ATA reveals Q3 airline cost index

The Air Transport Association of America has announced the release of its quarterly Airline Cost
Index, incorporating data through the third quarter of 2006.The ATA Airline Cost Index tracks
quarterly and annual trends in the cost of inputs to passenger airline
production. The index facilitates comparisons between the components
themselves as well as broader economic indicators. Key ratios emanating
from the Airline Cost Index include: fuel efficiency, workforce
productivity, average labor cost, break-even load factor and travel
agency commission rates. Year-over-year highlights from the latest cost
index include:

*      The airline composite cost index rose to 176.7, up 19.3 percent,
compared to a 3.3 percent rise in the U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI)

*      The three largest cost components for the quarter were fuel
(27.4 percent), labor (23.6 percent) and transport-related expenses
(13.9 percent)

*      Fuel costs increased 23 percent, from $1.70 to $2.09 per gallon;
meanwhile, average fuel efficiency rose 5.9% to 50.1 revenue passenger
miles per gallon and 5.3% to 62.3 available seat miles per gallon

*      The average cost of employing a full-time equivalent worker was
flat at $71,413


*      The overall unit operating cost per available seat mile rose 1.4
percent, from 12.08 cents to 12.25 cents

*      The average break-even load factor dropped 5.1 points to 77.2


ATA airline members transport more than 90 percent of all U.S. airline
passenger and cargo traffic.