Air Passenger Traffic on the Rise - 7/22/14 | WYPR

Air Passenger Traffic on the Rise - 7/22/14

Jul 21, 2014

Global air passenger traffic is doubling every 15 years, bringing more people to already congested airports and airplanes.  Over the past two decades, the average number of seats per flight has increased by 32 percent according to Airbus.  Flying can be uncomfortable, but certain airlines are taking steps to make their customers more comfortable, at least those that can afford a higher quality of service. 

According to the New York Times, Etihad, the rapidly expanding carrier based in Abu Dhabi, recently announced a three-room suite aboard its double-decker Airbus A380, which includes a private suite, a separate bedroom and a shower.  Tickets will be priced at around $40,000 and of course service comes with a personal butler and chef. 

For the rest of us, more airlines are offering broadband Internet access, installing upscale entertainment systems and installing new flatbed seats for business travelers.  Many carriers are also responding to public demands for more fuel efficient airplanes.  Both Boeing and Airbus are working on replacing the current generation of engines on their planes with more efficient ones.  These new engines promise fuel savings of 15 percent relative to current technology.