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Airlines in the US - August 2018

“Rising costs are causing US airlines to raise fares, even including the ULCCs [ultra-low-cost carriers] but margins are under pressure. The US aviation sector has encountered minimal competition from high-speed rail so far, but this is set to change in the medium term. The trend towards consolation of the sector is likely to continue.”

- Jessica Kelly, Senior Travel Analyst

This report looks at the following areas:

  • How is the US airline sector structured and who are the key players?
  • What is the market share of the main carriers and how has it evolved in recent years?
  • How are security concerns impacting the US airline industry?
  • How are major US airlines ranked for customer service?
  • What is the trend in financial performance of the US airline industry?
  • What role do loyalty schemes play in the US airline industry?
  • Could high-speed rail become more competitive with air travel?

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

    • Data Sources

      • Overview

        • Spending on travel and tourism
          • Figure 1: Outlook for spending* on travel & tourism in the US, 2017 & 2018-28
        • Tourist arrivals
          • Figure 2: Tourist arrivals in the US (incoming & domestic), 2009-21
        • Foreign vs. domestic
          • Figure 3: Breakdown of domestic & incoming tourist arrivals in the US, 2009-16
        • Air passenger volumes
          • Figure 4: Air passengers in the US, 2007-20
        • Foreign vs. domestic
          • Figure 5: Breakdown of domestic & incoming air passengers in the US, 2007-15
        • North American aviation market performance
          • Figure 6: North American aviation market performance, y-o-y, April 2018 & year-to-date
      • Market Shares of Airlines

          • Figure 7: Trend in the market share of passengers of major US airlines, 2011-15
        • Consolidation has continued
          • Figure 8: Domestic market share of leading US airlines from February 2017 to January 2018
        • Facilitating security checks
          • Loyalty programmes
            • Spending instead of miles travelled
              • Credit cards become more important
                • AAdvantage
                  • Delta, American Express add 1 million new card members
                    • Increased availability of reward seats
                      • Figure 9: Ranking of North American airline frequent-flyer programmes for overall seat availability* for rewards, 2018
                      • Figure 10: Ranking of North American airline frequent-flyer programmes for seat availability on long-haul flights, 2018
                    • All the majors now offer ‘basic economy’
                      • American Airlines
                        • United Airlines
                          • Alaska Airlines
                            • Other airlines
                              • The ULCCs
                                • Allegiant Air
                                  • Frontier Airlines
                                    • Spirit Airlines
                                      • JD Power ratings
                                        • Survey rankings
                                          • Figure 11: Composite ranking of major North American traditional carriers, 2017
                                          • Figure 12: Details of JD power ratings* of the leading North American traditional carriers, 2017
                                        • LCC rankings
                                          • Figure 13: Composite ranking of major North American LCCs, 2017
                                          • Figure 14: Details of JD power ratings* of the leading North American LCCs, 2017
                                      • Major Legacy Carriers

                                          • American Airlines
                                            • Current developments
                                              • American severs ties with two regional airlines
                                                • Fleet
                                                  • Figure 15: American’s mainline fleet as of 31 December 2017
                                                • New aircraft orders
                                                  • Figure 16: Purchase orders for American’s mainline & regional fleet at 31 December 2017
                                                • Delta Air Lines
                                                  • Delta Private Jets
                                                    • Current developments
                                                      • A pop-up lounge for middle-seat passengers in Boston
                                                        • Fleet
                                                          • Figure 17: Delta’s operating mainline fleet as at 31 December 2018
                                                        • New aircraft orders
                                                          • Figure 18: Delta’s aircraft orders at 31 December 2017
                                                        • United Air Lines Inc.
                                                          • Current developments
                                                            • United is building up domestic service from Newark
                                                              • United introducing new products and increasing capacity
                                                                • Fleet
                                                                  • Figure 19: United’s mainline fleet at 31 December 2017
                                                                • New aircraft orders
                                                                  • Figure 20: United’s aircraft orders at 31 December 2017
                                                              • LCCs

                                                                  • Southwest
                                                                    • Current developments
                                                                      • Fleet
                                                                        • Figure 21: Southwest’s fleet at 31 December 2017
                                                                      • New aircraft orders
                                                                        • Figure 22: Delivery schedule for Southwest’s Boeing aircraft orders, 2018-27, as of 31 December 2017
                                                                      • JetBlue
                                                                        • Current developments
                                                                          • Premium offers
                                                                            • Expanding abroad
                                                                              • Fleet
                                                                                • Figure 23: JetBlue’s fleet at 31 December 2017
                                                                              • New aircraft orders
                                                                                • Figure 24: JetBlue’s future aircraft delivery schedule, 2018-24
                                                                            • ULCCs

                                                                                • Allegiant
                                                                                  • Figure 25: Destinations served by Allegiant, 31 December 2015, 2016 & 2017
                                                                                  • Figure 26: Comparison of the traditional airline business model with that of Allegiant, 2018
                                                                                • Current developments
                                                                                  • Figure 27: Allegiant’s revenue by category, 2015-17
                                                                                • Fleet
                                                                                  • Figure 28: Allegiant’s fleet at 31 December 2017
                                                                                • New aircraft orders
                                                                                  • Frontier
                                                                                    • Current developments
                                                                                      • Fleet
                                                                                        • Figure 29: Frontier’s fleet in May 2018
                                                                                      • New aircraft orders
                                                                                        • Spirit
                                                                                          • Current developments
                                                                                            • Spirit Airlines to offer Wi-Fi
                                                                                              • Fleet
                                                                                                • Figure 30: Spirit’s fleet at 31 December 2017
                                                                                              • New aircraft orders
                                                                                                • Figure 31: Spirit’s aircraft delivery schedule, 2018-21
                                                                                            • Regional Airlines

                                                                                                • Alaska Air Group
                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Alaska Air Group’s sales channels (% of sales), 2013-17
                                                                                                  • Current developments
                                                                                                    • Services added to JFK
                                                                                                      • Fleet
                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Alaska Airlines Group’s fleet at 31 December 2017
                                                                                                      • New aircraft orders
                                                                                                        • Figure 34: Alaska Airlines Group’s fleet development at 31 December 2016- 31 December 2019
                                                                                                      • Hawaiian Airlines
                                                                                                        • Current developments
                                                                                                          • Fleet
                                                                                                            • Figure 35: Hawaiian’s fleet at 31/12/17 & 31/12/18
                                                                                                          • New aircraft orders
                                                                                                            • Figure 36: Hawaiian’s aircraft delivery schedule, as at 31 December 2017, 2018-21
                                                                                                          • SkyWest, Inc.
                                                                                                            • Current developments
                                                                                                              • SkyWest Airlines
                                                                                                                • ExpressJet
                                                                                                                  • Fleet
                                                                                                                    • Figure 37: SkyWest’s fleet by code-share partner at 31 December 2017
                                                                                                                    • Figure 38: ExpressJet’s fleet by code-share partner at 31 December 2017
                                                                                                                • What Next?

                                                                                                                    • Costs and fares to go up but margins squeezed
                                                                                                                      • Figure 39: Jet fuel & crude oil price, May 2011-May 2018
                                                                                                                    • Salaries going up
                                                                                                                      • Airlines have begun to raise fares
                                                                                                                        • Spread of HSR to challenge air travel?
                                                                                                                          • HSR on the West Coast – a long-term project
                                                                                                                            • Consolidation to continue?

                                                                                                                            Airlines in the US - August 2018

                                                                                                                            US $398.34 (Excl.Tax)