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The Changing Character Of Scheduled Air Service
With fewer commercial flights to match your needs and a greater likelihood that whatever you discuss or analyze en-route may catch the attention of strangers seated nearby- the need for Business Aviation expands- Jack Olcott observes.

Whether for business or pleasure- more people traveled on U.S. Scheduled Airlines in 2011 than in the previous year—about 1.3 percent more. While that percentage number may seem small- 1.3 percent of the 637.5 million passengers who flew on domestic airlines last year equates to 8.0 million more travelers. (The increase in passengers between 2010 and 2011 was even greater—something in the order of 11.4 million- or 1.9 percent.)

The number of available seat miles supplied by the airlines increased by only 1.1 percent from 2010 to 2011- which was not sufficient to match the increased demand. Therefore- load factor—the percentage of seats occupied divided by the seats available— increased. If you get the impression that airline flights are usually full these days- you are correct. As you can see from the chart entitled U.S. Scheduled Airline Load Factor- aircraft became increasingly more crowded during the last decade.

Another trend that affects air travel is the system’s reliance on regional air carriers. Approximately half of all scheduled flights are flown by regional airlines- mostly with aircraft that accommodate between 50 and 75 passengers. These smaller airliners provide the mainstay of service to and from smaller airports. As can be seen in the chart entitled Retention of Nonstop Service Between 2006 & 2011- non-stop service to and from smaller airports fell by 19 percent. Thus the supply of convenient- business-friendly flights is diminishing.

With fewer flights to match the needs of business men and women- and with a greater likelihood that whatever you discuss or analyze en-route may catch the attention of the stranger seated next to you- the need for Business Aviation expands.

Select the form of air transportation that best serves your company’s objectives. For many situations Business Aviation—a needed resource—may be your best option.

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