Airlines FootNotes for November

Business travel at the Delta kiosk in the Atlanta Airport

It’s a Pricier World for Airlines
The Air Transport Association of America has re-launched its quarterly Airline Cost Index. The latest version includes data through the second quarter of 2006.

It covers factors such as fuel efficiency, workplace productivity, labor costs, break-even load factors and travel agency commissions.

Year-over-year highlights show that the composite cost index was up 17.4 percent, compared to a 4.0 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index. The three largest cost components were fuel (25.5 percent), labor (23.8%) and transport-related expenses (14.7%). Some figures dropped; the average cost of employing a full-time equivalent worker dropped $248 to $72,301.

The overall unit operating cost per available seat mile rose 6.3 percent while the average break-even load factor dropped 3.4 points to 76.7%. (Source: ATAA press release).

JetBlue Launches Chicago Service
JetBlue Airways is introducing service to Chicago January 4, starting with five daily flights to New York’s John F. Kennedy International and two daily flights to LA/Long Beach Airport. In other parts of the country, JetBlue continues to expand its service.

In New York, it will introduce two daily flights to Florida from Newburgh’s Stewart International Airport to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando starting December 19 and it will add a daily nonstop to West Palm Beach January 5 2007. In addition, it has just launched non-stop service between Columbus, Ohio, and JFK. (Source: JetBlue press releases)

Delta Introduces Lie-Flat Seats
Delta Air Lines is installing fully horizontal sleeper seats in its international business class service.

It will introduce Contour Premium Aircraft seating early in 2008 when it takes delivery of two new Boeing 777 Long Range aircraft.

Delta joins international carriers British Airways and Virgin Atlantic in offering lie-flat seats on transatlantic routes. American Airlines is upgrading its business class seats to recline to an almost-flat 171 degrees, just a few degrees shy of the full 180-degree recline. (Source: Delta press release)

Northwest Airlines Extends Boarding Pass Faxing Service
Northwest now allow customers to print their boarding passes at international fax machines after checking in for flights over the internet.

This is in response to the fact that many business travelers have a laptop but no printer with them on the road, meaning they can’t check in online because they can’t print out a boarding pass.

In 2005, Northwest enhanced its Internet check-in service to allow customers to select either the “print boarding pass” or “fax boarding pass function after beginning online check in. “(Source, Northwest press release).

United Introduces Washington-Tokyo Service
United Airlines has introduced daily nonstop passenger service between Washington, D.C., and Tokyo, its first-ever Asia service from the nation’s capital.

This fall, United has increased its’ service out of Washington Dulles International Airport by 39 flights. (Source: United press release).

Airlines Open Interim Passenger Lounges in LAX International Terminal
First and business class passengers at Los Angeles International Airport, which is undergoing a $576 million renovation, can use interim premium class lounges in the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

The first class lounge is in the Bradley terminals’ mezzanine. The business class lounge is in a vacant ramp area opposite the terminal; passengers can use it by taking one of a continuing operating stream of buses serving the terminal.

The lounges will be in use until four new lounges open in May of 2007. (Source: Los Angeles World Airports press release).