Airline Commercial Management Course


This is one of 3 sections of the broad airline management curriculum.

This workshop is aimed at airline employees who need grounding in the main principles and techniques involved in managing the commercial functions in an airline.

On completion of this module students should be competent to perform the regular duties of a commercial manager and would be equipped to recommend or evaluate possible improvements to a company’s strategy, practices and procedures.

Comprehensive course notes are provided and a short examination must be undertaken. The pass mark is 80%. DURATION: 3-4 Days

Students would be likely to have 3 or more years in an airline environment, and should be targeting a middle to upper management role.


1         Introduction

This is a mid-level course which broadly covers all the commercial aspects of passenger airline management, and in particular focuses on the strategic and tactical marketing plans. It will discuss the important aspects of the airline marketing mix.

2         Customer needs

Since the primary objective is to meet customer needs, we start by examining the needs of the airline passenger, and looking at how these are changing. We will explore segmentation in the airline passenger market, and see what product variables can affect the attractiveness of an airline’s offerings.

3         Industry environment

In this section we look at external factors that need to be considered when setting your strategy, including factors from the economy, politics, and social environment. Competition and alliances are covered.

4         Strategy

What are the strategic options for an airline, and what factors influence the choices. This module will consider a number of real life case studies.

5         Network Planning

The primary purpose of an airline is to move people and goods from place to place, and in the network planning function we discover how to analyse different destinations and decide on which ones to include in the route network.

6         Fleet Planning

Armed with the knowledge of customer needs and the layout of the network, managers can now set about the task of choosing which aircraft should be used to operate the network at maximum efficiency.

7         Product

The airline product consists mainly of the seat, and the added values that are offered in addition. We will look at the product mix that is needed to cater for the different customer segments.

8         Scheduling

In network planning we looked at WHERE to fly, and in the scheduling module we will examine WHEN to fly. The airline schedule is of paramount importance in attracting the right customers, and also determines the productivity of our aircraft.

9         Pricing

The influence of price in the airline industry today is crucial, and constantly in review. We will learn how to set price levels, and how to manage price in a dynamic marketplace.

10    Yield

In a nutshell, yield is a measure of the total amount of money we collect on a flight. It is made up of the fare that each individual passenger has paid for the journey. Effective management of yield is a key success factor for airlines, and is a highly scientific activity. It is about constantly trying to assess the maximum fare that can be charged for the next available seat on a flight, without losing the customer.

11    Distribution

Airline tickets are sold through a variety of channels, mostly electronic. The distribution function has to manage where the airline offers its seats, and how much it pays to the channel partner per booking.

12    Advertising and Promotion

The promotional function in an airline follows the same disciplines as most other service industries, and aims to create awareness and the desire to purchase the product.

13    Loyalty

Most airlines incorporate loyalty schemes, which in essence reward passengers with points per flight which they can later use to obtain extra flights at no additional cost.

14    Measurement and monitoring

To successfully manage an airline profitably, the right measures must be monitored to evaluate performance, and take corrective action where necessary.      

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