Airlines may need to think more about the comfort of passengers in economy
Formidable challenges seem to be facing the aviation industry over the coming 20 years. How are airlines going to cope with the rapid increases in the number of passengers over this period? It already feels overcrowded to most economy-class passengers as load factors stretch to 80% and beyond. As a corollary to this, service may decline at airports.
“The best indication of this dismal trend, by the way, is that airlines are increasingly getting rid of the models of regional jets that carry most passengers to and from midsize and smaller airports,” writes the author of this piece.” The percentage of 50-seat regional jets in service is expected to fall as airline industry profitability rises and oil prices stay at the level of around $100 a barrel at least until 2026.
A major overhaul of the US air traffic control system is expected to reduce carbon emissions and cut flight delays by 21% by 2018. Aircraft manufacturers are improving cabin space and seating designs. But for the ever-increasing numbers of economy-class passengers (and the average passenger is gaining in weight and taking up more space), air fares will keep rising, service will be less available and planes will get even more crowded.
The New York Times