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What is Airline Industry Analysis?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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An airline industry analysis is an overview of the airline industry to provide information about current challenges, emerging trends, and the future direction of the industry. Airlines may commission such studies with the goal of improving their business practices, and they are also of interest to government regulators and investors. People with an interest in the airline industry may be able to find analyses available to the public in trade publications, annual reports to shareholders, and similar public documents.

The analyst responsible for preparing the document researches the history of the industry to provide information on growth rates, data on how consumers respond to advertising campaigns, and information about the impact of regulations on airlines. The airline industry analysis will usually discuss several major airlines, comparing and contrasting performance and business practices to provide some context for the analysis.

The document may focus on a specific aspect of the industry like regional airlines, small carriers, or international airlines. It can draw upon publicly available records as well as research to get information about on-time records, number of personnel employed, and safety violations. The airline industry analysis will provide a detailed discussion of the current state of the industry and will identify specific challenges airlines may be dealing with such as changes in fuel costs, declining passenger numbers, and so forth.

It will also offer some projections about the future. This information is useful for airlines preparing to adapt or adjust their business strategy to access more customers. It may determine which routes airlines add, how airlines market themselves, and what kinds of promotions they choose to use to attract customers. For investors, the airline industry analysis identifies areas of the industry with investment potential, like airlines that appear to be rapidly growing. People considering entry into the industry may also have an interest in growing market sectors and opportunities.

Regulators use airline industry analysis to look at current standards and practices. These can help them identify areas where more regulation may be necessary. If a study notes that a particular consumer complaint, like having to wait on the tarmac for hours to take off, is a growing problem, regulators may decide to take action to address the issue. They can warn the industry that they are considering regulation to give airlines a chance to resolve the problem on their own, or can move forward directly with changing airline regulations, using industry analysis and experts to help design an appropriate policy change.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon265954 — On May 03, 2012

On a Singapore Airlines flight from Singapore to Sydney, a small child (about three years old) was seated on the outside seat, three seats away from her mother. Her brother, about 10 years old, was seated between them. Upon take off, the child left her seat and started running up and down the aisle.

When the seat belt sign went off, I spoke to the airline hostess. I suggested the child be sandwiched between her brother and next to her mother. The mother refused. A senior female hostess was called and both female attendants spoke to the mother. Again, she refused to comply.

The child was now running freely. To add to this fiasco, the audio system failed in the seats where my partner and I were seated. We asked to move to other seats. Problem solved, right? No!

My partner was being attended by a wheelchair service. So when the plane landed, we had to return to our seats for the wheelchair to be brought to our original seat. There in our seats were the infamous three year old and her brother. Both refused to move and my shouting at the mother did nothing. She ignored me. My frustration was at peak level, particularly as it was an overnight flight. In my agitated state, I forgot to return to the seat that we were moved to, and consequently left my laptop.

I phoned lost baggage for Singapore Airlines next day. They faxed Singapore and received no reply. I phoned the next day, but no reply from Singapore.

They faxed again. I had to phone again. Finally, in total frustration, I phoned several Singapore Airline departments in Sydney and finally had a reply that it had been stolen. Apple Store finally confirmed the theft when someone bought an item from iTunes.

Now, to my frustration. I have written to Singapore Airlines to ask for reasonable compensation (say a set of airline tickets) -- not millions. They report that the two flight attendants cannot remember approaching this woman. Yet, I can describe the family (they were of Indian descent). I can give the facts that a child was seated on the far aisle, next to her brother. I am maintaining that letting a child (aged 3) sit unattended during takeoff is a safety breach. This breach should have been recorded at best. The second senior attendant should have contacted the pilot.

Every email from Singapore Airlines denies the conversation with the mother, states the audio breakdown is fixed, states attendants comply with all safety matters, advises me to seek insurance for the lap top and basically kisses me off.

Who can I contact to take this issue further?

By Tomislav — On Aug 03, 2011

@bluespirit - Just as @Greenweaver discussed, the airline has begun to add a la carte services as a way to lower fares.

So although the fees feel hidden because most travelers are not familiar with having to pay them, they are not necessarily hidden fees.

I would agree with others here as well, I would rather have great customer service than have to be knowledgeable of all the possible things that may or may not be included in my airline ticket fee.

By bluespirit — On Aug 02, 2011

Let us talk about a something that the airline industry overview should to discuss at length at some point in its report: Hidden charges!!

Nothing like packing for your long trip and then getting to the counter and learning that you will be charged for that bag.

I wonder if the most recent industry or even company analysis where they might compare companies that don't charge any hidden fees versus those that do have seen that charging the hidden fees is actually worth the customer dissatisfaction!

I know I will try at length not to fly with the airline that charged me for my bag! I'm traveling, a bag is usually a definite need for traveling so I feel I should have been warned about these fees?

Has anyone else had an experience with these fees?

By BrickBack — On Aug 02, 2011

@Moldova - I was reading about airline industry news in general and I read that Singapore Airlines which is one of the largest airlines in the world and was ranked number one in a London survey of world class airlines for its superior customer service had a 80% drop in profits in this past quarter.

This is really a problem when you consider how lauded this airline was for their customer service. They will really have to do a SWOT analysis in order to determine what went wrong with their business model and how they can salvage their business going forward because no airline can sustain these losses for too long.

By Moldova — On Aug 01, 2011

@Cafe41 - Wow that must have been really inconvenient. I want to say that anyone doing an airline industry analysis has to take into consideration the high costs of fuel.

This has to be one of the reasons that the airlines have had to reduce costs and charge customers more for things that they never used to pay for. I know that recently one of the major airlines in the United States added that they were going to charge customers $25 to speak with a customer service representative over the phone. I think that says it all.

By cafe41 — On Jul 31, 2011

@GreenWeaver - I just wanted to say that I would want to know the airline industry statistics on airplane maintenance and repair.

With all of these cost cutting measures, I always wonder if the airlines would cut costs with respect to maintaining the airplanes. I also would want to know about the amount of rest that the average pilot gets between flights.

I say this because I had boarded a flight from Los Angeles to Miami and after everyone got on the plane, the pilot announced that he could not operate the plane because of FAA regulations because he did not have adequate sleep.

This made me wonder what the average airline statistics were regarding airline pilots' rest between flights.

By GreenWeaver — On Jul 31, 2011

I know that a lot of airline industry trends are going in way of a la carte services as a way for the airlines to save money and offer lower fares for customers.

I think that charging passengers for things that used to be free takes a little adjusting to. I actually would rather pay a little bit more for my ticket and have everything included instead of having the airline nickel and dime me for every little thing.

It may mean that I am out the same amount of money in the end, but the perception is better when everything is included.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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