Create or retrieve your password by clicking here

Airlines Reporting Fuller Planes

July 12, 2004

Airlines Reporting Fuller Planes
July 12, 2004 – USAToday reports that domestic airlines are experiencing a record-high number of travelers. United and Northwest say they filled a higher percentage of their seats in June than any other month. Continental, US Airways, Alaska and Southwest also all describe June as the best month ever.

These record-breaking numbers are expected to continue. "We’ll see record high loads throughout the summer," says economist Dave Swierenga of airline consulting firm AeroEcon. Northwest reported the fullest planes in June among the major airlines, at 86.4 percent. On average, planes of all the major airlines flew more than three-quarters full last month.

Growing travel demand and tight restraint on the supply of seats by the airlines has resulted in fuller planes. These factors have also been listed as contributors:

  • Fare competition. US Airways says its flights from Philadelphia offering its discount GoFares flew 85 percent full in June, compared with about 81 percent on its big jets as a whole. The airline issued the lower fares after Southwest entered the Philadelphia market.
  • Route strategy. United’s Jenna Obluck says the airline’s higher loads are due to restructuring its route system to focus on those most popular with travelers.
  • Plane types. Airlines have ditched some jumbos in favor of smaller jets, which are easier to sell out.
  • Schedules. Airlines are reluctant to add flights when fares are low and fuel prices are high. "They don’t need any more capacity. Even at 80 percent load factors they are losing money," says Denver-based airline consultant Mike Boyd.

For the full article, visit

« »