CAPA News Briefs

CAPA publishes more than 1,000 global News Briefs every week, covering all aspects of the aviation and travel industry. It’s the most comprehensive source of market intelligence in the world, with around 50 per cent of content translated from non-English sources. The breadth of our coverage means you won’t need any other news sources to monitor competitors and stay informed about the latest developments in the wider aviation sector.

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Below is a sample of the latest news headlines. 342 news briefs have been published for CAPA Members in the past 2 days.

Groningen Eelde Airport unveiled (01-Jun-2023) a hydrogen powered ground power unit (GPU) to power aircraft. The equipment was developed in collaboration with New Energy Coalition, the Province of Drenthe, KLM Equipment Services, HyTrEc2, the University of Groningen and Holthausen Clean Technologies. As previously reported by CAPA, the GPU will be powered by green hydrogen, generated by solar panels installed at the airport. The airport stated the equipment is the first of its type worldwide. [more - original PR - Dutch]

JetBlue Airways and Frontier Group Holdings entered (01-Jun-2023) a definitive agreement, under which JetBlue will divest all of Spirit Airlines' slot pairs and leasehold interests at New York LaGuardia Airport to Frontier Airlines in connection with JetBlue's planned merger with Spirit. JetBlue agreed to transfer six Sprit gates at the airport's Marine Air Terminal and 22 takeoff/landing slots. The divestiture falls under JetBlue's upfront commitments in the merger agreement and is conditional on the closing of the JetBlue/Spirit transaction, subject to additional closing conditions. JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes stated the agreement "will maintain the same level of ULCC service at LaGuardia Airport". Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle said the holdings will enable Frontier to "significantly" expand its operations at the airport. [more - original PR]

SAS announced (31-May-2023) reservations for 30 seats on each of its first commercial electric flights in Sweden, Norway and Denmark will open on 02-Jun-2023. The inaugural flights are expected to take place in 2028 and the ticket price will be SEK1946/NOK1946/DKK1946 (EUR167.90/EUR164.36/EUR261.31), a tribute to the launch of SAS operations in 1946. There is a maximum of two seats per reservation and per person. The departure day and place of departure to be communicated to travellers by email. [more - original PR - SAS] [more - original PR - Visit Sweden]

Milan Malpensa Airport reopened (31-May-2023) Terminal 2, following its closure since Jun-2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. As previously reported by CAPA, new features of the terminal include 21 self baggage drop machines and a new duty free area. [more - original PR - Italian]

Capital A CEO Tony Fernandes stated (31-May-2023) the company's aviation business has achieved "promising" improvement in 1Q2023, driven by the stabilisation of operational costs due to lower fuel prices and maintenance expenses. Mr Fernandes said: "Our average fare and RASK have surpassed 2019 levels, while our passenger statistics are fast recovering pre-pandemic levels". He added: "These metrics show AirAsia is still the preferred choice for its great value", noting: "We are also highly optimistic about the future of our aviation services business". [more - original PR]

Air France CEO Anne Rigail, speaking at the Air France-KLM 'SAF Masterclass', stated (30-May-2023) sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production "is a major strategic issue for France's sovereignty" and the country is fortunate to already possess a highly developed carbon-free energy sector. Ms Rigail added: "Air France-KLM wants to continue playing its part".

Lufthansa Group reported (31-May-2023) 200,000 passengers opted for 'Green Fares' bookings within Europe or to North Africa in the first 100 days since the introduction of the product. SWISS' Zurich-London route recorded the highest number of 'Green Fares' bookings, followed by Lufthansa's Hamburg-Munich service. The fares include complete offsetting of flight related CO2 emissions, achieved through a combination of 20% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and 80% through contribution to climate protection projects. The 'Green Fares' also offer additional status miles and a free rebooking option. As previously reported by CAPA, the fares are offered by Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Edelweiss Air, Eurowings Discover and Air Dolomiti on over 730,000 flights p/a, within Europe and to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. 3% of passengers currently offset CO2 emissions through one of Lufthansa Group's offers along the travel chain and the group aims to increase this to 5% by the end of 2023. [more - original PR]

Berlin Brandenburg Airport reported (23-May-2023) EBITDA of EUR57 million for 2022, the first time the airport has recorded an operating profit since commencing operations in 2020. The main factor behind the result was the doubling of passenger traffic since 2021 to almost 20 million, which increased revenue from airport operations by around 40%. Debt was also reduced by EUR700 million. CEO Aletta von Massenbach said: "During the 2022 financial year, we took an important step towards financially stabilising the airport company... Despite the continuing economic and political challenges, we are expecting a passenger growth of 10 to 15% this year and thus a total of around 23 million passengers". [more - original PR]

