Date of Award

4-2015

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Aviation

Department

Doctoral Studies

Committee Chair

Dothang Truong, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Frank Richey, DBA.

Second Committee Member

Haydee M. Cuevas, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Somchanok Tiamtiabrat, Ph.D.

Abstract

This research examined the factors that influenced the airline selection of Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) in Thailand. The research was justified based on the rapid growth of LCC travel in Thailand, particularly in domestic and regional travel. There is a relative lack of successful explanation of the choice of LCCs in Thailand, with only a few studies addressing topics like passenger satisfaction and perceptions of service quality. Following an extensive literature review, the author used a theoretical framework based on the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) (Ajzen, 1991) in order to explain passenger behavioral intentions. This framework was supplemented by airline operational and marketing factors identified from the literature, including Price, Service Quality, Airline Reputation, Airline Safety, Route Availability and Convenience, and Frequent Flier Programs. A large scaled survey was sent to Thai LCC passengers at major airports in Thailand. The final sample (n = 781) was predominantly working-age, female, highly educated, and with average incomes. In general, they flew frequently (two to three times a year or more). In order to test the relationship among the external factors, TPB factors, behavioral intentions, and actual behavior, Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was conducted. Results showed that Subjective Norms, Perceived Behavioral Control, Airline Reputation, Price, and Service Quality had a positive impact on Behavioral Intentions, while Behavioral Intentions positively influenced Buying Behavior. This research has important implications both in academia and industry. It indicates that LCC passengers are not merely driven by price as concluded by economic studies in LCC selection. Instead, factors like service quality, airline reputation, and social acceptability implied by subjective norms play a significant role in the choice of LCCs over Full Service Carriers (FSCs). Additionally, the results of this research provide LCCs with useful guidance to form appropriate strategies to attract more passengers: protecting price leadership, improving service quality, enhancing public image, and maintaining route diversity.

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