Showing posts from January, 2010

Flying by the seat of your pants.

Air New Zealand has just launched new seating concepts, to be introduced on long-haul flights in November of this year.

The significance of the press event seemed to me to be less about the actual design of the seats—handsome and innovative as they are (and I think they will certainly impress the travelling public)—and more of a reinforcement of the significance of Air New Zealand itself to the New Zealand economy and our national identity.

Seats symbolise the airline business more so than wings or smiling cabin crew. Seats are the carrier’s inventory. An empty chair on an aircraft can’t be stored, repriced and sold at a later date. The complex inter-relationships of, not only seats sold, but also at what price margin is as significant as the variable cost of fuel and the cost of the funds (paid in US dollars). There are other factors, but these will determine how much profit or loss the business makes.

There are also functional requirements for convenient timetables, attractive desti…