Flying Small, Flying Tall: Why Smaller planes are now in Demand?

Even in today’s times, people are still trying to get used to the whole idea of flying instead of travelling by road. This however, would mean that filling larger aircrafts to the max is probably going to be a bigger challenge than one can imagine, at least until the market develops completely.

Many airlines today that are looking to cut their domestic seating capacity so as to slash their hefty jet fuel bills have been turning towards smaller jets to do their work. Yes, most of the major airlines are now finding out that many of their long time carriers are after all not that great – they burn too much fuel and they just have too many seats and what with the arrival of bullet trains and luxury buses in the market, why would passengers pay extra to fly?

So all the major airlines are now downsizing their flight schedules as well as some of the planes that have been flying for years.

Yes, smaller jets are now the new rage all over the world and they aren’t just catering to the smaller markets; they are also stealing the show from their larger counterparts and can be seen doing their rounds between some of the bigger cities with the country as well.

Smaller planes are beneficial for both – the passengers as well as the airlines.

Smaller jets are the perfect blend of passenger comfort and efficient economics. They tend to have a range that’s much bigger than that of larger planes, more amenities and are on the whole, far more efficient than their mammoth predecessors.

What’s more, it has also been observed that these smaller planes also tend to provide more financial benefits for the airlines that are using them, like:

Newer engines and advanced designs make these smaller jets nearly 30 percent more efficient (fuel-wise) than the bigger planes that they are replacing.
These planes generally have lower labour costs.
Fewer seats would obviously mean a higher demand, and this in turn means that the airline in question can quote higher prices for air fares. The first class cabins in smaller jets bring in more revenue.
Last but not the least, smaller planes also tend to give the passengers more in terms of choices, allowing the airline in question to service exotic and even remote destinations that might not be viable for a larger jet.

These planes have made service to otherwise unreachable places possible. They are perfect for the demand that is met for those routes and they are extremely comfortable so that passengers can enjoy their flight in peace. Apart from this, the first-class cabins provide passengers with more leg room, less-cramped cabins and full-size carry-on luggage bins.

Although my first preference lies with charter flights, small planes have definitely come as a godsend for most air travellers. Apart from my preferred FMGM charter flight experiences, I have also had some very favourable travel experiences with smaller jets.

posted by marketkafka @ 7:20 AM, ,

Whoever said Small is bad?

Smaller airports may not have all the amenities and services that most passengers’ desire, but they are extremely convenient – and we all know how much convenience means to any passenger, anywhere in the world!

Tired of all those flight delays, huge crowds and high prices at all of those goliath-sized metropolitan airports? I know I am! Surveys have shown that travellers now prefer going to smaller, less chaotic, saner airports than their giant counterparts. But the question I ask is – Why this sudden dramatic increase in popularity?

First and foremost, smaller airports are preferred because they tend to offer more flights, have expanded sections and the services and amenities are exceptionally good. Convenience is another big reason as to why people favour smaller airports more. There usually isn’t any heavy traffic in getting to these airports, car rentals tend to be closer, and you don’t have to hike cross-country to get from one gate to the next. What’s more, security lines tend to be shorter and the same can be said about connections between flights.

However, not all secondary airports are the same. Some smaller airports are seriously lacking in speed, especially when it comes to baggage collections, smaller airports can be slower than molasses!

Large airports however, still have a large fan club in place. In a larger airport, if you miss your flight, it would be easier to get another connection relatively quickly. Furthermore, larger airports cater to their clients every need and requirement and there’s a lot more to do when waiting in terms of entertainment, when waiting for your flight to arrive.

Smaller airports on the other hand, offer less in terms of entertainment and there are fewer shops, restaurants and services. Even so, business travellers all over the world prefer to fly via small airports.

Other advantages of smaller airports include: less congestion, parking tends to be cheaper, bags go through check-in faster and are delivered quickly, and car rental facilities are generally conveniently placed.

Beyond doubt, since the popularity of smaller airports has increased and continues to increase, they are now encountering the same types of problems that larger airports encounter.

Who’s to say whether today’s small airports are going to turn out to be tomorrow’s mammoth constructions?

I on the other hand, have had some of the best experiences when chartering flights in smaller airports. The services, the leisure time and the lack of chaos all blend together to make my journey a peaceful one.

posted by marketkafka @ 2:18 AM, ,

Airports: Not so Far from the Madding Crowd

Long, tiresome queues, overtly tight security and delays in flight schedules have all resulted in airline passengers becoming ruder, more impatient, and in general – a pain in the behind. Nearly three quarters of the United States air travellers say that their fellow passengers have become more impatient and less polite, according to surveys by a well known travel website.

It is understandable that airports across the world are getting more and more crowded, what with air fares becoming affordable. But with such little airport space, all the major airports in the world are facing a new problem – dealing with an immense number of air travelling passengers!

The biggest problem that most airports have to face is getting the passengers through the airport area so as to reach their flights, and doing all of this in an orderly manner. The access roads in all the major airports (and the smaller hubs as well) have become overcrowded, and all the major cities in the world are looking for new ways to rid themselves of this problem, by looking for ways to cover this distance.

