Spring Airlines reported a 240% year-on-year increase in profit to CNY470 million (USD71.3 million) in 2010, on the back of a 62% surge in operating revenue to CNY4320 million (USD655.5 million) a result which Chairman Wang Zhenghua attributes primarily to the rapid recovery in China’s domestic air travel market, particularly during the Shanghai World Expo (Yicai, 14-Jan-2011). The LCC reported an average load factor above 95% on domestic routes during the year while the average load factor on its international routes to Hong Kong and Ibaraki were between 90% and 95%. Looking ahead, Mr Wang warned that the air travel market in China in 2011 will not be as good as 2010 adding he expects the carrier’s profit in 2011 to be in line with 2010, despite a 30% to 40% increase in capacity. Spring Airlines plans to continue to expand its international route network to Macau, Taiwan, other Southeast Asian destinations and other cities in Japan this year, subject to CAAC approval.
Spring Airlines 2010 profits surge 240%
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Ryanair, easyJet, Norwegian, Wizz Air, Pegasus Airlines: Europe's top LCCs' collective margin drops
CAPA's previous analysis of the 3Q2016 results of Europe's big three legacy airline groups highlighted a fall in their collective operating margin, after growth in 1H2016. This report shows that Europe's five leading LCCs, in aggregate, also suffered a fall in profit and margin in the quarter.
Three of the five – Ryanair, Norwegian and Wizz Air – improved their profit margin in the quarter, but easyJet's drop in margin was heavy enough to bring down the collective result. Pegasus' margin also declined.
Nevertheless, the LCC five remain collectively far more profitable than the legacy three. Moreover Europe's two most profitable airlines, Ryanair and Wizz Air, look set to increase their margin lead this year. Even easyJet, which has had a bad year by its standards, achieved a higher margin for calendar 9M2016 than the most profitable of the big three legacy groups, which was IAG.
The divergence of results in the European sector suggest that not all airlines are following the same cycle. However the collective margin decline for the continent's leading LCCs, and its major legacy airline groups, at least gives reason to question whether or not the cyclical upswing may have run its course.
easyJet: accelerating growth to take share from legacy airlines in strong easyJet airports
In spite of challenging market conditions and falling profits, easyJet remains on the offensive in its fight for market share with legacy airlines. It is also making contingency plans to apply for an EU AOC to ensure continued intra-European traffic rights in the post-Brexit future.
easyJet's revenue per seat, pre-tax profit and return on capital employed all fell in FY2016 (year to Sep-2016), the first reversal since before CEO Dame Carolyn McCall took the helm in FY2010. In spite of lower fuel prices, easyJet could not lower its cost per seat fast enough to offset the drop in unit revenue. Load factor was just above flat at 91.6%, so the drop in revenue per seat was all price-related. A series of external events put pressure on pricing – including terrorism, ATC strikes and the UK's Brexit vote.
Some airlines might tighten their capacity growth in the face of weak pricing, but easyJet plans to accelerate its seat growth from 6% in FY2016 to 9% in FY2017. It has its sights on an opportunity to take share from legacy airlines in airports where it already has a strong market position.