American Airlines parent AMR Corp stated it has adjusted its winter schedule, resulting in a 3% year-on-year reduction in mainline capacity in 4Q2011, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Full-year 2011 mainline capacity will increase by 0.4% and consolidation capacity will increase 1.2%. The reductions will "modestly" increase the company's unit costs based on volatility in oil prices and foreign-exchange rates, the company said. The carrier also stated it would retire up to 11 of its 124 B757 fleet in 2012.
American Airlines adjusts winter capacity; to retire up to 11 B757s in 2012
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For the large three global US network airlines – American, Delta and United – the final quarter of 2016 offers some hope of negative unit revenue trends starting to stabilise, a welcome sign after two years of declines. But those positive developments are occurring against a backdrop of rising fuel costs and overall cost creep for those airlines, as labour expenses rise in the face of new collective bargaining agreements they have achieved.
Although each airline has offered a nuanced interpretation of domestic trends, the general consensus is that dynamics began to improve in Aug-2016 as close-in yields started to strengthen. After enduring tough conditions in Latin America driven by Brazil’s recession, American and Delta posted positive passenger unit revenues (PRASM) in their Latin entities in 3Q2016, and expect further improvement. Higher industry capacity is creating challenges for those airlines in the Atlantic and Pacific, but generally it seems that the path of unit revenue declines in those regions should moderate progressively.
Delta is aiming to post positive PRASM early in 2017, and American believes it can reach a positive result in total unit revenues in 1H2017. For now United is not offering a specific time period for a reversal of negative PRASM, but feels confident it is heading in the right direction, given the changing dynamics in certain areas of its network.
American Airlines and Delta: the worst is over for Latin America’s weak revenue performance
Latin America has been a weak spot for airlines for more than a year; Brazil’s economy has crumbled and currency fluctuations have driven weakness in demand in some of the region’s other countries. But two of the US’ large global airlines, American and Delta, believe that Brazil in particular has reached an inflection point, and they sense a slow improvement occurring on routes to Brazil due to a rationalisation of capacity in those markets.
After steep revenue declines in its Brazilian markets, American expects it could post positive unit revenue results in those markets during 3Q2016, while Delta is citing positive trends for its Latin American entity that should continue into 2017.
Of course, it will take some time for airlines to reach the levels of revenue performance they enjoyed before Latin America’s economy began to contract, but the start of the slow climb out of the revenue doldrums is a welcome sign for a region that remains one of the most promising over the long term.