chapter  1
18 Pages

The global airline industry

ByJohn F. O’Connell

The airline industry is characterised by sustained long-term growth in demand for air services. Yet the industry, consisting of around 1,400 airlines globally in 2015 with a combined fleet of over 23,151 aircraft. Airlines worldwide reacted by adding large amounts of capacity in order to capture the increasing passenger traffic. Global airline traffic has been doubling every 15 years since the early 1970s despite the fact that it is fully exposed to many external forces that cause its growth to widely fluctuate. New disruptive airlines continue to enter the global marketplace equipped with leaner cost structures, high productivity mandates and best practice efficiencies that trigger structural shifts within the industry that distinctly impact the legacy incumbent airlines. Airlines based in the Asia-Pacific region fly almost two-fifths of total international freight tonne kilometres which represents around 40 million in metric tonnes each year. Airlines must prepare well in advance for the impending cyclicality of downward macroeconomic forces that regularly hit the industry.