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How Do Airlines Choose Their Routes?  
User currently offlineAirCanadaA330 From Canada, joined Aug 2008, 276 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 4 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 9114 times:

I was just wondering how airlines choose their routes, do they just decide where they are going to fly, or do they figure out what routes have demand? And how would they do that? Its something that has kept me up at night. I mean does Air Canada just say "ok we are now flying from Edmonton to Victoria" or do they do some research into where they are flying next? Also How do they know where the demand is? Does Transport Canada advise them on where to fly...or is it just a guessing game?
Any help would be great thanks!!


Cheers;
7 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineflymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7006 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (3 years 4 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 9099 times:

I do not have a detailed answer I am sure someone will. But airlines have teams of marketing researchers and economist etc.. You name it the airline will use it to find routes to fly. Also there are a lot of statistics out there for example O/D stats between cities.


"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlineQANTAS747-438 From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 1887 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (3 years 4 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 9052 times:

I can speak for Southwest. At WN, lots of thought goes into figuring out what routes to fly as well as what new cities to open. They look to see where the demand is. They also look to see what routes currently have high fares and limited competition. That's when WN loves to come in and drop the price. On a more operational level, you need an airplane to fly the route... so where does the plane come from? Are you anticipating new deliveries? If not then you may need to cancel or alter an existing route. That can have a huge chain reaction down the line. Other things to consider are flight crews and their overnights, gate space at a certain time period that the flight will be operating, can you profitably fill the airplane you are using on that route, etc... When it comes to new cities, you also have to take a look at demographics of the new city. Are people willing to pay high airfare to fly out of there (like SNA or SFO) or is it a liesure market where people save up their money in order to fly (like HNL).

By no means is it as easy as "just adding a new route". Everything gets affected.



My posts/replies are strictly my opinion and not that of any company, organization, or Southwest Airlines.
User currently offlineAirCanadaA330 From Canada, joined Aug 2008, 276 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 4 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 9016 times:

thanks for the info....a lot of info...thanks again everyone!


Cheers;
User currently offlineetherealsky From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 328 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 4 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 8841 times:

Quoting QANTAS747-438 (Reply 2):
They look to see where the demand is.
Quoting AirCanadaA330 (Thread starter):
do they figure out what routes have demand? And how would they do that?

^ That's something I've often wondered as well. Where does the 'demand' data come from; just surveys?



"And that's why you always leave a note..."
User currently offlineJetmatt777 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2733 posts, RR: 34
Reply 5, posted (3 years 4 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 8819 times:

Demand data can come from many sources, mainly (in the USA) the Department of Transportation. When you book a flight from, let's say XXX to YYY, but with a stop in ZZZ, you are counted as a passenger from XXX to YYY. Not a passenger to ZZZ then YYY. So, on a given day, the average number of people between XXX to YYY may be 215.36 people, yet there are no nonstop flights. You are counted as if the flight were nonstop anyway in that market, assuming you are on the same itinerary. So, there is data for markets that don't have nonstop service.


No info
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24109 posts, RR: 23
Reply 6, posted (3 years 4 months 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 8758 times:

Quoting etherealsky (Reply 4):
Quoting QANTAS747-438 (Reply 2):
They look to see where the demand is.
Quoting AirCanadaA330 (Thread starter):
do they figure out what routes have demand? And how would they do that?

^ That's something I've often wondered as well. Where does the 'demand' data come from; just surveys?

In many cases, the demand data comes from their own statistics. Since AC was mentioned, if, for example, AC O&D data shows that they carry 100 connecting passengers a day YEG-YVR-YYJ, they may decide that YEG-YYJ can justify a nonstop flight.


User currently offlinerobso2 From Switzerland, joined Jun 2010, 217 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 4 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 8578 times:

Demand information also comes from market research companies such as Nielsen who compile figures.

Quote:
Other things to consider are flight crews and their overnights, gate space at a certain time period that the flight will be operating, can you profitably fill the airplane you are using on that route, etc...

Another thing to consider on some routes which may have smaller passenger demand is cargo revenues. Airlines will also look at the year round demand (i.e. does demand highly vary between seasons)... What is the premium/economy split like... some routes such as GVA-IAD is a very premium heavy segment and UA capitalize on this.



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