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Load Factor…

April 2nd, 2009 · 3 Comments

During the month of March, I did something I don’t normally do. In addition to tracking the total time of each leg I fly in my little gray crew logbook, I decided to keep track of how many passengers I carried on each leg. It was interesting to see the changes from week to week (I flew the same trip four times in March), and the results of a bit of math-in-public gave me a new understanding of the state of the economic “downturn” we’re in.

I flew a total of 41 flights last month. Each of those legs was in our Boeing 737-700 type aircraft, which carry a total of 137 in passenger seats, which means I flew 5,617 available seats in March. On those flights, I carried a total of 4,337 people. So, the percentage of total seats filled on all my flying in March was a shade over 77%. Considering that our break-even load factor is between 66% and 69% (depending upon the segment), it looks as if I carried about 10% more passengers last month than it took for my company to turn a profit on that flying.

We had only two legs last month that were completely full. Our lowest load was 27 passengers. We averaged about 80 people per leg. This is a far cry from what I was used to seeing as little as a year ago at the same time of the year. Spring break travel usually loads us up pretty well. The downturn in air travel is very apparent.

But my company is still making money!

Tags: Airliners · Aviation · Logbook · Operations · Uncategorized

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 J0el P. // Apr 5, 2009 at 11:52 pm


  • 2 Tom // Apr 9, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Hi Gene:
    that is really interesting.. I will say that your airline gives me hope that profit is still possible in even the most dire of economic downturns.. I hope it continues to do well, especially because I am worried to death it will pull out of my local airport (KMHT) or at the very least, substantially reduce flights, due to lower loads lately because of the economy. Your company is the lifeblood of my hometown airport and it would be a disaster.

  • 3 gcalvin // Apr 9, 2009 at 11:49 pm


    Thanks for the comment. Manchester and Providence are pretty big for us in the Northeast, but don’t forget that we’re about to start service to Boston, too!

    And it’s Glenn, by the way.

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