Arya Pourtabatabaie

    Arya Pourtabatabaie4 oy oldin

    Please do a collab with TIK on the logistics of the WWII Eastern Front.

  35. aswler

    aswler4 oy oldin

    So interesting and clearly explained! I stopped travelling on a few European low-cost carriers because they started charging even for your standard-sized carry-on bag, only allowing a "purse" for free. I do not like this approach that they force me to reduce the size of my baggage even more. I am talking about Wizzair and Ryanair.

  36. jasonsuresh

    jasonsuresh4 oy oldin

    Norwegian made this mistake in the north of the UK. They started flights from Manchester, the most saturated market in the north of England, rather than going to nearby big cities that had no long haul flights (Leeds/Liverpool) where they could have swept up a burgeoning market. The airline industry is often held back by not enough out the box thinking and too much focused on the tried and tested - where success has been achieved it has been through changing the system like with Ryanair going into all the smaller airports that flag carriers hadn't even given a second thought to.

  37. Milan Svitek

    Milan Svitek4 oy oldin

    R.I.P. Wow Air... Flying between Canada and Europe for a hundred bucks... Was nice while it lasted :(

  38. Chris Rebehn

    Chris Rebehn4 oy oldin

    Loving this video, but you should have had a look at ownership and alliances, which appear to be a huge success factor besides network design. What sets TUI and Condor apart is that they are part of massive, fully integrated tourism companies. That means that when you go to a TUI travel agent, they will likely book you into a TUI-owned hotel and in a chartered seat on a TUI flight. Now, logically, the flights will go from where their customers are to where their hotels are while schedules and capacities are closely linked. I would assume that they fill most if not all of their seats throught this channel; I've literally never seen a TUI flight publicly sold online, you have to get a charter seat from your travel agent. Consider also that the highly profitable Condor had to be bailed out when their parent company (with its tour operators, hotels, and travel agencies) went out of business and the charter seats were lost. They also don't really have a hub model, they just depart from as close as they can to as many of their customers as possible. At the same time, Scoot, Jetstar, Azul and WestJet have codeshare and interline agreements with mainline carriers (the parent companies for the former two, and a whole lot of international airlines for the latter) which creates synergies between both business models and gifts the LCC with additional passengers who use them to connect to their final destination; the LCC owned by full service carriers are even strategically used to service low-frequency routes or leisure destinations to expand the mainline network. Lufthansa has used this logic to cut cost (and prices!) in the short-haul market when it transferred all routes outside their main hubs to Eurowings and had them open some to holiday destinations. Other LCCs partner with foreign airlines looking to expand their market access in certain regions without having to open new routes themselves - Air Berlin's fateful Etihad partnership was one of those. AirAsia X likely tried to emulate that model trusting in their own substantial route network in the region but failed to take into account that most of their feeder markets already have direct long haul flights (from BKK, SIN, CGK, HKT, DPS, etc.)

  39. GoinManta

    GoinManta4 oy oldin

    Got a question I havent seen answered yet.. In June ticket to Berlin is a one stop for $800 DC thru Frankfurt. Frankfurt Nonstop from DC is $1800. Guess what ?? Same flight to Frankfurt. Also when I try to get a one way ita cheaper to get a round trip... Can you Explain that..?

  40. fighter5583

    fighter55834 oy oldin

    So from my understanding, when Norwegian tried doing Low cost long haul flights, they were setting themselves up to fail given the numerous carriers flying those same routes. Not to mention dealing with 3 huge airline groups.

  41. Gregor Alexander

    Gregor Alexander4 oy oldin

    Damn, watching this in 2029 remembering when covid was harmless compared to now. 2020- the good ol’ days

  42. Serenity17

    Serenity174 oy oldin

    I'm so sad wow air went out of business. The cost to go to Amsterdam is now 2.5x what is used to be... I didn't know how good I had it back then.

  43. LMLMD

    LMLMD2 oy oldin

    Yep. It's like when Air Asia X pulled out of Europe. London to Perth via KL for under £300? Happy days...

  44. Tekno77

    Tekno772 oy oldin

    Wait you're alive!! Bro I miss your r6 vids even though I don't play r6 anymore.

  45. karebu2

    karebu24 oy oldin

    So low cost long haul airlines are just messing with passengers by selling them food on a cart when it actually doesn’t cost them much

  46. tim berry

    tim berry4 oy oldin

    Tui Is not really an airline. The vast majority of tui passengers are on package holidays booked with TUI therefore generating passengers that generally wouldn't exist without the package holiday.

