Greek airports were forced to cancel flights on 05-May-2010, as air traffic controllers took part in a national strike over wage cuts for civil servants (Harrow Oberserver, 05-May-2010). Monarch Airlines announced (05-May-2010) was forced to reschedule its services to Kos and Rhodes as a result. [more]
Strike forces Greek airports to cancel more flights
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Airline strikes: 2016 a peak year for Europe's legacy airlines. Wakeup time, as LCCs pick them off
Pilot strikes at Lufthansa. Again. A strike ballot among British Airways cabin crew. A guilty verdict for Air France workers who assaulted an executive during a union protest. These were all headlines in late Nov-2016, following Air France pilot and cabin crew strikes in summer 2016. Labour relations at Europe's three biggest legacy airline groups are an ongoing challenge.
A CAPA report in Jun-2016 highlighted the growing number of articles on CAPA's website mentioning the word 'strike'. It raised the possibility that if the rate continued through the year, 2016 could be the biggest year for strike-related articles since before the global financial crisis. With a little under a month still to go, this year has already comfortably passed this milestone.
To a large extent labour unrest grows as airline industry profits increase. However, rather than hoping for an industry downturn to reverse the rise in the cycle of strikes, airline CEOs are talking tough – a line long taken by IAG's Willie Walsh. Lufthansa's Carsten Spohr has said that taking on the pilots is "about the future of Lufthansa", noting that it has “no chance of survival" if it gives in to pay demands (Bloomberg, 24-Nov-2016).
Monarch Airlines: group receives new cash from Greybull Capital but profit outlook is down
The latest investment in the Monarch Group by its majority shareholder Greybull Capital avoided the loss of its ATOL licences and the possible suspension of operations. Moreover, it has given Monarch the opportunity to bridge the gap between now and the planned delivery of the first of its new 30 Boeing 737MAX aircraft in 2018.
Nevertheless, Monarch continues to face significant challenges. Europe's short/medium-haul markets are feeling significant downward pressure on unit revenue – particularly in the leisure markets that Monarch serves. This is due to overcapacity and concerns about terrorism in key Monarch markets. Brexit and the sharp devaluation of GBP (it has fallen by 30% against the EUR over the past 12 months) are further challenges for the LCC.
Although Monarch quickly quashed rumours of its financial difficulties in late Sep-2016 and then secured new funds, its commentary indicated that its profit for the year to Oct-2016 would be lower than in the previous year. It has an uneven track record of profitability and has often flown with close to empty cash reserves. Those reserves have been partially replenished, but only sustainable improvements in profitability will avoid the need for further cash calls in the future.