Virgin Atlantic Chairman, Sir Richard Branson, confirmed the airline has hired Deutsche Bank to examine strategic options for the airline (Telegraph/Business Travel News/Daily Mail/Travel Trade Gazette, 05-Nov-2010). Virgin Atlantic, which is 51% owned by the Virgin Group, has asked Deutsche Bank to study the airline's market position after British Airways' recent tie-up with American Airlines and Iberia, which Sir Richard was firmly against. The work involved includes assessing how Sir Richard can maximise the value of the airline, which is valued at somewhere between GBP500 million and GBP1 billion. One option identified would see Virgin sell down its stake in the airline and become part of a wider airline grouping. Virgin Atlantic, which holds 3% of Heathrow’s slots, is not a member of any airline alliance.
Branson commences strategic review of Virgin Atlantic
You may also be interested in the following articles...
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.
Aer Lingus part 2: vies with Icelandair, airberlin, Norwegian as leading Nth Atlantic value carrier
Aer Lingus' mission statement includes an aim to be the leading value carrier across the North Atlantic. Although this is not explicitly defined, it can validly claim to be among the top four in this category. Also vying with Aer Lingus for this title are Icelandair, airberlin and Norwegian.
Part 1 of this report on Aer Lingus looked at the development of its capacity and its financial performance, both before and after the acquisition by IAG in Aug-2015. This second part compares its North Atlantic network and its unit cost positioning with those of Icelandair, airberlin and Norwegian.
All four are currently pursuing rapid growth between Europe and North America and have similar weekly seat capacity scheduled in this market for summer 2017. Their trans Atlantic networks differ by their numbers of North American destinations, European hubs serving that region and European destinations connected to those hubs.
Aer Lingus is well placed among the four, but cannot currently claim to be the leading North Atlantic value carrier. Norwegian, with multiple European long haul bases, is developing quite differently from the other three. Moreover, although Aer Lingus is cost efficient, Norwegian has a significant CASK advantage.