  47. henanigans

    henanigans4 oy oldin

    3:15 why are all of these regressions linear? I would think you'd get a better r²-value for at least some of them if you tried different graphs (exponential for example)

  48. Remco F. Gerritsen

    Remco F. Gerritsen4 oy oldin

    So much math

  49. Cássio Lins

    Cássio Lins4 oy oldin

    The fun thing is that Azul is actually the most expensive (in average) airline for domestic flights in Brazil.

  50. Double - You

    Double - You4 oy oldin

    The sole reason West Jet is profitable is because Air Canada is just so damn bad, the could serve shit sandwiches for lunch and people would still fly West Jet.

  51. Jack McLane

    Jack McLane4 oy oldin

    TUI is also a full scale vacation corporation with travel agencies, resorts and everything related to (upper) middle class vacationing. They can fill their planes also with their own customers. You can see that they primarily connect semi-exotic vacation destinations to europe. Other than vacationing, long haul flights are MOSTLY for business travellers... those that don't ultimately care about 50€ cheaper ticket prize, because it's not them that pay it. They prefer a juicy bonus program, lounge access and status miles. There are not that many people with intercontinental family ties.

  52. Thomas G

    Thomas G4 oy oldin

    Ryan air??? Low cost????????

  53. Sailor

    Sailor4 oy oldin

    tl;dr, blue ocean strategy good.

  54. Robert Andrews

    Robert Andrews5 oy oldin

    What's the point of these subscription based learning programs? If passing a class doesn't help get a job, how can it benefit someone taking the classes? I'm guessing it's just if you want to learn something, if only the classes would help with credential.

  55. Charlie

    Charlie5 oy oldin

    Jet star is owned by QANTAS, and does both long and short haul flights in Australia. It also helps that the biggest competitor to Qantas went under first with Ansett and then Virgin

  56. Aviraj Singh Mehta

    Aviraj Singh Mehta5 oy oldin

    The R square values are a joke All the variables are not at all useful

  57. Kevin Lombardo

    Kevin Lombardo5 oy oldin

    In the time since this has come out, norwegian has also gone under for long haul.

  58. Tim Thompson

    Tim Thompson5 oy oldin

    Low cost in words! A myth, but not in price!...All added extras/baggage/food/seating...etc...Adds up to high cost scheduled travel.. Reason for Banktruptcy!

  59. Tegos

    Tegos5 oy oldin

    Azul Airlines operated long-haul flights at reduced costs until 2019, I believe. I remember their flight from São Paulo to Fort Lauderdale was a lot cheaper than other flights from Brazil to the US. But from what I've seen in 2019 and 2020, they raised their prices to match other airlines in Brazil. I'm pretty sure the lower prices was a wonderful PR move for them, though. They've been regarded as the best airline in Brazil for a while now. PS: good job on your pronunciation of "Recife".

  60. Khalid Abdulghani

    Khalid Abdulghani5 oy oldin

    Ironic how after this video was released Norwegian has permanently suspended long haul operations with their Dreamliner. 😢 hopefully not more to come though 🤞

  61. Shian

    Shian5 oy oldin

    3:15 Label your damn axes 🤦‍♀️

  62. hitempguy

    hitempguy5 oy oldin

    While the r2 of a linear regression can vary in the result, anything as low as 15% is for all intents and purposes useless. Not that I'd expect anything less from this channel. Pushing pseudo-knowledge of topics is not the same as being an expert, always hilarious when you run off the cliff of not knowing shit from shinola

  63. Lee247

    Lee2475 oy oldin

    I see a Tui 787-9 every month at kingston BA competes with them with the 777 200ERs i would rather fly tui to where it goes in UK rather than BA

  64. Sergei Garbar

    Sergei Garbar5 oy oldin

    Only Sami Puro knows the answer. )))

  65. ChrisYeoh

    ChrisYeoh5 oy oldin

    Norwegian Long Haul is now kaput! The next one would be AirAsia X.

  66. LP Pokefan

    LP Pokefan5 oy oldin

    Who is here after Norwegian decided to cancel it's long-haul business?

  67. tuban body slammer

    tuban body slammer5 oy oldin

    R^2 of .36, .16 or .15 is not correlated at all, also the .36 you should remove the high leverage point at the top right. this video is rediculus

  68. Guilherme Moritz

    Guilherme Moritz5 oy oldin

    By Brazilian standards AZUL is not a low-cost carrier, it is actually the expensive one, even in the long haul market. Brazilian's low-cost carrier is GOL.

  69. Pétrou Velteau

    Pétrou Velteau5 oy oldin

    9:58 what the hell is that woman doing

  70. WithTheWorks

    WithTheWorks5 oy oldin

    Recognizing that 'data' is plural and using the appropriate grammar is my kink

  71. Lars Gravdal

    Lars Gravdal5 oy oldin

    Here after Norwegian quitting long-haul to even stay afloat. Take a look at its share price to see how much they're struggling, efficiently bankrupt.

