- Passenger numbers: 2.9 million, +18.1% year-on-year;
- Cargo volume: 77,700 tonnes, -2.1%;
- Aircraft movements: 23,400, +12.1%.
Shenzhen Airport pax up 18%, cargo down 2% in Jan-2014
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Alitalia's "new" strategy realigns it to feed Etihad, but needs to change loss-making mindset
Alitalia has announced a new strategy to accompany its newest incarnation, following Etihad Airways' acquisition of a 49% stake in the Italian airline from 1-Jan-2015. The strategy includes the aim to return the company to profit in 2017, after a long period of losses. The five main elements of Alitalia's strategy focus on the network, cooperation with partner airlines, the fleet, "guest services" and the brand.
Alitalia's statement does not contain much of consequence that has not previously been flagged. Rather, it reiterates adjustments to its network designed to complement that of Etihad.
There will be less direct flying to Africa, a little more to Asia and a lot more to the Middle East to feed Etihad's hub. Alitalia will also increase its operations in the Americas and in Europe, where Etihad's own presence is smaller.
The crucial question that the statement does not address is how Alitalia will go about changing the mindset, developed over many years, that regards perpetual losses as the norm. Even if the necessary cuts can be achieved, such an entrenched culture is not easily redirected. Yet, for Alitalia, this is surely the last throw of the dice.
London City Airport: the changing competitive landscape at the UK capital's most expensive airport
London City Airport (LCY) reported an increase of 7.7% in passenger numbers to 3.65 million in 2014, its highest ever number and ahead of forecasts according to CEO Declan Collier. The airport attributed the growth to increased business confidence, helping to return business travel to pre-recession levels. Traffic also received a boost from the entry of UK regional airline Flybe just before the start of the winter 2014/2015 schedule at LCY.
Flybe's entry into London City, at a time when CityJet has been reducing capacity, has given a significant boost to domestic capacity and also had an impact on the list of top routes. In the current winter schedule, Amsterdam has been replaced by Dublin as the number one destination by seats, with services now from all three of the airport's biggest airlines (British Airways, CityJet and Flybe).
A number of routes have been cut this winter by airlines at London's most expensive airport (as defined by aeronautical revenue per passenger), although Flybe's entry tips the balance in favour of routes opened. The high cost of operating at the airport will lead to further route churn, but the strategy seems to be working.