Airline Feasibility Studies

Most if not all aviation projects are only possible if feasibility studies are conducted as the first stage of any proposal. Our team has many years of succesful experience of the delivery of feasibility studies to internationally accepted standards for both commercial and military projects – the airline feasibility study will prove the viability of the project.

At IAG, our Airline Feasibility Studies are to EASA and FAA standard and if required we are happy to have our studies signed off by the global accountants – Grant Thornton or PWC.

We are able to consider not only the direct impact of a development proposal, but also the associated impact and effects on the surrounding infrastructure, environment and economy, including airport environmental impact assessment. Our clients range from governments, private airports, airline operators and owners to public bodies and government organisations seeking independent advice.

This wide experience is reflected in our portfolio which encompasses feasibility studies for both international, regional and domestic airlines, whether they are start-ups or currently operting. We also cover Cargo Airlines. Our airline feasibility study services extend to air traffic demand forecasting, site identification and appraisal, airport environmental impact assessment and mitigation measures leading to definitive reports and recommendations. We also cover in depth the acquisition or leasing, maintenance and disposal of aviation assets.

IAG EASA & FAA standard Airline Feasibility Studies International Aviation Group
Airline Feasibility Studies – Start-up’s, existing operators and cargo airlines.
Aviation assets – acquisitions, maintenence, fleets, spares and servicing, disposals and upgrades (ACMI wet and dry lease)
Air Traffic Forecasting, Route development and aviation policy with full risk assessments
Airport and Heliport Planning and Terminal Design (includes commercial and military)
Infrastructure such as aviation engineer schools and pilot schools
Complete turn-key aviation solutions
Multi-modal Access & Associated Facilities
Aprons and Ground Support Facilities
Financial Modelling
Business Planning
Airline Start-Ups
MRO Facilities
Cargo airline start-up’s

Airline Feasibility Study – Commercial start-up Airline or Airline Review

Our Airline Feasibility Studies include but are not limited to the following areas. We agree a full list of criteria with our clients and whether it is a new airline or an airline currently operating, this fundamental study will provide you the customer with a range of costed options for the board and investors to approve and the long-term success and viability of the proposed airline – or not as the case may be.


  • Description of airline concept (scope, revenue/cost structure, service  offering, aircraft types, major markets served, regulation etc.)
  • Target customer and perceived opportunity
  • Competitive advantage over incumbent carriers
  • Market share expectations and competitive strategy
  • Financial highlights: operating margin, profitability, etc.
  • Management team’s airline operations experience level
  • Capitalization plan and ROI expectations

Industry overview
Target market analysis

  • Economic state (GDP)
  • Demographics / population
  • Income statistics
  • Growth rates
  • Air travel market size and trends
  • Forecasts for air travel
  • O&D pax/cargo traffic demand by market

Incumbent airlines operating in the marketplace
Current competitors’ market share by route
Competitor service offerings (including aircraft type/age)
Incumbent airline frequencies/schedules
Fare comparison by service class and route
Barriers to market-entry (gates, slots, bilateral agreements, etc.)  

Overall Concept
Mission/Vision Statement
Scope (domestic, regional, international, network)
Markets to serve
Airport options
Headquarters / Airport base(s)
Target customer segment
Route structure (local, hub/spoke, point-to-point)
Frequency, Schedules
Product / service offering (drives cost structure)

  • Seat pitch, Seat assignments
  • Boarding process
  • Service-class offering (economy, business, first, pods, beds)
  • Catering (hot meals, limited, purchase, beverage-only, etc.)
  • Aircraft interior (leather, bins, window size, lighting, age, etc.)
  • Duty-free / in-flight shopping
  • In-flight entertainment (IFE) – live TV, internet, video
  • Power / IFE at seat
  • Kiosk/online check in
  • Airport lounges
  • Customer loyalty program (FF program)
  • Amenities (towels, pillows, blankets, socks, eye masks, etc)

Aircraft Selection

  • Capacity (pax/cargo) to meet demand
  • Range to fly missions
  • Economics for profitability
  • Maintenance costs
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Reliability
  • Engines (fuel/range/performance)
  • Winglets (fuel/range/performance)
  • Fleet commonality
  • Avionics
  • Buy/lease
  • New/Used/Age
  • Insurance (airframe, engine, pax/cargo liability)
  • Noise/emissions

Alliances / code-sharing / partnering
Service entry and growth strategy
Sustainable competitive advantage 

Estimated market share by market / route
Fare pricing by class / route
Load factor by class / route
Expected operating revenue, costs, and margins
Profit potential and sustainability
Sensitivity analysis of profitability under various scenarios

Marketing Strategy
Marketing Mix (the 4 Ps):
Product (service offering)
Price (fares)
Fare structure
Revenue management
Pricing / yield
Place (sales and distribution)
Internet (direct)
Internet (wholesale/3rd party)
Call Centre, City Ticket Offices
Airport ticket counters (walk ups)
Global Distribution Systems (GDS)
Travel Agents


  • Pay rates / scales, Benefits
  • In/out-sourcing
  • Unions (contracts)

Administration, Distribution
Airport Operations, Customer Service
EASA Maintenance (line, light, heavy, equipment)
Ground Operations (ramp)
Dispatch, Flight Operations
Fuel purchasing / hedging / policies
Technology (IT)
ETOPS (if applicable)
Cargo / Freight / Mail
Facilities / Equipment

Organizational Chart
Executive Biographies / Resumes (CVs) for the 5 key functions:

  • Airport Operations
  • Flight Operations
  • Maintenance Operations
  • Finance
  • Marketing & Distribution

Cross Border Management (CEO, VPs, etc.)
Board of Directors
Professional Advisors/Consultants

Business model risk
Gates/slots availability
Market share penetration
Fuel costs
Default on aircraft liabilities
Weather, Geo-political, Economic
Regulatory, Terrorism

FINANCIALS (5-year pro forma)
Income Statement (P&L) and Balance Sheet
Statement of Cash Flows
Airline operating statistics & financial ratios

Iterative Development Phase
Business plan development
Financial model development
Management team assembly
Aircraft selection
Investor “roadshow” if required
Launch Phase – six months
Funded, Certification
Aircraft sourcing, Certification, Staffing
Facilities / Equipment
Begin Flight Operations – 0 to 12 months
Initial Growth Phase – 3 to 5 years

We usually working on the assumption that the airline and other projects require external funding.