  72. Roberth Sjonøy

    Roberth Sjonøy5 oy oldin

    Norwegian has just announced that they getting out of the long -haul business.

  73. Jim Heeren

    Jim HeerenOy oldin

    damn shame

  74. Violan Miro

    Violan Miro5 oy oldin

    Your method in using statics is fundamentally flawed. A R2 of 0.36 is not conclusive. Linear regression with only one variable is not the standard procedure. If you absolutely want to make a regression, you should do one with multiple variables and try different models. But you shouldn't even try using regression methods first, because you can't be sure that your variables are independent. Onr method that would be the more adequate if you think that your meaningful variables are linear dependent would be PCA. And even that would not be conclusive, bexause the size of the sample is so small. I am not an expert in statistics (geometric toplogy which is far off), but I am quite sure that what you did is a mathematical nonsense. You should read undergrad level statistics and you woukd understand what are the issues and with postgraduate books I am sure that you can find a method more effective.

  75. Shinbaal99

    Shinbaal995 oy oldin

    I really miss long haul travel corona be damned!

  76. Alex Zetsu

    Alex Zetsu5 oy oldin

    P-values not R squared should be used. An extreme case is if you only had 2 airlines to study, everything would be perfectly correlated. Likewise, as you get more data (or... maybe not since that would mean more low-cost airlines opening up and that would distort data by adding competition and making existing airlines less profitable rather than complementing existing data) other factors you dismissed as unimportant like GDP per capita of origin, aircraft utilization, aircraft capacity, might actually turn out to be important. Or maybe you'll find they still aren't imporant.

  77. Jake Day Williams

    Jake Day Williams5 oy oldin

    All in on charters.

  78. Douglas

    Douglas5 oy oldin

    Latam is a merge between TAM and LAN Airlines. TAM was always about quality, so you could consider it a full service. LAN I don't know since its from Chile. But one thing I can say for sure: LATAM is none of them: neither quality or cost, that is why Azul is growing a lot. Azul is cost AND quality. With a horrible competitor like that you definitely gets a fair share of the market.

  79. Douglas

    Douglas5 oy oldin

    To summarize: flying still very expensive for a lot of people and they are already talking about tourism to Mars.

  80. Jordan

    Jordan5 oy oldin

    Where did you find the dataset? Is it publicly available anywhere?

  81. Nihonium Mapping

    Nihonium Mapping5 oy oldin

    It's pronounced Cebu Pacific, not Ceebu Pacific. Sorry, I can't stand it when the city I'm in is pronounced wrong.

  82. Nerte

    Nerte5 oy oldin

    The auto-generated subtitles are completely messed up and unusable. Please, add actual subtitles to your videos - you probably read your script from the written form anyway.

  83. Zhi Han Lee

    Zhi Han Lee5 oy oldin

    Scoot does short-haul low-cost flying too, after TigerAir in Singapore was merged into it in 2017 (it's Australian & Taiwanese subsidiaries were sold to VA & China Airlines respectively IIRC, who continue to retain it's original branding). Also Scoot might be relatively more financially secure as it's under SIA, with it's financial backing, & their low-cost & full-service flights respectively are also more co-ordinated, reducing canibilisation of each other's markets for flight routes e.g. Scoot flies from SIN to numerous smaller cities not (or formerly) served by SIA e.g. Nanjing

  84. Fernando Campos

    Fernando Campos5 oy oldin

    Simply nailing the pronunciation of "Recife", I'm impressed! Hahaha


    DELICIOUSCHEESE9995 oy oldin

    R^2 values are extraordinarily low to draw strong conclusions here my dudes

  86. Allie Gottuso

    Allie Gottuso5 oy oldin

    The distinct tomato minimally squeak because jute proximately chop alongside a delicate whorl. bawdy, slippery bail

  87. pipiligrama

    pipiligrama5 oy oldin

    Can’t even imagine how would it be to fly NY to Sidney with a fucking mask on...

  88. Max M.

    Max M.5 oy oldin

    Great Video

  89. Shivang Yadav

    Shivang Yadav5 oy oldin

    This person sounds like half n intersting channel person but with not humour

  90. Agon G

    Agon G5 oy oldin

    I wouldn't call westjet "low cost" given for all their routes I've flown they are exactly the same cost as air canada or even more expensive sometimes.

