Emirates stated (26-Dec-2013) it will become the first airline to operate a regularly scheduled A380 service to London Gatwick Airport. From 30-Mar-2014, the airline’s 489-seat A380 will replace the Boeing 777-300ER on EK flight 09/10, bringing a 36% increase in capacity on one of its three daily services, Emirates executive VP and CCO Thierry Antinori said, “London Gatwick was our first destination in the UK when we launched our services to the airport in 1987. It continues to be a strategic gateway not only into London but also into the regions of the Southeast and we are pleased to be the first airline to introduce a daily scheduled A380 service to the airport". He continued, “Our long term strategic partnership with London Gatwick enables us to bring our flagship A380 on a regularly scheduled basis and build on our robust presence at the airport. Our support for London Gatwick’s long-term growth plans is aligned with our global strategy to optimise capacity on our major routes and to offer our passengers with ever more opportunities to fly on our A380s". Emirates’ current A380 destinations are: Amsterdam, Auckland, Bangkok, Beijing, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Kuala Lumpur, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Manchester, Mauritius, Melbourne, Moscow, Munich, New York JFK, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Singapore, Shanghai, Sydney, Toronto, and Brisbane. Emirates will start operating scheduled A380 services to Zurich and Barcelona from Jan-2014 and Feb-2014 respectively. [more - original PR]
Emirates to become the first airline to operate a regularly scheduled A380 service to London Gatwick
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Emirates Airline makes rare partnership move with TAAG in Angola's small but lucrative market
Emirates Airline is the world's largest international carrier based on ASKs. That formidable size – over 50% that of second-largest Lufthansa – means Emirates can be relatively independent but also perhaps needs to limit forays in the partnership arena in order to remain focused on its core and growing business. Conversely, its size can put off potential suitors. A strategic Emirates partnership move is a rare occurrence, and its latest comes just 18 months after beginning its landmark partnership with Qantas in Australia, a significant market where Emirates at the time had 84 weekly flights. In contrast, the latest partnership is with TAAG in Angola, where Emirates has a mere seven weekly flights.
The TAAG-Emirates scale may be smaller than Emirates-Qantas, but it will be far deeper. Emirates will manage the airline, including naming a new CEO, reviewing the airline from operations to livery and appoint four Emirates managers to the airline.
Emirates will not take an equity stake in TAAG, but otherwise the deal has the hallmarks of Emirates' longtime partnership with SriLankan, which eventually dampened Emirates appetite for getting too involved in other airlines. There could undoubtedly be benefit to Emirates: Angola is a restricted but high-yielding market. Yet TAAG, in need of restructuring, has been unable to capitalise on its home market. But there also appear to be political undertones to the deal, with the UAE focusing on trade to Africa, and in particular oil-rich Angola.
Etihad 1H2014 results: The model's rapid evolution even more remarkable than a 28% revenue increase
It was never a question of if Etihad Airways would report revenue growth in 1H2014; the only question was the exact double-digit percentage by which it would grow. Etihad reports group revenue increased by 28%, a remarkable figure even by fast-paced Gulf standards, and one that stole most headlines. But total revenue has also been positively impacted by Etihad's acquisition of ground-based services.
Passenger revenue grew by a "slower" 14% – below the 19% increase in ASKs, although probably not all that remarkable in the short term with this rate of expansion. Yields, load factor and RPKs (in addition to profit figures) were not disclosed. Possible slowing of momentum comes as Air France-KLM and the Lufthansa Group in a letter to the European Commission accused all Gulf carriers of "excessive growth".
Etihad's acquisition of ground services has clearly helped add diversification to the model, with passenger revenue now comprising only 64% of total group revenue, lower than at Emirates or Lufthansa. Partner revenues are likely to surpass USD1 billion in 2014, but the more significant figure is 1H2014 partner revenue accounting for 23% of total passenger revenue. This too will grow as new partnerships – including major ones with Jet Airways and Alitalia – bed down. Putting planes into the sky is relatively easy; selling their seats is the challenge.
Leaving aside the controversy, Etihad is creating a remarkable new model that continues to grow multi-dimensionally in ways that detractors might be wise to concentrate on – rather than merely accelerating their efforts to rescind change.