US Public Airlines - Revenue per Passenger
After analyzing revenue per employee among S&P 500 companies, we focus on the airline sector in this report, and analyze how much Revenue was generated per Passenger carried on US public airlines in 2016.
Despite recent scandals, United topped the list, earning $256 per passenger. The other major international US carriers - United, Hawaiian, Delta and American Airlines all generated over $200 per passenger. Low-cost carriers, such as Allegiant and JetBlue as well as mainly regional airline groups such as Alaska Air and SkyWest had lower revenue per passenger, with Skywest generating only $58 per passenger.
The following table shows the Revenue per Passenger for the top US public airline companies.
Next, we analyzed the relationship between Revenue generation and other operating metrics, such as number of aircraft, destinations, daily flights and available seat mile. Even though the major carriers tended to rank highest in most Revenue per operating metric, there was variation depending on the data points analyzed.
For revenue earned per aircraft in 2016, Hawaiian ranked highest, earning around $46.3 million per aircraft operated, followed by United with $29.7 million and Southwest Airlines with $28.2 million. The regional carriers Alaska Air Group, Allegiant and SkyWest made up the bottom of the ranking, with SkyWest again earning the least with $4.5 million per aircraft or ten times less than top-ranked Hawaiian.
The graph below shows how much Revenue per aircraft the US airlines generated in 2016.
Next, we looked at Revenue per destination, and here, the world’s largest low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines performed best, recording almost $202 million in Revenue per destination. Southwest was followed by major airlines Delta, American, and United, earning $123m, $115m and $108m respectively. Smaller low-cost carriers JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines ranked lowest with $66 million and $39 million in revenue per destination respectively.
The following graph shows which US public airlines made the most revenue per destination flown.
The next metric we analyzed, Revenue per daily flight in 2016, revealed a mix of low-cost and major airlines at both top and bottom of the table. The top three ranked airlines were Hawaiian, United, and JetBlue with $13 million, $8 million and $7 million in revenue per daily flight respectively. Delta was the worst performing major airline, earning only ⅓ of its major competitor United, or $2.6m in revenue per daily flight. SkyWest again ranked lowest, with only $970,000 in Revenue per daily flight.
Below you will find a ranking of the top performing US public airlines by revenue per daily flight.
Finally, we analyzed Revenue per available seat mile (ASM) in 2016. ASM refers to an airline’s passenger holding capacity and is usually calculated by multiplying the number of seats available with the number of miles flown. The top-ranked airlines for revenue per ASM were the major airline carriers, Delta and American Airlines, earning $0.16 and $0.15 respectively. United, Southwest, and Hawaiian tied in 3rd place, earning $0.14 revenue per ASM each. SkyWest and Spirit Airlines ranked lowest earning only $0.09 in revenue per ASM.
The following table shows the Revenue per Available Seat Mile for the top 10 US public airlines.
Overall, United was the best performing airline in our analysis, ranking in the top 3 of all analyzed metrics except for revenue per destination. Southwest was the best performing low-cost carrier, outperforming its low-cost competitors whenever ranked against them and often even outranking major airline carriers in revenue per destination and revenue per aircraft. SkyWest was the lowest performer by a significant margin, ranking within the bottom 2 of 4 out of 5 metrics and earning the last spot in 3 of the metrics.
- Hawaiian Holdings is the publicly-listed parent company of Hawaiian Airlines
- United refers to United Continental Holdings, the holdings company of United Airlines.
- Alaska Air Group is the publicly-listed airlines holding company of Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and Virgin America.
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