Frontier Airlines plans to expand its services into highly competitive markets and launch new services into smaller markets where Southwest Airlines and United Airlines have a minimal presence (Denver Business Journal, 28-May-2010).
Frontier to expand services into competitive markets
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US airlines and the Cuba route awards Part 1: The US DoT slices up many pieces of the Havana pie
US regulators have decided to spread Havana award rights among eight operators – a mix of global full service airlines, medium frills low cost carriers and ULCCs. Unsurprisingly, given the concentration of Cuban Americans residing in the region, South Florida features prominently in the tentative award approvals.
In theory, the DoT’s proposed route structure ensures that customers travelling to Havana have access to a wider range of fare prices and product offerings. In many respects the agency had little choice but to accommodate as many airlines as possible for service to Havana – in order to ensure that consumers had an array of service providers as scheduled air service resumes between the US and Cuba.
There may be some quibbles regarding the tentative route awards to Havana, but the route composition proposed by the DoT is not likely to change drastically. The agency’s route dispersal reflects certain expectations that the agency would institute a certain level of competitive diversity on new services to Havana.
(This is Part 1 in a series examining US-Cuba route awards. Part 2 will examine markets other than Havana)
Pressure mounts on Southwest Airlines to deliver on its goal of positive unit revenue in early 2017
Southwest Airlines believes it can potentially achieve a positive unit revenue result in early 2017, but its sequential trends from 3Q2016 to 4Q2016 are not improving at the rate of the three large US global network airlines. In fact, if Southwest hits the upper end of its unit revenue guidance for the last three months of 2016, the company’s performance could worsen on a sequential basis.
Many factors are driving Southwest’s unit revenue pressure at the end of 2016, including the effects of a credit card agreement that lifted its unit revenues in 2015 and 2016, competitive capacity additions in its markets and a still-soft, but improving domestic pricing environment. In order to regain positive unit revenue Southwest’s planned capacity growth is decreasing year-on-year for 2017. Additionally, the airline is scrutinising its network in order to determine which routes can generate maximum revenue production.
Southwest is also bracing for cost inflation in 4Q2016 driven by tentative collective bargaining agreements recently reached with pilots and flight attendants in 3Q2016. The cost increases from those agreements – if they are ratified – will continue into 2107, putting extra pressure on Southwest to deliver on its unit revenue targets.