China Southern Air Holding announced (03-Dec-2012) its president Si Xianmin met with Air France-KLM CEO Jean Cyril Spinetta, KLM CEO Peter Hartman and Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson between 28-Nov-2012 and 29-Nov-2012 to explore future cooperation opportunities between the carriers. [more – original PR – Chinese]
China Southern Air Holding meets with Air France-KLM, KLM and Delta CEOs
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747-400 fleet dwindles to 204 as Cathay Pacific the latest airline to retire Queen of the Skies
The 747 has been in the spotlight since the Aug-2016 passing of lead engineer Joe Sutter. The iconic aircraft's milestones and fade from service come into focus again with the impending retirement of Cathay Pacific's passenger 747 fleet. A Cathay Pacific 747-400 was the final commercial flight to depart Hong Kong's old airport at Kai Tak, while another Cathay 747 was the first commercial flight to land at the new airport at Chek Lap Kok – with that flight also the first to use a Polar Routing, one which has changed the Asia-North America market for all airlines.
After the 01-Oct-2016 return to Hong Kong of Cathay's final passenger 747 flight, CX543 from Tokyo Haneda, Cathay's last three passenger 747s will be decommissioned from normal service. The global fleet of passenger/combi 747-400s will then decrease to 204, according to CAPA's Fleet Database. The 747-400s in regular, non-charter service will number 175. Six airlines – British Airways, United, KLM, Lufthansa, Qantas and Thai Airways – operate 10 or more 747s, accounting for 65% of what is left of the regular in-service fleet. United will retire its 747 fleet by 2018, while British Airways and Qantas (which operates the slightly newer 747-400ER) look likely to be some of the last 747 (non-8i) operators, with service stretching into 2020.
Air France-KLM: long haul low cost airline could be part of new CEO's vision as French Blue enters
Air France-KLM chairman and CEO, Jean-Marc Janaillac, who took charge in Jul-2016, has talked about the possibility of launching long haul low cost operations (Bloomberg/luchtvaartnieuws.nl, 20-Sep-2016).
If Air France-KLM were to enter this segment it would be the second of Europe's big three legacy airline groups to do so, after the Lufthansa Group. Ironically, there is no long haul low cost competition to Lufthansa in Germany. By contrast, IAG faces more such competitors in the UK than either of its two major rival groups in their largest home market, but currently has no plan for such an operator.
Air France-KLM management told analysts on a conference call in May-2016 that it was sceptical about the sustainability of year-round profits for long haul low cost. However, new competition has prompted Mr Janaillac to look more closely at this market segment. Since Jul-2016 Norwegian has commenced trans-Atlantic long haul operations from Paris CDG. In addition, since Sep-2016, the new-start long haul LCC French Blue now flies on routes to the Caribbean. Mr Janaillac is expected to report on his strategic vision for Air France-KLM in early Nov-2016. Labour relations will be crucial to the group's development – not least in the area of long haul low cost.