CEO Doug Parker said that the demand for airline seats is getting better and predicts more improvement into 2009. Parker said that demand in January looks to be a major improvement over the demand they saw in November.
He also said that US Airways’ $15 first checked-bag fee, which has accounted for a $400-500 million increase in revenue, has caused a drop off in checked bags which has actually improved baggage handling performance by twenty percent at US Airways.
Major Airlines applied those types of fees when the price of oil was approaching $145 a barrel and they haven’t taken them off as the price of oil has receded. As the Major Airlines become more profitable we can expect them to expand. As they do, they will most certainly broaden the role of their Regional airline partners.
The Major Airlines will begin hiring pilots from the Regionals, and the demand for pilots will increase. Low-time pilots will not only replace those hired by the Majors, but also fly the new aircraft ordered to meet Regional Airline expansion goals. This is great news for anyone pursuing a career as an airline pilot.