Emirates chairman and CEO Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al Maktoum said the company is comfortable with more than USD4 billion in liquidity reserves and will continue to expand (Reuters, 16-Nov-2011). The carrier will expand its fleet to more than 250 aircraft, all widebodies, by 2020.
Emirates: Fleet to exceed 250 aircraft by 2020
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Southwest Airlines: Where is the LUV? Rivals have advantages as labour relations crumble
At the turn of the century it would have been heresy to describe Southwest Airlines as embattled. The venerable low cost airline was a perennial passenger favourite, and its employee relations were the most positive and successful among US airlines. But during recent years the company’s admirable relationship with labour has soured, culminating in the recent declaration by Southwest’s union leaders that the company’s top two executives should vacate their positions.
The labour discontent and years-long negotiations have not only damaged management’s credibility in the eyes of many employees, but have also prevented Southwest from taking important steps to create more outlets to generate revenue – including establishing potentially valuable codesharing relationships. As Southwest moves closer toward having the proper technology to support those partnerships, the likelihood that labour groups will approve codeshares is decidedly low as rifts between management and employees deepen.
Southwest had reached an inflection point in its frayed labour relations. Its golden image has tarnished, and the longer that contract talks drag on, the more that scrutiny over management’s ability to mend the strained relationships will continue to intensify.
Emirates-Qantas JV expands as partnerships become more intricate, while some airlines go it alone
Qantas and Emirates are again evolving global airline alliances and partnerships. Four years after announcing their landmark joint venture, Qantas in late 2016 is expected to disclose additions to the way it serves Europe in partnership with Emirates. The possible changes – a new nonstop London flight, reintroducing an Asian stopover – may seem incremental. There is a significant impact to the many airlines competing in the Europe-Australia market, but the underlying relevance is global.
The expansion of the JV would not be possible without the increased comfort that Emirates and Qantas feel toward each other, and their ability to have intricate models for handling the increasingly complicated partnership and number of hubs involved. JVs are no longer in a binary classification of existence or absence; there is a scale from rudimentary to near-consolidation.
As JVs like Qantas-Emirates become more sophisticated, the basic JVs – or even airlines without – are dearly lacking. There has been a profusion of JVs in recent years, with more on the way, but they have tended to be confined. Partners need to be more comfortable with each other in order to add additional airlines and markets, later consolidating as they stitch together individual partnerships.