Airone Ventures Ltd (AVL), a LCC start-up which was denied a base by the Jamaican Government three years ago, is expected to establish in Barbados later this year following the recruitment of several positions in the country, including line-training captains, captains, first officers and cabin crew (Jamaica Observer, 19-May-2010). The carrier plans to initially operate two leased B737-300 aircraft with plans to expand to five aircraft within two years, with services between the Caribbean and the US. Meanwhile, Airone Holdings Ltd selected communications firms, Digicel, as its marketing and sales partner.
Airone Ventures may establish in Barbados this year
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Both Finnair and TAP are based in peripheral corners of Europe: Finnair in the extreme northeast and TAP in the southwest. Both are based in countries with relatively small populations, but they have developed networks that capitalise on their geographic location to carry connecting traffic from across Europe and elsewhere to long haul destinations in other continents.
TAP's main long haul market is Upper South America (primarily Brazil), but it also has a secondary long haul niche in Africa. Finnair's main long haul market is Northeast Asia, with an additional presence in South and Southeast Asia. Both also operate to the US. On short haul, LCC competition has been a bigger threat to TAP than to Finnair, but cost savings are important to both.
TAP and Finnair have similar traffic volumes, unit costs and average trip lengths. Moreover, both have struggled to generate sustainable profitability. This report compares and contrasts Europe's two leading independent exponents of the location based long haul niche strategy. Both are set to accelerate their long haul growth.