The all-business-class model for airline carriers has been a touchy subject over the last few months. With all but two of the airlines now out of business (OpenSkies and Singapore Airlines‘ select flights), many wonder if the original approach was a good idea.
Yet OpenSkies (EC, owned by British Airways) and Singapore Airlines (SQ) continue to press on — and even expand. Earlier this month, OpenSkies announced that they would be adding service further into the European Union, while SQ just expanded their A340 service from Los Angeles into Singapore.
How can these carriers thrive in such tight times? How can they survive where so many others failed? Well, there’s no doubt that the deep pockets of each carrier are helping ride out the storm of high oil prices. While Americans sort out their financial woes, each airline plans to build a product and loyal customer base, get the word out on their product as much as possible and fight for a place in the future market.
Things could be a little rough for OpenSkies. With the American economy suffering and the EU economy headed in the same direction, demand for business class seats is going to be dropping off pretty quick. Unfortunately, the worst may yet be to come.
According to Singapore Airlines, their business-class-only service has conversely enjoyed packed flights and thriving business.
The true gauge for each airline, regardless of their current situation, is long term sustainability independent of their parent airline or routes. If the routes fail to generate profit after a few years they will surely disappear, but perhaps if we’re all lucky and the trend picks up, OpenSkies’ and SQ’s business-class-only flights will be here to stay.