Cathay Pacific, in the Jan-2011 edition of CX World, stated traffic in the Chinese New Year peak is anticipated to be down on last year due to the holiday being closer to Christmas and the strength of the yen dampening demand to Japan. However, GM Revenue Management Tom Owen stated the "quality of the booking has improved over 2010". He also stated that for 1Q2011 "a lot will hinge on the strength of Chinese New Year and how the traditionally slower months of February and March develop". "Competitors are getting increasingly active and there is a lot more capacity to fill than last year," Mr Owen said. Meanwhile, there are signs that premium traffic "will continue to hold up well across most of the network" although Mr Owen noted that the quality of demand in the economy cabins on Africa, London and European routes is "becoming a challenge early on this year". The carrier's freight operations reported a stronger-than-expected Dec-2010 as it benefitted from competitors cancelling services. However, cargo has been "quiet" in the first half of February - as a result the carrier is reducing its core schedule to allow heavy maintenance on freighters. The carrier has emerged from 2010 with its business "in good shape" with COO John Slosar stating he is "reasonably confident" about prospects for 2011.
Cathay expects Chinese New Year traffic to be down on 2010
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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.
Norwegian Air part 2: long haul growth shows its strategic innovation, but increases debt burden
Norwegian plans to add US routes to its Edinburgh base, a development considered in part 1 of this report, adding to its growing list of European long haul bases. However, its Edinburgh-US routes will use new Boeing 737MAX-8 aircraft – its first deployment of narrowbodies for long haul. It has also ordered 30 Airbus A321neoLRs for long haul use. Narrowbodies open up new possibilities for routes between the UK (or other European markets) and the US east coast.
Norwegian also plans to add non-US destinations to its UK long haul network, with details expected during the course of 2017. Norwegian's flexibility to develop its long haul operations from the UK would be improved by the grant of a US foreign carrier permit to its UK-registered subsidiary, Norwegian Air UK.
Norwegian has had to surmount many obstacles to build and grow its global network – which may also include Latin America in 2017, when it will accelerate long haul ASK growth to 60%. However its rapid expansion, currently driven mainly by long haul growth, has led to a rapid increase in debt, and is likely to weigh on unit revenue. Norwegian's undoubted strategic innovation can only be sustained if it is financially successful.