Ethiopian Airlines announced (14-Jan-2013) it has integrated four Boeing 787 aircraft into its fleet. The first African airline to own and operate the Dreamliner, Ethiopian deployed the equipment on scheduled services to Johannesburg, Washington DC, Toronto, Frankfurt, Beijing, Lusaka, and Harare. Ethiopian is scheduled to receive its fifth Dreamliner in Mar-2013, while the remaining five will be phased in during 2014. [more - original PR]
Ethiopian Airlines integrates four 787 aircraft into fleet
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Air Astana Part 1: Kazakhstan flag carrier increases focus on transit traffic as profits drop
Kazakhstan’s Air Astana is increasing its focus on sixth freedom transit traffic as part of a new strategy aimed at capitalising on its low cost structure and geographic position at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. More transit traffic is necessary to unlock a new phase of growth and reduce its reliance on its home market.
Air Astana has nearly doubled its transit traffic over the past year in response to challenging market conditions in Kazakhstan. The Kazakhstan economy has weakened significantly as oil prices have collapsed, leading to rapid currency devaluation that has impacted Air Astana’s top line. The airline’s revenues have fallen 25% since 2013 while passenger traffic has been relatively flat.
Increased sixth freedom traffic, slower expansion and reduced costs have enabled the airline to maintain profitability. A further and bigger transit traffic push is risky but should drive improved scale, a resumption of growth, and a stronger long-term position – which in turn will make Air Astana more attractive as it revisits long-delayed IPO plans.
Mauritius Pt 2: Air Mauritius faces intensifying competition and challenges in developing a new hub
Air Mauritius has returned to profitability and is keen to pursue expansion in support of an ambitious hub strategy by its government shareholder. The airline turned an EUR18 million operating profit in the year ending Mar-2016 as passenger numbers grew by 9.4% - representing the fastest growth in five years.
Mauritius is geographically well positioned to attract sixth freedom traffic between Africa and Asia, a fast-growing market. However, competition is intensifying in the Africa-Asia market and in Mauritius, which could make it difficult for Air Mauritius to succeed at developing a new east-west hub while maintaining its new-found profitability.
This is the second part of an analysis report on Air Mauritius and the Mauritius market. The first report looked at Air Mauritius' expansion in Asia, and the need to bolster its network in continental Africa in order to secure more sixth freedom traffic between Asia and Africa. It also examined the impact of AirAsia X’s Oct-2016 launch of services to Mauritius. In this half of the report CAPA will look in more detail at the intensifying competition in the Mauritius market; how this may impact Air Mauritius’ new-found profitability and its ability to further develop an Africa-Asia hub.