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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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The operational challenges Canadian low cost airline WestJet has encountered in its launch of widebody flights to London has done little to quell investor concern about the carrier’s ability to execute low cost long haul flights successfully. Mechanical problems with the Boeing 767s have triggered cancellations and operational challenges, which has created passenger frustration, and resulted in reaccommodation and other expenses that are not insignificant.
WestJet has been working to smooth out the operational teething pains of the twin aisle jets, and is assuring that the hiccups are temporary. However, the less than ideal launch could call into question WestJet’s ability to spread the low cost model and stimulate traffic from Canada in the North Atlantic market. The company is attracting a higher level of scrutiny since it is the first LCC based in North America to attempt to spread the model on long haul flights.
Despite the shaky launch of its long haul flights with widebodies, WestJet cannot ignore long-term opportunities presented by the long haul market from Canada – with a value in the billions. WestJet can ill-afford to cede all the revenue to rival Air Canada and non-Canadian airlines operating on trans-Atlantic routes. In the short term the airline finds itself in a position of now attempting to engender passenger confidence that its operational snafus are temporary, and its product proposition remains intact.
Garuda Indonesia is close to completing a new 10-year fleet plan outlining narrowbody and widebody growth. An overdue order for new generation widebody aircraft, along with a top-up order for 737 MAX narrowbodies, is expected by the end of 2016, potentially at the upcoming Farnborough Airshow.
The new fleet plan supports an ambitious plan to expand Garuda’s international network – both regionally and in the long haul sector. Garuda is also striving to strengthen its domestic position further with narrowbody growth.
According to CEO Arif Wibowo, the group's new overall strategy is: “To dominate the domestic market, expand regional where the opportunities are and subsidise long haul growth.” This is the fourth and final part of a comprehensive series of analysis reports published by CAPA on the Garuda Indonesia Group.
Alaska, jetBlue and Southwest cost projections; good in the short term but long term challenges loom
Just as the large three global US airlines – American, Delta and United – work to contain their unit costs, their rivals Alaska, jetBlue and Southwest are committed to keeping their respective unit costs in line as the current revenue environment in the US remains weak.
The latter three airlines face different cost dynamics in the future. Alaska is attempting to embark on a merger with Virgin America, which will inevitably create some cost pressure as the full integration gets under way. Southwest is in the middle of complex pilot and flight attendant negotiations, which makes predicting its cost performance in the near- to mid-term difficult. At some point jetBlue will also conclude a new pilot contract that will affect its cost structure.
Cost performance results for Alaska, jetBlue and Southwest for 2Q2016 and the full year look reasonably favourable, although Alaska has refined its 2016 targets slightly, driven in part by increases in performance-based pay. But its costs should remain competitive compared with its peers, and solidly lower than those of the larger network carriers.
The US global network airlines Delta and American regularly receive accolades for the execution of their respective merger integrations. Assessment of the merger between United and Continental has been different, even from the airline’s own executives, who admit the integration was more challenging and took longer than anyone had anticipated.
United is working to adapt to changed pricing structures ushered in by the ULCCs – shifting more of its operations from regional to mainline and ensuring that customers fully understand the attributes of its various product offerings once its version of a basic economy fare debuts later in 2016.
United’s executives are also acknowledging the long standing gap it has in margin performance vis a vis its peers, and stresses its commitment to margin improvement. United in many ways is starting again, attempting to build a new foundation of trust with customers, employees and investors.
In the midst of heightened scrutiny over its performance on long haul routes to London and its handling of economic weakness in Western Canada, WestJet has chosen to exercise options for an additional nine Bombardier Q400 turboprops – for operation by its regional subsidiary Encore. The options are the last that WestJet holds with the manufacturer, and once deliveries are complete in 2018 Encore will reach WestJet’s targeted maturity of 45 aircraft.
During its three years of existence Encore has grown rapidly, and now offers 168 daily flights to 36 destinations. WestJet’s execution in developing and growing Encore has largely been successful, stimulating traffic in smaller markets previously dominated by a single airline.
In addition to Encore’s expansion, WestJet continues to court business travellers through its enhanced Plus product while attempting to navigate a weak unit revenue environment. The airline believes its negative performance will improve sequentially through 2016, but it is unlikely that WestJet can achieve a positive result in that metric this year.
During the mid-2000s the term hybrid business model entered the North American aviation business vernacular as low cost airlines became more sophisticated, adding elements to their strategy outside the boundaries of the traditional low cost blueprint pioneered by Southwest Airlines. Fast forward to 2016, and the term hybrid is becoming outdated, as low cost airlines in North America have adopted many of the same product attributes as full service airlines, and as those airlines have blended in many low cost elements.
North American airlines can now be categorised into four business models – full service airlines; low cost, high value airlines; ultra-low cost airlines; and Southwest, which still aspires to the low cost paradigm but does not offer the product attributes of more upscale low cost airlines. jetBlue has pushed the boundaries of low cost product evolution with its successful Mint experiment, featuring a fully lie-flat business seat, but no other North American low cost airline has (yet) decided to follow suit. Canada's low cost model, WestJet, has hybridised, adding a regional fleet in Westjet Encore, expanding its competitive bandwidth against its main domestic opponent and going long haul on the Atlantic.
In the less mature Latin American aviation market, the low cost airline model is still evolutionary, with the exception of Mexico where three low cost airlines and one full service airline are competing to lure passengers from bus travel. Brazil and Colombia also have low cost airline representation, but the spread of the business model is generally slower in South America, partially due to challenges from the cumbersome regulations that the start-up companies face in bringing their visions to fruition.