- Passenger numbers: 4.7 million, +1.2%;
- Domestic: 3.3 million, +2.0%;
- International: 1.4 million, -0.8%;
- Aircraft movements: 47,508, +1.2%;
- Air cargo: 145,062 tonnes, +2.6%.
LAX pax traffic up 1.2% in Feb-2011
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Alaska and Delta: the end of a partnership, but the start of new competition on the US west coast
A decision by Alaska Air Group and Delta Air Lines to dissolve their codesharing partnership in late 2016 was not surprising, given that the demise of their relationship began about four years ago when Delta opted to build Seattle into a strategic trans Pacific hub. Since that time the financial benefit Alaska has enjoyed from the relationship has dwindled as Delta has built up its own network in Seattle to feed its long haul flights, rather than rely on passengers from Alaska.
After the two airlines formally announced their split: through the planned launch of seven new markets from the airport in 2017 Delta sent a clear message that it had no intention of backing down in Seattle, breaking an Alaska monopoly in several of those markets. However, Delta’s international expansion from Seattle appears to be on hold until the airport completes a new customs facility at the airport in 2019.
Even as their relationship officially ends, competitive dynamics between Alaska and Delta will intensify on the US west coast as Alaska embarks on its merger integration with Virgin America. Alaska will find itself competing with Delta and numerous other airlines in the strategic and fragmented Los Angeles market, and the merged entity retains a solid presence on numerous key routes from the airport.
Mexican airlines: growing US protectionism creates a cloud of uncertainty over 2017
Mexican Airlines are starting 2017 under a cloud of uncertainty driven by the country’s slower economic growth and the increasing rhetoric by president-elect Donald Trump against US companies planning to sustain or expand their operations in that country. The US auto manufacturer Ford recently back-pedalled on plans to construct a new plant in Mexico, and GM has also drawn ire from the president-elect over its Mexican operations.
The threat of dissolving trade pacts, and Mr Trump’s general anti-immigration stance, sent the MXP plummeting after the US Presidential election, and the latest round of threats of taxation on automobiles manufactured outside the United States has put additional pressure on Mexico’s currency, which has been weaker during the last year and that has created pressure for Mexican airlines. However, for now, Mexico’s air passengers continue to grow at a steady rate. The country’s domestic airlines charted approximately 12% growth in passengers from Jan-2016 to Nov-2016, and international passengers among those airlines for the same time period strengthened by 11%.
Predicting whether those levels of growth will continue in 2017 is a challenge, given the level of uncertainty the US election has created for Mexico, along with internal strife the country is dealing with – including growing inflation and discontent over rising fuel prices.