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Based at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport, with secondary hubs at Esenboga International Airport and Adnan Menderes International Airport, Turkish Airlines (THY) is the national airline of Turkey and the country's largest carrier. The carrier operates a network of domestic and regional services throughout Turkey and the Middle East and international services to Europe, Africa, North America, South America and Asia. Turkish Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance. Turkish Cargo, the airline's freight division, serves over 30 destinations.
Location of Turkish Airlines main hub (Istanbul Ataturk Airport)
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1,569 total articles
CAPA: foreign airlines seeking additional 150,000-175,000 seats/week to India through winter 2015/16
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European airline margins have underperformed other regions for years. There are many reasons for this, but our analysis suggests that Europe’s relative lack of consolidation may be a significant one, since margins appear to be correlated with market concentration. Even after a number of significant deals over the past decade, the European market is less concentrated than North America, where consolidation has gone further, to the benefit of margins. Europe is also less concentrated than Asia-Pacific (analysed as its sub-regions), whose margins have consistently been the highest.
If consolidation brings structural benefits, are there still European deals that can make a difference? Europe has a long tail of small carriers, which are unlikely to have a significant impact, but comparison with North America points to the potential for further combinations among the top five. Nevertheless, there are hurdles to such deals, not least of which are the ongoing restructuring programmes at Europe’s Big Three and the incompatibility of LCC/FSC mergers, but some second tier groups could be targets.
Shares in Turkish LCC Pegasus Airlines commenced trading on 26-Apr-2013 after an IPO that raised TRY649 million (EUR277 million). The IPO prospectus reveals that Pegasus is not only Europe’s second most profitable airline (based on 2012 operating margin), but also one of its fastest growing (2008-2013 CAGR in passenger numbers of 33% p.a.). Its unit costs (CASK) place it with Wizz Air and Ryanair as one of Europe’s three truly low-cost carriers.
Although Turkey was not immune to recession in 2009, air traffic continued to grow and Pegasus is still on a structural volume growth path not led by the economic cycle. Such a path does not guarantee earnings growth and Pegasus made a loss in 2011. Nevertheless, its low costs and strong presence in fast-growing Turkey and Central/Eastern Europe, should allow it to grow earnings in the future. Indeed, its breakeven operating result for the core business for the traditionally loss-making first quarter (reported 09-May-2013), with RASK up sharply and CASK falling, augurs well for FY2013.
Wizz Air has unveiled plans for significant expansion in Bosnia and Herzegovina, an under-served market that has traditionally fallen outside the spotlight of low-cost carriers. The Bosnian market has not had much attention in recent years but is poised to see a sudden surge of capacity as Wizz Air plans to connect the country with several new destinations including Malmö, Basel Mulhouse and Gothenburg.
The expansion from Wizz Air would provide Tuzla, the third largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with scheduled commercial service. LCC expansion may also follow for the country’s other airports including in Sarajevo and Mostar.
LCCs currently account for less than 20% of seat capacity to and from the southeastern European country. But the recent launch of services by Turkish LCC Pegasus has already doubled LCC capacity in the market. Wizz Air’s entry will push the LCC penetration rate up further, approaching 30%, with more increases possible in 2014 as Wizz and other European LCCs ponder further expansion in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This analysis updates CAPA's previous study of European airlines’ labour productivity ("European airlines’ labour productivity. Oxymoron for some, Vueling and Ryanair excel on costs") to reflect the most recent financial results and adds four carriers not included in the original article (Wizz Air, Aegean Airlines and the two IAG subsidiaries British Airways and Iberia).
The contrasting performance of LCCs and legacy carriers is clear, although there are some notable exceptions to the pattern. BA and Iberia’s different labour cost productivity is significant, while Air France-KLM and SAS are weak performers.
We introduce an overall CAPA European airline labour productivity ranking, revealing the carrier with Europe’s most productive workforce, based on six measures.
Lufthansa has suggested it may look to a long-haul, low-cost solution to meet its future Southeast Asian growth goals. The German flag carrier's historically strong position on Europe-Asia Pacific is steadily being eroded by competition from Gulf carriers and others with more competitive cost bases. An additional player, LCC Norwegian Air Shuttle, is also about to enter the fray over the pole, with a Bangkok service. Our analysis suggests that the Lufthansa Group may need to cut its unit costs on long-haul by as much as 30% in order to be competitive and to secure its long term future in the region.
Lufthansa’s major European Big Three rivals, after years of sulking, are meanwhile now cuddling up to the Gulf carriers; IAG has brought Qatar Airways into oneworld and Air France-KLM is codesharing with Etihad. Unfortunately, the toughest Gulf competitor, Emirates, wants to continue to stand alone. And China, still largely dormant internationally, is starting to stir.
Given Asia Pacific’s position as the biggest air passenger market and one of those with the highest forecast growth rates, Lufthansa needs a new direction. It is apparently considering whether to form a partnership with another carrier or start its own new low-cost operation. The latter is a big ask. There is a host of potential partners though; but Lufthansa would have to be careful how many toes it stands on, with such an option.
The biggest 13 European airline companies for whom 2012 accounts are available reported an aggregate fall in net profit of 72% in 2012 to just EUR69 million. At the level of operating profit, which provides a more accurate view of underlying performance, the aggregate result fell by a more creditable 17% to EUR 1,662 million (71% of this from the four LCCs in the sample) and the operating margin fell by 0.5ppts to 1.5%.
Total revenues grew by a healthy 8.0%, but total costs grew faster, by 8.5%.
Costs were inflated by an 18.9% increase in fuel costs, whose share of revenues increased to 28%, up from one quarter in 2011. Excluding fuel, all other costs grew by 4.8%, appreciably slower than revenues.
LCCs grew faster, had higher load factors and, while their collective operating margin fell slightly, from 9.8% to 9.5%, this was vastly superior to the legacies’ collective 2012 margin of just 0.5%.
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