- Passenger numbers: 795,240, -16.5%;
- Domestic: 306,518, -26.4%;
- International: 488,722-8.9%.
Athens pax traffic down 16.5% in Feb-2011
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Aegean Airlines cuts capacity for first time since Olympic Air acquisition; 2016 margin falls
In 2017 the Aegean Airlines Group will make its first cut in seat capacity and fleet numbers since 2012. This follows three years of rapid expansion by the group since its Olympic Air acquisition in 2013. Olympic's all turboprop fleet focuses on the domestic market but also helps to feed Aegean's international network, particularly through its Athens hub. Cuts will focus on the domestic market.
Aegean will also make an important longer term fleet decision in 2017, or early 2018. The majority of its aircraft leases will need to be replaced between 2019 and 2023, and it is weighing the options. Aegean currently operates Airbus narrowbodies, but will consider the Boeing 737MAX in addition to the A320neo family.
Aegean's last capacity cut was in 2012, the end of a four year period of losses when Greece was in a deep multi year recession. Since then it has made healthy profits, but while profitable its operating margin fell in 2016 for the second successive year. Greece has experienced rapid capacity growth from LCCs, led by Ryanair. A decline in Aegean's unit revenue over three years has now prompted a pause for what its Executive Vice Chairman has called "consolidation and readjustment".
airberlin: another record loss, but "Jack of all trades" may have a chance to escape Groundhog Day
The German airline airberlin made another record loss in 2016 and has reported net losses in eight of the past nine years. It has lost a cumulative EUR1.9 billion in the five years since Etihad became a shareholder. The only small net profit, in 2012, was because Etihad bought its loyalty scheme. The first results for this year show that losses worsened in 1Q2017.
The better news is that, with shareholder Etihad's support, airberlin has sufficient liquidity to continue, and it has a restructuring plan with a new CEO. If the story of losses, Etihad support, restructuring and a new CEO sounds familiar, it is because it is. Airberlin has been through this almost as many times as Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day.
Crucially, though, the latest restructuring does seem genuinely radical. As new CEO Thomas Winkelmann has said, airberlin used to be a "Jack of all trades", but master of none. Past restructurings made it a Jack of fewer trades, but never fully resolved this lack of focus. The current plan brings it focus as a network airline – scaling down, and largely exiting from leisure. There is still much execution to be done, and competitive conditions are unlikely to ameliorate, but Mr Winkelmann may have a better chance than his predecessors.