30 March 2011

US Sales 2010 Interesting Perspectives

I love to look at the way numbers can tell stories.

So here are some interesting numbers to look at. I am looking at deep underlying trends. One of the things that worries me is that I believe the US market is stagnating and badly. The days of 3-4% growth rates are over. The US in my view will be below the global average growth for some considerable time to come replaced by several players.

The US FAA has painted a rosy picture of a doubling of traffic in 15 years. However - US official figures show that passenger traffic actually grew last year by a scant a 2.1 percent increase from 2009. US DOT reports 786.7 million scheduled passengers traveled on all airlines serving United States in 2010.

I am going to use some conventional numbers to estimate what that translates into... lets say 2.3 segments per ticket.
So gross transactions look like this (For a larger picture click on the image).

So these numbers look good as there is an increase Y/Y in most months when comparing 2010 with the horrid 2009.

This still looks pretty good when comparing the monthly variances... all green 2010 vs 2009. Remember these are ACTUAL transactions as reported by ARC not Dollars.

However there is a small issue. These are Transactions not tickets. So they include ARC processed transactions including refunds. So the number needs to be discounted by a factor of about 10%.

This means that if we take ARC's numbers of 165 Million transactions less 5% means that the Travel Agent portion of the US passengers has dropped below 50%. We are talking now about a 45% Travel Agent Share for the USA market.

Anyone care to challenge my numbers?

I would be happy to publish new numbers from credible sources. 2011 is also starting to show a further decline in agency share. Does this foretell of the perspective of the battle of the GDS vs the Airlines?

Enquiring minds want to know


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