Singapore Airlines’ stake in Virgin Atlantic reportedly may be taken over by Delta Air Lines (Bloomberg, 03-Dec-2012). Delta is reportedly in talks with Singapore Airlines to purchase some or all of its 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic as it seeks to gain more access to London Heathrow Airport. Air France-KLM is also reportedly looking to take an additional stake in Virgin. Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson currently holds 51% of the airline.
Singapore Airlines’ Virgin Atlantic stake reportedly may be taken over by Delta Air Lines
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Air France-KLM Group dreams of CDG airline boosting Air France; KLM again makes more profit in 2016
In 2016 Air France-KLM's long haul network generated more profit than the group as a whole. Yet the dependence of Air France-KLM's profits on the long haul business is under threat from more cost efficient competitors, in particular the Gulf based super connectors. Moreover, Air France-KLM's main European competitors IAG, and now Lufthansa, have developed a clear lead in developing commercial partnerships with Gulf airlines.
Air France-KLM's 2016 operating margin was its highest since before the global financial crisis, but remained below its pre crisis peaks and well below the rest of the world airline industry in what was almost certainly a new record year for global margins. Within the group, KLM's margin improved and was again higher than that of Air France, whose margin fell.
The planned new lower cost airline to be based at Paris CDG as a subsidiary of Air France, announced in outline in 2016 under the project name 'Boost', will now include medium haul in addition to long haul routes. This will be vital to setting it back on a path to sustainable profitability – if agreement can be reached with pilot unions to launch it. Even then, its scope and low cost ambitions will be limited.
Ryanair's 117million pax in 2016 tops European airline groups. The first time an LCC topped rankings
For the first time ever in Europe, in 2016 a low cost airline carried more passengers than any other airline or airline group, as Ryanair's 117 million passengers pushed Lufthansa Group's 110 million into second place. Ryanair had beaten Lufthansa itself, but not the whole Lufthansa Group. IAG's first full year of including Aer Lingus helped it to take third place from Air France-KLM. Europe's number two LCC, easyJet, was ranked fifth.
The big five can be expanded into a big seven to include Turkish Airlines and the Aeroflot Group, although these two had contrasting growth rates in 2016. A chasing pack of middle sized airline groups includes three LCCs (Norwegian, Pegasus and Wizz Air) and three legacy airlines with varying challenges to establishing sustainable profitability (SAS, Air Berlin Group and Alitalia).
Most of the faster growing airline groups in the top 20 are LCCs and the main growth drivers for Europe's big three legacy groups are their LCC subsidiaries. Just outside the top 20 are some fast growing legacy airlines in Eastern Europe, demonstrating the potential there. Nevertheless, unless there is a big merger or acquisition, Ryanair looks set to remain at number one for some time.