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What's So Special About RPKs?  
User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9169 posts, RR: 15
Posted (1 year 5 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 3993 times:

A lot of aviation experts believe that RPK is the most accurate way of measuring airline size. Why is that? Why is it more accurate than fleet size, number of passengers carried etc?

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently onlinePolot From United States of America, joined Jul 2011, 2188 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (1 year 5 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3912 times:

I'm going to repeat what I said in a thread a few weeks ago.

You have 2 airlines. One flies a single 737/A320 between New York and Boston all day, and the other flies a single A330/777 between New York and London all day. Which is larger?

They both have the same fleet size. They would likely have similar number employees (the 2nd one might have more) Because the first airline is flying a relatively short flight it will likely end up carrying more passengers- but that is because it can fly more segments a day than the second airline.


User currently offlineVV701 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 7534 posts, RR: 17
Reply 2, posted (1 year 5 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3906 times:

Because it is a measure of comparative business activity that does not vary with exchange rates or ticket prices.

Fleet size tells you very little. For example is an airline that operates 20 31 seat DO328s "larger" than an airline that operates 15 469 seat A380s?

Number of passengers is also not truly indicative of operational size. Is an airline that carries 1 million passengers a year between LHR and BRU really "bigger" than an airline that carries 750,000 passengers a year between LHR and SYD?

If you are trying to compare economic activity theoretically the best measure is revenue. But airlines can slide up and down a revenue ranking list for no other reason than changes in relative exchange rates. So, for example a non-American airline could show 10 per cent growth in RPKs while maintaining ticket prices but because its home market currency lost 15 per cent of its value against the US $, comparative revenue figures would show a decline.

RPK does not have the intrinsic problems of comparison that many other possible measures have.


User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9169 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (1 year 5 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3660 times:

Shouldn't revenue or total assets be the standard way of measuring airline size?

Can anyone give me the list of top ten airlines in terms of RPKs?


User currently offlineCoronado From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1177 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (1 year 5 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3624 times:
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http://www.airlines-inform.com/rankings/traffic_2011.html

You can probably add United and Continental together but in 2011 they technically were still on separate certificates at least until the very end of November.
.
These are for 2011, we should be seeing the Airline Business 2012 rankings in another 2 or 3 months.



The Original Coronado: First CV jet flights RG CV 990 July 1965; DL CV 880 July 1965; Spantax CV990 Feb 1973
User currently offlineAzure From France, joined Dec 2012, 626 posts, RR: 16
Reply 5, posted (1 year 5 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3595 times:

Quoting Coronado (Reply 4):

I have another source, the official European website, with agregated data : http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-12-714_en.htm



Big version: Width: 972 Height: 957 File size: 103kb


[Edited 2013-04-19 11:52:21]


I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things - A. de Saint Exupery
User currently offlinePihero From France, joined Jan 2005, 4445 posts, RR: 76
Reply 6, posted (1 year 5 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3577 times:
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Here are the figures for 2012. They include all the parameters Polot and VV701 are talking about.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World%27s_largest_airlines



Contrail designer
User currently offlinePe@rson From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 19230 posts, RR: 52
Reply 7, posted (1 year 5 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3559 times:

Quoting VV701 (Reply 2):
If you are trying to compare economic activity theoretically the best measure is revenue

Yep, and that it is distance-based enables much fairer and better comparison.



"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25332 posts, RR: 22
Reply 8, posted (1 year 5 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3538 times:

Quoting United Airline (Reply 3):
Shouldn't revenue or total assets be the standard way of measuring airline size?

No, because that would make a small carrier based in a country with a strong currency seem much larger than a larger carrier based in a country with a weak currency, when you converted both of their total revenue numbers to a common currency.


User currently offlineOzarkD9S From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5111 posts, RR: 21
Reply 9, posted (1 year 5 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3406 times:

To me, it should be revenue + pax carried combined.

If airline A carries 1 pax and had $2 in revenue it is larger then the one that carried 1 pax and $1.99 in revenue. But that's just me.



Next Up: STL-LGA-RIC-ATL-STL
User currently offlinewaly777 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2012, 336 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (1 year 5 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3388 times:

Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 9):
To me, it should be revenue + pax carried combined.

That is essentially RPK but with the distance flown factored in.



The test of first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold 2 opposed ideas in the mind concurrently, and still function
User currently offlineFlyHossD From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 890 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (1 year 5 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3372 times:

Quoting United Airline (Thread starter):
A lot of aviation experts believe that RPK is the most accurate way of measuring airline size. Why is that? Why is it more accurate than fleet size, number of passengers carried etc?

RPK is just one measurement. Like many others, it's useful especially for comparison with competitors or previous periods.

The industry seems to have a over fascination with statistics, in my opinion, but RPK or RPMs are a key measurement.



My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9169 posts, RR: 15
Reply 12, posted (1 year 5 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3296 times:

OK I know CX has a higher RPK than let's say CA but CA has a larger fleet and it carries more passengers. So which is a bigger airline with more assets? CX?

User currently offlineCoronado From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1177 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (1 year 4 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2529 times:
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Quoting United Airline (Reply 12):
with more assets

Assets could be tricky. It is possible for a an airline to be very large and not own a single aircraft if there entire fleet is on an operating lease from leasing companies. A few years ago AirTran started transcontinental operations but using wet leased aircraft from Ryan (Ryan provided the aircraft and crew). While most observers credit those operations as adding to Airtran's revenues and RPK(RPM) they certainly did not add to their assets until AirTran a year or two later took delivery of their own aircraft they had ordered. I don't see much difference in this arrangement and the arrangement major carriers have with their regional lift providers, particularly when the entire revenue stream for carrying pax on regional jets flows through the major carrier's P&L.



The Original Coronado: First CV jet flights RG CV 990 July 1965; DL CV 880 July 1965; Spantax CV990 Feb 1973
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