Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Two Years with Pet Airways

Novel ideas for new airlines come and go.  Remember ultra-discounter SkyBus, based on the RyanAir model?  Gone. 

How about SilverJet, MaxJet, and L'Avion, the all-business class airlines?  No more. 

From spunky little Independence Air to long-established Aloha Airlines, high fuel prices and volatile demand make it difficult to run a successful airline.
Yet two years since its launch, in the midst of the worst economic environment the world has seen since the advent of widespread aviation, Pet Airways is still going strong.  That's particularly surprising because Pet Airways doesn't fly people at all; as the name suggests, it's an airline for pets, and who'd figure that market would weather the Global Financial Crisis?

But the fact is, Pet Airlines has adopted what is thus far a winning strategy: its fares for in-cabin, supervised pet transportation are basically on par with the fees charged by people-airlines to transport pets in the cargo hold.

Consider that a handful of pets actually die in those holds every year, from exposure and loss of pressure among other problems, and one can see why dedicated pet air travel might be more than a luxury good for those who need to transport their pets from one place to another.

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