JetBlue and Lufthansa commence codeshare operations
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Aeromexico and Delta JV: major uncertainty reigns after the DoT hits hard with slot divestitures
A transborder joint venture between SkyTeam partners Aeromexico and Delta is hanging in the balance now that the US DoT has required slot divestitures and other stipulations in order for the airlines to move forward with their proposed business agreement. Not surprisingly, Aeromexico and Delta believe limitations proposed by US regulators would diminish the economic benefits of the joint venture, and are warning they are reconsidering deepening their business ties.
Numerous airlines expressed concerns about Aeromexico and Delta’s concentration of slots at Mexico City Juarez, and the DoT responded by requiring slot divestitures at the airport along with the relinquishment of slots at New York JFK. The airlines have countered that the DoT’s analysis is flawed, and that a smaller number of slot divestitures at Juarez required by Mexico’s government should allay any concerns expressed by competitors. Aeromexico and Delta also argue another stipulation imposed by US regulators – limiting the joint venture to a five-year term – would create too much uncertainty for the viability of the business venture.
Delta’s plans to take its stake in Aeromexico up to 49% was contingent on the JV proposal succeeding. But with the stipulations imposed by DoT in order for the partners to establish their joint venture a dark cloud of uncertainty is hovering over Aeromexico’s future ownership structure.
IAG lowers plans for capacity growth, fleet investment & profit, but keeps return on capital target
IAG's Capital Markets Day on 4-Nov-2016 was the first since its formation in 2011 when it lowered any of its medium term financial targets. It cut its 2016-2020 average EBITDAR goal, in spite of adding in Aer Lingus for the first time. This followed two cuts to 2016 operating profit guidance during the course of this year, as a result of "a tough operating environment". It has been hit by adverse currency movements, mainly resulting from the UK's Brexit vote, in addition to ATC strikes and terrorist events.
To its credit, IAG has responded to the more challenging trading conditions by lowering its planned capacity growth and capital expenditure during its 2016-2020 strategic plan. These steps are necessary if it is to have a chance of meeting its ambitious goal to sustain a 15% return on invested capital. This target is unchanged, despite the lower profit outlook.
In 3Q2016, IAG's rolling four quarter return on capital fell, after rising more or less continuously since it began to target this measure in 2013. It has consistently been more profitable than either of its two main European legacy airline group rivals (Air France-KLM and Lufthansa). Nevertheless, the downward step highlights the challenge in meeting its own demanding target.