  91. Isip

    Isip5 oy oldin

    Cebu Pacific: does everything that they should not do Also Cebu Pacific: profit

  92. Maximiliano Leon

    Maximiliano Leon5 oy oldin

    So its more profitable to find your niche than to compete with the big boys

  93. Artur Castro

    Artur Castro5 oy oldin

    Calling R squares of 0.16 and 0.36 very significant is a bad analysis at best

  94. AleParmi

    AleParmi5 oy oldin

    I'm not entirely sure that creating demand is the only key factor for success in this case. Condor and TUI have a very strong connection to tourist platforms and agencies. People buy holiday packages with the flight included. This is proven by the fact that buying a flight tickets only, with TUI and Condor, is much more expensive than purchasing it within a package.

  95. Max

    Max5 oy oldin

    woah you sound just like half as interesting, like literally the same wtf

  96. Lars Vos

    Lars Vos5 oy oldin

    Tui has another thing that works in their "favour" the flights they operate are (mostly) part of a package deal they offer, since they also own a lot of the resorts/hotels at their destination. So they are just feeding their own destinations. Yes they also sell seperate tickets but most people fly them because they booked a package deal with them. They kinda create their own demand, and since they oparate all over europe its easy for them to switch/send aircraft to where demand is more needed. (All pre-covid offcourse) during covid they were offering a lot of flights to places where it was still allowed/safe to travel like the Canary islands, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao where they would be feeding their own destination. And they could easily adjust demand depening on the status of their destination (green,yellow or red)

  97. Steindele

    Steindele5 oy oldin

    Thanks for your awesome videos!!

  98. Šimon Vávra

    Šimon Vávra6 oy oldin

    9:48 omg that beautiful Prague!!

  99. Andrey Kelip

    Andrey Kelip6 oy oldin

    in 2020 ALL airlines go bankrupt.... ((((

  100. Justice Warrior

    Justice Warrior6 oy oldin

    You did better RND than high paid CEOs in these companies!!!

  101. Harsh Deep

    Harsh Deep6 oy oldin

    Stat people in the comments: ???? all these correlations are hella weak.

  102. Chris Skuse

    Chris Skuse6 oy oldin

    West jet is not low cost or at least they’re trying to leave that market/reputation

  103. little boy man

    little boy man6 oy oldin

    and ill KEEP flying westjet because one time a westjet flight attendant complimented my totoro necklace

  104. Stairway to Motivation

    Stairway to Motivation6 oy oldin

    I appreciate your efforts put into the research and analysis. It's really great to see the aviation-related topic in the form of substantive video material that others can share and easily understand. However, your work is missing some crucial factors that answer why some airlines are successful, and some are not. Condor and TUI are in fact leisure and charter airlines, most of their seats were sold to tour operators, with TUI Airways (and subsidiaries) being a part of TUI Group, a tourist tycoon. Condor was owned by Thomas Cook, before its bankruptcy, then a new owner was sought, which was not found, the airline also had an affair with LOT Polish Airlines (in conjunction with the Polska Grupa Lotnicza), and 30% of the passengers were delivered by the Lufthansa Group, which was a feeder to Condor. It is not entirely appropriate to compare them with the other low-costs. It is a different business model. Eurowings was looking for its recipe for success, and the Germans did not really know what to do with it. The airline was successful on short-haul routes but unsuccessful on long-hauls. Before the COVID-19, Lufthansa Group was planning to launch new long-haul leisure, charter carrier, to replace Eurowings. Jetstar is a part of Qantas Group, while Scoot of Singapore Airlines Group, they are utilizing budget niche on their markets. Cebu and Azul are successful examples of low-cost airlines, but this is due to the markets they serve. Norwegian and Air Asia X sought success unsuccessfully, with the Norwegians effectively burning money on long-haul routes. WestJet was transitioning to a full-service carrier and launched its ULCC subsidiary - Swoop, flying only short and mid-haul. WOW Air failed, as Iceland market was not enough for two carriers, and they were not able to duplicate Icelandair's hybrid business model and strategy. So that is how it should be described, but you were right in the end. The clue is that the only scalable way for low-costs to succeed on long-hauls was to serve the tourist traffic, with charters and leisure routes, in cooperation with large tourist partners.

  105. Bernard von Schulmann

    Bernard von Schulmann6 oy oldin

    I think having WestJet on this list is not really correct. WestJet flys almost all its flights within Canada, which by nature makes their flights long but they are the only serious competition within Canada to Air Canada. WestJet uses the low-cost airline model but in this case in a very restricted market. WestJet will add and drop routes within Canada depending on demand, and they do this rather quickly. They will try a route for six months and then drop it, or make it only seasonal. WestJets international flights are almost in the winter months from Canada to warn holiday destinations. This has always been a very large charter market within Canada with low-cost flights. Because of the size of Canada and the linear nature of where the population lives, even with a population of only 37,000,000, the country has a lot of air travel across the nation. The restrictions against non Canadian airlines means the market here is well suited to an airline duoploy