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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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Alaska Air Group has no trepidation over growing capacity during 2015 by roughly 8% as its top line revenue and margins have continued to expand during a raft of new market introductions during the last four years.
Most of the expansion has been margin accretive; but at the same time Alaska Airlines is not backing away from exiting underperforming markets, and plans to cut several markets in early 2015 along with reducing capacity on other routes.
Obviously part of its strategy during the short term is managing increased competition from Delta Air Lines at its largest hub in Seattle. But with seven quarters of the competitive pressure under its belt, Alaska’s overall financial health remains robust, evidenced by its pledge to grow shareholder returns year-over-year in 2015.
Moderating growth, maturing markets and less intense capital commitments are some of the main drivers of Hawaiian Airlines’ positive outlook for CY2015 that includes margin expansion and cost control.
After rapid long-haul international expansion that commenced in CY2010, Hawaiian during 2014 has entered into a slower growth period that should provide space for the airline to continue strengthening its balance sheet and meet its stated liquidity and leverage targets.
As it takes a breather from its ambitious network transformation, Hawaiian is scrutinising the role new Airbus narrowbodies will play in its route structure once the aircraft come online beginning in CY2017.
Zhengzhou is being propelled from a sleepy backwater to one of China's new aviation hubs. Located in central China's Henan province, Zhengzhou boasts reasonably quick transfers – passengers on high-speed rail or cargo on roads – to all major parts of the country. In the first eight months of 2014, Zhengzhou was the eighth largest cargo airport in China and 17th largest for passenger traffic.
Henan Civil Aviation Development and Investment Co, HNCA, has bought 35% of Luxembourg's Cargolux, which has commenced flights to Zhengzhou. The two will also establish a Chinese JV freight carrier, initially operating to North America, but there are concerns if the two will overlap and Cargolux will lose out to its Chinese sister. On the passenger side, HNCA has supported a larger presence from China Southern Airlines, but Zhengzhou city is partnering with Hong Kong's First Eastern (which owns Japanese LCC Peach Aviation) to establish a LCC. That carrier and China Southern may also clash. There could also be conflict between China Southern's cargo operations, which link China and North America, with the JV cargo carrier. The incredible speed with which Zhengzhou and Henan are moving will undoubtedly create some casualties along the way.
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.