Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines is seeking to get companies to advertise on their aircraft's exteriors, in one of several initiatives the airline is studying to boost ancillary revenue.
The airline already offers onboard advertising on its overhead cabins, but there is "growing interest" from advertisers to take this further by advertising on the aircraft's exterior, Spirit's chief executive Ben Baldanza tells Flightglobal at the Boyd Group International Aviation Forecast Summit in Dallas today.
"We are feeling very aggressive about it," he says, adding that the airline has been talking to various advertisers. The industries which are likely to take to such advertising are those that already spend substantial amounts of money of advertising, such as the food and beverage and consumer goods industries, says Baldanza.
Defunct Colorado Springs-based Western Pacific Airlines sold advertising space on the exterior of its Boeing 737-300 "logojets" to companies, including casinos, resorts and rental car companies, in the 1990s.
Spirit has reiterated that it aims to boost ancillary revenue as a share of its total revenue. Ancillary revenue made up a 31.1% share of its total revenue in 2010, and grew to 35.6% in 2011. As of the second quarter of 2012, this had gone up to 39.5%, said the carrier's chief financial officer Ted Christie earlier this month.
Spirit currently charges passengers various fees for checked and carry-on baggage, requested seat assignments and food and drinks on board, and Baldanza indicates such charges will be expanded.
Pointing out that ancillary fees are "largely static" through the year, he says that the airline is considering charging more for baggage during peak travel seasons and charging less during low demand seasons. Pointing out that prices of airfares vary throughout the year, Baldanza says that this will be the equivalent of applying revenue management techniques to ancillary revenue.
Besides ancillary fees, the airline is also hoping to sell more non-airfare products to passengers, such as vacation packages and car rentals. "If we can be involved in more of these transactions, we can generate more ancillary revenue," says Baldanza.