Canadian Government announced (07-Feb-2010) it has concluded an expanded air services agreement with Cuba, allowing more airlines from both countries to immediately operate scheduled air services between any Canadian and Cuban cities. WestJet and Sunwing have been designated to operate scheduled international air services between Canada and Cuba. [more]
Canada announces expanded air services agreement with Cuba
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Cuba's alluring new mystique quickly fades as US airlines face overcapacity and sluggish demand
Close to a year ago the US airlines were rushing to gain approval to operate scheduled service to Cuba, after a hiatus of more than 50 years. The competition was intense, with airlines strongly criticising the touted merits of the service proposals offered by their rivals. The opportunity for operations to Cuba seemed endless, and US airlines from wide ranging business models worked feverishly to ensure that they earned access to what was deemed the next big market for burgeoning traffic potential.
But underlying the excitement were concerns over Cuba’s ability to handle an influx of travellers to the US, and whether the expectations for demand between the two countries were overblown. Recent cuts in Cuban capacity by US airlines show that those operators were somewhat overzealous in their initial demand calculations, and the spool up period for those routes.
The tempered ambitions reflect the realities of actually operating in a market versus estimating the demand patterns of a new market but having little in the way of concrete data to work with. Due to market overcapacity, two US airlines are pulling service to Cuba altogether.
Air Canada’s 1Q2017 margin pressure and lower ROIC targets trigger market trepidation
Canada’s largest airline, Air Canada, is working through a multi year effort to grow its international footprint and cut costs. The company’s strategy has entailed higher than average capacity growth compared with its North American global network airline peers. Its long haul push has resulted in growing stage lengths and yield pressure; but Air Canada’s EBITDAR margin, the preferred metric in which the company measures its performance, has remained well within its established targets.
The company’s capacity should continue to expand in the double digit range during 2017 as it adds more Boeing 787 widebody jets and plans additional new route introductions. Its stage length should continue to grow in 2017, which means yields will remain under pressure. Air Canada’s capacity growth should moderate in 2018 as several initiatives it has undertaken during the last few years reach maturity.
Air Canada has been reasonably successful in growing its valuation during its large scale capacity growth, but a downward revision in ROIC targets and warnings of lower EBITDAR margins for 1Q2017 are triggering some pressure on its stock price. For now, markets are not quite reassured by Air Canada’s pledges that it will still meet its stated annual EBITDAR margins in 2017.