U.S. Airlines: At Cruising Altitude

U.S. Airlines: At Cruising Altitude Published January 2016 Analyst: Maggie Rauch

 

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Low fuel prices are a major factor keeping airlines in the headlines for strong profitability, letting them off the hook for slowing growth in passenger revenue. Passenger growth picked up somewhat in the first half of 2015, but revenue for the year expanded just 1%. Legacy airlines are grappling with competition from low-cost carriers (LCCs), which are growing faster than traditional carriers in terms of capacity, traffic and passenger value. Growth will remain in the single digits through 2017 when they register US$148.9 billion.  

Phocuswright's U.S. Airlines: At Cruising Altitude is a comprehensive analysis of the U.S. travel industry, providing market sizing and growth forecasts through 2017. The report focuses on the U.S. online leisure/unmanaged business travel marketplace, and provides a detailed overview of travel distribution in the U.S., with analysis of trends in market share, technological innovation and consumer behavior.  

Topics include:

  • Size and composition of the U.S. total and online travel markets
  • Market sizing and forecasts through 2017
  • Mobile travel sizing for airlines
  • Distribution patterns and projections by segment and channel
  • Consumer and technology trends influencing travel marketing and distribution  

Purchase U.S. Airlines: At Cruising Altitude for comprehensive market sizing of the U.S. travel industry with a focus on the airline segment.


ALSO AVAILABLE

Full U.S. Online Travel Overview Report

Hotels & Lodging

Online Travel Agencies

  • Size and Structure of the U.S. Online Travel Market
    • Overview
    • Size of the Market
    • Composition of the U.S. Travel Market
    • U.S. Travel Market – Channel Shift
    • Online Travel Outlook
    • Online Segment Share
    • Supplier Websites vs. OTAs
    • Mobile
    • Key Findings
    • Purpose of the Report
    • Methodology
      • Market Size and Forecasts
      • Consumer Travel and Behavioral Information
  • Airlines: At Cruising Altitude
    • Key Findings
    • Overview and Size of the Market
    • Low-Cost Looms
    • Modest Gains for OTAs, but Airlines Are in Charge
    • Ancillaries
    • Metasearch – Keep Your Friends Close, and Your Eyes on Google
    • Mobile: Travelers Tapping Out

Market Size and Forecasts
Phocuswright has been tracking the financial results of the online travel industry since 1998. This report's estimates and forecasts cover U.S.-based travel businesses, including travel suppliers (airlines, hotels, car rental companies, packagers, railways and cruise lines) and OTAs. The total market size includes sales of non-U.S. travel suppliers transacted via U.S.-based OTAs. All figures are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise stated.

Both leisure and unmanaged business travel services are included in the online travel market size and forecast figures. Unless otherwise indicated, all online gross bookings and share figures refer to leisure/unmanaged travel. Unmanaged business travel refers to all air, car and hotel expenses associated with business travel in firms that do not have travel policies dictating the channels, types of travel, suppliers or fares/rates used. Corporate online booking systems such as Concur Technologies and Sabre's GetThere are excluded from this analysis.

Phocuswright builds its estimates and forecasts from discussions with more than 80 travel executives regarding their companies' Internet sales, marketing and technology investments, challenges, strategies and expectations. Their responses have been vetted and aggregated to determine market size for supplier websites and OTAs. Phocuswright also reviewed data from Securities and Exchange Commission documents, company reports, and select third-party data sources.

Figures for 2014 and earlier are based on actual company results. Projections for 2015-2017 are based on financial results, company interviews, consumer research and market developments. Phocuswright also considers historical growth and economic trends when developing its forecasts. Estimates and projections are for gross bookings - the retail value of travel sold over the Internet - after cancellations. Figures for airlines are based on flown (passenger) revenue. Hotel figures are based on room revenue. Figures for car rental are based on domestic U.S. revenues, excluding insurance replacement revenue. Figures for cruise lines and tour operators are based on U.S. outbound passenger revenue. Figures for rail are based on passenger ticket revenue.

Where possible, travel that is researched online but booked offline using toll-free telephone numbers provided on websites is excluded from online gross bookings figures. Total travel figures (online and offline) are used to determine Internet penetration for each market segment. Total travel figures are either derived from third-party sources or are Phocuswright estimates.

Hotel OTA gross bookings in Phocuswright's U.S. Online Travel Overview Fifteenth Edition include estimates and projections for U.S. sales of Priceline's Booking.com. To better reflect leisure/unmanaged business travel bookings, corporate bookings from Expedia's Egencia unit are excluded from its U.S. OTA figures.

Note that figures listed in tables do not always add precisely to column totals due to rounding.

Consumer Travel and Behavioral Information
Most consumer travel and behavioral information is derived from Phocuswright's Consumer Travel Report Seventh Edition. Phocuswright fielded an online consumer survey February 24-28, 2015, through Global Market Insite, Inc. (now Lightspeed GMI), targeting members of the general U.S. adult population who have Internet access and travel for leisure.

To qualify for participation in the study, respondents had to indicate they had taken at least one leisure trip at least 75 miles from home in the past 12 months that included paid lodging and/or air travel. An additional screener required consumers to have played active roles in planning their leisure trips.Respondents who qualified are referred to as "U.S. travelers." The term "lodging" is used in this report to refer to the broad range of paid accommodations, including hotels, other nightly priced lodging products, timeshares and vacation rentals.

Phocuswright received 2,010 qualified responses. The weighted respondent pool can be projected with confidence to the U.S. adult population with Internet access. A total of 5,110 respondents were surveyed to obtain baseline metrics about travelers and nontravelers within the general online population. The error interval for analysis of the U.S. traveler population is +/- 2.2% at a 95% confidence level.

US $1,250 
CA $1,558 • £906 • €1,022
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