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Airlines grapple to retain focus on first class travelers

by amit.uniyal 28. May 2014 08:02

Premier Middle East carriers like Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline are striving hard to continue to offer first class cabins to their premium travelers. However, even as the airlines have upgraded their offerings, recent data released by the Centre of Aviation or Capa has shown that first class air travel is constantly on the decline.

Recent reports said that Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline have innovated new luxury travel concepts. Flying bedrooms have been introduced by airlines hoping to catch travelers’ fancy. Such bedrooms are akin to the ones found in a hotel or a luxury yacht.

luxury travel concepts

The reports said that Etihad Airways in May this year began offering premium travel experience to its customers. The airline introduced business studios, apartments and private suites on its aircraft. Emirates Airline has also decided to emulate Etihad’s premium travel offering. The airline is planning to introduce new “bedroom concept”.
The data released by Capa pointed out that the London Heathrow-New York JFK route continues to the most popular among first class travelers in the world. The travelers were offered 159 first class seats on an average per day between May 12 and May 18. This route in fact offered a total of 1,116 weekly seats in first class.

The study by Capa further said that American Airlines removed its first class cabins on its Boeing 777-200 aircrafts fleet. According to the data, that airline flew 560 first class passengers on its 35 weekly flights on London Heathrow-New York JFK route in May 2012 as compared to 168 seats on its 21 weekly flights in May 2014.

In yet another data released by IATA, the premium first class traffic also showed sharp decline in recent months with China demand on the wane. The Middle East sector only performed solidly on this front. The data also outlined that there was a slowdown in premium travel in March this year. The IATA report citing the Middle East performance disclosed that tourism and economic growth had accelerated in this region thus proving that it continues to be among the strongest markets for air travel in the world.
The reports concluded that the premium offerings are being constantly being reviewed by various airlines world over. The first class cabins are being sustained by only few airlines. The Capa report pointed out an increasing trend of more business class lie-flat seats is being seen, with first class air travel demand shrinking.

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Tags: first class travelers

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