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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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2,193 total articles
366 total articles
Southeast Asia’s airline sector was back in the black in 1H2015, boosted by improved market conditions, slower capacity growth and lower fuel prices. A sample of 16 airlines from the region generated combined operating profits of USD641 million in 1H2015 compared to operating losses exceeding USD500 million in 1H2014.
The improvement in profitability cut across virtually every market in Southeast Asia and all types of carriers. Overall 12 of the 18 airlines were profitable or break-even in 1H2015 compared to only five airlines in 1H2014.
But operating margins generally remain in the single-digits and lag most other regions. Southeast Asia remains an extremely competitive market with a high risk of continued overcapacity given the region’s huge order book.
Gulf airlines continue Southeast Asia push. Should Lufthansa & Singapore Airlines respond with a JV?
Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines have steadily been losing market share to the Gulf carriers. The two carriers have tried to use product upgrades to improve their position in the Asia-Europe market but have enlisted little help from potential partners – for example, each other.
Despite their Star Alliance membership, partnership is hardly the core of their relationship. Should they – and more critically, can they? – set aside their differences to combat their greater enemy?
Lufthansa and SIA together account for about 27% of non-stop Southeast Asia-Western Europe seat capacity. But when also counting passengers flown through all connecting points their share of the market is only 13%, according to OAG Traffic Analyser data. Emirates alone has 12% of the market, and once Etihad and Qatar are added, 27% of passengers between Southeast Asia and Western Europe now transits with the three Gulf carriers.
Singapore Airlines reports higher profits but future outlook hinges on Scoot & Tigerair improvements
The Singapore Airlines Group turned a SGD111 million (USD83 million) operating profit for the three months ending 30-Jun-2015 (1QFY2016), marking its best first quarter showing since 2011. An operating profit of SGD108 million (USD81 million) at the parent airline drove the overall result. Full service regional subsidiary SilkAir also remained in the black while the group’s two LCC subsidiaries Tigerair and Scoot, were break-even and incurred a SGD20 million (USD15 million) operating loss respectively.
But the outlook for Tigerair and Scoot should brighten as the two carriers continue to pursue closer cooperation. Scoot should also see a significant improvement after it completes the transition to an all-787 fleet and expands its operation, enabling it to achieve higher economies of scale.
Scoot plans to phase out its last 777 in the current quarter and nearly double the size of its fleet during FY2016 from six to 11 aircraft. The loss reported for Scoot for 1QFY2016 marks the first time SIA has reported financials for the long-haul LCC since it launched in mid-2012.
China Southern Airlines exceeds 55x flights target to Australia/NZ. Competition regulators query JVs
Mission accomplished: China Southern Airlines is already surpassing its goal of having 55 weekly flights to Australia and New Zealand by the end of 2015. From about 25 weekly flights in 2011, China Southern in Dec-2015 will have 65 weekly flights. This includes three daily flights – one on an A380 – to Sydney, a frequency that compares to Cathay Pacific’s four and Singapore Airlines’ average 4.5.
Competitors are responding with a series of JVs that await regulatory approval. Qantas-China Eastern received a draft rejection while Air New Zealand-Air China awaits approval and Air New Zealand-Cathay Pacific needs re-authorisation. The Qantas-China Eastern initial rejection appears misguided while New Zealand stakeholders are questioning the benefits of the Air NZ-Cathay alliance in a market that where capacity has decreased by 18% while the Air NZ-Singapore Airlines alliance has grown capacity by 20%.
It might appear lines in the market have been drawn, but it is still early days. China Southern’s achievement in the market is only its first. The question is what its next goal is, and the answer is being kept closely guarded.
Myanmar National Airlines (MNA) plans to launch services on the highly competitive Yangon-Singapore route in Aug-2015 as it starts to implement an ambitious international expansion plan. The newly rebranded government-owned carrier took delivery of the first of 10 737-800s in Jun-2015 and plans to operate five international routes by early 2016 as it grows its new narrowbody fleet.
But the airline faces huge challenges as it operates outside the domestic market for the first time in two decades. The Yangon-Singapore market is already experiencing overcapacity and Myanmar-based carriers have struggled to compete against their Singaporean competitors, forcing cutbacks at Myanmar Airways International (MAI) and the withdrawal of Golden Myanmar Airways.
MNA will inevitably face the same challenges in Singapore as other Burmese carriers, particularly given its brand is an unknown in the international market. North Asia, which MNA plans to enter in the coming months, will also be a challenging market.
Northeast Asia's combination passenger-freight airlines are re-fleeting their main deck cargo operations. EVA Air is the latest, announcing at the Paris Air Show its intent to acquire five 777Fs. The 777F has also been used to re-fleet the cargo units affiliated mainland China's big three airlines: Air China, China Eastern and China Southern. The largest in-service 777F fleet in the world is with China Southern, with 10. Korean Air has taken 777Fs in addition to 747-8Fs, which only Cathay in Asia has been the other combination airline to use. There are no known re-fleeting plans from Asiana and China Airlines.
The airlines that have re-fleeted have been optimistic about acquisition costs being offset by operating efficiencies.
Southeast Asia has a different outlook. Thai Airways has exited the main deck freight business and Malaysia Airlines may do the same, although both were small players. Singapore Airlines Cargo is the largest in Southeast Asia but with only eight in-service 747Fs and no plans to re-fleet. As with the passenger business, Southeast Asian carriers are disadvantaged in serving North America, the main freight route for Northeast Asian carriers. To Europe there is large competition, including from Gulf carriers.