Need I say Moores

All that glitters…

European airlines are turning in some glittering passenger growth stories, fueling the misconception that aviation is a gold mine, when in reality each passenger is flying for less.

January is traditionally the time when airlines post their full-year traffic figures. This year’s numbers are pretty exceptional, with many airlines posting double-digit growth.

However, at a time when perception is key, there is a risk that this strong traffic performance could lead to customer grumbles.

Passengers are already feeling squeezed by denser configurations and ancillary fees, even though the extra seats are arguably more comfortable, they keep fares low and the add-ons mean they are now only paying for the services they need and want.

Add social media storms to that mix and perceptions rule.

The difficulty for airlines is that packed cabins in a hyper-competitive environment don’t necessarily equal profits.

For those that are profitable – and every good business deserves to earn a margin – making money is not easy. Returns are typically fairly slim and there’s always the risk of a cyclical downturn, or a major event throwing things drastically off course.

More passengers and more flights also mean that every decision has a greater impact. The mix of rapid growth and the risk of significant exposure when it goes wrong puts airlines under even more pressure to get it right.

So, with rapid growth comes caution, especially when airlines are already starting out on the perception back foot.

Victoria Moores

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