Qantas Group launched (30-May-2023) an AUD400 million (USD260.7 million) climate fund, an investment to develop solutions needed to meet sustainability targets. The fund combines AUD290 million (USD189 million) jointly committed by Qantas and Airbus in Jun-2022 and a further AUD110 million (USD71.7 million) Qantas Group investment in sustainability projects and technologies. These include sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), "high integrity" offsets, carbon removal technology and efficiency and waste reduction. Qantas stated the fund "the largest sustainability investment initiative of any airline globally". Qantas also requested that Australia's Government introduce a SAF blending mandate as part of a broader framework of industry policies, similar to other countries. Qantas is currently purchasing SAF sourced overseas, including 10 million litres for flights from London in 2023 and 20 million litres p/a for flights from California from 2025. Qantas said domestically produced SAF will be key to using 10% SAF in its overall fuel mix by 2030 and around 60% by 2050. [more - original PR]

Garuda Indonesia and Singapore Airlines announced (29-May-2023) plans to enter a JV arrangement to expand cooperation and increase passenger capacity between Singapore and Indonesia. Subject to regulatory approvals, the JV would cover routes between Singapore and Bali, Jakarta and Surabaya and will expand an MoU signed in Nov-2021. The JV would enable the carriers to potentially coordinate schedules between Singapore and Indonesia, offering customers more flight connectivity between the countries and beyond. The airlines will also explore the implementation of new initiatives, including joint fare products and an alignment of corporate programmes. [more - original PR]

Qantas Group released (30-May-2023) the following updates on its strategy to 2030: 

  • Customer: 
    • Detail on the 'right aircraft, right route' approach underpinning the airline's current network and supporting its new fleet arriving from 2023, including A220, Boeing 787 and A320 Family aircraft;
    • Plans for an overhauled Qantas app launching towards the end of 2023 to give customers more control over bookings, introduction of baggage tracking and better integration of Qantas Loyalty;
    • Changes to Qantas' boarding process from Oct-2023 to improve on time performance and to better recognise tiered frequent flyers;
    • Plans to significantly expand the current range of redemption options for frequent flyers;
    • Continued investment in low fares, particularly by Jetstar, with around 10 million fares under AUD100 (USD65.28) offered in 2023 and five million reward seats via Qantas Loyalty;
  • Sustainability:
    • Launching a AUD400 million (USD261.1 million) climate fund to accelerate progress towards the group's sustainability targets. This includes a further AUD110 million (USD71.8 million) investment in addition to the AUD290 million (USD189.3 million) already committed. The fund will focus on stimulating production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), "high integrity" offsets, carbon removal technology and efficiency and waste reduction targets;
    • Calling for Australia's Government to introduce an SAF blending mandate to help kickstart local production;
  • People:
    • AUD11,500 (USD7507) in bonuses in FY2023 to FY2024 and ongoing improvement to staff travel benefits;
    • Plans to grow by creating up to 8500 operational roles in Australia by 2033 to support new aircraft and additional flying;
    • Training and promotional opportunities through fleet growth, including via the pilot academy and engineering academy. The group will deliver around two million training hours in 2023;
    • Restoring 'employer of choice' status. Over 160,000 applications have been received for 7000 jobs across the group. Attrition rates have declined from a peak of 18% in Dec-2021 to an average of 5% across the group to 2% for pilots;
  • Financial:
    • Through cost and revenue improvements, sustaining margins of 18% for Qantas domestic and 15% for Jetstar domestic from FY2024 onwards;
    • Qantas international margins to grow from about 5% pre-COVID-19 to over 8% in FY2024 and up to 10% to 12% with Project Sunrise and the evolution of freight;
    • Through structural changes to the e-commerce market and Qantas Freight business, the group is targeting AUD250 million (USD163.2 million) in annual earnings contribution from FY2030 onwards, compared with FY2019;
    • Introduction of A350 growth aircraft and Project Sunrise operations are expected to deliver a "significant" incremental earnings increase, reaching an estimated AUD400 million (USD261.1 million) EBIT p/a in the first full year of having all 12 aircraft in service;
    • Qantas Loyalty to reach its FY2024 EBIT target of AUD500 million (USD326.4 million) to AUD600 million (USD391.7 million), increasing to AUD800 million (USD522.2 million) to AUD1 billion (USD652.8 million) by FY2030. Key profit drivers will be continued expansion into hotels and holidays, more partnerships including 'points burn' opportunities with major retailers, diversification in financial services and growth of the existing Qantas Business Rewards programme for SMEs;
    • Targeting AUD300 million (USD195.8 million) p/a in ongoing transformation, driven largely by new technology enabling better efficiency. This includes fleet renewal, better disruption management and schedule and workforce planning.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce stated new technology is "central" to the group's plan and the new aircraft will "transform" its network over the next few years. Mr Joyce added: "Our revenue projections and track record for ongoing transformation show we can invest heavily in people and technology at the same time as generating strong returns for shareholders". [more - original PR]

Alaska Airlines reported (25-May-2023) it made the following preparations ahead of peak demand expected for the summer 2023 season:

  • Returned to pre-pandemic flying levels, operating 1200 daily flights to over 120 destinations;
  • Increased Latin American capacity by 30%;
  • Added services from five west coast cities to the Yellowstone area in response to strong demand for national park travel;
  • Increased staff levels by 6% compared to 2019, with Alaska's pilot schoolhouse graduating twice as many pilots each month compared to spring 2022.

The carrier expects 30-Jun-2023, the Friday before Independence Day, to be the busiest travel day of the summer. [more - original PR]