India’s Civil Aviation Ministry is seeking clarification about the ownership structure of SWISS and Austrian Airlines, both owned by Germany’s Lufthansa Group, and their permitted services to India under existing bilateral air services agreements (Business Standard, 17-Nov-2011). Indian officials have raised concerns the two airlines are violating substantial ownership and effective control clauses. India has previously threatened to take away SWISS and Austrian’s landing rights as the Government believes neither is owned by parties domiciled in their respective countries.
India to investigate SWISS and Austrian ownership concerns
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SWISS made almost half Lufthansa Passenger Group operating profits 2009-2015, but trend slowing
From 2009 to 2015 SWISS accounted for 47% of the operating profits produced by all the airlines in the Lufthansa Passenger Airline Group, and 29% for the Lufthansa Group overall. It has also consistently been the Group's most profitable airline in margin terms. In 2015 it even managed to post a higher margin than Lufthansa's MRO business – traditionally a much more robust and profitable activity than most airlines.
Nevertheless, SWISS seems now to be struggling to maintain these achievements. Its passenger load factor, while still the highest in the group, is on the decline. Revenue is falling and SWISS suffered a drop in margin in 1Q2016. The seasonally weak 1Q may not say too much about prospects for the full year, but Lufthansa expects SWISS to report a slightly lower adjusted EBIT in 2016 relative to 2015.
With four new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft now in SWISS' long haul fleet and the first Bombardier C Series due to join its short haul fleet imminently, SWISS is not standing still.
Lufthansa Group-Singapore Airlines JV Part 3: JV to support expanded Singapore-Europe capacity
The new Lufthansa Group and Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group joint venture open up opportunities for additional capacity from Singapore to Germany and Switzerland. Lufthansa is confident the improved connectivity beyond Singapore which comes with the JV will help support higher traffic and capacity levels while SIA will benefit from improved connectivity beyond its three German and Swiss gateways.
The two airline groups recently already added over 1,100 weekly one-way seats from Singapore to Germany and Switzerland, representing expansion of 8%, ahead of the formal start of the JV. The expansion included the launch of flights by SIA to Dusseldorf, a route that likely would not have been viable without the JV, and the up-gauging of flights to Singapore by Swiss from A340s to 777-300ERs.
Both airline groups are now considering further capacity increases as well as new routes. Lufthansa is looking at using its new A350 fleet to resume Singapore-Munich, which would supplement its daily Singapore-Frankfurt A380 service and give the group 21 weekly frequencies and nearly 8,000 weekly one-way seats under the JV compared to 31 frequencies and nearly 10,000 weekly seats for SIA.