United Airlines seeking trans-Pacific partnership with Continental and All Nippon Airways
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Houston airports: efforts to weather oil sector downturn rewarded. International traffic grows
Airports in the US energy capital of Houston appear to be effectively weathering the downturn in that business sector due, in part, to a diversification scheme undertaken three to four years ago. This scheme was designed to shore up the number of foreign airlines serving the area’s largest airport – Houston Intercontinental. International passenger growth at the airport has helped to alleviate some of the pressure created by fewer domestic connecting passengers from its biggest operator United.
Houston Hobby is also posting solid growth, partially attributable to new transborder services that Southwest started up from a new international terminal at the airport in late 2015. The new service has helped to sustain overall passenger growth of 1.3% in the Houston area for 1H2016. For the first five months of 2016 Hobby recorded 10% passenger growth year-on-year.
With two airports offering commercial service for the metro area Houston has a unique operating profile. Southwest’s dominance at Hobby and Frontier, and Spirit’s operations at Intercontinental, also ensure a solid mix of full service and low cost airlines.
US airlines use JVs to expand Asia presence, but dissenting voices: CAPA Americas Summit (VIDEO)
The year 2016 marks the third consecutive year of high single-digit growth between Asia and North America, and the third year of approximately 20% annual growth between China and the United States. Between 2012 and 2016, trans-Pacific flights have grown from 150 a day to 193 while those just between China and the US have doubled from 21 to 42. One in five trans-Pacific flights is travelling between China and the US, and one in four from China to Canada/US.
Although demand is strong, capacity has arguably grown slightly faster. This pressure, combined with wanting to secure a strategic foothold, has the result that airlines on both sides are considering deeper partnerships, including joint ventures. CAPA's recent Americas Aviation Summit held in Las Vegas brought together airlines representing the spectrum of trans-Pacific alliance developments: ANA, which has a joint venture with United and wants to expand it to include Air Canada; Air China, which wants closer ties to its Star partner United, and equity partner Cathay Pacific; Korean Air, which has been aggressively courted by Delta; and Hainan Airlines, which is seeking a partnership solution. Hainan opposes any JVs that foreign airlines may seek to establish with state-owned airlines, such as Air China. Hainan's worries of protectionism could gain ground with the US DoT, which permits JVs so long as there is open skies and no barriers to entry. US-China open skies is one of the most pressing aeropolitical matters.