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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 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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SilkAir is planning to upgrade its in-flight product in 2014 as the Singapore Airlines (SIA) full-service regional subsidiary starts to transition to a Boeing 737-800 fleet. SilkAir will also continue to grow rapidly in 2014 in line with the SIA Group’s increased focus on Asia.
But SilkAir has seen profitability slip in recent months as competition has intensified in the regional market within Asia. A 12% capacity increase through the first seven months of the current fiscal year has not been absorbed, resulting in a drop in load factor and clouding SilkAir’s short-term outlook.
The forthcoming product upgrade is designed to further differentiate SilkAir from LCCs and cement its position as a leading full-service regional carrier in the Southeast Asia region. But SilkAir has decided against following Cathay Pacific regional subsidiary Dragonair in improving its business class seat.
United Airlines plans a realignment of its Pacific operations centred on increasing direct flights rather than stop-overs in Tokyo as the weakness in Japan’s currency has dragged down the carrier’s results in those markets for most of 2013. United is also building a strategy to directly serve non-traditional gateways to China as competitive capacity increases have also pressured the carrier’s Pacific performance.
The adjustments are freeing up some aircraft for redeployment into new markets from United’s Houston Intercontinental, Washington Dulles and Chicago hubs for new service to Europe, which perhaps seems like a safer option at the moment even as the region is on an at-best slow trajectory to economic recovery.
The success of these planned network shifts necessarily depends on execution, an area where United has faced challenges with respect to the merger with Continental. Now, getting it right will be central to the airline's Asian strategy.
A beleaguered United Airlines has outlined ambitious goals for its investors that entails an annual cost cutting scheme of USD2 billion and a pledge to begin returning cash to shareholders by 2015.
After battling operational, revenue and cost challenges during the last couple of years, United has no choice but to crystallise a plan to improve its performance in the medium term. Its target of rewarding shareholders is likely to be a competitive response to Delta Air Lines, who recently outlined plans to return USD1 billion to its shareholders during the next three years.
Additionally, United believes it can increase pre-tax earnings by two to four times during the next four years. Taken together it is tall order for a company that is still trying to deliver on its merger synergy targets. Now that United has declared those goals, the challenge is to deliver a successful execution, something that sceptics might have a right to be weary of.
WestJet dips a toe in the trans-Atlantic market with Dublin service; any prospective partners there?
WestJet’s decision to use St John’s as a launching pad for a conservative experiment in assessing the potential for trans-Atlantic service is not a huge threat to Air Canada yet. But it does put WestJet’s larger rival on notice that even as Air Canada’s fortunes look to be improving, WestJet does not have any intention of leaving any potential sources of revenue on the table, including trans-Atlantic routes where it can effectively deploy its Boeing 737 narrowbodies.
In some ways WestJet’s move is not surprising given that the carrier has previously hinted at international market expansion beyond the transborder and Caribbean and Latin American markets it serves. But as the carrier has previously stressed, any move into a widebody aircraft operation is at least five years off as its immediate focus is on ensuring the successful launch of its regional carrier Encore and continuing to optimise its network.
The carrier is, however, opting to engage in an exercise to learn more about the trans-Atlantic market while juggling the addition of several new elements to its business – Encore, new fare bundles centred on a premium economy product and its continuous quest to expand its business passenger base. It also helps make potential European partners aware that there is another Canadian airline bidding for expansion.
Delta Air Lines appears to be attempting to take a chunk of JetBlue’s successful build-up at Boston Logan for itself as a round of new route launches Delta has planned beginning in Mar-2014 are in markets largely dominated by JetBlue. While it is not as aggressive as some of Delta’s latest moves including a full-blown assault on long-time partner Alaska Airlines at its hub in Seattle, the minor push from Boston does reflect Delta’s no holds barred approach in ensuring it has ample presence in strategic US domestic markets.
JetBlue is by no means unfamiliar with competition from Delta as the Atlanta-hubbed carrier holds a significant seat share from JetBlue’s JFK hub, and in late 2012 and early 2013 added pressure to JetBlue in markets from both JFK and New York LaGuardia.
The move to bolster competition with JetBlue in Boston is interesting, and Delta could be adding service to feed Virgin Atlantic’s Heathrow flights as its joint venture with Delta begins. Delta’s additions will do little to change JetBlue’s dominance in Boston, but it does send a message that the carrier will remain aggressive in leveraging its network as United, at some point, will presumably will reap the synergies of its merger and American and US Airways officially start combining their operations.
Royal Brunei Airlines leaps forward with 787. Early A320neo or 737MAX slots to provide another boost
Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) will make a big leap in improving efficiency and profitability on 1-Dec-2013 as the carrier introduces Boeing 787-8s on the Bandar Seri Begawan-Dubai-London Heathrow route. Another leap could occur in 2016 or 2017 as the carrier, somewhat surprisingly given its very small size, has received aggressive proposals and early delivery slots for new-generation narrowbody aircraft.
RBA became in Oct-2013 the first 787 operator in Southeast Asia. It has already taken delivery of two 787-8s, one of which is in static display this week at the 2013 Dubai AirShow. RBA will be the first carrier to operate the 787 between Dubai and London, one of the world’s largest routes, and in Mar-2014 will become the first carrier to have an all-787 long-haul operation.
RBA meanwhile is in the closing phases of a competition between Airbus and Boeing for its new-generation narrowbody requirement, which includes over 10 aircraft for delivery from end of 2015. Airbus and Boeing are offering early delivery slots for their A320neo and 737 MAX families, with support from leasing companies, and the campaign has become very competitive as Boeing is eager to switch RBA’s narrowbody fleet from Airbus. RBA has already ruled out Embraer and Bombardier, after earlier considering large regional jets.
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