[Ref. The Global Airline Industry Edited By Peter Belobaba, Amedeo Odoni and Cynthia Barnhart © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, L td. ISBN: 978-0-470-74077-4]
Operating profit = RPK x Yield – ASK x Unit cost
The equation is applicable for any industry – operating profit is the total revenue minus total operating expense. Please be careful that high yield is often (incorrectly) used as an indicator of airline success.
Operating profit = Traffic x Yield – Capacity x Unit cost
To simplify, the more the seats being sold, the more the yield. Meanwhile, the more the seats are available, the more the operational cost. One more important thing have to remember is that both traffic and capacity are related to the distance flown.
In short, the profit of an airline has various factors:
- distance flown
- seats being sold (revenue)
- seats available
- unit cost
The highest profit can be achieved when the yield is high and the unit cost is low with more distance flown.
Actually, airlines also monitor the load factor (traffic/capacity) to adjust their strategy.