Monday Insight – August 23, 2021

Latest Aviation Unscripted Video:
More Evidence of Traffic Slowdown

“…  the company believes the recent negative effects of the pandemic on August and September revenue trends will make it difficult for the company to be profitable in third-quarter 2021.”

Southwest Airlines

That’s the word from one major airline. There are other indications as well. The good news is that the U.S. airline industry is not being suddenly blind-sided by the factors threatening current load factors. They are obviously not lulled into a cushy euphoria due to the growth in traffic this summer.

In the latest Aviation Unscripted video, we go into how this may change.  It’s insight about the next six months that hasn’t been addressed. Yet.

Click here to get a view of what we may be facing, including a review the latest Airports:USA® short-term enplanement forecasts and how regional demand shifts are already taking place.

BGI is the only aviation consulting and research firm that has identified the economic drivers we can expect in this 3Q-4Q traffic demand shift.

We don’t go by the “consensus,” which is always months behind and a system that smothers independent thought. What we cover in this video is what other consultants will be trumpeting only after it’s already obvious. Click on the icon above and join us.


Random Aviation Points This Week

Boeing 737MAX – Maybe Getting Resuscitated In China…
… And Maybe Not. It’s Important To Renton Economy.

We pointed out a couple weeks ago that it was starting to be clear that Boeing was being shut out of China, at least in the single-aisle market.

In the last week, two indicators of interest. Boeing is reported to have flown a test plane 737-MAX7 to its (probably very quiet) completion facility in Zhoushan. In addition, China Eastern shifted a single 737MAX8 it has on the order books to one of its subsidiary airlines earlier in the week. No indication of what that might mean.

The fly in the fleet ointment is that the Chinese air transportation system right now doesn’t need the dozens of now-parked 737MAX units, not to mention the ones still on order, as the CCP-generated Covid virus has been shutting down whole airports and constricting travel across the country. So a quick return to accepting new 737s may not be in the near term.

Airbus Is In The Cockpit Seat. Meanwhile deliveries of new Airbus narrowbodies continue. The indications are that China may be on the margins of Boeing demand for the foreseeable future.

This does have future economic indications for the USA and for Renton. Reportedly, a quarter of Boeing’s production was at one point aimed at China.


Air Travel – It’s Just Like A Loaf of Bread, The Survey Says

A recent article in the Columbus Dispatch trumpeted a new survey that identified Rickenbacker as having some of the lowest airfares in the nation. Didn’t do much to check the source or the accuracy… the headline was apparently too exciting, even if at used-car-lot levels of inaccuracy.

Memo: Air Transportation Is A Modality, Not a Product. Some “research firm” got into DOT data, and ranked airports by average fares, assuming that air service at places like Rickenbacker or St. Louis or LGA or Phoenix Mesa was a consistent product, like a gallon of unleaded or a watermelon, or a bunch of seedless grapes. They also assumed that the reporting of “air fares” is derived from a consistent methodology across all airlines. Caveat Reader.

Actually, this is just like the news stories that come out every quarter, with eager reporters comparing “ticket prices” between airports. Or the nonsensical discussions in air service development “studies” claiming an airport may have “higher than average” air fares, which even the DOT thinks is a metric.


This Week’s Airports:USA® Forecast Snapshot

We’ll be posting a key metric on Airports:USA®  each week that gives insight regarding air transportation and airport trends.

This week, we take a look at the 25 Fastest Growth Large Non-Hubsite Airports through 2025.

This is another area where Airports:USA® is far more advanced than traditional FAA forecast methodologies. The Agency still ranks airports on the percentage of total enplanements. That was great in the 1960s, but today the role an airport plays in the air transportation system is a far more meaningful category metric.

Airport Classifications That Relate To Reality. Tor the FAA to continue to categorize airports as variants of a “hub” is completely outside of air transportation system realities. Airports:USA® categorizes airports at regional, large non-hubsite, and hubsite. The latter category represents airports where 25% of the total enplanements are generated by connecting passengers as a result of an airline or airlines intentionally scheduling flights to inter-connect.

Large Non-Hubsite Airports are those that experience more than 4 million enplanements annually and where no airline has established a connecting hub operation. Just click on the snapshot tab.

Click here to take a look. Just click on the snapshot tab on the website.