Air France has launched its new base at Marseille as part of plans to shift short-haul capacity to provincial French airports, according to a report in The Financial. Following Marseille, the airline will launch bases at Bordeaux, Toulouse and Nice. From Marseille, Air France has launched 13 new routes: Basel Mulhouse, Biarritz, Brest, Athens, Copenhagen, Düsseldorf, Eindhoven, Milan-Malpensa, Moscow, Prague, Beirut, Istanbul and Casablanca.
Air France launches 'commercial offensive' in Marseille
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Air Canada bulks up capacity for the high season as long term labour stability improves
Air Canada continues to hold a positive outlook for the North American summer high season since the bulk of its capacity is pegged to international markets, including long haul trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific routes. International expansion remains the airline’s most important priority as it is attempting to build a long haul network that rivals its large global airline counterparts in the US.
The airline also continues to drive sixth freedom traffic flows from the US, with the goal of doubling its market share among those passengers over the next couple of years. Air Canada has also subtly capitalised on the anti-Trump sentiment in the US by creating a smart campaign urging US citizens to “test drive” Canada before picking up and moving to the country.
Counter to some large US airlines that are facing tough labour negotiations, Air Canada is enjoying a period of employee stability as all of its major labour groups are now under long-term contracts. The longevity of those agreements allows Air Canada a degree of certainty in labour expense that some of its US peers do not enjoy.
Airline strikes: 2016 a peak year for Europe's legacy airlines. Wakeup time, as LCCs pick them off
Pilot strikes at Lufthansa. Again. A strike ballot among British Airways cabin crew. A guilty verdict for Air France workers who assaulted an executive during a union protest. These were all headlines in late Nov-2016, following Air France pilot and cabin crew strikes in summer 2016. Labour relations at Europe's three biggest legacy airline groups are an ongoing challenge.
A CAPA report in Jun-2016 highlighted the growing number of articles on CAPA's website mentioning the word 'strike'. It raised the possibility that if the rate continued through the year, 2016 could be the biggest year for strike-related articles since before the global financial crisis. With a little under a month still to go, this year has already comfortably passed this milestone.
To a large extent labour unrest grows as airline industry profits increase. However, rather than hoping for an industry downturn to reverse the rise in the cycle of strikes, airline CEOs are talking tough – a line long taken by IAG's Willie Walsh. Lufthansa's Carsten Spohr has said that taking on the pilots is "about the future of Lufthansa", noting that it has “no chance of survival" if it gives in to pay demands (Bloomberg, 24-Nov-2016).