Estonian Air stated (03-Feb-2012) it will lease four 76-seat Embraer 170 aircraft from Finnair this month, which will be used for replacing the existing Boeing aircraft and for growth. The carrier is also in talks with Embraer and leasing companies over the delivery schedule and conditions for eight more aircraft, which will be a mix of 88-seat E175s and 112-seat E190 models. The aircraft are scheduled to enter the fleet in 2013-2015. CEO Tero Taskila stated the Embraer aircraft “suit the company’s new strategy due to their efficiency, appropriate size and flying range". The aircraft will "enable the company to increase flight frequencies, open new destinations and to operate at least double daily services to main destinations in Europe". [more - original PR]
Estonian Air to add 12 Embraer aircraft to fleet
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Asia-Europe slowest-growing major market but dynamic: AF-KLM and SIA shrink as oneworld, China grow
Asia-Europe, which is one of IATA's big four international markets, has become the slowest-growing. The market underwent RPK expansion of only 1.5% in Jul-2016, the latest data available. Uncertainty in Europe and terrorism fears mean that some Asian travellers choose Australia and North America or, as IATA has flagged – travel within Asia, which has expanded by nearly double digits.
Although market expansion was slow in the first part of 2016, so too was capacity. Yet this changed in Jul-2016 as capacity increased more quickly, perhaps as airlines expected a stronger summer. Despite slow passenger growth, dynamics are highly varied – except for yield declines. The combined RPK growth of IAG (7.2%) Cathay Pacific (3.7%) and Finnair (8.7%) was not enough to offset the contraction of the largest airline in the market, AF-KLM (7.9%).
From the reported geographic data by all major airlines, load factors are falling.
Air Canada Part 2: Financial progress makes investment grade metrics more tangible
A decade ago it would have been unheard of for Air Canada to contemplate reaching an investment grade credit rating. The airline had emerged from bankruptcy protection, but was still struggling financially. It would teeter on the verge of another formal restructuring before setting out on a course to restructure its financial foundation – a process that has allowed the airline to improve its balance sheet and leverage.
Air Canada’s leverage targets for YE2018 will not meet the general proxy for an investment grade rating; however, its lower capital commitments and debt refinancing could create an opportunity for achieving that status beyond 2018.
Attaining an investment grade credit rating likely remains a longer term goal for Air Canada as its major financial goals in the short term remain paying down debt that is creeping up due to a fleet renewal, as well as funding growth to drive long-term shareholder value. More meaningful shareholder returns will likely occur once the company reaches what it deems as acceptable progress in debt management, and reaches a certain maturity level in growing its international network.
This is Part 2 in a two part series on Air Canada. Part 1 dealt with long haul LCC subsidiary, rouge.