22 July 2007

Concorde Gone... and now forgotton - The market for Premium Seats

While some of us bemoan the forced retirement of Concorde there is however a very vibrant market for premium traffic.

If we take the Londont to New York route in Concorde's heyday there were the following flights between London (LHR and LGW) and New York (EWR and JFK):

British Airways 5X - Newark 1, JFK 4 Plus 2 Concorde
American Airlines 4 JFK-LHR
Virgin Atlantic 5 various combos PLUS CO code share
United 3
Continental 2 plus VS code share
Air India 2
Total 21 Flights per day plus 2 Concordes.

Thats a healthy bit of competition.

Fast forward to this summer (using August 12th as the date) and we have even more flights 35 flights daily with premium seat share of the new entrants at a healthy 22% of all premium seats. For clarification a premium seat is a C/J/P/F class seat not premium economy.

With Virgin and BA poised to make an entry into the market we anticipate that the segment will continue to grow. This trend is likely to spread to other markets where already there is premium single plane service on many other sectors including flights offered by Air France, L'Avion, Lufthansa, Swiss International, KLM. We believe that certain other markets will see the introduction of premium service. Even Maxjet filed for one of the US-China frequencies this month.

If general traffic and therefore yields go soft next year as has been predicted (we are still pondering that question) will traffic in the premium plane business also soften? Will the premium traffic take a load of the depressed Coach yields?

Good questions all - stay tuned


Note on sources - Source Material is OAG, SeatGuru, IATA and Airlines directly.

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