- US GAAP
ASC 908-10 notes the following:
Entities in the airline industry primarily provide carrier services for passengers and cargo, frequently as joint operations. Other services, such as maintenance or food service for other carriers, may also be provided.
The most unusual characteristic of the airline industry is its revenue cycle. Sales may be made at numerous locations by either the carrier or third parties (travel agents or other carriers); for some carriers, third parties handle a substantial portion of the ticket transactions. Paper tickets and electronic tickets usually are sold in advance of the transportation date, and the ticket sales date usually does not coincide with the revenue recognition date (the date that service is provided). Tickets sold are not necessarily used, in whole or in part, on the carrier making the sale, and some tickets are refundable if not used by the customer for up to one year after the sales date. Other tickets are nonrefundable but exchangeable with payment of a fee, and other tickets are nonrefundable and nonexchangeable. The determination of revenue earned may be complex.
A major portion of an airline's fixed assets comprises aircraft and other flight equipment. Because such assets are constantly changing locations, the responsibility for physical custody and control of aircraft is substantially different from that of nonmobile fixed assets.
Maintenance requirements are dictated by the highly sophisticated nature of the industry's equipment. The timing and extent of maintenance procedures are determined by individual carriers using studies based on actual experience that demonstrate airworthiness to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Maintenance may be provided in-house, which requires maintenance facilities outfitted with specifically designed equipment. Compensation of flight personnel usually represents a significant portion of an airline's operating expenses.
The amount of compensation is generally dependent on a number of variables, including, among others, flying status, type of equipment flown, hours flown, whether flights are made during the day or at night, and employee seniority.
ASC 908 contains the following intersecting Subtopics that provide some background on each area noted in ASC 908-10 and guidance specific to entities in the airline industry:
280 — Segment Reporting
330 — Inventory
350 — Intangibles — Takeoff and Landing Slots
360 — Property, Plant, and Equipment
605 — Revenue Recognition
710 — Compensation — General
720 — Other Expenses
845 — Nonmonetary Transactions