This study investigates the development of secondary and smaller airports in California. Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) business is growing at these airports because they offer reduced operating costs, and they have adequate capacity to help LCCs avoid battling with incumbent airlines at the large hubs for limited resources, such as gates. However, increased LCC aircraft operations at the secondary airports have led to significant noise impacts on the surrounding communities and this has been a challenge for the secondary airport operators. They have imposed operational curfews to limit the noise impacts, but this approach constrains the resident airlines that want to increase their traffic. As a result, some LCCs have begun to initiate flights out of the large hubs. Statistics from this study show that the LCCs have replaced the legacy airlines as the dominant air provider in the state. With their growing dominance, the LCCs will become more attractive to the large hub airports, and the secondary airports will face increased competition in retaining them. To retain those LCCs, the secondary airports must better understand how LCCs make investment decisions related to airport development. At the same time, they must better educate the LCCs about their airport needs.

Publication Date


Publication Type



Miscellaneous Transportation Topics

MTI Project



Airports, Airlines, Secondary airports, Low-cost carriers, Very light jets