bmi and SWISS announced a new codeshare agreement, under which the two Lufthansa Group airlines will codeshare on all UK (London Heathrow, London City, Manchester, Birmingham International and Edinburgh) to Switzerland (Zurich, Geneva and Basel) routes, effective immediately. The partnership builds on an already successful relationship between the two carriers in opening the London Heathrow-Geneva route from Jan-2010. [more]
bmi and SWISS announce expanded codeshare partnership
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Ryanair's 117million pax in 2016 tops European airline groups. The first time an LCC topped rankings
For the first time ever in Europe, in 2016 a low cost airline carried more passengers than any other airline or airline group, as Ryanair's 117 million passengers pushed Lufthansa Group's 110 million into second place. Ryanair had beaten Lufthansa itself, but not the whole Lufthansa Group. IAG's first full year of including Aer Lingus helped it to take third place from Air France-KLM. Europe's number two LCC, easyJet, was ranked fifth.
The big five can be expanded into a big seven to include Turkish Airlines and the Aeroflot Group, although these two had contrasting growth rates in 2016. A chasing pack of middle sized airline groups includes three LCCs (Norwegian, Pegasus and Wizz Air) and three legacy airlines with varying challenges to establishing sustainable profitability (SAS, Air Berlin Group and Alitalia).
Most of the faster growing airline groups in the top 20 are LCCs and the main growth drivers for Europe's big three legacy groups are their LCC subsidiaries. Just outside the top 20 are some fast growing legacy airlines in Eastern Europe, demonstrating the potential there. Nevertheless, unless there is a big merger or acquisition, Ryanair looks set to remain at number one for some time.
SWISS finishes first phase of long haul fleet transition. New 777s driving growth, but yield suffers
In 2016 SWISS has rapidly added capacity to Southeast Asia and some of its other long haul markets as it has replaced A340-300s with 777-300ERs. The new 777s have 55% more seats than the A340s, pressuring yields as SWISS pursues more sixth freedom traffic in a highly competitive marketplace.
SWISS has taken delivery of six 777-300ERs in 2016, enabling it to increase capacity on four of its long haul routes – Bangkok, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Singapore. It has three more 777-300ERs on order, which will be delivered in 2017 and drive further capacity increases in Singapore and San Francisco.
SWISS is now assessing whether it should acquire another six 777s to replace its last six A340s, with a decision expected by the end of 2016. Six additional 777s would result in another round of significant capacity increases, impacting Beijing, Johannesburg, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo.