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Jet2.com Blackpool-Ibiza and East Midlands-Ibiza, and Monarch East Midlands-Ibiza launches confirmed
Airbus continues to celebrate A330 sales success, pulling in another order (three A330s from Oman Air) this week. The A330 is nearly two decades older than its most direct rival, Boeing’s 787, but the aircraft continues to match the newer aircraft in terms of popularity. When Boeing launched the 787 programme in 2004, the aircraft was seen as a major threat to A330 sales. However, the predicted paucity of A330 orders has failed to materialise, with sales of the older jet meeting those of its newer rival almost on a one-to-one basis over the last decade.
Since the launch of the 787 in 2004, Boeing has sold 890 of the carbon fibre and composite aircraft. The manufacturer claims that the aircraft is 20% more fuel efficient than “similarly sized aircraft” such as the A330 and its own 767. The aircraft is also billed as offering a similar level of savings in terms of maintenance costs and an overall 10% lower cost per seat mile. The 787's iconic value is also being marketed strongly by its operators.
If airline groups can be thought of as families, then profitable British Airways is the strait-laced older sister of the petulant, unreliable and loss-making Iberia. BA has learnt from its hedonistic, free-spending youth and matured into the sensible, trustworthy one. Parents are not meant to have favourites, but it is clear that IAG looks on BA with a glint in the parental eye, while Iberia is constantly being scolded. IAG refuses to buy its irresponsible Spanish child any new toys until it mends its ways, while it now trusts her British sister with shiny new 787s and A350s.
Nevertheless, BA should not allow itself to feel too smug. It remains much more dependent on a single hub (Heathrow) and on a single intercontinental market (North America), but less connected to domestic and European markets than its peers. Moreover, cost benchmarking points to the need for a reduction in CASK, which it has not managed since before the merger. As any parent knows, it is not just the children that are most visibly struggling that need attention.
There are 103 A380s in service as of early May-2013. Emirates has 33 and Singapore Airlines has 19, so when assessing network scheduling, these two and their hubs predominate: of the 1,048 weekly A380 flights, 402 are from Emirates alone. Dubai and Singapore airport see the most A380 flights.
But there are some less predictable statistics. The airport to see the most A380 operators is Hong Kong followed by Paris and Los Angeles. The largest A380 destination that is not (yet) an A380-hub is London Heathrow. The UK and USA are the most common A380 destinations after Australia, Singapore and the UAE. Asia, not the Middle East, sees the most A380 flights; South America sees none. Guangzhou-Shanghai Pudong is the shortest A380 route at 1,202km while Los Angeles-Melbourne is the longest at 12,751km. Qantas and Lufthansa have the highest average sector length while Thai Airways is placing the most number of cycles – about two – on its aircraft per day. Qantas and Air France are placing the least (just over one).
easyJet’s 1H2013 pre-tax result improved by GBP51 million to a loss of GBP61 million. This puts it comfortably on course to achieve the current consensus forecast for record pre-tax profits of GBP410 million in FY2013. It may also be on another collision course with founder and largest shareholder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou over aircraft orders.
CEO Carolyn McCall believes easyJet can take further market share from non-LCCs on point-to-point routes. At its top 20 existing airports, where easyJet has 46 million seats (a share of 22%), she puts this potential additional market at 86 million seats. This analysis appears to pave the way for a large aircraft order after easyJet completes a review of its future fleet strategy later this year, although it insists that no decision has yet been taken.
This would not please Sir Stelios who said: “Good things happen to airlines that don’t order more aircraft.” Under Ms McCall's guidance easyJet's share price has more than doubled over the past year and not just because it didn't grow. It may be time for Sir Stelios to let go.
Shortly after Emirates Airline announced its remarkable breakthrough partnership with Qantas in Sep-2012, Emirates CEO Tim Clark said he had also been talking to American Airlines for some time and publicly expressed hopes that the two would also establish a close relationship. This was despite the fact that American already had an extensive codeshare relationship with Etihad; and the third Gulf carrier, Qatar Airways, has since been invited to join the oneworld alliance – which American leads.
The Gulf airlines, and particularly Emirates, have had a devastating impact on European long-haul hub carriers. The impact will be different for US airlines, but despite the different geography, it will be much bigger than most expect. For one thing they will cut across the developed boundaries of the global alliances.
The Saudi Arabian General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has confirmed that Qatar Airways and Gulf Air will launch domestic operations in the country before the end of 2013. The granting of the licences to two foreign carriers to operate domestic service is an unparalleled move of openness in the Middle East. It will start a new era for travel within the country.
The opening of the Saudi Arabian market presents a new challenge to national airline Saudia. However, after several years of facing competition from domestic carriers and a thorough modernisation ahead of its entry into SkyTeam in 2012, as well as the extended international reach that alliance membership offers it, the carrier is in a better position now to meet the latest threat.