Airbus launched (29-Oct-2013) the sharklet retrofit programme for in-service A320 family aircraft. This option will be available in 2015. Operators of older in-service A320 family aircraft will thus be able to benefit from the significant cost savings and performance improvements which the sharklets are already delivering on new-build aircraft. This retrofit includes reinforcing the wing structure and adding the sharklet wingtip device. As part of the upgrade, the retrofit will lengthen the aircraft’s service life and thus maximise the operators’ return on investment for the sharklet retrofit. Airbus executive VP customer services Didier Lux aaid: “Customers of new A320 family aircraft are unanimously enthusiastic about the benefits which sharklets already bring to their operations. Now we can also offer this value-adding technology for upgrading their in-service aircraft, to increase range, reduce fuel-burn, while saving over 900 tonnes of CO2 per year, per aircraft.” Airbus has been delivering sharklets as an option on new-build A320 family aircraft since Dec-2012. In addition, the sharklet retrofit option is being sold for newer aircraft delivered with the wings structurally reinforced in production. All members of the A320neo family will be fitted with sharklets as standard. The A320neo will enter into service in Oct-2015. [more - original PR]
Airbus launches sharklet retrofit for in-service A320 family aircraft
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United Airlines Part 2: Sustaining balance sheet strength while declaring ambitious margin targets
One area where United Airlines has made important strides during the last few years is in overhauling its balance sheet. Its efforts have gained some recognition from credit agencies for its progress in paring down debt and improving leverage ratios; but similarly to its rival American Airlines – attaining an investment-grade credit rating is not a huge priority for United. The airline believes it can achieve some benefits that investment-grade companies enjoy with the current state of its balance sheet.
In order to sustain the progress it has made in balance sheet repair United plans to amend its aircraft order book to slash capex commitments during the next couple of years, including the deferral of 61 Boeing narrowbodies. United is hinting that other fleet changes could be under consideration, including deals similar to the agreement it forged during 2015 to lease used Airbus A319s.
This is Part 2 in a two-part series reviewing United’s financial and revenue-generating opportunities.
Allegiant Air: unit revenues could still turn positive in mid-2017 as cost pressures rise
Although Allegiant Air’s niche model differs from those of the majority of US airlines, the company has not been immune from the weaker pricing environment that has engulfed the US industry during the past year. Similarly to many US airlines Allegiant is beginning to see improving trends in the US market, and believes it can attain positive total unit revenues by mid-2017 as its own capacity growth slows and certain routes within its network mature.
Allegiant is facing pressure on its 4Q2016 unit revenues driven by effects from operational disruptions that were triggered by Hurricane Matthew and the timing of the Christmas holiday. But if the company reaches the lower end of its quarterly unit revenue guidance, Allegiant’s sequential improvement in unit revenues during 2016 will continue for the final three months of the year.
A new pilot agreement and other items are creating pressure for Allegiant in its unit cost performance in 4Q2016 that could continue into 2017. One cost area where Allegiant should see relief is in its maintenance expense, as the phase-out of its older MD-80 aircraft begins in full force.