I am not against the concept of branding, but feel its value is somewhat over-stated, and must therefore challenge some of the issues raised by Karin Butot (The power of airport branding, December 2003, p82).

The contemporary passenger's focus is largely on cost, irrespective of whether he actually uses budget airlines. I really can't believe that any more than 5% or so of Oslo Gardemoen's passengers has the slightest interest in "sound showers". If there is a cheaper service from Torp even northern Oslovians will slog their way down there.

What the low-cost boom has proved so far is that people will check in and out of farmyard barns and take off from and land on ploughed fields if it saves them money. It will be interesting to see if there is any substantial difference in the emerging no-frills markets in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, but I doubt it.

The ridiculous renaming of airports like Vienna-Bratislava, Copenhagen- Malmo and Barcelona-Girona may rebound on those airlines and airports as regulation is forced upon them and we see more instances like the young girl who turned up alone late at night at Lyon instead of St Etienne, 50 miles away. This isn't really branding, just plain economy with the truth. What next, Belfast-Dublin? Kuwait-Basra?

I believe that passengers and most of the airlines would prefer to see airports get the basics right first, such as clear signage and announcements, information on and reasons given for delays and prompt baggage delivery.

David J Bentley

DJB Associates

Manchester, UK


Source: Airline Business