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United States of America
- Main hub
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
- United States of America
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- Full Service Carrier
- Domestic | International
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- Part of American Airlines Group Inc.
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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)
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jetBlue Airways, armed with its premium product Mint, is poised to disrupt the trans-Atlantic market
Periodically throughout the last few years jetBlue has hinted that long haul trans-Atlantic flights could be a possibility at some point in its evolution. But in mid-2016 the company took a more concrete step towards serving trans-Atlantic routes by altering its Airbus order book – potentially to support long haul expansion.
JetBlue’s decision to option the Airbus A321LR occurs at a time when airlines such as WestJet, Norwegian Air Shuttle and WOW Air are pushing the low cost model into the long haul international market. Perhaps the steps those airlines are taking to carve out the low cost niche in the long haul space has accelerated jetBlue’s evaluations of trans-Atlantic service. The company has declared that it would make a decision about its options for the long-range Airbus narrowbody in 2017 ahead of the narrowbody’s debut in 2019.
The biggest drivers for jetBlue’s decision to enter the long haul trans-Atlantic market are identifying routes where it can inject low fares to stimulate traffic and drive revenue. The company’s base in Boston is emerging as the epicentre for those potential opportunities.
Latin America has been a weak spot for airlines for more than a year; Brazil’s economy has crumbled and currency fluctuations have driven weakness in demand in some of the region’s other countries. But two of the US’ large global airlines, American and Delta, believe that Brazil in particular has reached an inflection point, and they sense a slow improvement occurring on routes to Brazil due to a rationalisation of capacity in those markets.
After steep revenue declines in its Brazilian markets, American expects it could post positive unit revenue results in those markets during 3Q2016, while Delta is citing positive trends for its Latin American entity that should continue into 2017.
Of course, it will take some time for airlines to reach the levels of revenue performance they enjoyed before Latin America’s economy began to contract, but the start of the slow climb out of the revenue doldrums is a welcome sign for a region that remains one of the most promising over the long term.
Spirit Airlines’ top priorities for 2016 are: improving its dismal operations after regularly underperforming the industry, and engendering a more positive relationship with its customers. The results so far are relative. Its on-time performance and customer complaint ratios have improved, yet Spirit's ranking remains near the bottom among airlines whose operational metrics are tracked by the US government. Nevertheless, Spirit is pleased with its progress so far.
Spirit acknowledges its operational performance will never rise to the level of some of the top performers in the US; but it believes that the progress it has made during the country’s busy summer high season will continue into autumn 2016, and the improvement will bolster its ULCC model over the long term.
Spirit’s unit revenue performance during the past year has shown that the ULCC model is not immune from the industry yield pressure that has stubbornly hovered over the US domestic revenue environment during that time. While the market place does remain competitive, Spirit is starting to see encouraging signs of capacity restraint among higher-cost airlines.
International passenger numbers for the Mexican low cost airline Interjet skyrocketed more than 50% in the first seven months of 2016, reflecting the launch of more than 10 new international routes during that period, and with US transborder routes representing the bulk of Interjet’s international expansion.
Interjet is no doubt positioning itself to seize on opportunities created by a new, finalised bilateral between the US and Mexico that lifts restrictions on the number of airlines operating on specific routes between the two countries. Interjet’s rival Volaris has also grown its US transborder passengers in 2016, but it has a different route profile from that of Interjet. Generally, Interjet is subject to higher levels of competition on some of its transborder routes than Volaris, given that Interjet and Volaris offer different products to their passengers.
During the past two to three years Interjet and Volaris have been essentially tied for the coveted position of Mexico’s second largest domestic airline. But for the seven months ending Jul-2017 Volaris logged 22% domestic passenger growth, while Interjet’s passenger numbers inched down slightly, resulting in Volaris assuming full command of the second place ranking.
The three large US global network airlines – American, Delta and United – are all at different phases of their respective balance sheet evolutions. Delta is enjoying its newly minted status of reaching investment grade according to two ratings agencies; United has decided to expand its level of shareholder returns after lagging its peers in that metric during its still ongoing merger integration. Even after recently deferring some Airbus widebody orders, American remains in the middle of a significant fleet revamp. The company is also still completing certain facets of its merger integration with US Airways, which is one driver for American’s larger cash balances compared with its global network peers.
Each of the three airlines seems to be striving for the right balance of investment in their businesses – maintaining a robust balance sheet and delivering ample shareholder returns. The difference is in the strategies followed.
During the last three years Delta Air Lines has been steadily expanding at Boston Logan International airport – a strategic focus city for jetBlue Airways that serves as its second largest base. Delta’s latest additions from Boston include a mix of business and leisure markets, including the highly competitive route to San Francisco.
As Boston’s largest airline, jetBlue works towards its goal of 150 daily departures from the airport, Delta has declared that it will reach 90 daily peak day departures from the airport by Jun-2017. Delta is also touting its level of first class cabin offerings from Boston as jetBlue expands its Mint premium product on routes from the airport. However, Delta’s first class offerings do not feature the same flatbed experience as Mint offers.
Delta has hinted at further expansion from jetBlue’s Boston stronghold. The scope of Delta’s plans for the airport remains unknown, but lucrative corporate markets and leisure routes with little competition appear to be Delta’s preference for the foreseeable future. Boston is not likely to become a huge battleground, but Delta aims to grow its presence in the market for the benefit of itself and its joint venture partners.