Everyone knows that it's a time of dramatic change in Asia's airline industry.
What many often fail to appreciate, however, is how much of that drama is being driven by an exponential rise of low-cost carriers (LCC) in the region.
Consider a small sampling of the recent upheaval in Asia's skies.
Following the dissolution of an ANA-AirAsia joint venture, AirAsia Japan is being rebranded (hilariously, to some) as Vanilla Air; Singapore's Tiger Airways has the new name of Tigerair; and Jetstar Hong Kong is expected to launch within the year;
Meanwhile, South Korea's Jeju Air has been busy recording a whopping 960% increase in profits compared with last year. Beating out all foreign legacy and low-cost carriers, its become the third largest carrier at Seoul's Incheon Airport after Korean Air and Asiana Airlines.
While Southeast Asia has a remarkably high LCC presence of almost 50% -- meaning more than half of total seats are sold by low-cost carriers -- North Asia still has an extremely low LCC penetration and thus represents the biggest opportunity for the industry.
North Asian travelers who have grown partial to the over-the-top service and quality of legacy carriers in the region are still finding the concept of low-cost carriers foreign, or simply irrelevant.
"They don't pop up in my searches when I look on travel sites, and it just doesn't occur to me to fly them because I have my existing frequent flyer programs that I feel bound to," says frequent business traveler Sunmi Park, 38, of South Korea.
For the unacquainted, such as Park, here's a quick guide to the fleets with the often quirky names and bright liveries.
1. LCC fleets are young and frequently built around a single model
"People tend to think that low-cost carriers have these old planes, but that is a complete myth," said Edward Lau, CEO of Jetstar Hong Kong, in a low-cost carrier workshop earlier this month. "The opposite is actually true."
In order to keep the cost of buying planes as low as possible, low-cost carriers place bulk orders of the newest planes.
For the same reason, each LCC usually has just one type of plane in its fleet -- bulk orders of the same plane get better pricing.
When Jetstar's new Hong Kong airline debuts later this year (pending government approval) it will be launching with 18 new Airbus 320-200 aircraft.
Apart from its new Hong Kong fleet, Jetstar's planes across all affiliates have an average age of four to five years.
Similarly, AirAsia, the Kuala Lumpur based low-cost carrier that flies to more than 80 destinations in Asia, has a fleet of 141 Airbus A320 aircraft, with an average age of three years per plane.
2. Competitiveness hinges on "fast turns" and "double daily" service
In aviation lingo, a "turn" means the time it takes for a plane to take off on its next flight after landing.
For LCCs, fast turns of about 25-40 minutes are imperative to keep costs down and to maintain high levels of aircraft utilization -- the time a plane is in the air each day.
Full service carriers take about an hour and a half on turns.
Even in an aviation market known for delays -- China is notorious -- LCCs keep costs down by factoring delays into their schedules.
To keep LCCs viable for consumers, airlines need to have at least some "double daily" flights -- flights to the same destination at least twice a day.
This means that if passengers miss their flight, they can take a flight to the same destination later the same day.
"The target of 'double daily' is to build scale and support integrity," says Alistair Hartley, Jetstar's executive director of planning and airline partnerships.
3. LCCs' entry into a market can stimulate the overall market