- Passenger numbers: 7.8 million, +0.6%;
- Domestic: -0.8%;
- International: +4.8%;
- Aircraft movements: 49,640, +0.4%;
- Domestic: +0.3%;
- International: +1.0%.
Beijing Capital International Airport pax up 1% in Aug-2013
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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.
Spring Airlines seeks to redefine itself in a more crowded Chinese LCC market
The company folklore of the Chinese low cost carrier Spring Airlines has become entrenched in aviation history, with photos of Spring staff on duty trips sharing hotel rooms while eating instant noodles.
For the Chinese market this thriftiness, and regular candid interviews with billionaire founder Wang Zhenghua, became synonymous with the growing number of budget flights on Spring Airlines. The public became educated about China's only notable LCC, which was markedly different from the cookie cutter format of full service domestic airlines.
But the spectrum of airlines in China is widening and Spring, now under the leadership of Stephen Wang, needs to reassert its position in the Chinese market.
Mr Wang addressed CAPA's Americas Aviation Summit in Orlando in Apr-2017. There are new LCCs and airlines transitioning to LCCs with different service levels, making Spring wonder if it should be an "ULCC". The reality of a government orchestrated market means Spring needs to consider widebody operations for domestic trunk routes, and possible long haul flying. Spring also needs to diversify its presence: its home hub of Shanghai is high yielding but this has invited envy, and an aviation hub overhaul could mean that LCCs are moved to a new and remote third airport in Shanghai.