Airlines may have to cut economy seats

More room for high-paying business travellers, less for leisure

The struggles of airlines to maintain a steady profit following 10 years of losses are likely to force them to focus on the business seats at the expense of the leisure travellers. Low-margin customers will be reduced in order to improve profitability. In the words of John Heimlich, a chief economist at the Air Transport Association: “What we want is a leaner industry that no longer carries every person at any cost.”
In general, international airlines have rapidly cut costs and capacity wherever they can. However, in order to stay profitable in the future they will have to cut the number of low-priced seats they offer and instead do everything they can to attract the more deep-pocketed business travellers. “Business will become a bigger part of the mix,” Heimlich says.
[pictured: Lufthansa A380, Frankfurt]