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Post-Crash Ticket Sales Trends  
User currently offlineAFKL From Netherlands, joined Feb 2008, 219 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3218 times:

To what extent does an airline crash have an effect on the ticket sales of the airline involved, and on the ticket sales in the overall market? And to what extent does this vary between, for example, western legacy carriers and LEDC low-cost carriers?

Obviously I understand that there are a lot of variables to take into consideration, such as:
- The severity of the crash (the amount of fatalities etc.)
- How much the crash has been discussed in the media
- The reputation of the airline involved (how good is their safety record?)
- The location of the crash
- Initial causes of the crash

Personally, my mother refused to let me fly on a Kenya Airways flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi back in 2007 after one of their brand-new B737NG's crashed in the jungle in Lagos(?), even though this flight would have been operated by a B767. She actually cancelled the booking, only to put me on a Condor flight from FRA, operated by the same aircraft type. I obviously protested (wanting to fly KQ), understanding that Kenya Airways have a good safety record for African standards.

I thought this would be an interesting topic to discuss here on the forums. Please share your ideas on the subject and any personal thoughts and/or experiences relating.


ALLARD.


ALLARD. First flight: KLM DC-10, LLW - AMS.
14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJeffbart33 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 37 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2958 times:

That is an interesting thought. I've done some research and have not come up with anything. Maybe someone that works at an airline would have a better idea via internal company data.


Regards, Jeff.
User currently offlineAbrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5129 posts, RR: 55
Reply 2, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2958 times:

Also keep in mind that the trend after any major crash is to "retire" that flight number.

Saludos,
A.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineAFKL From Netherlands, joined Feb 2008, 219 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2741 times:



Quoting Abrelosojos (Reply 2):
Also keep in mind that the trend after any major crash is to "retire" that flight number

Is this commenly done across all airlines? And what is the purpose of doing so, is it a sign of respect for those involved, or a supersticious thing?

Thanks!

ALLARD.



ALLARD. First flight: KLM DC-10, LLW - AMS.
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7719 posts, RR: 21
Reply 4, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2717 times:



Quoting AFKL (Thread starter):
Personally, my mother refused to let me fly on a Kenya Airways flight from Amsterdam to Nairobi back in 2007 after one of their brand-new B737NG's crashed in the jungle in Lagos(?)

Lagos is a large city in Nigeria - in some senses you could describe it as a jungle, but I suspect not in the one intended here. The aircraft actually crashed in Cameroon having taken off from Douala.

As for the question, whilst I have no figures to back this up with, my impression is that crashes have little impact on loads etc, perhaps unless the airline is particularly small for example, but hopefully someone can confirm or refute this?



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineBananaboy From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 1588 posts, RR: 22
Reply 5, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2693 times:



Quoting AFKL (Reply 3):
Is this commenly done across all airlines? And what is the purpose of doing so, is it a sign of respect for those involved, or a supersticious thing?

I believe this practice was started after the media began to refer to crashes by their flight number, rather than by the airline and city. The flight number would then be retired for PR reasons.

Someone else may be able to say when this first started?

Mark



All my life, I've been kissing, your top lip 'cause your bottom one's missing
User currently offline747buff From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 744 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2666 times:



Quoting Bananaboy (Reply 5):
Someone else may be able to say when this first started?

I believe (IIRC) the trend started with the crash of AA 191 just outside of ORD in 1979. In contrast, when Eastern 401 crashed in the Everglades in 1972, they kept that flight number for at least 15 years if not longer, surprising for such an infamous crash. (First fatal accident involving a widebodied jet.)



At Eastern, we earn our wings every day!
User currently offlineAFKL From Netherlands, joined Feb 2008, 219 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2592 times:



Quoting RussianJet (Reply 4):
Lagos is a large city in Nigeria - in some senses you could describe it as a jungle, but I suspect not in the one intended here. The aircraft actually crashed in Cameroon having taken off from Douala.

Thanks for the clarification! My geography for Western Africa is very poor.

Quoting Bananaboy (Reply 5):
I believe this practice was started after the media began to refer to crashes by their flight number, rather than by the airline and city. The flight number would then be retired for PR reasons.



Quoting 747buff (Reply 6):
I believe (IIRC) the trend started with the crash of AA 191 just outside of ORD in 1979. In contrast, when Eastern 401 crashed in the Everglades in 1972, they kept that flight number for at least 15 years if not longer, surprising for such an infamous crash. (First fatal accident involving a widebodied jet.)

Very interesting, thanks for those facts!


ALLARD.



