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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Ryanair's accelerated growth in Italy shows the success of its hard-ball game over tax hikes
Not for the first time, Ryanair has won in a game of hard ball. It has a long history of forcing others to do business on its own terms – otherwise it will go elsewhere. After Italy increased municipal taxes on air traffic in Jan-2016, Ryanair decided to close its bases at Alghero in Sardinia and Pescara on Italy's Adriatic coast, and to withdraw from Crotone in the south of the country from Oct-2016. It had also planned to close 16 routes this coming winter.
Ryanair now says that it will accelerate its growth plans in Italy, allocating a further 10 new aircraft to the country. This was prompted by the Italian government's decision to reverse the tax increase from 1-Sep-2016. It may also have been facilitated by Ryanair's plans to reduce its UK growth after the Brexit vote.
Ryanair announced on 17-Aug-2016 that it will launch 44 new routes in Italy next year. It plans 21 new routes at airports in Rome and Milan and 23 at regional airports in Italy. Ryanair expects that it will increase its passenger numbers in Italy by 10% to 35 million in 2017 as a result of this expansion. Already the biggest airline by seats in Italy, Ryanair looks set to extend its lead.
Europe's aviation strike spike could signal a cyclical peak - with downturn to follow
One swallow does not make a spring and nor does a rash of aviation strike news guarantee a turning point for the aviation industry. But the signs are ominous. In the month of Jun-2016 (to 20-Jun-2016), there have been 136 articles on CAPA's website mentioning the word 'strike'. This compares with 81 for the first 20 days of Jun-2015. For 2016 so far (1-Jan-2016 to 20-Jun-2016), the 's' word has occurred in 594 articles – about 20% more than in the same period in each of the past two years. If this rate continues, 2016 could be the biggest year for strike-related articles since before the global financial crisis.
The vast majority of the Jun-2016 articles – 80% – relate to Europe. A significant source is air traffic control disputes, particularly French ATC. There have also been strikes and/or strike threats involving airport workers and ground handlers. Among European airlines, Air France has generated the most coverage for its ongoing dispute with its pilots, and it may also face a cabin crew strike. Lufthansa has not yet faced a strike by its employees this year, but has not yet reached new agreements with pilots or cabin crew after industrial action last year.
History tells us that labour's demands grow as profits rise. The apparent increase in industrial action this year could be a signal of an approaching peak in the airline profit cycle. There are other causes of unrest, such as impending French labour legislation, but the correlation reflects some history.