Investigating Passenger Behaviour: A Model for Measuring Low Cost Carriers Service Quality

  • Jacinta D'Silva

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Service quality is an integral part of the product/service offering provided to a customer. Along with continuously identifying customer expectations and perceptions about service quality, it is imperative for service providers to also investigate whether the service quality increases customer satisfaction and their behavioural intentions .This PhD study theoretically contributes by evaluating one comprehensive service quality model, SERVQUAL designed by Parasuramanet al. (1988), for its potential applicability. The study further contributes by identifying a gap in the literature that the original SERVQUAL model does not entirely represent LCC service quality therefore, LCCSQUAL is proposed: a revised conceptual model with twenty-five variables that reflect the industry-specific attributes of LCC services in the Middle East.

    LCCs became a common feature in the West after the appearance of Southwest airline in 1971, however in the Middle East; LCCs are a relatively new phenomenon. LCCs are growing rapidly due to the current development of the aviation industry, deregulation and open skies policies in many parts of the Middle East. Most research to date has focused on LCCs in Western or Asian culture, whereas limited research has been conducted in the Middle East region, hence, this study will focus on highlighting the historical development of the Middle East’s aviation industry and the phenomenal growth of the region’s LCCs. This research is first of its kind in the Middle East to be conducted on the LCC service quality as well as in a new cultural background and therefore, it is important to consider that passengers’ are influenced by their culture while making decisions, however; the original SERVQUAL model developed by Parasuraman et al. in (1985) does not include culture as one of the influences in consumer. This PhD study, therefore, bridges another gap in the knowledge by testing the LCCSQUAL in Middle Eastern culture.

    This PhD followed a multimethodology using both inductive and deductive approaches consisting of qualitative (interviews and a focus group discussion)and quantitative(a self-administered survey questionnaire) methods at Dubai International airport, which has a dedicated LCC terminal. A total of 540 questionnaires was distributed; however, only 516 were finally employed for quantitative analysis .For qualitative analysis, nine in-depth interviews with senior executives of LCC airline sand seven LCC passenger interviews was conducted along with one focus group interview with seven Emirati ladies, first time LCC travellers .Content analysis and NVivo 10wereutilised for qualitative findings and descriptive analysis, Spearman’s rank correlation, factor analysis and cross tabulation were employed to examine the quantitative results. Comparing the results of both methodologies indicated that, passengers experienced wider gaps in the tangibility, reliability and responsiveness dimensions of LCC service quality in the Middle East.

    The findings of the study concluded that LCC passengers have higher expectations of the LCC services due to receiving luxury services for a long time in the Middle East region. The revised model; LCCSQUAL was tested in the Middle Eastern culture with additional variables and is recommended to be further developed to be culture and country specific. Factor analysis results also highlighted that there are gaps between the expectations and perceptions of the passengers travelling with LCC. This study concludes with several recommendations to LCC management, such as, on-time performance, well-trained staff and crew members, providing clear information to the passengers and providing quality services with low fares.
    Date of Award2015
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorIan Michael (Supervisor) & Yang Dai (Supervisor)


    • Service
    • quality
    • Customer Satisfaction
    • Gap analysis
    • SERVQUAL Model
    • Low Cost Airlines
    • Aviation Industry
    • Middle East

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