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Airline Ancillary Revenue Soars 21%

September 14, 2015, Dublin, Ireland –  IdeaWorksCompany researched financial filings made by 130 airlines all over the world, 63 of which disclosed qualifying revenue activity, to reveal that ancillary revenue reported by these airlines was $38.1 billion for 2014. That represents a more than $35.6 billion increase since 2007, and the 2014 number is up 20.9% over $31.5 billion from 2013.

The 2015 CarTrawler Yearbook of Ancillary Revenue by IdeaWorksCompany, now available free online, provides the most detailed global assessment of a bottom-line-booster that can represent 38.7% of a carrier’s revenue, as it does for Spirit Airlines in the US, or $56.28 per passenger for Jet2.com in the UK, and $5.86 billion for global behemoth United Airlines.  The full 98-page report examines 63 airlines that disclosed revenue in financial filings during 2014 from sources such as frequent flier miles sold to partners, fees for checked bags, and commissions from car rentals. 

The Yearbook’s individual airline listings clarify the type of ancillary revenue activity for each carrier. Some airlines are vague in their descriptions and merely provide an “ancillary revenue” line on the income statement without further details. Some of the carriers don’t specifically list ancillary revenue, but describe qualifying activities such as “revenue from the sale of frequent flier miles to partners” or “revenue from onboard cafe sales.” Other airlines, such as AirAsia, Hawaiian, and Spirit, provide robust details and seem very proud of their ancillary revenue accomplishments. 

New for 2015 is a list of the a la carte items sold through Amadeus, Sabre, and Travelport for each of the 63 disclosing airlines. For example, optional extras for baggage, seat assignments and meals can be booked through Sabre-equipped agencies on Airberlin, and seat assignments and baggage can be booked for Qantas through the Amadeus system. The information for these entries was collected from GDS websites or materials provided by the GDS; IdeaWorksCompany is not responsible for the accuracy or veracity of the claims made by these vendors.

The following examples illustrate the ancillary revenue details found in the Yearbook:

  • Lufthansa’s Miles & More frequent flier program contributed income in excess of $90 million which more than doubles the 2013 amount.
  • Ryanair believes 25% of its passengers are business travelers, and up to 9,000 a day are buying its Business Plus fare bundle.
  • Volaris, a low fare airline in Mexico, generated more than $3.5 million from the sale of memberships in its V-Club, which provides access to members-only low fare deals.
  • Vueling’s ancillary revenue per passenger was $15.45 during 2014.  But the average for bookings made exclusively via direct channels (such as the website) leaps to $29.19.

The 2015 CarTrawler Yearbook of Ancillary Revenue by IdeaWorksCompany was released today as a free-of-charge report sponsored by CarTrawler.