First-class seat squeeze benefits business aviation

By Benet Wilson

Commercial airlines continue to cancel routes and reduce available first-class and business-class seats, leaving executive travelers in the lurch and searching for alternative options, all of which is fueling a rebound in business aviation, says a new report.

The new report, published by London-based aviation service provider Air Partner, notes that beginning in 2008, major commercial airlines canceled flights to nearly 100 communities across the U.S. Mergers, such as those between Continental Airlines and United Airlines, will eliminate additional routes.

Airlines are expanding their economy classes, and some carriers are adding a premium economy seating class in lieu of the traditional first class, says the report. “For example, United Airlines eliminated 20% of its international first-class seat count in 2009 and has further chopped up its first-class seats in favor of adding the Premium Economy class,” it says. “This is causing a limited availability and increased competition for premium business and first-class seats.”


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