South African Airways CSO: Long-haul LCCs 'work if the market is liberalised'
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South African Airways seeks regional growth and new partnerships, but outlook remains bleak. UPDATE
South African Airways (SAA) is again looking at opportunities for new partnerships and network expansion. SAA is now re-engaging with Etihad following an unsuccessful initial partnership and is keen to launch new routes after the delivery of its first two A330-300s in 4Q2016.
Any growth, however, is unlikely to be profitable until SAA addresses its longstanding challenges. The airline has still not fully implemented its previous turnaround plan and urgently needs yet another capital injection.
A full and deep restructuring is required but seems impossible in the current political environment. Repeated government meddling has put SAA in an extremely challenging situation. The airline is in dire straits, and its outlook remains bleak.
airBaltic reaps rewards of restructuring rigour in Riga. Launch operator of CS300 returns to growth
On 28-Nov-2016 airBaltic took delivery of the world's first Bombardier CS300 for commercial service, which will begin on 14-Dec-2016 with a flight from Riga to Amsterdam. It will receive a further 19 of the aircraft variant by 2019.
Just five years ago airBaltic was heavily loss-making and close to bankruptcy. Under CEO Martin Gauss Latvia's national airline has negotiated a successful restructuring programme, established a track record of growing profits, secured a private investor alongside the national government, made significant load factor gains, and is now returning to capacity growth.
The new CSeries order should allow airBaltic to build on these achievements by replacing its ageing Boeing 737s with one of the most modern and efficient narrowbodies aircraft in the world, while also providing additional growth capacity. Together with its Dash-8 turboprop aircraft this purchase should give it a fleet well adapted to the niche needs of a hybrid regional hub airline based in northern Europe's smaller markets.