Budget airlines, no-frills flights, peanut fares are a few of the familiar names used to describe low-cost carriers. The Ryanair Group carried the most passengers in Europe in 2019 and 2020, some 30 years after the then obscure Irish company rebranded itself as ‘Europe’s first low-fares airline’. It pioneered an operational model oriented towards a singular goal of cheap flights, but many others have followed, including EasyJet and Wizz Air in Europe. Operating on a business model that minimises operational costs, unbundles fares, reduces customer services and decentralises routes, budget airlines have not only shaped the world-wide aviation industry as we know it, but an entire travel culture. The European consciousness and landscape have been fundamentally transformed by minor local airports being plucked from obscurity and ‘abroad’ becoming a commodity rather than a luxury.
GEO—DESIGN: Budget Airlines. We Are All The Jet Set* considers how ‘cheap’ is more than just a price: it is a way of looking at the world. Nine research projects demonstrate how low-cost carriers impact everyday life at many scales of observation, from airport infrastructures and aircraft models to labour negotiations and digital services, from international boundaries and corporate sovereignty to marketing strategies and environmental impact. GEO—DESIGN: Budget Airlines is presented at Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, from 9 October to 14 November 2021.
*(Taxes, fees and charges apply)
GEO–DESIGN is an exhibition platform that explores the social, economic,
and geopolitical forces shaping design today, showcasing original research through design
investigations by DAE alumni in collaboration with Van Abbemuseum. The focus of this fifth chapter
was on business of low-cost airlines, specifically Ryanair.
The exhibition identity shows the scale of the air carrier by creating a visualization of Ryanair’s network. The white lines connect all the cities reachable from Dublin (the company headquarters) and Eindhoven as a symbolic link to the show. The silver circles indicate the number of total Ryanair routes per airport (data retrieved in August 2021). Also, the rest of the exhibition materials (leaflets, signage, fact sheets) has been designed to reflect the cheap but eye-catching aesthetics.
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GEO-DESIGN: Budget Airlines. We Are All The Jet Set*
Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven
Cinzia Bongino, Sergi Casero Nieto, Qiaochu Guo and Chongjin Chen, Flora Lechner, Raffaello73 (Fabio Salvadori, Federico Santarini), Rhinestone Rodeo (Job Claassen, Ellen Pearson), Irakli Sabekia, Gundega Strauberga and Ieva Jakusa, The Ironing Board (Marta Ríos, Miguel Parrrra).