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The national carrier of Portugal, TAP Portugal, operates a domestic and regional network of services within Portugal and Europe, as well as international services to North America, South America and Africa from its hub and base at Lisbon Portela Airport – the major international gateway to Portugal. Aeroportos de Portugal is the national airport authority of Portugal and operator of seven major airports in the country, namely Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Santa Maria, Ponta Delgada, Horta and Flores.
The National Institute of Civil Aviation is the regulatory authority for the Portuguese aviation sector, while air navigation services are provided by NAV Portugal.
Airports in Portugal
1,252 total articles
easyJet: Portugal's ground handling situation an "anomaly" and its "greatest concern" in the country
62 total articles
SATA, the ambitious and successful airline based in the Azores chain of islands west of Portugal in the Atlantic Ocean, is seeking a role amongst Europe’s establishment of smaller, niche carriers. Driving this, the airline’s entry into IATA’s billing settlement plan is a further step towards an expanded presence. SATA has built up a number of interlines and is looking to expand those and increase two-way codeshares.
Its focus is bringing tourists to the Azores and is therefore a niche long-haul operator but it still faces competition from European LCCs. It is hoping that a product unbundling will help it compete more effectively in short-haul markets while codeshares will increase long-haul traffic, which it may grow with additional widebodies or next-generation narrowbodies that can cross the Atlantic. It has favourable geography for connecting traffic in some markets and would like to increase this incremental revenue.
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.
In our first article based on CAPA’s recent Airlines in Transition conference, we looked at the evolution of airline alliances. In general, this theme is relevant only to the larger carriers with significant long-haul networks, but 86% of the airlines in CAPA’s database are not full members of a branded global alliance (BGA). In this second report from the conference, we ask where this leaves smaller and non-aligned airlines?
There are a number of benefits and issues that alliance members associate with their membership of a BGA. However, CAPA’s panel of smaller and non-aligned carriers believe that they can address these factors better and more flexibly by remaining outside the BGAs. These issues are mainly connected to expanding and securing the available revenue pool through wider access to markets, brand loyalty and distribution.
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.
TAM will soon defect from Star to join its sister carrier LAN in oneworld. TAP Portugal’s future alliance membership is surrounded by uncertainty until its likely renewed privatisation process is complete. These developments throw the spotlight on the strategic importance of routes from Europe to Latin America to European carriers, who dominate this market, in particular the Big Three, but TAP Portugal, Alitalia and Air Europa also have noticeable positions. The South Atlantic market is only around one fifth of the size of the North Atlantic market by RPKs. So why should Latin America matter to European airlines?
In addition to forecast passenger traffic growth rates that, while not spectacular, are still very respectable and superior to those in Europe and on the North Atlantic, Latin America is a fascinating strategic battleground for Europe’s carriers, both directly and through alliances.
It is a territory of changing alliances and emerging players and, for those that are successful, market share gains can provide significantly higher growth then the underlying market.
Historically, labour was the biggest operating cost for airlines, before the oil price hikes of the early 2000s pushed up fuel costs. Even now, labour remains the biggest cost for many carriers and is probably the most important ‘controllable’ cost for all. At the same time, labour is the main agent for service delivery in any service industry and airlines must balance labour cost reduction with maximising the output of labour.
This tension remains a key dynamic for European airlines, whether they are legacy carriers looking to restructure in the face of unions' foot dragging, or low-cost carriers looking to maintain their advantage based on greater labour mobility and flexibility across the continent.
CAPA's analysis of the labour productivity of 14 European airlines reveals a wide range of levels of performance, pointing to what could be an irreconcilable gap between those that will succeed and those that may disappear. It again highlights the success of the low-cost model, particularly Ryanair and easyJet, and the significant challenge faced by legacy flag carriers, who, in some cases, still need dramatic – not just incremental – improvements in productivity.