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One of two administrative regions of China, Hong Kong has experienced an advancing aviation industry for a number of years. Hong Kong's only civil airport is Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), a leading passenger gateway in Asia and one of the busiest airports in the world in terms of international passengers and cargo flights. With over 85 airlines, HKG is the hub for Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Air Hong Kong, Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express. Although Hong Kong does not have a national airline, Cathay Pacific would be the closest to such. The Civil Aviation Department is the aviation authority in Hong Kong, responsible for providing air traffic control services as well as reporting to the Government.
Airports in Hong Kong
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One of Air Canada’s key strategic initiatives during the next few years is to solidify its presence as Canada’s leading international airline, and its execution of that strategy is now more important than ever after rival WestJet has made the first concrete steps in acquiring widebody aircraft.
Part of Air Canada’s efforts in maximising higher-yielding international traffic is wresting sixth freedom flows away from the US to its Canadian hubs. This is particularly important over Toronto where the groundwork is in place to allow for seamless connections to Air Canada’s long-haul flights to Asia and Europe.
Air Canada believes that if it succeeds in capturing its projected share of the international transit traffic, it could generate CAD400 million (USD371 million) in annual revenue. But US airlines are improving their onboard product and bolstering long-haul flights, adding new challenges to Air Canada’s transit passenger scheme.
The number of Chinese outbound tourists in 2014 will likely exceed 100 million, more than the population of Germany and nearing the population of Japan. Yet this will still account for less than 10% of China's population taking one international trip a year. Importantly too, the growth rate is very high.
These are obviously market-changing opportunities for airlines, especially in North Asia, where most Chinese travel to when going abroad. But in the short term the opportunities are mixed for countries as overseas Chinese tourists shift destination preferences.
This first of a two-part report looks at Chinese demand for travel to Northeast Asia, where growth is generally positive. Japan experienced challenges in late 2012 and early 2013 as political tensions saw visitor arrivals dramatically fall; Japan has since rebounded. South Korea was a beneficiary and continues to maintain momentum; Chinese visitor arrivals are up 57% in the first five months of 2014.
The second part of this China tourism report will look at Southeast Asia, where tourism figures have recently softened.
American Airlines is projecting favourable results for 2Q2014 as its pretax margin is estimated to more than double the airline’s margin performance in 1Q2014. Its unit revenues are projected to grow 5.5% to 6.5%, which bodes well for the US summer high season that began in Jul-2014.
But underlying that strong performance is estimated CY2014 capacity growth of 3%, which is higher than the new normal in the current age of capacity restraint. American assures that the growth is largely driven by aircraft upgauging rather than a return to irrational supply growth within the market place. Most of the growth is geared towards international markets, reflected in American’s recent launch of flights from its Dallas/Forth Worth hub to Hong Kong and Shanghai in Jun-2014.
Those routes may take some time to spool-up as American’s executives have admitted that the airline’s Asian markets have not been historically profitable.
Even as the American-US Airways merger remains in its early stages, for the moment the tie-up seems to be running smoothly as the airline the airline’s performance in key metrics is matching its US peers.
South African Airways (SAA) is looking to expand its partnership with Emirates or Etihad and add a stop in Dubai or Abu Dhabi on its Mumbai and Beijing services. SAA faces a challenging future but its outlook could brighten significantly if it is able to persuade Emirates or Etihad, with both of which it has (relatively limited) codeshares, to agree to a comprehensive tie-up.
Improving the viability of at least two Asian routes through stopovers in the Middle East is among several initiatives aimed at improving the profitability of SAA’s long-haul network. All three of SAA’s Asian routes and all 10 of its long-haul routes are currently unprofitable with Beijing seeing the largest losses per flight. SAA recently rescheduled its Beijing flights and added a fourth weekly frequency but believes other changes are needed to turn around the route.
Johannesburg-Hong Kong could also potentially benefit from a stopover but for now will be maintained non-stop while SAA ponders stops for the Beijing and Mumbai routes.
Air travel rises with a country's wealth. Law of nature, or can government policy make a difference?
CAPA's extensive country rankings database provides rich pickings for analysis of the relationship between the wealth of a country and the penetration of air travel in that country. Not surprisingly, our analysis confirms that the two are closely correlated. Countries with higher GDP per capita tend to have higher numbers of airline seats per capita.
Establishing a correlation does not indicate the direction of causality, which works in both directions. Economic wealth drives air travel, but air travel also helps to drive economic wealth. However, the correlation is not perfect and levels of penetration can be affected by geographical, political, fiscal and infrastructural factors. This leads to some countries having a significantly higher or lower number of airline seats per capita than might be expected simply from their level of GDP per capita.
Who are the out-performers, in terms of the penetration of air travel, and who are the under-performers? What are the characteristics of each group? How do the main regions of the world compare?
And what role can governments play? - in some cases, they can potentially make a significant difference.
Now that Virgin America has emerged as the victor in the contest for two gates at Dallas Love Field, Delta Air Lines has a bit of free capacity to deploy elsewhere in its network.
Delta appears to be reallocating the capacity originally pegged for Love Field to its growing hub in Seattle, creating more headaches for the Alaska Air Group. Delta’s latest crop of new services from Seattle is different in that the markets are more O&D oriented rather than designed to optimise connections.
Delta is ratcheting up competition with Alaska in leisure markets such as Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta, creating another layer of competition for Alaska in Seattle. Alaska has responded to Delta’s latest moves by declaring 11% departure growth in Seattle by Spring 2015, opting to grow in markets where Delta is not presently a huge threat.