Major airlines dominated their routes through aggressive pricing and additional capacity offerings, often swamping new start-ups. In the place of high barriers to entry imposed by regulation, the major airlines implemented an equally high barrier called loss leader pricing.[38] In this strategy an already established and dominant airline stomps out its competition by lowering airfares on specific routes, below the cost of operating on it, choking out any chance a start-up airline may have. The industry side effect is an overall drop in revenue and service quality.[39] Since deregulation in 1978 the average domestic ticket price has dropped by 40%.[40] So has airline employee pay. By incurring massive losses, the airlines of the USA now rely upon a scourge of cyclical Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings to continue doing business.[41] America West Airlines (which has since merged with US Airways) remained a significant survivor from this new entrant era, as dozens, even hundreds, have gone under.
Analysis of the 1992–1996 period shows that every player in the air transport chain is far more profitable than the airlines, who collect and pass through fees and revenues to them from ticket sales. While airlines as a whole earned 6% return on capital employed (2–3.5% less than the cost of capital), airports earned 10%, catering companies 10–13%, handling companies 11–14%, aircraft lessors 15%, aircraft manufacturers 16%, and global distribution companies more than 30%. (Source: Spinetta, 2000, quoted in Doganis, 2002)
The first new airliner ordered by Imperial Airways, was the Handley Page W8f City of Washington, delivered on 3 November 1924.[15] In the first year of operation the company carried 11,395 passengers and 212,380 letters. In April 1925, the film The Lost World became the first film to be screened for passengers on a scheduled airliner flight when it was shown on the London-Paris route.
Airlines have substantial fixed and operating costs to establish and maintain air services: labor, fuel, airplanes, engines, spares and parts, IT services and networks, airport equipment, airport handling services, booking commissions, advertising, catering, training, aviation insurance and other costs. Thus all but a small percentage of the income from ticket sales is paid out to a wide variety of external providers or internal cost centers.
Following the 1978 deregulation, U.S. carriers did not manage to make an aggregate profit for 12 years in 31, including four years where combined losses amounted to $10 billion, but rebounded with eight consecutive years of profits since 2010, including its four with over $10 billion profits. They drop loss-making routes, avoid fare wars and market share battles, limit capacity growth, add hub feed with regional jets to increase their profitability. They change schedules to create more connections, buy used aircraft, reduce international frequencies and leverage partnerships to optimise capacities and benefit from overseas connectivity.[51]
Major airlines dominated their routes through aggressive pricing and additional capacity offerings, often swamping new start-ups. In the place of high barriers to entry imposed by regulation, the major airlines implemented an equally high barrier called loss leader pricing.[38] In this strategy an already established and dominant airline stomps out its competition by lowering airfares on specific routes, below the cost of operating on it, choking out any chance a start-up airline may have. The industry side effect is an overall drop in revenue and service quality.[39] Since deregulation in 1978 the average domestic ticket price has dropped by 40%.[40] So has airline employee pay. By incurring massive losses, the airlines of the USA now rely upon a scourge of cyclical Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings to continue doing business.[41] America West Airlines (which has since merged with US Airways) remained a significant survivor from this new entrant era, as dozens, even hundreds, have gone under.
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