ALLARD. First flight: KLM DC-10, LLW - AMS.
User currently offlineSQ_EK_freak From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2000, 1643 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2481 times:

I remember reading that SQ's loads suffered ex USA in the immediate aftermath of the Taipei crash, mostly because of the really negative publicity the airline and the crew involved recieved in the American media, even though the official outcome of the investigations hadn't been released yet (or were nowhere near being completed). Obviously an airline with such a marquee brand name such as Singapore Airlines was able to bounce back pretty quickly, but I do remember a lot of negative feedback in the American media regarding SQ during that whole mess. I remember special scrutiny being given to the crew, flight deck for electing to take off under such inclement weather and going down the wrong runway, and cabin crew for their supposed lack of initiative during the emergency and whether SQ hired them because of their looks and not their ability to handle safety issues - this turned out to be completely untrue, with several stories surfacing of cabin crew saving passengers and effectively carrying out evac procedures, some eventually dying doing so.

That said, I've heard stories of cabin crew jumping back into the plane after having been initially thrown out of the plane during impact (which is against procedure) and a newbie manning an exit and assisting with evacuation even though she was on fire herself, insisting to get as many passengers out in her area as possible...is there any credence to these stories, or are these urban legends??

Incidentally, SQ 006 was renumbered as SQ 030.



Keep Discovering
User currently offlineMandala499 From Indonesia, joined Aug 2001, 6965 posts, RR: 76
Reply 9, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 2256 times:



Quoting AFKL (Thread starter):
Obviously I understand that there are a lot of variables to take into consideration, such as:
- The severity of the crash (the amount of fatalities etc.)
- How much the crash has been discussed in the media
- The reputation of the airline involved (how good is their safety record?)
- The location of the crash
- Initial causes of the crash

I would put it as the first 3... the latter 2 aren't really important IMHO... basically it all depends on the trend. But I would also put on top of that how the company does PR damage control.

I put forward a few crashes by several carriers in Indonesia over the last few years.
Lion Air's 732 crash in Pekanbaru in I think 2002, didn't affect the carrier much... as not many knew the cause, and there was little media attention to it.

We then go to the case of Lion's MD80 crash in Solo in 2005. It was covered allover the media here, but, didn't put a dent in the loads nor the yields, because there was an easy culprit to blame... the weather... shove enough on weather, and the public never suspected there was anything else. It was fatal, but it seems that no one cared.

We then go to the case of Adam Air's 400NM diversion where it got lost... in 2006. It didn't affect the loads nor the yield... because there was no damage.

This changed when Adam Air's 734 plunged into the sea in new year's 2007. No survivors, the media covered it endlessly, and the airline developed a bad reputation by then. No matter how the airline tried to blame it on the weather (and even the then head of the DGCA also said "nothing was wrong with the plane" and waving the "supposed" maintenance log of the aircraft), the loads on Adam Air suffered, but most of all, the yields went through the floor! However, it only took several months for the company to get to the same loads as before... there's always a price people are willing to risk their lives on...

What's ironic, the real long term denter in Adam Air's loads and yields was the hard landing in Surabaya where the aircraft ended up bent... by that time, it wasn't the severity that mattered, but the long string of accidents and incidents came back to people's memories and they stopped flying it, and the airline was literally down on its knees by the time the final accident came in 2008... and the airline folded.

Compare this with Mandala... the fatal crash in 2005 in Medan, was so grim that it took the company 3 years to recover, and 2 near bankruptcies, despite the company not having any serious accidents in the few years prior. The loads immediately following that accident was a total nightmare... this accident was not just about the severity (no survivors), but the horrific scenes of the street being charred with not few ground casualties.

They didn't start recovering until end of 2006, when a new management came in, and started doing the reforms inside the ops... the accident in Tarakan and Malang (both 732s) didn't dent the loads at all, because the company's PR machine had worked (and they put out releases that weren't outright lies, although it was no angel press release either). This worked so well that in 2008, Mandala had a 99% passenger number growth... the PR campaign worked damn well, and when they started responding in support of the crew when dealing with rogue passengers, people just flocked to them! (Mandala is if my memory serves me right, the first Indonesian carrier to actively support flight crew in their action in dealing with violations... all it took was several responses in the media supporting their flight crew's actions when throwing off passengers who refused to switch off their cellphones whilst onboard...)

The previous reputation of the airline is paramount, and then the severity is second. If we look at Garuda, the crash in JOG in 2007 didn't affect the loads (by my observations) despite the media coverage, and the criminal proceedings against the pilot that followed afterwards. Between the time of the crash and today, I've always find it difficult to get a last minute morning flight with Garuda...

