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Charter airlines publishing schedules

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Charter airlines publishing schedules

Old 9th May 2022, 16:25
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Charter airlines publishing schedules

I know full ACMI charter airlines usually don't sell tickets to the general public, but they are incentivised to keep happy the travel agency who is paying for the use of the aircraft.

Are charter airlines typically paid a fee based on number of seats occupied ? (Excluding any Govt tax or airport fees)

If a travel agency is paying substantial cash to a charter airline for use of an aircraft over a month or longer, I'm puzzled as to why ACMI charter airlines are often very reluctant to say to potential pax, which travel agency is chartering their aircraft.

Most companies are happy to recommend one of their customers - eg a good butcher will happily suggest a restaurant that they supply as a place for a meal. It seems odd that a charter airline is reluctant to refer an enquiring potential passenger to the travel agency chartering their aircraft.
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Old 10th May 2022, 11:11
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Son of Slot
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A good question. My first guess is competition between different travel groups. They do not want their competitors knowing that they cannot fill their booked aircraft?
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Old 10th May 2022, 13:29
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I suggest that the OP does not understand the charter business. The airline's customer is the charterer, which is normally a tour operator rather than a travel agent. That tour operator buys the whole capacity of the aircraft for the duration of the contract, and assumes the financial risk of selling (or not) the seats either direct or via travel agents. The flight schedules are, of course, known to those selling agencies.

Since individual seats are not sold direct to the public, by the airline, there is no need for a published flight schedule.
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Old 10th May 2022, 13:49
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A travel agency or tour operator has a finite marketing budget and has finite capacity to advertise its products. There will be some potential customers its advertising won't reach. Aircraft have a fixed number of seats and while in peak season those seats can all be sold, there will be inevitably some empty seats in low season, however good the pricing policy may be.

A travel agency / tour operator based in (e.g. Inverness) chartering weekly flights over the summer season between Inverness and Rome will likely focus its advertising in Inverness. A person in Rome who wishes to fly from Rome to Inverness and back (e.g. to visit Loch Ness) may know from the Inverness airport or Rome airport websites that there are charter flights between Inverness and Rome and also know the name of the airline doing the flying, but not have any idea as to which travel agency is chartering those. Google doesn't always come up with the answer to everything.
Yes, some of those flights may be full.... but perhaps not all of them, particularly outside the peak season. Person in Rome is happy to pay money for non-stop air transport, and travel agency in Inverness will usually happily take money (i.e. negotiate a price) for selling empty seats outside peak season.
Thus there is sometimes a genuine good reason (modest, but not zero) for the charter airline to disclose the name of the travel agency. The counter-argument is that if financial risk is borne solely by the travel agency, then the charter airline will (in the short term) prefer to operate a flight relatively empty as it reduces their operational costs - less weight, less fuel, etc...

I don't expect a charter airline to disclose which seats have remaining capacity - but I would expect a reputable charter airline to disclose the number of the travel agency / tour operator when it's available to the mass public, so the person in Rome can at least ask the travel agency whether they might sell a ticket when there are empty seats

A travel agency chartering a whole aircraft might want to structure the fees so that a *very small* - maybe 2% of revenues - bit of the financial risk is borne by the airline - this would encourage the charter airline to promote the flights on its website (i.e. very cheap to do) and also ensure the airline gains an active reward in the airline being viewed well on Internet review sites.

Last edited by davidjohnson6; 10th May 2022 at 14:13.
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Old 10th May 2022, 14:37
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My guess is that the contracts are based on previous decades and before many tour operators and agents were dis-intermediated by the Net. They may well change things given the problems of Pandemic and the worldwide recession that is now taking hold.
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Old 10th May 2022, 14:47
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How many such regular flights operate, that are genuine full charter flights that don't have any element of seat only sales?
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Old 10th May 2022, 15:31
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dj6: there is also the issue of route licensing - now much more open than decades ago, and within the EU there is not really any issue any more for carriers based there. However, the UK is now outside those rules, we are a "third country". I'm not current on all the nuances of the issue for UK carriers, but I would be very surprised if seats on a charter flight operated between the UK and the EU can legally be sold to individuals as "seat only" travel.

I suggest you need to drop the idea of travel agents chartering flights - it's done by tour operators.
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