Theoretically it should be possible to create a low-cost carrier selection based on the characteristics of table 1. In reality it is difficult to obtain the right information related to all these characteristics of the different carriers, this will also be a time consuming business. An alternative method to determine the low-cost carrier selection is to look at the essence of the low-cost carrier model. Principally this would be to operate against lowest possible costs. These costs reductions will largely return in low ticker prices, which will in turn benefit the customers. Another benefit of selecting carriers based on the essence of the low-cost model will be the possibility to check if theoretically typical characteristics still apply.
At the core of the low-cost carrier selection in this research lays the criterion as used by the European Travel Network (2005). They state the most important condition which labels an airline company as a low-cost carrier is if “at least 75% of the sold seats are sold for the lowest advertised price, or if there is talk of a very good deal”, there is talk of a “very good deal” if they offer a very low price for one hour travel time7. Finally the resulting list of low-cost carriers complies to most of the characteristics from table 1. The list contains a total of 58 European low-cost carriers en lays at the core of the list which is used in this research. As an extra check the resulting list is compared with three other sources: NationMaster (2005), AttitudeTravel (2005) and Eurocontrol (2005). If there was a reason of doubt if a carrier belongs to the low-cost carrier the website of the carrier itself has been visited to check how the carrier profiles itself. Finally a list of 60 low-cost carriers that operated in September 2005 has been created.
The low-cost carriers will be divided into 4 groups as mentioned in a previous section. They are distinguished between the LCC charter type, the LCC full-service type, the LCC original type, and the LCC regional type. To determine which carrier belongs to a certain type, information has been searched for on the websites of the low-cost carriers. On this site a short summary can be found of the organizational structure of each low-cost carrier. Especially in case of the LCC full-service type and the LCC charter type it appears the low-cost carriers have multiple relations with other carriers. The larger full-service carriers and large travel organizations own shares of some smaller airline companies, travel organizations and other companies. Finally a selection of low-cost carriers has been created, which can be divided into four different low-cost carrier types.