European Commission cleared (20-Jun-2013) Delta Air Lines' planned acquisition of Singapore Airlines' 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Group will retain its 51% stake in Virgin Atlantic. Delta and Virgin Atlantic will also enter into fully integrated joint venture to bring together their UK-US routes. The Commission's investigation confirmed the combined entity would continue to face competition from several strong competitors in all markets, particularly from American Airlines and British Airways. [more - original PR]
European Commission clears Delta's planned acquisition of 49% of Virgin Atlantic
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London-Singapore becomes world's longest LCC route as Norwegian enters: Long haul low cost, Part 1
European LCC group Norwegian is to launch service from London Gatwick to Singapore on 28-Sep-2017. London-Singapore will become the longest route in Norwegian’s network – and the longest route by any LCC globally.
London-Singapore is a large market but is currently only served nonstop in both directions by Singapore Airlines (SIA) and British Airways. Norwegian should be able to stimulate new demand and attract passengers who are now flying on competitively priced one stop products.
There will also be opportunities to carry passengers beyond London and Singapore. However, Norwegian will need to rely mainly on end to end traffic.
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.