- CAPA Analysis
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- 4333 Amon Carter Boulevard
United States of America
- Main hub
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
- United States of America
- Business model
- Full Service Carrier
- Domestic | International
- Airline Group
- Part of American Airlines Group Inc.
- Frequent Flyer Programme
- Joined Alliance
- Association Membership
- Codeshare Partners
- Air Tahiti Nui
Trans States Airlines
American Airlines is a wholly-owned airline subsidiary of American Airlines Group Incorporated. With hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Washington DC and Tokyo, American Airlines operate an extensive network including domestic and regional services within North America and international services to Europe, Asia Pacific, Central America and South America. The carrier was incorporated from The Aviation Corporation, formed into American Airlines in 1934. The carrier was the founding member of the oneworld Alliance, and introduced SABRE in 1959.
Following the merger of AMR Corporation and US Airways Group in 2013, US Airways integrated with American Airlines under a single Air Operators Certificate (AOC). The companies have already been using a single booking system and operating as a single brand since 17-Oct-2015. US Airways Group and US Airways ceased to exist as a separate entity effective 30-Dec-2015. As a result of the merger, all property, rights, privileges, powers and franchises of US Airways became American's, as well as all of US Airways' debts, liabilities and duties.
Location of American Airlines main hub (Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport)
American Airlines Group Inc. share price
596 total articles
For years United Airlines has operated at a competitive disadvantage to its large US network peers. The challenges that United never seemed to overcome were largely self-inflicted, and ranged from widespread employee discontent to consistent revenue shortfalls.
Now United finally appears to be charting a course to level the competitive playing field with its large global US network competitors, to close the long-standing revenue gap it has held with its rivals. The elements of United’s plan to shore up revenues include bolstering connections at its hubs, improved revenue management, and product segmentation that entails a new basic economy fare structure whose restrictions are more stringent than those of its peers.
United’s revenue transformation will not occur overnight, but for the first time since its 2010 merger with Continental the company seems laser-focused on shrinking the competitive challenges that have hindered its performance. It projects billions in improvement – to pre-tax profits by 2020 – as a result of its doubling down on efforts to shore up revenue. Obviously the measure of United’s success lies in its execution and its ability to navigate competitive responses to its revenue-generating strategies.
This is part one of a two part series examining United’s strategies to compete more effectively with its peers on revenue and costs.
Delta-Korean Air joint venture creates trans-Pacific's second largest bloc. Cathay, EVA under threat
The unprecedented aviation market growth between Asia and North America is forcing airlines to re-evaluate their core strategy and reassess who is a competitor and who could be a partner. It seems probable that Delta Air Lines and Korean Air will form a joint venture, potentially making them the second largest trans-Pacific bloc.
The next two largest airlines without a deep partnership, EVA Air and Cathay Pacific, are having to confront significant change, without the support of partners. Delta-Korean Air brings United-ANA its closest rival yet, while the American-JAL JV – already smaller – needs bulking up.
Korean Air brings Delta a wider network in Asia than ANA or JAL offer to their respective JV partners, United and American. A Korean Air-Delta JV could result in more destinations and flights being added once they are able to sell jointly.
Qatar Airways turns 20 in 2017. The once tiny regional airline has become a global powerhouse and is reshaping oneworld, the alliance to which it belongs. Qatar has stakes in IAG and LATAM, and Qatar Airways CEO H.E. Akbar Al Baker has told CAPA that in the near future he expects Qatar to make acquisitions in two additional airlines, aside from Meridiana. He said the additional airlines would be successful airlines, as "We are not going to collect crap".
Strategic partnerships without equity are important; Mr Al Baker hopes American Airlines will cease its partnership with Etihad Airways and work solely with Qatar Airways, even forging a multilateral JV anchored around American, British Airways/IAG and Qatar. Qatar is heading towards a fleet of 250 aircraft in 2-2.5 years' time. Mr Al Baker expects recently ordered 787-9s to replace 787-8s, while an LoI for 737 MAX 8s will be to replace Qatar's A320s and grow that fleet.
Alaska Air Group remains in limbo as it waits for the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to complete a review of the proposed Alaska-Virgin America merger. Alaska had originally hoped to gain government approval and close the deal in early 4Q2016, but the regulatory review unsurprisingly is taking longer than expected. However, Alaska remains confident of finalising the arrangement before the end of 2016, and is taking the proper financial steps to finance its acquisition of Virgin America.
In the short term Alaska is experiencing slightly improving trends in the US marketplace, and its unit revenue improved on a sequential basis from 2Q2016 to 3Q2016. Another positive development for Alaska is a slowing of competitive capacity growth in its markets in 4Q2016 and in early 2017. The tempering of growth is reflective of most US airlines planning to lower capacity expansion in 2017 as higher oil prices heighten the importance of returning to positive unit revenue.
Alaska also plans slower capacity growth of 7% in 2017, versus 8.5% in 2016. Approximately 3ppt of the increase is driven by longer stage lengths and the annualisation of nearly 10 new routes launched in 2016 – a mix of smaller and larger markets with varying levels of competition.
Southwest Airlines believes it can potentially achieve a positive unit revenue result in early 2017, but its sequential trends from 3Q2016 to 4Q2016 are not improving at the rate of the three large US global network airlines. In fact, if Southwest hits the upper end of its unit revenue guidance for the last three months of 2016, the company’s performance could worsen on a sequential basis.
Many factors are driving Southwest’s unit revenue pressure at the end of 2016, including the effects of a credit card agreement that lifted its unit revenues in 2015 and 2016, competitive capacity additions in its markets and a still-soft, but improving domestic pricing environment. In order to regain positive unit revenue Southwest’s planned capacity growth is decreasing year-on-year for 2017. Additionally, the airline is scrutinising its network in order to determine which routes can generate maximum revenue production.
Southwest is also bracing for cost inflation in 4Q2016 driven by tentative collective bargaining agreements recently reached with pilots and flight attendants in 3Q2016. The cost increases from those agreements – if they are ratified – will continue into 2107, putting extra pressure on Southwest to deliver on its unit revenue targets.
United, Delta, American Airlines: Cost creep, rising oil prices put pressure on the Big 3 to deliver
For the large three global US network airlines – American, Delta and United – the final quarter of 2016 offers some hope of negative unit revenue trends starting to stabilise, a welcome sign after two years of declines. But those positive developments are occurring against a backdrop of rising fuel costs and overall cost creep for those airlines, as labour expenses rise in the face of new collective bargaining agreements they have achieved.
Although each airline has offered a nuanced interpretation of domestic trends, the general consensus is that dynamics began to improve in Aug-2016 as close-in yields started to strengthen. After enduring tough conditions in Latin America driven by Brazil’s recession, American and Delta posted positive passenger unit revenues (PRASM) in their Latin entities in 3Q2016, and expect further improvement. Higher industry capacity is creating challenges for those airlines in the Atlantic and Pacific, but generally it seems that the path of unit revenue declines in those regions should moderate progressively.
Delta is aiming to post positive PRASM early in 2017, and American believes it can reach a positive result in total unit revenues in 1H2017. For now United is not offering a specific time period for a reversal of negative PRASM, but feels confident it is heading in the right direction, given the changing dynamics in certain areas of its network.