The same goes with Sriwijaya Air, until last year they had zero accidents and zero serious incidents... until the 733 overran at PGK... that didn't affect the loads, but then the accident in Jambi/DJB where they had 1 near fatal ground casualty, spectacular media coverage, etc, also didn't dent the loads... I've had the previledge to see the loads and yields of this airline and guess what, the DJB accident didn't affect the loads. However, the airline's declining OTP was the real killer in the loads and yields... not the accident... thanks to it's "safe reputation" in the past.

Coming back to Lion Air, the recent accident in CGK hasn't dampened the demand, thanks to it's usual "Schmoozy PR machine"... its loads have been low beforehand, but no significant drop has been seen...

If I may put it in order... I would rank the factors in the following order of significance:
1st - Safety reputation of the airline
2nd - Effectiveness of the PR damage control
3rd - Media coverage
4th - Severity of the accident

Mandala499



When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
User currently offlineFlypig687 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 56 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2209 times:

Didn't ValuJet change its name due to an accident. Given they merged with AirTran, but wasn't a big factor behind dropping ValuJet their crash in the everglades and their poor safety record?

User currently offlineRikkus67 From Canada, joined Jun 2000, 1684 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2184 times:



Quoting Flypig687 (Reply 10):
...and their poor safety record?

IIRC, I do believe it was more to do with improperly stowed cargo (O2 cylinders), than specifically with maintainence.

Regardless, the intense media coverage of the event, and the continual bombardment of crashing in crocodile infested water...Valujet suffered incredibly. With the quick aquisition of Air Tran, and a quick rebranding subsequently, the airline was able to survive what could have been a quick demise in the hands of the media.



AC.WA.CP.DL.RW.CO.WG.WJ.WN.KI.FL.SK.ACL.UA.US.F9
User currently offlineAFKL From Netherlands, joined Feb 2008, 219 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2158 times:



Quoting Mandala499 (Reply 9):
If I may put it in order... I would rank the factors in the following order of significance:
1st - Safety reputation of the airline
2nd - Effectiveness of the PR damage control
3rd - Media coverage
4th - Severity of the accident

Thanks for the input Mandala, your observations were highly interesting and detailed.

However, when taking Garuda as an example again, do you think their loads may not have been affected after the 2007 crash, as they are commonly considered to be Indonesia's flag carrier? I suspect that the status that goes with this will allow people to "presume" it is more safe than their LCC competitors in the area?


ALLARD.



ALLARD. First flight: KLM DC-10, LLW - AMS.
User currently offlineMandala499 From Indonesia, joined Aug 2001, 6965 posts, RR: 76
Reply 13, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2125 times:



Quoting AFKL (Reply 12):
However, when taking Garuda as an example again, do you think their loads may not have been affected after the 2007 crash, as they are commonly considered to be Indonesia's flag carrier? I suspect that the status that goes with this will allow people to "presume" it is more safe than their LCC competitors in the area?

Well that goes straight back to the previous reputation of the airline... When the accident investigation results were published, the airline have already taken the necessary corrective action and despite its mediocre PR (in comparison to its competitors), it worked.

People know the Garuda product... it was better and more reliable than most of the competition, unless there's a string of accidents and incidents, a crash would not affect it much.

The same went with Adam Air, incidents were rife but it was effectively isolated and quickly hushed up... but once you have a string of it and a pattern emerges, the loads may not drop, but the yields certainly did... What was ironic with Adam Air, was that despite the severity of the 734 that plunged into the sea, and the media sensation of the 733 that got lost and landed in the middle of nowhere a few months before, what killed them in the end was a runway excursion that was comparatively mildly covered by the media... by then, everyone was fed up and went elsewhere!

As with Mandala, at the time of the Medan crash, they were a full service carrier, and a very established brand in Indonesia... it was reputed as amongst the best, not far below Garuda.... but, that crash almost killed it... the safety reputation prior to the accident was good, but it had little product consistency and reliability in the preceeding few months, and the poor PR that followed (they had an almost silent PR damage control) showed its effect.

If you see the top 3 most important factors... they're all intertwined... the lines of defence against a drop in sales after a crash are product reliability and consistency... Loose that, and all you need is an incident to kill you off! So it's what you had before it, and how you deal with it...



When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
User currently offlineSQ_EK_freak From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2000, 1643 posts, RR: 20
Reply 14, posted (5 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2016 times:



Quoting Rikkus67 (Reply 11):
IIRC, I do believe it was more to do with improperly stowed cargo (O2 cylinders), than specifically with maintainence.

Also weren't there several spare aircraft tires in the cargo hold that exacerbated the fire once it started?



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