Analysis of annual figures for 53 airlines reveals total of $27bn earned through extras in 2012
Dubai’s Emirates Airline reaped $105.7m worth of revenue from non-airfare fees such as excess baggage and onboard spending during the year to March 31, a global analysis of airlines’ ancillary revenue has revealed.
Ancillary charges – such as fees for choosing a seat, boarding early or buying duty free goods in the air – are increasingly beefing up airlines’ bottom lines, according to the report by IdeaWorks Company.
It found a total of $27.1bn in extra charges was collected by 53 airlines that make available their financial figures for their respective fiscal years incorporating 2012.
The figure was double the result in 2009 when $13.47bn was charged, and more than 10 times the $2.45bn recorded in 2007.
Emirates’ Australian alliance partner Qantas recorded the largest ancillary revenue per passenger in 2012, at $56.21, up $6 on 2011.
It was the fifth highest overall, raking in $1.575bn.
American airlines dominated the list, with United at the top. It collected $5.352bn in ancillary revenue, including from its new fee to check in a second bag on US-Japan routes, making up more than 14 percent of the airline’s total revenue.
It was followed by Delta, American and Southwest.
While they were the largest figures in terms of dollar value, ancillary revenue made up a more significant portion of overall revenue for low cost airlines, such as Ryanair (21.8 percent), which IdeaWorksCompany estimates has 18 passengers paying for assigned seating on each flight.
By comparison, Emirates’ ancillary revenue accounted for only 0.5 percent of its overall revenue of $19.4bn and represented a mere $3.16 per passenger, according to the report.
The only other two Middle Eastern airlines included in the report were Jazeera Airways, which accrued $13m in extra fees (6 percent of revenue), and Air Arabia, which generated $10.8m (1.3 percent of revenue).