Air Transport World

Special report: passenger handling in a competitive environment.

A mixed picture, somewhat distorted by differences in data reporting, is painted of changes in passenger handling since 1979 by the nearly 40 carriers responding to a special Air Transport World survey.

For example, the airlines reported a 6.3% increase in passenger-handling employes (excluding flight attendants) but only a 3.4% rise in total employes in 1983 compared to 1979. As a consequence, passenger-handling employes represented 30.1% of the workforce in 1983 compared to 27% in 1979. Passenger boardings, meanwhile, were up 11.5%, but the average number of passengers per passenger-handling employe declined to 2,297 in 1983 from 2,576 in 1979. The reason for this discrepancy appears to be that a number of large carriers whose 1983 boardings were lower than those of 1979 did not make proportionate cuts in passenger-handling personnel.

The 21 carriers who provided data on passenger-handling costs spent $1.8 billion in 1983, up 34.1% from 1979. Cost per passenger increased to $17.55 from $15.87 in the period.

Data obtained from Civil Aeronautics Board reports show that the U.S. majors, only two of whom responded to the survey, spent $3.38 billion on passenger service (including flight attendant expense) in 1983, up 14.8% from 1982. Cost per passenger for these carriers was $13.80, up from $12.92 a year earlier.

A total of 87.5 million meals was served in 1983, an increase of 33.4% from 1979, by the 25 airlines providing information. Cost per meal was up to $4.07 from $3.70 in 1979.

U.S. majors reported just over $1 billion in food expense to CAB for 1983, up 13. …

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