Continental Airlines and United Airlines shares are expected to stop trading on the New York Stock Exchange today (01-Oct-2010), with the carriers to instead trade under United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL), on their merger (AP, 30-Sep-2010). Following the combination, Delta Air Lines will no longer be the world's largest airline (Atlanta Business News, 30-Sep-2010). Delta, following its merger with Northwest Airlines, has been the largest carrier for the past two years. The carrier has launched a new advertising campaign in New York emphasising that Delta is “building a better airline, not just a bigger one.” A print ad in the campaign states: "It's easy to forget that size alone isn't enough to lead this industry."
Continental and United to trade as United Continental Holdings Inc
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Frontier to celebrate ULCC transition with an IPO: intensity grows in the US competitive landscape
After toying with the idea of engaging in an initial public offering for more than year, the US ULCC Frontier Airlines now intends to go public as its major shareholder, ULCC specialist Indigo Partners, sets its sights on Argentina. Frontier has arrived at and passed many ULCC milestones, including producing unit costs excluding fuel below the USD6 cent benchmark for the ULCC model, placing it on par with its fellow ULCCs Spirit Airlines and Allegiant.
Frontier markets its product differently from other US ULCCs, giving passengers the options to purchase product in a bundled form or a la carte, but it still maintains ultra low fares. However, Frontier couldn’t escape the pricing pressure that permeated the US market in 2016, joining the majority of the country’s airlines in posting distinct yield and unit revenue declines.
Obviously, despite the pricing pressure and changing dynamics in the US market, Frontier remains bullish on the opportunities for ULCCs in the market place, concluding that numerous markets exist for it to operate profitably with low fares.
During the past several years Frontier’s network focus has been somewhat murky. Now Frontier’s network strategy is targeting high fare, underserved routes. And like its rival Spirit, Frontier also singles out medium sized markets that offer some protection from larger competitors.
The US Big 3 airlines work to slash pensions while maintaining responsible balance sheet management
The three large US global network airlines – American, Delta and United – continue to tout the strength of their balance sheets; the results which they’ve achieved during the past few years by the use of various tools, including free cash flow generation and debt reduction.
Delta is using its newly minted investment grade status to tap markets for creative ways to fund its hefty pension obligations during the next two to three years. American is also working to ensure pension compensation coverage by lifting its liquidity targets as rules allowing favourable minimum funding contributions expire in 2017.
Each of those airlines is bracing for fairly substantial capital expenditures during 2017, largely driven by aircraft acquisitions, but American, Delta and United have no plans to compromise their balance sheet progress irrationally in order to support fleet revamps.