Nok Air placed (19-Nov-2013) a firm order for two Q400 NextGen turboprop aircraft from Bombardier and has also taken options for two additional Q400 NextGen aircraft, as well as purchase rights on four others. Bombardier confirmed Nok Air will be the launch customer for a new extra capacity seating option, which will allow the Q400 NextGen aircraft to accommodate up to 86 passengers. Based on the list price of the Q400 NextGen aircraft, the firm order is valued at approximately USD63 million while the value could increase to USD258 million should Nok Air exercise its options and purchase rights. [more - original PR]
Nok Air places firm order for two Q400 NextGen aircraft from Bombardier
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Thai Airways regional connectivity Pt 2: Thai Smile international expansion is a strategic necessity
Thai Airways' regional full service subsidiary Thai Smile is expected to accelerate international expansion over the next year as Thai Airways transitions to an all-widebody fleet. Adjustments in the group’s dual brand strategy are also possible as Thai Airways and Thai Smile could benefit from much closer integration.
Thai Smile currently only operates four international routes and allocates 90% of its seat capacity to the domestic market. However, the airline is poised to take over Thai Airways’ four remaining international narrowbody routes and should be used to expand the group’s presence in secondary cities in China, India and ASEAN.
This is the second part of a report on the Thai Airways Group's regional international network and strategy. The first part looked at how the group has fallen behind its rivals in Southeast Asia – particularly the Singapore Airlines Group – in improving regional connectivity. In this second part CAPA focuses on the strategy for Thai Smile and how the Thai Airways group could finally start to use Thai Smile to bolster regional connectivity.
Air Canada Part 2: Financial progress makes investment grade metrics more tangible
A decade ago it would have been unheard of for Air Canada to contemplate reaching an investment grade credit rating. The airline had emerged from bankruptcy protection, but was still struggling financially. It would teeter on the verge of another formal restructuring before setting out on a course to restructure its financial foundation – a process that has allowed the airline to improve its balance sheet and leverage.
Air Canada’s leverage targets for YE2018 will not meet the general proxy for an investment grade rating; however, its lower capital commitments and debt refinancing could create an opportunity for achieving that status beyond 2018.
Attaining an investment grade credit rating likely remains a longer term goal for Air Canada as its major financial goals in the short term remain paying down debt that is creeping up due to a fleet renewal, as well as funding growth to drive long-term shareholder value. More meaningful shareholder returns will likely occur once the company reaches what it deems as acceptable progress in debt management, and reaches a certain maturity level in growing its international network.
This is Part 2 in a two part series on Air Canada. Part 1 dealt with long haul LCC subsidiary, rouge.