ANA and Lufthansa announced (01-Jun-2011) they are launching a strategic JV on Japan-Europe routes after ANA received antitrust immunity (ATI) approval from Japan's MLIT. The carriers became the first airlines to receive clearance for Asian-European ATI. This latest agreement between the two Star Alliance members follows the launch of a similar JV between ANA and United Airlines on trans-Pacific routes in Apr-2011. The carrier's stated the JV will "improve the level of service offered to passengers by allowing ANA and Lufthansa to work together on schedule coordination and joint product sales. Customers will benefit from seamless transfers and better connections". The carriers aim to introduce the new JV within the 2011 winter timetable. The Asian market is a growth market for Lufthansa and represents around 20% of its revenue, with Japan alone contributing 4% of revenue (Dow Jones, 01-Jun-2011). The carrier has been adding capacity to Asia and will deploy A380 equipment on Frankfurt-Singapore services from 30-Oct-2011 with A380 equipment also being deployed on Beijing and Tokyo services. The carrier however noted that impact of the Japan earthquake, stating "it will take time to see how big the effect in Japan is" and how long it will take for business and confidence to recover, which will affect demand for travel. [more]
ANA awarded antitrust immunity for JV with Lufthansa
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Lufthansa and Etihad bedfellows - at last - but unions may make marriage a distant prospect
There can be no understating the symbolic change in mindset of Lufthansa agreeing to partner with Etihad. Lufthansa has spent the better part of a decade rallying against Gulf airlines to the press, lobbying in Europe's power corridors and seeking a range of aeropolitical measures to wind back new competitors. Etihad has been the prime target for its investment and ongoing top-ups in a range of European airlines including Lufthansa's home competitor, the failing airberlin. Despite that, it is not well known that the two have come close to a liaison before, suggesting that each sees an intrinsic logic in a relationship.
The partnership has potential to be more significant than Emirates-Qantas, Qatar-IAG or Etihad-AF-KLM. But for now it is limited in scope and caution should be exercised in extrapolating too far at this stage.
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr is seeking new growth platforms that sidestep the flagship business' uncompromising unions who would seemingly prefer a status quo that exists only in memory. Their support will be necessary if the partnership is to work and grow. Then Lufthansa, which has rallied the Star Alliance and JV partners against Gulf airlines, will need to explain its change of heart. For now Lufthansa will not partner on Etihad's beyond-Abu Dhabi network, a move that would embrace the fundamental business plan of Etihad and peers. That upside remains a matter for speculation.
SunExpress: "Lufthansa's biggest strategic project"
The Turkish leisure airline SunExpress and its German subsidiary SunExpress Germany have historically had a fairly low profile, certainly among European air travellers. Nevertheless, their combined total of 7.9 million passengers puts SunExpress in the top 20 European airline groups in 2016, ahead of Brussels Airlines.
Jointly owned by Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, SunExpress and its German counterpart brought about a consolidated result that fell into loss in 2016 as passenger numbers and revenue both declined. When the observer scratches beneath the surface of the headline figures, a picture of significant strategic change at SunExpress Germany starts to emerge.
The larger Turkish SunExpress has maintained its focus on Turkey-Germany routes, whereas SunExpress Germany has abandoned this country pair. It has instead developed leisure routes from Germany to elsewhere in Europe and in North Africa, in spite of not having an obvious competitive advantage in those markets. Within these new market areas, SunExpress Germany has undergone substantial changes in its route portfolio. Lufthansa wetleases capacity from SunExpress Germany for its Eurowings low cost operation and this may help to make some sense of these outwardly random network changes.