Other common causes for complaint include airport restaurants being overcrowded and long queues at check-in counters. Much of this excessive crowding is caused because of all those people who come to gawk and while away their time instead of flying. It is common to see parents dropping their children off at airports while they go spend a couple of hours shopping. Many airports have even opened up amusement arcades, souvenir shops and kiddy rides in order to keep young children in check. However, this has just worsened the situation of overcrowding by turning the city’s airport into something akin to a carnival.

But there’s no blaming the airlines for this messy situation. Airlines dislike this congestion as much as we do, perhaps even more. Yes, under capacity and overcrowding has now become a major problem in all the airports across the globe, and it has been observed that many terminals are just simply too tiny to deal with the tremendous amount of passengers that visit them. As a result of which, many airports are opting to build second and even third terminals in order to deal with this problem.

To make matters worse, the problem is especially problematic in the United States, where the number of delays in flights that are caused due to overcrowding has increased by 50% in the last couple of years. This problem however, is unlikely to improve in the near future, since the number of air travelling passengers in the US has also increased by nearly 50% in the last few years, and this figure continues to grow.

Americans have taken to travelling by flight as a natural means of travel, especially for journeys that are over half an hour. This however, does make sense, as deregulation in the country has brought down airline ticket prices to levels that are so low, as to even compete with the coast of land travel.

But now the time has come to ask if there are too many people flying.

Many of the major airports are planning on building new runways. While some of the others are pushing the traffic and spreading the load onto the smaller, less busy airports.

However, even this solution cannot possibly cope with the expected passenger growth from 660 million to almost one billion by the year 2010.

Inevitably, when there are so many passengers and not enough vacant seats, the airline in question will have to offer bribes for these passengers to board later flights. Owing to this lack of seating space, long queues and delayed flights, many of the passengers have become grumpy, uncomfortable or just plain delinquent in nature. But you can hardly blame them since being packed in an airport like sardines is no fun situation to be stuck in. Even so, it isn’t pleasant being seated next to a grouchy co-passenger.

This brings me back to the fact that chartering flights is indeed a better option when faced with the dilemma of standing for hours on end in queues that seem to be never ending just to find that your flight has been delayed and you have been bumped off to the next flight. Companies like Flight Management International Inc. (FMI) are the key to your overcrowded airport answer. So the next time you have that business meet coming up, maybe you should check in with FMGM, Aviation Charter’s (Flight Management’s maiden carrier) agent.

posted by marketkafka @ 7:53 AM, ,

Flying High over Crowded Skies

Undeniably, air-traffic has worsened threefold over the last couple of years in the United States.

Yes, our skies are reaching their saturation point and the relative number of aircraft worked by our international airports (O’Hare International Airport, New York JFK International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, et al) is only encountering problems that they create for themselves. The real problem lies in airline scheduling. With rising concerns as to the safety of our air traffic system erupting all over the country, surveys have shown that the air traffic control system is indeed falling far behind the growth in air traffic.

Last year, a quarter of the domestic flights failed to arrive or leave on time – terming it as the second worst airline delay and the second poorest performance in the industry ever! What’s more, industry analysts have even said that this problem is likely to get magnified in the next couple of years! Last year, nearly 26 percent of the commercial flights in the United States either arrived late, were delayed or were cancelled for various reasons, namely (1) rising passenger demand, and (2) the industry preference for smaller airplanes, which have in turn intensified the congestion on the runways and in the skies.

However, one must read into the fact that all of these delays are either caused due to air-traffic control problems or because of congestion problems in the nationwide aviation system. Major airports like O’Hare International Airport, New York JFK International Airport, Las Angeles International Airport, and Miami International Airport have all been caught in the midst of this growing problem.

With the airways getting to be more and more crowded, inevitably, the errors have also become more and more significant. In their defence, air traffic controllers in the country have been complaining about serious staffing shortages, which compel the controllers to work longer hours.

Taking all of these problems into account, analysts have said that there is no scope for improvement in the near future since airlines still continue to replace the larger aircraft with smaller planes. Although this practice is meant to maximize profits by flying with a reduced number of empty seats, it however also means that there will be more delays, more congestion and more flights.

In an effort to correct these problems, congested airports have been making plans of charging landing fees that are based on the traffic volume and the time the flight lands so as to encourage carriers to spread their operations evenly throughout the day. However, in spite of implementing this new policy, there is no quick fix for such a major problem.

As dispiriting as the news may seem, there are however measures being taken to reduce these problems and rumours of a new $15 billion satellite-based air-traffic control system has been doing the rounds for quite some time now. Although this device will take nearly 20 years to improve operations, at least it is a solution to our problems.

But are we willing to wait that long?

Taking all of these problems into consideration, one tends to wonder if chartering flights could be the final solution. Chartering flights provides the efficiency, flexibility and privacy to make sure your travelling experience is an enjoyable one. What’s more, renting out an aircraft gets rid off all those annoying flight delays and it has been observed that in the past few years the demand for charter flights has doubled and continues to grow.

Charter companies like Flight Management International Inc. have emerged as front-runners in the aviation industry what with their private air transport solutions that include on-demand charter services, turnkey aircraft management, and charter aircraft management. Flight Management International creates solutions to meet every kind of private air travel requirement.

Furthermore, this year has witnessed the arrival of FMGM that was signed on with Aviation Charters (Flight Management International’s first carrier) acting as its agent. Maybe we do have the final solution to our air travel problems after all.

posted by marketkafka @ 5:17 AM, ,