Hainan Airlines and Zesto Group signed an MoU underwhich Hainan Airlines will acquire a stake in Zest Air, according to a Malaya report. Zesto Group will retain a controlling interest in the Philippine carrier. No details were disclosed as to the equity that was acquired, and the price of the acquisition. Zest plans to acquire nine aircraft in 2012 for a fleet size of 19 aircraft as it expands its network.
Hainan Airlines acquires stake in Zest Air
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Turbulence will hurt Southeast Asia’s airlines in 2017 as overcapacity bites
Southeast Asia is a region with enormous growth potential but a relatively cloudy outlook for airlines given the intense competition and overcapacity concerns.
Demand is on the rise, boosted by a growing middle class, rising discretionary incomes and relatively strong economies. Nearly every country in Southeast Asia continues to post GDP growth above the global average. The Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia have been particularly strong with GDP growth in the high single digits.
However, GDP growth slowed to less than 5% in the rest of Southeast Asia in 2016 and is expected to only pick up slightly in 2017. In several Southeast Asian markets, capacity has been growing faster than demand, impacting yields as competition has intensified. With an order book that equals the size of the current active fleet and several airlines pursuing strategic expansion, capacity may again be added at a rate exceeding demand in 2017.
China and Australia remove airline growth restrictions as China cautiously embraces open skies
China has agreed to liberalise passenger flights and remove capacity restrictions with Australia, its largest outbound long haul market after the United States. This is a relief to Chinese airlines, which face bilateral constraints in North America and Europe. The result is already evident as Chinese airlines deploy more capacity and larger aircraft to Australia.
In North American and European markets the local governments hold back on traffic right expansion (let alone open skies). But for Australia it was the Australian government, which signalled some years ago that it wanted to liberalise once China was ready – a time that has now come.
Australia's view was progressive and detached from bygone days of national carrier interest; Chinese airlines hold 90% of the market to Australia. Elsewhere many governments still hold back on Chinese traffic right expansion so their local airlines can continue to grow. There are 15 Chinese airports that have nonstop flights to Australia with a total of 27 airport pairs – figures that should expand in 2017 as the market evolves further with the Virgin Australia-HNA partnership.