Aer Lingus confirmed the cancellation of 34 flights from Dublin Airport due to ongoing labour relations trouble (Belfast Telegraph, 20-Jan-2011). The cancellations affect 2600 passengers and there remains little indication the dispute will be resolved soon, with Aer Lingus continuing to remove cabin crew from the payroll. Some 120 cabin crew have been removed from the payroll. All flights affected are Europe-bound services. The carrier stated it plans to operate a full schedule from 21-Jan-2011 using aircraft leased from Ryanair and other carriers where possible (Irish Times, 20-Jan-2011). Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary confirmed he has offered to provide aircraft to Aer Lingus at “preferential rates” to allow the airline to continue operating. Mr O’Leary stated that “as a minority shareholder we are always here to help”.
Aer Lingus plans normal operations, leases from Ryanair during dispute
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Iberia: capacity stabilises. IAG focuses growth on Level, its new long haul LCC
Iberia's 'Plan de Futuro' restructuring restored its profitability in 2014 and it achieved its third straight positive operating result in 2016. Its owner, IAG, rewarded it with a return to capacity growth after years of cuts and new aircraft orders. Iberia's improved returns, and a drop in performance by sister airline Vueling, lifted it from the bottom of the IAG pack in 2016.
Nevertheless, Iberia is still not earning its cost of capital and is some way short of IAG's even higher target return. Iberia's capacity growth is slowing, as it concentrates more on load factor gains in a market characterised by overcapacity. Seat numbers are levelling off in its key long haul market of Latin America, although there is some growth in North America and the 2016 launches of Shanghai and Tokyo routes will feed through to growth in NE Asia this year. In Europe, Iberia is also maintaining flat capacity in the face of rapid LCC expansion.
The second phase of 'Plan de Futuro' targets further margin expansion, but Iberia may have a bigger challenge taking the next step upwards than it did to restore profits. Meanwhile, IAG's growth focus has shifted to its new long haul low cost operator Level.
Europe summer 2017 airline capacity outlook: fifth successive summer of above trend seat growth
Airline seat growth from Europe in summer 2017 is set to stay at almost 6% for the third successive summer, according to data from OAG. This rate had not previously been reached since 2010, although this will be the fifth straight summer of growth ahead of its 10 year average rate. The summer 2017 season started on 26-Mar-2017 and, although always subject to further change, the data give a fairly clear picture.
Seat capacity on routes from Europe to Africa will grow the fastest, as the region recovers from a terrorism related drop in demand in North Africa. There will also be above trend growth in almost every other region from Europe (including intra Europe). The only exception is Europe-Middle East, where the newly cautious Gulf airlines' growth is slowing this summer.
On the North Atlantic, always important for the profitability of Europe's leading legacy airlines, growth will be faster than its 10 year trend, but it will at least be a little slower than in the past summer. The loss of market share from the immunised North Atlantic JVs to newer and smaller competitors, including LCCs, is set to continue. As ever, the OAG capacity data provide a window into the changing structure of the airline markets from Europe.