Japan's MLIT stated (09-Sep-2011) it would commence aviation talks for an open skies agreement with Canada in Vancouver on 13/14-Sep-2011. With the exception of the US, this will be the first open skies negotiations with a country outside east Asia and the ASEAN group, with which MLIT has almost completed conclusion for agreements.
Japan to commence open skies talks with Canada
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Spring Airlines turns 10: regulatory support and IPO lend support to bolder international expansion
There are few better birthday presents than a near guarantee that the next 10 years should be momentously better than the first 10. Spring Airlines marked its 10th anniversary on 18-Jul-2015, having amassed a fleet of 50 A320s and passenger volume of 11.5 million in 2014. Spring is China's most notable low-cost carrier, yet even these figures represent under-achievement in terms of what should be possible. This is scarcely the fault of Spring, which planned for 100 aircraft in 2015 but was repeatedly held back by regulator CAAC.
Now the CAAC holds Spring up as a model for efficiency and success, and is welcoming other local LCCs. Foreign carriers are increasingly taking note of Spring's practices as it has the strongest low cost position in what will soon be the world's largest market. Spring has received approval to double its fleet to 100 aircraft in 2018.
Hong Kong Airlines expands its regional network ahead of long haul growth to Australia, N America
For Hong Kong Airlines, operating in the shadow of one of the world's largest network carriers means having to be nimble and run its business differently. Hong Kong Airlines has ridden mainland China's international surge to regional Asia and the airline, turning nine in November, is preparing to grow long haul, which will provide critical reductions in its cost base. Australia is the immediate opportunity but will likely be tested with charters over an initial period to secondary cities, where Australia offers open skies. It cannot serve the main cities as Cathay uses Hong Kong's full traffic right allocation there. Hong Kong Airlines' challenge across its network – and one day to India and North America, it hopes – will be to find enough niche opportunities.
Having partners outside the HNA group will be critical and also a sensible strategy given the large non-oneworld capacity at Hong Kong airport. A possible re-branding could help improve awareness and market reception while an IT switch could give it more control over its business. Hong Kong Airlines will need to be bolder and a first-mover. It is considering flexible European-style business class and, like Cathay, putting economy seats into the first zone of A330s, currently used only by business class seats. Hong Kong Airlines sees Cathay's and SIA's premium strategies unsustainable given weak returns. Hong Kong Airlines must find the middle ground in the market while also not stepping on its growing LCC, HK Express.