Which Airlines are Improving Their Financial Performance the Most?

The indispensable subscription-only Airline Weekly ran numbers looking at year-over-year revenue and costs for various airlines in the third quarter, and the difference between those figures, rank ordering carriers.

It was interesting to see which airlines built up the biggest gaps between increased revenue and reduced cost.

Here are the very best performers:

And the very worst:

Aegean is Greece, Gol and Copa are dealing with cyclical and structural weakness in South America generally. I’m not familiar with the story of rising costs at Nok Air or collapsing revenue at TransAsia.

United and American outperformed Delta by this measure — they saw their costs decline more (11% and 12%) than Delta (7%) though their revenue declined more (-2% and -4% versus -1%). American is certainly under revenue pressure from Spirit, which has it’s own problems — a 2% increase in costs despite declining fuel prices. Spirit fired its CEO a few days ago.

The gap between Allegiant – at the very top of the list – and stagnating Spirit underscores that there reaches a point where ultra low cost carriers are no longer well-positioned to cherry pick routes and must face serious competition from larger airlines. They battle it out on price, but the larger carriers can offer a better product and greater frequencies making it a difficult battle to win… especially when facing rising costs themselves.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Obviously TransAsia’s decreasing avenue is a result of it’s crash accidents and safety records last year.

  2. Nok Air is a Thailand domestic carrier . Recently they are facing pressure from Air Asia moving into markets once served solely by Nok ( like DMK-ROI ) . They are undercutting Nok prices slightly .
    I hope Nok manages to stay in business !
    In other news the reopening of the refurbished Terminal 2 at Don Muang is hardly an improvement . The taxi system is an absurd failure . Don’t follow the signs to the official taxi waiting area . Go outside to the street and find plenty of taxis there . There is also 100 baht bus to Mo Chit Skytrain station .

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