Airlines Fill Up Seats At 80 Percent For April, 2006

The airline industry reported that it filled up more than 80 percent of available seats in April, 2006. Yet the airline industry continues to lose money hand over fist.  That is what happens when you sell a 10 dollar steak for 5 dollars.

The competition in the airline industry on price is killing it. Until the airlines figure out this lesson that competition does not mean destruction the industry will continue to be in turmoil.

And the early results from April, which indicate that more than 80% of U.S. airlines’ seats were filled with paying passengers, portend a record-setting — and uncomfortably crowded — summer travel season ahead.

Seven airlines that have reported for April all show fuller planes. No. 4 Northwest ran fullest: 84.9%. No. 1 American filled 81.7% of its seats. And No. 5 Continental filled 82.9%. No. 3 Delta, despite a public battle with pilots over cost cuts that included threats of a strike or shutdown in mid-April, filled 77.6% of its seats. Even discounters Southwest and AirTran, which normally record load factors lower than the big network carriers, came close to filling 80% of their April seats.

For all of 2005, the domestic airline industry filled 77.6% of its seats, according to the Air Transport Association. The April numbers are good news for an industry that has lost more than $40 billion over the last five years. Better yet for the industry, travelers have been paying on average about 13% more for their tickets than last summer. via

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Brian Kennemer May 13, 2006 at 12:04 am

    Ironic that you would taket the industry to task for competing on price in a post right next to a Google ad panel with 3 of the 4 ads screaming about huge discounts and super cheap flights!

    You cant have it both ways. :-)

    Reply edit
  • The Travel Blogger May 13, 2006 at 7:30 am


    I agree. It it ironic, and a little sad. But it is life, I can make lead a horse to water, but I can not make it drink.

    When the low cost carriers are also the innovators, the industry is in trouble. And the hardest thing to understand for airlines is that the first few years are the most profitable as maintainance and labor are at their lowest points.

    Reply edit

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