Analysis for Global
Many readers of this report will have travelled in a motor vehicle operating under the auspices of a Transportation Network Company (TNC). They are becoming as popular as taxis and mini-cabs in cities around the world, and some of the brand names – notably Uber - have entered the popular lexicon. As these services are summoned up through a smart phone app or similar device, the ease of booking has increased their popularity. Naturally, people use TNCs to travel to and from airports. But some of their operating practices conflict with those of airports, and that is becoming increasingly more apparent.
The purpose of this report is to present some background information on TNCs, their modus operandi and how they are evolving. The results of a CAPA survey into airport attitudes to TNCs are also exposed, along with a catalogue of recent news items collated by CAPA, giving insights into some of the issues airports are dealing with in their relations with the TNCs.
Roughly three years after the debut of the second airline member of the Viva Group, VivaColombia, Costa Rica has emerged as the base for the third airline VivaCam. The new airline is initially focusing on low cost service to Central America, which has little LCC penetration. Economies in that region are also stronger than most countries in South America, which means that residents in the region are more readily incentivised and able to travel.
The establishment of VivaCam is another step towards the Viva Group establishing itself as a pan-Latin American LCC entity after injecting LCC competition into Mexico and Colombia with the establishment of VivaAerobus and VivaColombia. However, the current Viva airlines have no coordination, and it is uncertain whether VivaCam will initially seek to cooperate with its sister airlines.
However, VivaCam will source aircraft from other Viva airlines. VivaAerobus placed a hefty Airbus narrowbody order in 2013, which will no doubt serve as resource for growth among all the Viva airlines, whatever growth trajectory each airline adopts.
The proactive use of solar power at airports is gaining in popularity as an environmental measure that not only saves money but which actually generates additional cash. However, as always, there are pitfalls to be wary of.
Part 1 of this report looked at what little regulation there is, and at which organisation is promoting solar power to airports, at the actual science and pricing, and it examined installation examples from around the world.
Part 2 looks at how airlines can also benefit from installing solar power on their buildings, at technical advances that will create the next level of solar power applications, at the airport that is providing 100% of its power from solar energy, and at the potential pitfalls.
The phrase "jumbo jet" has been in use for decades but takes on new meaning in Dec-2015 with the planned entry into service of Emirates' two class A380 seating 615 passengers – the most yet of any aircraft. The version will have 18% more seats than Emirates' largest A380 and will be the first time an A380 does not have first class. Emirates is removing that cabin (with its onboard showers) as well as some business class seats to make room for more economy seats. The aircraft is initially to be deployed to Copenhagen and Bangkok, destinations with high leisure but limited premium demand.
Emirates plans to take an initial 15 of these aircraft. Already its 73 A380s on order account for 64% of the type's backlog. Half of the in-service fleet is held by Emirates and Singapore Airlines. As the first operator and with shorter leases, SIA is planning the future for its first batch of A380s. SIA does not intend to renew the leases of these aircraft since they are some of the first and do not incorporate later production chain efficiencies.
Airports of all sizes are becoming increasingly environmentally aware. Apart from issues of noise and emissions – those that produce the greatest number of complaints – the proactive use of solar power is gaining in popularity as an environmental measure that not only saves money, but can actually generate additional cash. At the same time the installation helps underscore the airport’s ‘green’ credentials in an obviously visible manner via the arrays of gleaming solar panels.
However, as always, there are pitfalls to be wary of.
Part 1 of this report looks at what little regulation there is, at which organisation is promoting solar power to airports, at the actual science and the pricing, and it examines installation examples from around the world.
This report contains extensive extracts from the Keynote Remarks of Jeff Shane, IATA General Counsel, to the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association Aviation and Space Law Committee National Program, in Washington, DC on 22-Oct-2015. Mr Shane addresses a key area of concern to those dedicated to applying lessons learned from airline accidents in the cause of improving air safety.
Major improvements in safety management have come with the advent of voluntary reporting systems, dating back to the 1970s. Mr Shane recounts that these systems have been encouraged by regulators in a number of countries as part of a non-punitive, “just culture” approach to safety regulation. There is an emerging consensus among regulators and airlines alike that a “just culture” approach yields greater benefits than a regime characterized by enforcement penalties. Essential to the success of such systems is that the information furnished through such systems be held in strict confidence.
However, Mr Shane was concerned at a persistent “prosecutorial imperative” - that judges, prosecutors, and trial lawyers often seek access to this material and, “in a growing number of cases, they have succeeded.” If this trend were to continue, says Mr Shane, “the essential flow of safety information would simply dry up” as those with valuable knowledge fear the legal consequences of sharing information.
The most surprising part about the 30th anniversary of Emirates Airline on 25-Oct-2015 is that the carrier is, in fact, 30. There are those who might think Emirates is older: after all, it is now the world’s largest international airline. Surely such an achievement must be grounded in history, back in the days of flying boats, the League of Nations and colonial empires.
But many would be surprised Emirates is as old as it is. It is portrayed as the fighting upstart, an airline different from the legacy pack, and an operation where growth is still plentiful. Emirates’ youth means it is full service without legacy baggage, becoming a grave threat to the establishment. Competitors are starstruck; Air France-KLM CEO Alexandre de Juniac said in 2013 he flew Emirates and took 15 pages of notes.
That is a fitting anecdote to describe the inflexion point surrounding Emirates’ 30th anniversary. While competitors look at what Emirates has done, Emirates is looking towards the future. As with humans celebrating their 30th birthday, Emirates sees itself entering adulthood. It is time to implement those practices previously written off for another day, fine-tune goals and get in shape for the future.
With its transition to an ultra low cost airline essentially complete, Frontier Airlines continues to undergo network changes to maximise its ULCC business model. In the latest round of flights starting in late 2015 and continuing early into 2016, Frontier is stepping up competition with familiar foes, namely American Airlines and Southwest Airlines. American in particular has faced deep discounting in its markets during 2015 from Southwest and other ULCCs, which has been one main factor in the Fort Worth-based airline’s sagging unit revenues.
Among the network changes for Frontier is the pruning of some service from Cincinnati, a market that seemed ripe for the airline’s business model. But it appears Frontier is opting to focus much of its new network offerings in leisure markets with a push from Fort Myers, Florida and Las Vegas.
Frontier also recently marked a milestone with the delivery of its first larger gauge Airbus A321 featuring a high density configuration of 230 seats. As it continues to fine-tune its network and product offerings, Frontier finds itself in a US domestic environment where unit revenue and yields are falling, yet profits are reaching record highs.
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