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May 23, 2024
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As US airlines navigate their way through the pandemic, it has become clear that each airline takes slightly different paths to seek their lowest seat cost production.  While seeking the lowest seat cost is a perennial goal for all airlines,  if market demand stays steady or even grows, then there is leeway.  But when the bottom drops out of the market as in the past year, radical reactions are called for. That radical reaction is limited by the available fleet.

Let’s use some charts to illustrate what has been going on in the US market to date. Our data source is the US DoT T-2. First a big picture view – ASM share by aircraft type.  Though the trend to single-aisle picked up in 2015, we can see that 2021 has seen some acceleration. Indeed, consider that the uptick towards single-aisle is up nearly 77% since 2015.  

As US airlines navigate their way through the pandemic, it has become clear that each airline takes slightly different paths to seek their lowest seat cost production.  While seeking the lowest seat cost is a perennial goal for all airlines,  if market demand stays steady or even grows, then there is leeway.  But when the bottom drops out of the market as in the past year, radical reactions are called for. That radical reaction is limited by the available fleet.


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author avatar
Addison Schonland
Co-Founder AirInsight. My previous life includes stints at Shell South Africa, CIC Research, and PA Consulting. Got bitten by the aviation bug and ended up an Avgeek. Then the data bug got me, making me a curious Avgeek seeking data-driven logic. Also, I appreciate conversations with smart people from whom I learn so much. Summary: I am very fortunate to work with and converse with great people.