07 October 2008

So you want to be in Airlines? Good Idea?

Recently I have had the pleasure of working with a new tool to analyze airline data from the US Dept of Transport thanks to the nice folks at IAG.

So I decided to take a look at how good the performance was for the major US carriers:

It is not pretty. There is a sea of red ink. And this doesn't include the soon to be historically bad 2008.

In a 10 year study we showed that ALL US Majors actually had a negative return of 2.39%. In fact for the target group only in 4 of the 10 years did they collectively return a profit.

No prizes for guessing who the standout was - Southwest was the only carrier to report a consistent profit during the entire survey period.

I am going to be running the database through its paces in the coming weeks - however for now I can see that the business does not look healthy. It is interesting to draw analogies between the financial markets and the airline markets.

The DoT data presented here comes from IAG’s (www.iag-inc.com) new online service where users can mine numerous databases dating back to 1998. The data is easily accessed and manipulated using Excel pivot tables. Running millions of records takes a few seconds. IAG offers full access to subscribers but also offers customs runs for people who don’t need full access.

If you are interested in looking at some of the results - send me an email and I will send you the recap 10 year picture for the US Majors.



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