Welcome to Episode 032 of the #PaxEx Podcast. Our guest for this episode is Michael Miller, the head of content and industry relations at Routes, which organizes world-renowned airline and airport networking events. Prior to this role, he was a long-time aviation public relations consultant, and former Aviation Week editor.
There is an underpinning of excitement around the world about the introduction of the new Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo narrowbodies, whose added efficiency and range will allow airlines to open up a raft of new routes. “You basically have a more efficient airplane that allows airlines to do on the shorthaul what the 787 has been doing on the longhaul,” says Michael of the re-engined types, citing, for example, Norwegian’s plans to “transform” its transatlantic network with a fleet of 737 MAXs.
Co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby talk to Michael about the various route opportunities, as well as inflight #PaxEx considerations for airlines using narrowbodies to ply transatlantic routes.
— Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) January 29, 2016
Even as new markets are poised to open up with these re-engined types, the US regional airline industry is in crisis right now. This is a direct result of the pilot shortage, suggests Michael. He concedes that there are pockets of hope – as start-ups like GLO and Boutique Air carve out local air service niches – but makes the case for why these positive pockets do not signal a fuller regional airline renaissance. We discuss the current state of play for regionals and pilots.
Meanwhile, there is some good news on the #PaxEx front for travelers in the US. American Airlines and United Airlines are reintroducing complementary snacks, joining Delta, which has long distributed free Biscoff cookies to hungry domestic passengers. But do these small #PaxEx touches really matter to passengers? We talk turkey about the changes; and consider the next #PaxEx battleground for airlines.