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Boeing is a leading manufacturer of commercial and military aircraft, rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems. Headquartered in Chicago, Boeing employs more than 170,000 people across the United States and in 70 countries.
Boeing is organised into two business units: Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Defense, Space & Security. Supporting these units is Boeing Capital Corporation, the Shared Services Group and Boeing Engineering, Operations & Technology.
Boeing’s main commercial products are the B737, B747, B767 and B777 families of aircraft and the Boeing Business Jet. New product development efforts are focused on the B787 Dreamliner, 737Max, 777X and the B747-8. The company has nearly 12,000 commercial jetliners in service worldwide, which is roughly 75% of the world fleet.
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There has been considerable interest in 2014 from the higher profile of aircraft lessors based in Asia, and specifically the emerging sector in China. A number of existing Chinese leasing companies are are being joined by new ones, including some affiliated with airlines, such as China Eastern and Spring Airlines. The move by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing and his Cheung Kong Holdings to enter the leasing sector has further stimulated interest for consumers looking to invest outside the traditional, and waning, property area.
Airbus firm orders from all lessors for the first ten months of 2014 have outpaced those of Boeing, but so far Asian lessor orders are about in line with 2012 levels at Airbus. Boeing meanwhile is accruing an increase in direct, disclosed orders from Asian lessors. Asia holds the single largest order backlog of commercial aircraft, with 3,517 according to CAPA's Fleet Database.
Opportunities within Asia could be mixed, although airline behaviour is changing: Chinese carriers are giving preference to Chinese lessors while Korean Air has only 17% of its fleet leased compared to 39% at Singapore Airlines and 67% at Qantas.
Southwest Airlines is forecasting solid unit revenue growth in CY2015 as it joins the rest of its US airline peers in growing capacity year-on-year. The airline projects a 6% expansion in supply largely driven by increasing stage length as it capitalises on the lifting of long haul flight restrictions from its Dallas Love Field headquarters.
The airline believes it can drive unit revenue growth in CY2015 at the same rate as its projected capacity increase while decreasing unit costs between 1% and 2%.
All the US major airlines appear to be adding capacity at a faster rate in CY2015 than during the last couple of years, which is raising some concern that a supply-demand imbalance could occur.
But for now all the airlines including Southwest believe their expansion is justified, and do not feel any pressure to refine their projections.
Previous warnings by LATAM Airlines Group that reduced corporate demand during the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament would pressure 3Q2014 results came to fruition as the company posted net loss for the quarter.
Other more familiar factors also dragged down the company’s results including an overall weak macroeconomic environment and currency devaluations that are eroding LATAM’s pricing traction.
Even as the macroeconomic weakness seems likely to persist into 2015, LATAM for now plans a system wide capacity growth of 2%-4%, which is an increase over its overall capacity projections for CY2014. LATAM’s planned expansion of supply next year is raising some eyebrows given the sluggish conditions it continues to face.
Two upstart ULCCs aiming to execute the model within Canada – Canada Jetlines and Jet Naked – have gone somewhat quiet since making a splash earlier in 2014 with their plans to interject a new level of competition within the Canadian market place.
Many airlines with similar plans have come and gone, leaving Air Canada and WestJet in a comfortable duopoly, that on paper, seems ripe for breaking.
But many of the market dynamics that have driven other Canadian start-ups out of business still exist, and the country’s tenuous economy could make it difficult for the new airlines to attract investors for what is still a risky business venture.
Despite continuing to improve its performance in some key financial metrics, profitability remains elusive for Brazilian airline Gol, which widened its net losses year-on-year during 3Q2014.
The drivers behind Gol’s loss are now quite familiar – a tenuous Brazilian economy, weakened corporate demand and foreign exchange rate volatility. Gol has been battling the majority of those challenges for the last couple of years, and despite improving its leverage ratios and restructuring its debt, the airline continues to rack up losses.
Gol continues to drive forward in its network diversification to reduce exposure to the domestic market while awaiting the outcome of vote by Brazilian legislators on an initiative to subsidise regional flights within the country.
One of the lowest cost airlines in North America – Allegiant Air – could see a double digit rise in unit cost growth in CY2014 stemming from training expense and an aircraft acquisition that the company believes will ultimately generate high returns, but is creating short term pressure since the jets are not producing available seat miles.
Allegiant anticipates the challenges it has encountered in pilot training as only temporary and should be resolved by mid-2015. The easing of training expense alongside operating more unit cost friendly A320s should create a more favourable unit cost scenario in CY2015.
The company is also staying the course on its network strategy – assigning less priority to launching international service to Mexico, refining its goals for Hawaii and touting opportunities in the US domestic market ushered in by consolidation among the country’s largest airlines.