COVID has done weird things to airlines and air travel the world over. None of it good. But there has been a steady stream of questions – essentially, how are the airlines coping and what are they doing to try to adjust?
The short answer is that they are not coping in a financial sense and keep tweaking their operations to try to find the least painful way to move the small number of travelers and keep their business afloat. The skills this requires makes a good juggler look clumsy.
We have been working with FlightRadar24 data to try to follow the daily operations of US airlines in the domestic market. This is the fastest data source we have found and runs only a few days behind. As of the model being published we up to July 18.
There are several pages to go through and we modify this further based on reader feedback and suggestions.
Page 1 – Here we list the number of flights in the table and chart. The pattern on the chart illustrates which airlines have cut back and which are betting on a summer recovery. As we update through July we might see American follow Southwest’s retreat.
Page 2 – Select an airline to see flight trends between regional and single-aisle fleets. You also get to see the OEM activity on a monthly basis.
Page 3 – An OEM view of flights with associated aircraft models. slide your mouse over any part of a chart to see details. The most notable item here is the decline of the E-190. Te Douglas aircraft are now out of service.
Page 4 – Regional airline focus. You can select an OEM to refine the focus.
Page 5 – Mainline airline focus. Select an airline to see fleet and OEM insight. Note the left chart also shows average fleet age when you slide your mouse over a data point. There have been some significant switches by airlines from March as they tried to adjust fleets to optimally match the sharp dropoff in traffic. The fleet choices among airlines, as they reacted, are fascinating. Bear in mind that even small changes are highly disruptive when one considers the fleet size among these airlines.
Page 6 – Aircraft model focus. Select the model and see how these are performing in the market. Here we can see how airlines have tried to optimize model deployment. Bear in mind that airlines have to “make do” with what they have on hand. Consequently, each day since the pandemic hit, airlines have to juggle their fleet to manage unstable demand.
We look forward to hearing from you about refinements and other ideas on how to better illustrate how the industry is coping.