Operations Buzz

Monthly Archives: January 2011

Does Filling up a Plane make the Airline Money?

January 18th, 2011

by Ram Ganeshan

I recently flew Southwest from Baltimore to LaGuardia to meet up with a few friends in Queens, NY (the little less than the $100 for a one-way fare was cheaper, and the 40-minute flight faster than the Acela). The flight was barely half full. I was convinced Southwest was losing money on this flight especially with the cabin seemingly full of tourists likely paying “web only” $100 fares like myself. Really? What my research uncovered surprised me.

How much does it cost the world’s major airlines to fly a passenger a mile? How much money do they make from that passenger? How full are their planes? Read on…