- Passenger traffic (RPMs): -3.4% year-on-year;
- Load factor: 64.8%, +2.1 ppts.
American Airlines reports 3% fall in trans-Atlantic pax traffic in Feb-2010
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Finnair accelerates capacity growth, led by long haul; seeks cost efficiency through fleet & labour
In 2016 Finnair accelerated its rate of capacity growth after a modest return to expansion in 2015, following cuts in 2014. It also experienced a fall in unit revenue (as did most European airlines), most notably in the regions of highest capacity growth, i.e. the long haul markets North America and Asia.
Asia is Finnair's most important long haul market (Japan and China are its two biggest markets by ASKs) and its ranking by seats on routes between European and NE/SE Asia is disproportionate. It has ambitious growth plans in the region and will increase frequencies to Tokyo and Hong Kong this summer. Its long haul network, which will also extend to San Francisco this summer and Goa next winter, is largely founded on connecting traffic via its Helsinki hub.
Finnair's return to capacity growth has coincided with a return to profit, but lower fuel prices were the main driver of its bottom line improvement. Its profit margins remain slim and, beyond the vagaries of fuel price benefits, Finnair aims for more sustainable unit cost cuts. Fleet strategy and labour productivity form a two pronged attack on its cost base.
China-US air growth slows as Xiamen Airlines flies Fuzhou-New York, making the world a smaller place
The world becomes a smaller place on 15-Feb-2017 with the launch of Xiamen Airlines' Fuzhou-New York JFK service. The route is a not a headline grabber like the ultra long hauls of Singapore-San Francisco or Doha-Auckland. But linking the two cities brings a nonstop flight to what is, by some calculations, the largest unserved trans-Pacific market.
The new flight reflects on current themes in the market between Asia and North America: the growth from China's secondary cities, more Chinese airlines being catapulted onto the world stage, and impacts to one stop competitors.
Fuzhou-New York will initially be only flown three times a week, supporting competitors' retorts that they have a frequency advantage – or at least for now. Competitors have also claimed a better product, but Xiamen's 787-9 is China's fifth widebody to offer direct aisle access business class. Soft service is catching up, and likewise for commercial planning: Xiamen's 787-9s do away with first class. This report looks at the growth of China and the rest of Asia to North America as growth momentum slows with China's bilateral capacity being reached.