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North Atlantic: US airlines enjoy access bias; BA awaits RASK return

Premium Analysis

An OAG Blog post of 19-Aug-2021 contained some useful insights about the top 10 airlines by North Atlantic revenue in the summer before the coronavirus pandemic.

British Airways was the number one revenue generator across the Atlantic in Jul-2019 and Aug-2019, although data from CAPA/OAG show that it was only fourth by ASKs behind the big three US operators Delta, United and American. This is a reminder of BA's strongly superior average unit revenue, resulting from its premium cabin mix.

Comparison with capacity data for Jul-2021 and Aug-2021 show ASKs down versus 2019 levels for all but one of the top 10 North Atlantic airlines.

The cut is deepest for Virgin Atlantic, BA and Aer Lingus, but ASKs are up for Turkish Airlines. The revenue impact is likely to be worse than the ASK impact, especially for European airlines. Load factors are down for all, but US airlines derive more of their revenue on US points of sale. Moreover, US-originating traffic is allowed into Europe, but not vice versa.

British Airways will be yearning for a return to the pre-pandemic normality of its superior unit revenue.

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