ABSTRACT

Purpose- This study attempts to examine the underlying dimensions of service quality (tangibility, reliability, responsiveness,assurance, and empathy) for low-cost carriers. It subsequently seeks to determine the effect of the relationships of the dimensions of service quality, airline image, and behavioral intentions on airline services to provide adequate basic information and attributes for developing differentiated and competitive service marketing strategies. Research design, data, and methodology - The survey for this study was conducted on patrons with low-cost carrier boarding experiences in districts near universities and central businesses of Seoul and Busan from 5/10/2012 to 16/10/2012. Out of 346 questionnaires, 20 questionnaires with missing data and insincere answers were excluded for this study. Collected data were processed using SPSS 18.0, and the hypothesis was verified by analyzing the structural equation model with Lisrel 8.54. First, the frequency analysis was conducted to identify universal characteristics. Second, the exploratory factor analysis and reliability analysis were conducted to identify the accuracy of the variable measurements of the construct. Third, to assess unidimensionality and reliability, confirmatory factor analysis was conducted. Finally, to verify the adequacy of the research model and research hypothesis, the structural model was employed. Results- The results revealed that the factors, “tangibility, reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy” were shown to be the most important dimensions of service quality for the airline image of the low-cost carrier which was consistent with previous studies. Therefore, it is fair to suggest that these verified factors are crucial attributes for the brand image of low-cost carriers. Second, as reliability and responsiveness were shown to be the most important factors for behavioral intentions, it is viable to suggest that these two attributes are crucial for the sales value of low-cost carriers. Further, it was found that the brand image of low-cost carriers was closely related to behavioral intentions. Therefore, in order to ensure the competitiveness and loyalty of patrons, the airline image value is a crucial attribute. Conclusions- The result of this study established that service quality is the most important attribute for marketing to ensure competitiveness, and intensive and differentiated service marketing play a crucial role in creating profits for low-cost carrier companies. First, as tangibility is found to be the most crucial factor in ensuring service quality, quality control and maintenance of medium and small carriers must be provided to ensure reliability, as they are the main attributes of low-cost carriers. Second, in order to promote positive behavioral intentions, it is essential to enhance the value of airline image. Third, in order to ensure competitiveness, it is imperative to carry out intensive and differentiated service marketing. Therefore, to promote the image of low-cost carriers and enhance behavioral intentions, the level of service quality must be secured by developing appropriate service improvement programs.

KEYWORD

Low Cost Carriers, Service Quality, Airline Image, Behavioral Intention.

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