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Based at Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore Airlines is the national carrier of Singapore. Using a fleet of wide-body Boeing and Airbus aircraft, including the A380 of which Singapore Airlines was the launch customer, Singapore Airlines operates an extensive network across Asia, North America, Australasia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Singapore Airlines joined the Star Alliance on 01-Apr-2000.
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CAPA's top 10 stories of the year - ranked by number of visits - is, we confess, weighted in favour of those which appeared in the first part of the year, but we offer them as holiday reading as we look back on another eventful 12 months. Ryanair is as always a popular topic; its Feb-2014 report topped the number of visits to a CAPA report by a long way. Our other SWOT analyses also feature, with Singapore Airlines and easyJet "swotted" in the Top 10.
Reports driven by CAPA's Airport Construction and Investor Databases have also been strong performers throughout the year; the unique and extensive detail they contain makes for compulsive reading for airport-related activities. And Dubai Airport's relentless rise through the capacity ranks secured it a place in the Top 10 as well.
Etihad has been a news leader during 2014, ending as CAPA's Airline of the Year in recognition of the structural change it is introducing to the world's system. Singapore Airlines, also an agent of change in some ways, now with three low(er) cost airline subsidiaries, appeared twice and the A380 and A350 also attracted attention.
We thank all CAPA Members and other visitors for your great support in 2014 and look forward to continuing to provide you with industry leading analysis, news and data in 2015.
Taiwan’s EVA Air is looking to bolster transit traffic from Southeast Asia to help support further growth in the North American market. A newly expanded codeshare agreement with Singapore Airlines (SIA) covering all six of EVA’s North American routes along with a significant expansion of its trans-Pacific operation should generate an increase in the Taiwanese carrier’s share of the highly competitive Southeast Asia-North America market.
EVA is planning to increase capacity to North America by 15% in 2015 at it takes four additional 777-300ERs. Similar growth is expected in 2016.
Expansion of EVA’s Southeast Asian operation is not expected as the airline is focusing regional growth on the mainland China and Japanese markets. But EVA needs a change in its traffic mix on Southeast Asian routes to include more connecting passengers as competition in the local Taiwan-Southeast Asia market intensifies following the launch of Taiwan’s first LCCs, although they are for now small.
Air New Zealand is boldly moving forward with its longstanding aspiration to serve Latin America by announcing plans to launch service to Buenos Aires in 2015. The new Auckland-Buenos Aires route is made possible by a new partnership with Aerolineas Argentinas, which will provide connections within South America and local sales support.
For Air NZ, Buenos Aires fills the last major white spot in its network following the upcoming resumption of services to Singapore. Argentina has proven to be a challenging market for foreign carriers but for Air NZ it represents the best South American option with a risk level that is acceptable with the right partnerships.
For Aerolineas, codesharing with Air NZ provides an opportunity to add New Zealand and Australia back to its network. Aerolineas pulled out of the Southwest Pacific market in Apr-2014, leaving a void which Air NZ is eager to fill as it has the aircraft type and connections to succeed where Aerolineas failed.
Singapore Airlines' (SIA) long-haul low-cost subsidiary Scoot is preparing for a momentous 2015. The year will begin with the first 787 delivery and include the launch of approximately seven new destinations as Scoot’s fleet expands from six to 10 aircraft.
Scoot unveiled plans on 9-Dec-2014 to launch services to Melbourne, its first route announcement in over a year. But Melbourne, which will be added in Nov-2015, will be the last (or one of the last) of several new destinations launched during 2015.
While delivery of Scoot’s first 787 has been pushed back to Jan-2015, there have been no changes to the rest of the delivery schedule. Scoot plans to take 10 of the 20 787s it has on order in 2015. Its existing fleet of six 777-200s will be phased out after six or seven 787s are delivered.
Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti has transformed the landscape of Australian aviation, but his practices of virtual long-haul flying and strategic partnerships across multiple alliances offer examples for airlines globally to reflect on. Mr Borghetti, in a video interview for CAPA TV, discusses the pivotal changes Virgin has so far made as well as what is next.
Mr Borghetti affirms the distance he wants between Virgin and its LCC unit Tigerair Australia, unlike the closer Qantas-Jetstar relationship. Airlines should be like toothpaste, Mr Borghetti uses as an example: consumers should have a choice of distinct and separate brands without realising they are owned by the same few companies.
While Qantas expands its role in Asia, including a proposed JV with China Eastern, Mr Borghetti expresses no interest in an Asian strategy, preferring instead to remain focused on Virgin Australia's core domestic network and to work with Singapore Airlines and not another airline. “We can feed the China traffic over Singapore with Singapore Airlines and that's as good as it gets,” Mr Borghetti says. “There is no better partner than Singapore Airlines.”
While many airlines are reducing flights to Japan, Qantas is joining Air New Zealand in growing services. The thinking behind the move is partially that outbound traffic to Japan will grow with the yen's depreciation, but also that as other carriers cut capacity in Japan, outbound Japanese traffic has fewer options. Australia and New Zealand were once big favourites of Japanese travellers; as recently as 2005 Japan was Australia's third largest source of travellers. Now the China market has overshadowed growth developments.
Qantas from Aug-2015 will launch a daily service to Tokyo Haneda from an Australian city to be confirmed by the end of 2014. Although Haneda is more convenient than Narita, Qantas will need to contend with Haneda's limited slots – potentially making Sydney-Haneda a difficult option. By offering more options, Qantas will hope to regain traffic from Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines, which carry about 19% of Australia-Japan passengers. But those sixth freedom carriers will likely retain an advantage with their city pair and time combinations.