Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Fabrice Bregier, stated the manufacturer requires approximately EUR800 million to EUR1 billion in additional investment over the next six years to develop its next generation of aircraft (Reuters, 24-Sep-2009). The COO stated that new Airbus aircraft could cut CO2 emissions and noise by 50% by using technology such as open rotor engines.
Airbus looks for EUR1 billion more in next generation aircraft funding
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Spirit Airlines’ network changes have been more subtle than dramatic under new CEO
When a new CEO took the helm at Spirit Airlines during 2016 the immediate reaction was speculation that the move was a first step to merging with fellow ULCC Frontier. Eventually the excitement over consolidation in the US ULCC sector died down, and Spirit outlined more subtle strategy changes.
The most significant was Spirit’s assessment that opportunities existed in small to medium sized markets, which was a pivot from its strategy of competing with bigger US airlines in some of their largest and most important markets.
In order to support the shift in its network strategy Spirit has made changes to its fleet composition during 2016, including retaining more smaller-gauge Airbus A319s and converting 10 A321neos scheduled for delivery in 2019 to A320neos. The fleet changes also help Spirit improve its financial structure through a higher number of owned aircraft.
So far, Spirit has only announced one new smaller market in 2016, with the addition of Akron-Canton to its route map. The remainder of its route additions have been in larger markets in competition with the larger US airlines. Perhaps more clues to the airline’s long-term network strategy will emerge in 2017.
Hawaiian Airlines: enjoying a revenue premium while preparing for crucial new network development
During the first few years of the decade Hawaiian Airlines undertook a massive network expansion that included the addition of more than 10 long haul routes. With a few minor expansions Hawaiian efforts have been successful, reflected in the airline’s more balanced network that features some of Hawaii’s largest origin markets.
Hawaiian begins taking the next steps to fill gaps within its network in 2017. During the year the airline starts accepting deliveries of Airbus A321neos that allow it to serve smaller secondary markets in North America without degrading the company’s cost performance – which is proving to be a challenge in the short term. Hawaiian believes the aircraft is uniquely qualified to handle some of the operating conditions from the region’s islands to the US mainland.
Hawaiian embarks on 2017 enjoying a significant revenue premium above the US industry and the airline continues to strengthen its revenue management techniques to maximise product offerings, including extra legroom seating and new lie-flat premium seating on its Airbus widebody aircraft. The company is forecasting modest capacity growth for the year of 2% to 5%, the bulk of which is driven by new services to Tokyo launched in 2016.