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How Much Money Do Empty Flights Really Cost Airlines

With the unprecedented grounding of aircraft around the world due to global travel restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19, some airlines are continuing to operate flights.


With the passenger loads down, airlines requesting federal funding, and layoffs inevitable at almost every major airline the data illustrates how, for example, an American Airlines a320 loses $24,009 every time a plane takes off on a 1,000 mile trip at 20% full.

With the passenger loads down, airlines requesting federal funding, and layoffs inevitable at almost every major airline the data illustrates how, for example, an American Airlines a320 loses $24,009 every time a plane takes off on a 1,000 mile trip at 20% full.


The report illustrates that the load factors on flights needed to breakeven range between 72.5% and 78.9% depending on the airline. With ghost flights and undersold planes departing constantly, it should not come as a surprise that many airlines outside the U.S. that make the majority of their revenue from international flights have temporarily shut down.

Southwest Airlines has the lowest required load factor for a break-even flight at 72.5%. American Airlines has the highest required load factor for a break-even flight at 78.9%. While the maximum loss to operate one flight of 1,000 miles is $32,357, the maximum profit with 100% of all seats sold is only $11,038.



With 75% of the seats sold, only half of the airlines represented break even in the U.S., demonstrating just how competitively priced the market has become. This further demonstrates that even operating flights at 50% capacity leads to a substantial economic loss for all airlines.


Every empty seat on an aircraft is a direct hit to the airline's profitability. The most profitable airline in the U.S. needs to sell 73 out of every 100 seats just to break even. The expense to maintain aircraft, staff ground and flight crew, fuel the aircraft, and the many other costs associated with operating an airline is extensive.



info: cnn

2020 ALL NEW DIGITAL PRIVACY POLICY

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2020 ALL NEW DIGITAL PRIVACY POLICY