AirAsia X reportedly suspended plans to launch Kuala Lumpur-Manchester service due to the UK Government’s plans to increase its Air Passenger Duty (APD) (Airwise, 25-Oct-2010). Manchester Airport's Head of Government and Industry Affairs, Brian Conway, stated the carrier had been in talks with the airport for “many months” but chose to launch services to Paris Orly Airport instead due to the government tax being too high. UK Transport Secretary Philip Hammond responded stating the government is aware it is making UK airports and airlines more highly taxed than competitors, but it needs to meet its twin goals of cutting the deficit and meeting aviation growth while also meeting climate change targets. He added the government has started developing a new national aviation policy, to be introduced by the end of 2012. Mr Hammond said the new policy would encourage growth at regional airports.
AirAsia X drops plans for Manchester due to tax
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KLM looks to grow partnerships in Asia, which are becoming larger targets than North America's
Partnerships and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines are intertwined: KLM and Northwest Airlines first joined forces in 1989 when KLM acquired a 20% holding in the US carrier, then the two pioneered the industry's first modern joint venture in 1997, subsequently been imitated not just by trans-Atlantic peers but by airlines across the world. Partnerships today are even more prevalent and critical for KLM. The trans-Atlantic deal has expanded and KLM has a JV with Kenya Airways, among others.
But it is Asia where KLM's breadth of partnerships is most evident and also where there are expansion opportunities, as KLM COO and Deputy CEO Pieter Elbers told CAPA at its recent World Aviation Summit in Amsterdam.
The launch of European flights by China's Sichuan and Xiamen Airlines could see KLM form a deeper partnership, adding to its existing relationships with China Eastern and JV partner China Southern. KLM's historical relationship with Malaysia Airlines has continued despite MAS joining oneworld in 2013, and KLM has also added one-time foe Etihad Airways as a partner. KLM would like a partner in Japan, its second-largest Asian market, and ideally hitch on Air France's relationship with JAL. Mr Elbers describes a stable if limited relationship with SkyTeam heavyweight Korean Air. The growth in partnerships comes as Asia widens its lead over North America as KLM's largest long-haul market.
AENA: high airport charges deter traffic at Spain’s airports. Ryanair discounts its discount scheme
Following dramatic declines in airport passenger numbers in 2012 and 2013, Spanish airports operator AENA has decided to introduce an airport charge discounting scheme to offer incentives to airlines to grow their traffic in Spain once more. With plans being formulated to privatise Spanish airports, the success of this initiative will be closely watched by both industry participants and potential investors.
In this report, we examine traffic trends at AENA and consider whether they have been affected by higher airport charges. Our analysis suggests that there is a clear link and so action to reverse falling traffic numbers through lower charges seems a logical step.
The questions then are whether the discounts offered will have the desired effect and how sustainable will be any resultant growth in passenger numbers.
Ryanair is the biggest carrier in Spain by passenger numbers and its CEO Michael O’Leary has called AENA’s discount scheme “almost unachievable”.