Uganda’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) plans to privatise management of eight of the country’s domestic airports, to allow it concentrate on management of Entebbe International Airport and its other regulatory responsibilities (East African Business Week, 31-Oct-2009). The authority is also planning for the construction of a municipal airport in Kampala to stimulate domestic and charter services.
Uganda’s Civil Aviation Authority to privatise management of eight domestic airports
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Monarch Airlines: group receives new cash from Greybull Capital but profit outlook is down
The latest investment in the Monarch Group by its majority shareholder Greybull Capital avoided the loss of its ATOL licences and the possible suspension of operations. Moreover, it has given Monarch the opportunity to bridge the gap between now and the planned delivery of the first of its new 30 Boeing 737MAX aircraft in 2018.
Nevertheless, Monarch continues to face significant challenges. Europe's short/medium-haul markets are feeling significant downward pressure on unit revenue – particularly in the leisure markets that Monarch serves. This is due to overcapacity and concerns about terrorism in key Monarch markets. Brexit and the sharp devaluation of GBP (it has fallen by 30% against the EUR over the past 12 months) are further challenges for the LCC.
Although Monarch quickly quashed rumours of its financial difficulties in late Sep-2016 and then secured new funds, its commentary indicated that its profit for the year to Oct-2016 would be lower than in the previous year. It has an uneven track record of profitability and has often flown with close to empty cash reserves. Those reserves have been partially replenished, but only sustainable improvements in profitability will avoid the need for further cash calls in the future.
LOT Polish Airlines: now restructured, and long haul focus is on 2020 growth. Partnerships critical
On 8-Sep-2016 LOT Polish Airlines announced its "2020 profitable growth strategy". This involves a goal to achieve "sustainable viability", after a restructuring programme which returned LOT to operating profit in 2014 after six loss-making years. Its privatisation may even be back on the agenda.
LOT currently ranks behind LCCs Ryanair and Wizz Air by share of traffic in Poland, which offers superior traffic growth potential versus Europe as a whole. The airline aims to increase passenger numbers from 4.3 million in 2015 to 10 million in 2020, growing its fleet from 43 to 70 aircraft. LOT's expansion will focus on long haul, particularly North America and Asia, where it currently has only five routes and where competition is considerably lower than on short/medium haul. Initial plans include the launch of Warsaw-Seoul this winter and a return to Warsaw-New York Newark next summer.
According to data from LOT, its restructuring has left it with a fairly efficient cost base by legacy airline standards and this will be important in competing with LCCs (but there is still a cost gap with LCCs). LOT's growth will focus on long haul but will need short-haul European feed – and partnerships. Although LOT no longer appears to be considering leaving the Star Alliance, it remains excluded from American and Asian JVs. Further, those JVs preclude members from working with LOT. Partnership growth will be as critical as it will be challenging.