Alitalia has tentatively agreed to merge with Wind Jet and Blue Panorama Airlines. According to AGI reports, Alitalia has signed a MoU with both Italian carriers to this effect. Wind Jet is a LCC operating short haul European services and Blue Panorama operates charter and scheduled services from its Rome and Milan bases. According to Innovata data, Wind Jet and Blue Panorama hold 10.6% and 2.9% of Italy’s domestic capacity, respectively.
Alitalia to merge with Wind Jet and Blue Panorama Airlines
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Delta Airlines remains dismissive of Gulf carriers’ importance as its protectionist stance deepens
Delta Air Lines continues to beat the protectionist drum against the emerging Gulf carriers even as Etihad is reportedly examining a stake in Delta’s fellow SkyTeam member Alitalia.
Beleaguered Alitalia in some ways is at the centre of Delta’s latest in a series of strenuous efforts to stymie expansion by Gulf carriers as it challenges Emirates’ new Milan-New York service in the Italian courts. The stakes for Delta are much higher than a single flight. The carrier appears willing to use litigation to stop Emirates from further expanding on fifth freedom rights to serve points in North America from Western Europe as the region represents roughly one quarter of Delta’s international seat deployment.
Delta is reverting to tactics from a bygone era as the global aviation business continues to change rapidly. The Gulf carriers are a major component of the changes under way and as much as Delta aims to thwart their expansion, the reality is Delta will continue to face new competition from those carriers at every turn. Like some of its long established partners, such as Air France, which went from arch-enemy to ally with Etihad, Delta may just have to coordinate more closely with those airlines if Etihad succeeds in becoming a major stakeholder in Alitalia.
Rouge trans-Atlantic expansion creates new competitive dynamics in long-haul leisure markets
Air Canada’s low-cost carrier Rouge is ratcheting up service to leisure destinations in Europe during the 2014 summer high season, which should prove a definitive test for the carrier’s theory that a low cost operation on routes producing softer yields is the correct equation to turn profits.
The growth and operation of Air Canada Rouge to a possible fleet of 50 aircraft is a strategic pillar of the company’s efforts to cut its unit costs by 15% – quite a formidable goal. Similar to Rouge’s initial roll-out of service from Toronto to Athens, Edinburgh and Venice and from Montreal to Athens, most of Rouge’s planned route expansion during 2014 is into markets that have been served by Air Transat during the high season. With just a few months of operations under its belt, no clear-cut conclusions can be made about Rouge’s future or the total effects on Air Transat, but Air Canada appears to be throwing down the competitive gauntlet, noting that it is now in a much better position to compete on those routes.