What Is a Legacy Airline ?
Created on: January 07, 2019
Updated on: January 07, 2019
A legacy carrier is an airline that has existed for many years and in some cases, carry the flag of the nation. The word legacy carrier means different things to different people depending on where you are in the world.
What are Legacy Airlines ?
In the US, this means in the United States, is an airline that had established interstate routes before the beginning of the route liberalization which was permitted by the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, and was thus directly affected by that act.
Whilst in the UK and the rest of Europe legacy carriers are airlines such as British Airways, Air France & KLM. One of the things that makes this a little tricky is the fact that some of the legacy carriers also had colonial baggage associated with them. British Airways and Air France are airlines that had this kind of baggage that still associates them today.
In Europe KLM is the oldest airline in Europe and it has an illustrious history, and this is in contrast to the more recent British Airways where its existence came in to being in the early 1970’s after BOAC and British European Airways were disbanded.
Recently legacy airlines have been under enormous pressure and this has intensified since the low-cost airlines have been chipping away at their heels.
Legacy Airline Flights
A long time ago I went on holiday to Ecuador and I flew Iberia and this had just been purchased by the International Airlines Group this is the holding company for British Airways.
There were two legs to my journey where I changed flights at Madrid Barajas Airport. The first leg from London to Madrid was the part where they weren’t serving any drinks or complimentary snacks. I do remember thinking to myself that it wouldn’t be long before BA adopts this on their short haul routes and I wasn’t wrong.
It is interesting to see that the legacy carriers are watching the other airlines and they are pivoting or moving their business models to incorporate their methods in to their respective businesses.
However, cast your minds back 20 or 30 years back and the legacy carriers such as late TWA or the late Panam were zombie airlines in the fact that they waited for too long before their pivoted their business models.
Panam was an airline that in its final days were using planes that were extremely old in today’s terms and it wasn’t long before the airline eventually went bust due to the reputational damage after the Lockerbie air disaster.
These days it is important to note that all airlines need to be very agile and they need to pivot their business models to accommodate aircraft that offers better fuel economy and they have to change the service offering on their aircraft so that they don’t become irrelevant.
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