Korean Air's overall reservation rate for international services in Apr-2010 reportedly reached 80% as of 26-Mar-2010, with reservation rates of 93% on Southeast Asian routes, 79% on US routes and 82% on routes to Europe (Chosun, 29-Mar-2010). The carrier reported load factors in the 80% range in 1Q2010. Meanwhile, Asiana Airlines' reservation rate of over 80% for Apr-2010 reportedly represents its highest in recent years. Approximately 87% of seats on flights to the Americas are booked, with 83% on flights to Australia, 84% for Southeast Asia and 80% for Japan. Meanwhile, Jeju Air reportedly has an average reservation rate of 75% for international services in Apr-2010, with the carrier expecting improved performance from 1Q2010 levels.
South Korean carriers see improved demand for 2Q2010
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Korea's LCC sector ended 2016 with 103 aircraft – the first time the collective fleet had crossed the 100 mark for what, until recently, was Northeast Asia's most dynamic market. Korea has six LCCs, with Jeju Air regaining a strong lead as the largest LCC. Half of Korea's LCC fleet has been added in the last three years. It is Northeast Asia's largest LCC market after China and, surprisingly, well ahead of Japan.
But overall Northeast Asia's LCC sector is pale in comparison to Southeast Asia, whose LCCs operate 74% more aircraft. Lion Air alone has more aircraft than all of Korea, while the AirAsia Group has more than all of China. Only three of East Asia's ten largest LCCs are in Northeast Asia.
And it is unclear how much further Korea's LCCs can grow in the short term. They have mostly flown domestically, and slots are now constrained. International opportunities are also challenging, and further complicated by the Jan-2017 decision of China to reject charter applications during the popular – and very profitable – Chinese New Year. Korea's LCCs needed liberalisation, not antagonism.
CSA Czech Airlines: restructuring, partnerships, and now growth for SkyTeam's smallest airline
One of the five oldest airlines in the world that are still in operation, CSA Czech Airlines is also the smallest airline in SkyTeam by passenger numbers. After several years of losses the airline returned to profit in 2015 and expects another positive result in 2016, albeit below last year's level. CSA Czech Airlines is growing once more this year, after a restructuring programme involving reductions in its fleet, capacity and headcount it has also developed a profitable contract flying business. Together with lower fuel prices, its restructuring has helped to achieve the airline's turnaround.
CSA Czech Airlines has a predominantly European network. Its only intercontinental route is from Prague to Seoul, the hub of its part-owner – codeshare partner and fellow SkyTeam member, Korean Air. Its biggest destination market is Russia, but this is followed by the Western European countries France, Italy and Germany. It has a relatively low share of seats at its hub in Prague, where LCCs have a significant share and Ryanair has opened a base this winter. However, although CSA faces strong competitors on routes to non-SkyTeam hubs, competition is limited elsewhere by its targeting of niche regional routes and its use of codeshare agreements (including with Travel Service, another part owner).