SkyTeam formally welcomed (29-May-2012) Saudi Arabian Airlines as its 16th member. Upon joining SkyTeam, the carrier has reintroduced the Saudia name, previously used between 1972 and 1996. The flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, Saudia becomes SkyTeam’s first member airline from the Middle East and gives the alliance a strong foothold in the region. Saudia adds 51 new destinations to SkyTeam’s global network, including 23 within Saudi Arabia. Saudia director general Khalid Al-Molhem said joining SkyTeam is "an integral part of Saudia’s long-term transformation strategy, which includes rebranding our airline, restructuring core operations and enhancing onboard products and airport services.” Prior to joining SkyTeam, Saudia embarked on a four-year turnaround programme, which will be completed by 2013. Honour, an aviation brand experience consultancy, designed and managed the brand refresh programme. Other elements of Saudia’s transformation plan include modernising IT, commercial, operational and financial platforms and renewing the fleet by acquiring 90 new aircraft. Middle East Airlines is also due to join the alliance this year. [more - original PR] [more - CAPA Analysis]
Saudia joins SkyTeam as 16th member and first Middle East regional member
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Europe summer 2017 airline capacity outlook: fifth successive summer of above trend seat growth
Airline seat growth from Europe in summer 2017 is set to stay at almost 6% for the third successive summer, according to data from OAG. This rate had not previously been reached since 2010, although this will be the fifth straight summer of growth ahead of its 10 year average rate. The summer 2017 season started on 26-Mar-2017 and, although always subject to further change, the data give a fairly clear picture.
Seat capacity on routes from Europe to Africa will grow the fastest, as the region recovers from a terrorism related drop in demand in North Africa. There will also be above trend growth in almost every other region from Europe (including intra Europe). The only exception is Europe-Middle East, where the newly cautious Gulf airlines' growth is slowing this summer.
On the North Atlantic, always important for the profitability of Europe's leading legacy airlines, growth will be faster than its 10 year trend, but it will at least be a little slower than in the past summer. The loss of market share from the immunised North Atlantic JVs to newer and smaller competitors, including LCCs, is set to continue. As ever, the OAG capacity data provide a window into the changing structure of the airline markets from Europe.
Copa Holdings believes a recovery in demand will support marked rise in 2017 capacity growth
Panama’s Copa Airlines is planning markedly increased capacity year-on-year in 2017 as demand patterns in Latin America continue to build on strength that began to emerge in 2H2016. That followed two years of economic contraction in the region. Most of Copa’s growth in 2017 stems from higher utilisation, given that its fleet is expanding by just a single aircraft during the year. The airline also plans to add back, in the lower season, the capacity that it cut in 2016 to adjust to Latin America’s weakened supply demand scenario.
Copa’s outlook is based on its determination that demand is holding steady in Latin America, and it is joining other airlines in the region in expanding capacity as a slow economic recovery begins to take effect. Its approach, that there is strengthening demand, stretches broadly across its network, even in Brazil, whose deep economic recession drove Latin America’s overall two year long economic contraction.
Copa has no concerns about its fellow Star Alliance partners Avianca and United potentially deepening their partnership through a proposed equity stake by United in Avianca. Although Copa has not publicly confirmed that it courted Avianca during its evaluation process for a strategic partner, the airline now believes United is the best partner for Avianca.