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Iberia and British Airways gain approval for cooperation; easyJet given ultimatum


European airline shares finally made gains on Wednesday (21-Jul-2010) as wider markets rose for the first time in a week. Markets were pushed higher by the banking sector after better than expected financial results from US bank, Morgan Stanley.

In key markets, UK’s FTSE (+1.5%), Germany’s DAX (+0.4%) and France’s CAC (+0.8%) all rose.

Iberia and British Airways gain regulatory approval for trans-Atlantic cooperation

Iberia (+5.6%) and British Airways (+5.4%) were the day’s biggest gainers after the carriers confirmed they have received the final regulatory approval, along with American Airlines, to operate a joint business on trans-Atlantic routes. The oneworld alliance airlines have been granted anti-trust immunity from the US Department of Transportation (DoT), following European Union approval on 14-Jul-2010. The airlines plan to launch the trans-Atlantic joint business this autumn and will co-operate commercially on flights between the EU, Switzerland and Norway and the US, Canada and Mexico. Fellow oneworld members Finnair and Royal Jordanian also received antitrust immunity from the US DoT.

See related CAPA Profile: Global Alliances

easyJet given ultimatum

easyJet's (+0.8%) gains were dampened by news the carrier has been given 90 days by founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, to address its punctuality issues. Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou stated that if the LCC fails to resolve the issue, he will withdraw the brand license and the airline will be forced to change its name. Sir Stelios’ warning follows recent reports that showed that over 50% of easyJet’s Gatwick services were late.

See related CAPA Profile: On-Time Performance and Delays

Separately, Sir Stelios has reportedly outlined plans to launch a suite of travel products to compete directly with several easyJet offerings. 

easyJet, Ryanair and Aer Lingus report strong ancillary revenue results

In other easyJet news, the carrier was identified in the top 10 airlines for total ancillary revenue, ancillary revenue as a percentage of total revenue and ancillary revenue per passenger for 2009. According to Amadeus and IdeaWorks, airlines around the world registered a 43% year-on-year increase in ancillary revenues to EUR11 billion – attributable to new a la carte fees and commission-based services.

easyJet was the sixth largest carrier overall for total ancillary revenue, reporting EUR608.8 million in ancillary revenue for the year. It was also the fourth largest carrier in terms of ancillary revenue as a percentage of total revenue, with 19.4%. The carrier also earned an average of EUR13.47 per passenger in ancillary revenue for 2009, making it the tenth largest carrier in this respect.

Ryanair (+3.1%) and Aer Lingus (+4.1%) also performed well, with Ryanair the fifth largest carrier for total ancillary revenue for 2009, earning EUR663.6 million, equating to 22.2% of total revenue. Aer Lingus meanwhile received an average of EUR16.72 per passenger in ancillary revenue, which equated to 14.4% of total revenue.

Thomas Cook Group (+3.6%) also enjoyed strong gains for the day. Eurofly (-13.1%) meanwhile continued its decline, with SAS (-0.4%) El Al (-0.3%) and Vueling (-0.1%) all slipping.

Europe selected airlines daily share price movements (% change): 21-Jul-2010

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