Priority Landing for Elites and Higher Paying Passengers?

Is priority landing the next incremental revenue fee or elite perk? Imagine in the future that all passengers on a given flight pay a bit extra for their seat and/or have elite status enabling that flight to be coded as a VIP aircraft with special landing priority. Business class only operators would certainly be interested, but perhaps the legacy airlines could create incremental revenue by adding it as another paid or elite perk. Would the ME carriers simply provide this perk on all flights? This was the topic of discussion during a lecture given at the Royal Academy of Engineering by Richard Deakin, the head of the UK National Air Traffic Service. While the technology currently isn’t available, the concept is definitely interesting. Thanks to Jennifer L. in Leeds for sharing!

The first-come first-serve rule for landing flights would give way to airlines shuffling their landings by their own priorities, he said. (There wouldn’t be landing shuffles between competitors, he added, which would prove too complicated.) Premium passengers wouldn’t be the only beneficiaries of the policy. The driver behind the change, he said, would be overcrowded airspace, which leads to costly delays, cancellations, and passengers with missed connections. Already each aircraft flying into the UK has a 10-minute hold built into its flight plan. Those hold times can only lengthen as growth in air traffic continues to outpace airports’ capacity around the globe. Aside from prioritizing passengers paying top dollar, flights with connecting passengers might also get a bump to help them catch their connecting flight. Deakin thinks this will all be possible once airplanes are fitted with advanced transponders that allow air traffic services to collect more data on each airplane, including exact location, number of passengers on board, and their connecting flights.

Crowded Airspace

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