The current environment that the airline industry finds itself in is far different than that of 10 years ago. Large mergers and shrinking oil prices have created an entirely new landscape and one that for the most part, is greatly profitable. With spread sheets that are far more attractive than years before, many executives are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to allocate these new found cash flows. Most in the industry know that it won’t last forever, and many are probably trying to fully internalize it is even happening in the first place. So efforts are being put in place to properly use these earnings to stay competitive in a now evolving industry.
Speculations on whether airline officials should spend there earning on employee salaries, shareholders, or reducing fare prices are buzzing, but officials should think cautiously before acting too soon. Although pleasing those that have stuck with you till this point is a noble idea, so is the idea of making sure there is a company for them to stick around with in the coming decade. Like I’ve said, most know this boom will not last, and economic changes or fuel price spikes may bring the house down before they have time to enjoy it. Focusing on evolving airlines and preparing them for future technologies and economic conditions is far more advantageous than reducing rates, and driving down the potential earning for the whole industry.
Improving upon their efficiencies and allocating resources to logistics, can be a great way to spend these earnings. Predictability is one of the most desired qualities of an airline, and ensuring that passengers and luggage get to their destination on time will ensure airlines are frequently used by time sensitive travelers.
Customer service and convenience may be the one big factor differentiating major airlines besides price. People will get over higher prices and less leg room (within reason) for a superior customer experience. Friendly and helpful employees can pay dividends, and create repeat customers, so ensuring airlines are hiring the right people and training them properly is crucial. As well as maintaining a thriving company culture that makes people excited to come to work everyday, which will show in the performance in the work place.
Additionally, convenience factors like kiosks are a great way to expedite the check in process for passengers and a great investment to modernize individual airlines with the coming technologies.
As the times change, and the customers expectations continue to rise airlines will want to make sure they meet the needs of modern travelers and do not fall from glory, by eager and innovative companies looking to take their place.