Olympic Air announced plans to commence operations effective 01-Oct-2009, officially replacing state-owned Olympic Airlines. The core units of Olympic Airlines, including flight and ground operations and the MRO unit, were sold to the Marfin Investment Group in Mar-2009. The carrier will initially operate 21 domestic and international routes. It will codeshare on services to New York, operated by Delta Air Lines and is currently finalising a codeshare agreement with Air France-KLM, as a first step to gain entry in SkyTeam. The carrier plans to increase its fleet, based around A319/A320s and Bombardier turboprops, to 32 aircraft, investing approximately USD1.1 billion.
Olympic Air to replace Olympic Airlines from October
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Air France-KLM, Lufthansa & IAG: 3Q2016 results may signal a cyclical peak in Europe airline margins
Air France-KLM, Lufthansa Group and IAG collectively reported a fall in operating profit and operating margin in 3Q2016, after growth in 1H2016. Individually, only IAG avoided a decline in its operating margin. IAG also remained the most profitable, and Air France-KLM the least profitable, in the most important quarter of the year.
The margin contraction in 3Q resulted from a bigger fall in unit revenue relative to 1H, without a matching fall in unit cost (in spite of lower fuel prices). Passenger unit revenue fell by 6% to 7% for all three (adjusted for currency movements), with long haul markets especially weak. Unit revenue was particularly soft on routes to Asia Pacific and on the North Atlantic (and, for Lufthansa Group) on the South Atlantic.
The combined operating margin of the three has been a good indicator for European airlines overall in the past. The outlook for FY2016 for each still suggests that there will be margin improvement for the year as a whole. This could be in line with, or slightly above, the cyclical peak reached in 2007 – before the global financial crisis. Against this backdrop, the decline in margin in 3Q2016 suggests that further improvement may be difficult in 2017.
Air France-KLM: Attempting to rearrange the deckchairs while pilots remain on full steam ahead
Air France-KLM's latest strategic project, 'Trust Together', follows its Transform 2015 and Perform 2020 programmes. In fact, it complements Perform 2020, rather than replacing it, at least until fuller details are announced in 2Q2017. After years of financial under-performance and market share erosion by Gulf airlines on long haul and LCCs on short/medium haul, CEO Jean Marc Janaillac aims to regain the offensive with this project.
But, in the absence of a substantial change of heart by the group's unions, there is little to suggest any "new" initiative will have a greater impact than its predecessors. The mere fact that Mr Janaiiac is forced to deny that the new long haul airline, codenamed "Boost", will be positioned as "low cost" is a clear enough indication of the task ahead. Indeed, to consider establishing anything else would be irrelevant in today's world.
Presumably so as not to rock the union boat plans are for only an ineffectual 10 aircraft by 2020. Just as with its short/medium haul LCC, Transavia, the scale and scope of the new long haul airline are likely to be subject to negotiation with Air France pilots. Transavia itself will now focus on routes from France and the Netherlands, implying an end to the troubled plans for Transavia Europe.