America’s aviation industry is set for record business in spring 2018 after its nine largest airlines (Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit and United) invested $20bn in people and product development last year.
According to Airlines for America’s (A4A) latest research, all US airlines collectively spent more than $100bn on upgrades between 2010 and 2017, some 75% of operating cashflow.
Such upgrades include new planes, in-flight wi-fi and entertainment systems, renovated airport lounges and upgraded security lanes at airport checkpoints.
A4A predicts an all-time high of 150.7mn passengers – 2.47mn per day – to fly globally on US airlines between 1 March and 30 April.
A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich commented: “Travelers are taking to the skies this spring in record numbers, thanks to persistently low fares, unsurpassed levels of investment in the product, increasing competition, and unprecedented access for passengers of all regions, age groups, and income levels.”
The industry is also hiring at a rate twice that of the national average – airlines spent $47bn in employee wages and benefits in 2017, up 54% since 2010.
Heimlich added: “Through high-quality, lucrative careers and significant economic stimulation around the country, US passenger and cargo airlines are dedicated to investment in their people, products, and facilities. Airlines serve as valued partners to airports and will continue to do so, without the need for higher taxes on passengers or shippers.”
The below infographic outlines how the country’s largest airlines spent $20bn on enhancing passenger experience.