Jupiter Research, a division of Jupitermedia Corporation, on Monday announced that online airline ticket sales in 2003 will grow to $19 billion, a 14% increase over the $16.8 billion in sales in 2002.
This online growth is a marked contrast to the 5% decline in airline passengers that Jupiter Research expects this year. Based on an April 2003 forecast by Jupiter Research, Jupiter Research's new
report "2003 Online Airline Ticket Sales: Measuring the Impact of War and SARS" found that 34% of airline ticket sales to leisure and unmanaged business travelers will take place online this year,
compared to the 28% of tickets that were sold online in 2002. The report also notes that because 90% of online airline ticket sales are for domestic flights, SARS has not had as great an impact on
online sales as it has on the industry as a whole. The report also finds that, unfortunately for airlines, the growth of the online channel will not signal a financial turnaround for most carriers.
The slow economy, drop in business travelers, depressed fares and intense competition from low cost carriers will make 2003 another difficult year for the airline industry. "The Web is a bright spot
for airlines, but it will not be bright enough to improve their shaky financial situations," Jupiter said.