Orient Thai Airlines announced it has cut domestic capacity of its unit, One-Two-Go, due to weak demand, and will focus more on charter operations, as part of business plan revisions (The Nation, 18-Sep-09). The LCC has halved its number of daily flights to 14, with reduced frequencies on services from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Phuket and Trang. It has temporarily suspended services from Bangkok to Nakhon Si Thammarat and Surat Thani, but will resume Bangkok-Krabi service in the coming high season. One-Two-Go had been reporting load factors of 50% prior to the cuts.
Orient Thai Airlines cuts One-Two-Go’s domestic capacity, focusing on charters
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TUIfly, easyJet, airberlin, NIKI, Eurowings eye partners in Germany's aviation market upheaval
Ryanair's expansion and Brexit are among factors which may have prompted reports about possible consolidation and other forms of co-operation involving Germany's leading airlines. These include - apparently false - speculation that easyJet has considered buying a stake in TUIFly (possibly to ensure that it has access to EU traffic rights post Brexit) and that TUIFly, a charter airline with growing seat-only sales, may be integrated with airberlin subsidiary NIKI and the TUIFly aircraft currently operating airberlin routes under wet lease.
An expanded TUIFly operation could, perhaps, better withstand fast-growing competition from Ryanair in Germany, although these stories have been denied. A more definitive development, announced by both parties, is that up to 40 of airberlin's narrow body fleet will be wet-leased to Lufthansa Group for its LCC Eurowings and Austrian Airlines. Airberlin will also put its leisure operations into a separate unit. These moves should partly alleviate airberlin's overcapacity problems, while accelerating the growth of Eurowings (further boosted by the possible integration of Brussels Airlines into the LCC).
Even if the other stories prove mere speculative, the frequency of such reports highlights the need for consolidation in Europe, whose centre is Germany. Moreover, they throw light on the rapid pace of change in business models in what has historically been a very conservative aviation market.