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Airlines Losing First Class Passengers

by John M. White |

The Standford Transportation Group, a US based aviation consulting firm, has completed its biennial review of US domestic airline passenger activity and business aircraft activity. The study found that the number of airline passengers purchasing the premium, or first class, discounted first class, business class and full price coach airline tickets on US domestic airlines has fallen from 20% of overall airline travel before 9/11 to less than 10% of overall airline travel today. At the same time the results of the study indicate that travelers on business aircraft now generate a record 41% of the number of passenger trips as those made by airline first-class, business-class and full-fare coach passengers combined. Growing acceptance of business aviation has resulted in the growth of the fleet of business aircraft today. Add to this the continued expansion of fractional aircraft ownership programs, pre-paid flight card programs combined with the development of new and more efficient business jet and turbojet aircraft and business aviation continues to erode the sale of the most profitable tickets airlines sell. The result is that today 90% of passengers flying on the US domestic airlines are using discount air fares for their travel needs while the erosion of premium travel reduces the ability of airlines to make a decent profit. Consider that 8 years ago business aviation travel accounted for only 16% of premium airline trips while today that number is 41%. There are approximately 16 million one-way trips taken annually on business aircraft. Stggraph These premium travelers have apparently fled the airlines in order to eliminate the discomfort of surly treatment at hub airports, shoe searches, long lines, flight delays and the requirement to arrive at the airport two hours before your flight departs. It is difficult today to fly anywhere on the airlines in less than a day, wasting valuable business time while business aviation is quicker, uses smaller and more user friendly airports closer to where they want to conduct business anyway. Stanford Transportation Group was formed in 1995 to provide business strategies for regional, business and general aviation aircraft manufacturers and users. It has offices in Washington, DC, Tokyo and San Francisco. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7

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