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BMI joins Atlantic Plus-Plus JV; British Airways avoids strikes

Analysis

British Midland International - now a subsidiary of Lufthansa - has joined the Atlantic Plus-Plus joint venture between Lufthansa, United Airlines, Continental Airlines and Air Canada. The carrier joined on 01-Apr-2011 and fellow Lufthansa subsidiaries Swiss and Austrian Airlines will join on 01-Jul-2011.

Summary
  • British Midland International (BMI) has joined the Atlantic Plus-Plus joint venture between Lufthansa, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, and Air Canada.
  • Swiss and Austrian Airlines, both subsidiaries of Lufthansa, will also join the joint venture.
  • The joint venture is seeking antitrust immunity to include Brussels Airlines, but Lufthansa's ownership level of 45% is complicating the process.
  • Flybe, a UK regional carrier, experienced a significant drop in shares, losing 7.2% in a single day.
  • International Airlines Group (IAG) shares dropped 0.5%, but British Airways managed to avoid strike action by cabin crew.
  • Turkish Airlines reported positive traffic highlights for the first quarter of 2011, including an increase in passenger numbers and cargo volume.

The JV is also seeking antitrust immunity to bring Brussels Airlines into the group, but Lufthansa's ownership level of the carrier - which stands at 45% - is complicating matters. Lufthansa shares were flat yesterday, on a poor day for European airline stocks.

Trading down most heavily was UK regional carrier flybe, which lost 7.2%, the largest single day fall at the carrier for three weeks.

International Airlines Group shares dropped 0.5%. The company's British Airways segment has avoided strike action by cabin crew represented by the Unite! union, which had threatened travel over the Easter holiday period. Negotiations between British Airways CEO Keith Williams and Len McCluskey, Unite's general secretary, have been more cordial than those held when Willie Walsh was CEO of the carrier.

Turkish Airlines reported the following traffic highlights for the 3 months ended Mar-2011:

  • Passenger numbers: 6.7 million, +8.7% year-on-year;
    • Domestic: 3.2 million, +5.1%;
    • International: 3.5 million, +12.3%;
  • Passenger load factor: 67.3%, -3.1 ppts;
    • Domestic: 74.3%, -0.8 ppt;
    • International: 66.1%, -3.5 ppts;
  • Landings: 58,661, +9.8%;
  • Cargo volume: 86,708 tonnes, +17.4%.

Selected European airline share price movements (% change): 14-Apr-2011

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