IATA CEO Tony Tyler criticsed the Portuguese Government's decision to suspend the privatisation of TAP Portugal as creating "instability", and said, "We would like to see more certainty for TAP" (Publico/Dinhero Vivo, 03-Jun-2013). Mr Tyler said Synergy Group owner and Avianca's largest shareholder German Efromovich was a "good buyer" and he had "high hopes" the deal would go through considering the "many synergies" that would have been created. As previously reported by CAPA, Mr Efromovich stated his interest in acquiring the carrier remains, with Lufthansa VP of operations for Europe Göttz Ahmelmann also encouraging a renewed bid from the fellow Star Alliance member. Mr Efromovich's previous attempt to acquire the carrier failed in late 2012 due to insufficient financial guarantees.
IATA CEO criticises 'instability' created by TAP privatisation suspension
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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.
Europe's aviation strike spike could signal a cyclical peak - with downturn to follow
One swallow does not make a spring and nor does a rash of aviation strike news guarantee a turning point for the aviation industry. But the signs are ominous. In the month of Jun-2016 (to 20-Jun-2016), there have been 136 articles on CAPA's website mentioning the word 'strike'. This compares with 81 for the first 20 days of Jun-2015. For 2016 so far (1-Jan-2016 to 20-Jun-2016), the 's' word has occurred in 594 articles – about 20% more than in the same period in each of the past two years. If this rate continues, 2016 could be the biggest year for strike-related articles since before the global financial crisis.
The vast majority of the Jun-2016 articles – 80% – relate to Europe. A significant source is air traffic control disputes, particularly French ATC. There have also been strikes and/or strike threats involving airport workers and ground handlers. Among European airlines, Air France has generated the most coverage for its ongoing dispute with its pilots, and it may also face a cabin crew strike. Lufthansa has not yet faced a strike by its employees this year, but has not yet reached new agreements with pilots or cabin crew after industrial action last year.
History tells us that labour's demands grow as profits rise. The apparent increase in industrial action this year could be a signal of an approaching peak in the airline profit cycle. There are other causes of unrest, such as impending French labour legislation, but the correlation reflects some history.