Brazilian antitrust regulators may reportedly suspend Gol Linhas Aereas' purchase of Webjet, citing potential harm to competition in the industry (Reuters, 13-Jul-2011). Gol and Webjet have yet to surrender key information on the deal to civil aviation and antitrust regulators. Antitrust regulator Cade opposes Gol's plan to eliminate the Webjet brand, and is growing more concerned that the civil aviation industry is slowly turning into an oligopoly.
Gol Linhas Aereas' purchase of Webjet may be suspended: antitrust regulator
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Airline disruption: it will happen in the next decade - but no one is preparing for it
Why so unprepared? It seems inconceivable that the structure of an industry with so many artificial constraints can remain intact much past 70 years, while all around it has changed.
This decade alone has been witness to major disruptions in the travel and transportation industries. Most prominent have been in ride sharing – Uber – and in hospitality – Airbnb. Telecommunications, media and music industries have also been turned on their heads; banks and payments are in the firing line; retail generally is being rapidly transformed. There is scarcely an industry whose fundamental structure remains intact. Except the airline industry.
In all cases disrespectful startups, usually applying relatively simple but sophisticated IT solutions, have taken on legacy operations. The legacy industries under attack typically involve extensive capital investment, and are often characterised by significant, unhelpful, and highly intrusive government regulation that restricts competition.
Certainly the legacy airlines have had to deal with a new breed of low cost operations, long and short haul. But almost without exception those legacy operators are still there, fundamentally unchanged.
In terms of other industries, this is no more than fiddling around the margins. And time is running out.
TAP Portugal transforms under new owners to tap potential; at forefront of narrowbody long haul
A period of restructuring following investment by new shareholders in TAP Portugal in Nov-2015 has led to a resurgent airline. It returned to profit in 2016 after two years of losses and enjoyed a surge in passenger numbers in 4Q2016.
The investment by the Atlantic Gateway Consortium, which HNA Group will formally join in 1H2017, provided funds for fleet expansion. TAP's orders include A321neoLR aircraft, giving it the potential to open new long haul routes not possible with widebodies.
TAP's VP finance, Teresa Lopes, told the CAPA Fleet & Finance Summit on 2-Mar-2017 that the A321neoLR would be deployed on the Atlantic, putting the airline at the forefront of narrowbody long haul operations. TAP's new shareholders have also enabled new partnerships with Brazil's Azul, JetBlue of the US and China's Hainan Airlines. The TAP-Azul relationship has already progressed beyond codeshare and the Hainan relationship offers much potential.
In the past year TAP has also reorganised its regional operation, launched a new fare structure and embarked on a seat densification programme to lower unit cost and drive revenue. As Ms Lopes said, "We are certainly going through a transformation, we don’t want to be envisioned as a legacy carrier anymore".