Riddle: How many passengers does it take for an airliner to be profitable?

The Wall Street Journal ‘Middle Seat’ breaks it down for us. On an airplane carrying 100 passengers, how many customers does it take, on average, to cover the cost of the flight?

How Airlines Spend Your Airfare

I pay for what?

The Middle Seat asked US Airways and consulting firm Oliver Wyman to crunch airline expenses down to the percentages that an individual passenger pays, taking a hard look at costs of running an airline. US Airways created a hypothetical flight of 100 passengers. Each one paid the average $146 fare for a domestic flight ($292 round-trip), plus $18 each in fees and add-ons, based on a year’s worth of data ending March 31. The bottom line: There is very little wiggle room on the plane for profit.

Somebody on every flight helps cover crash insurance and compensation paid for bumped passengers or lost luggage. The person beside you on your next trip may be partly paying to repair baggage carts or to buy and maintain passenger oxygen and defibrillators.

“It’s like a wristwatch. You only see the face and hands, but all the parts inside are really necessary,” said former airline chief executive Gordon Bethune. “Those bags don’t get downstairs by themselves. All those things that move bags have to be purchased and then they break. It never stops.”……….continued

Read entire article at Wall Street Journal Middle Seat (click here)