Turkish Airlines has reportedly decided to suspend the launch of services to Bilbao and La Coruna in Spain in order to make more aircraft available for new services to Abuja and Kano in Nigeria, and Novosibirsk and Ulan Bator, Mongolia (World Bulletin, 18-Nov-2011).
Turkish halts Spanish growth in favour of emerging markets
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Lufthansa and Etihad bedfellows - at last - but unions may make marriage a distant prospect
There can be no understating the symbolic change in mindset of Lufthansa agreeing to partner with Etihad. Lufthansa has spent the better part of a decade rallying against Gulf airlines to the press, lobbying in Europe's power corridors and seeking a range of aeropolitical measures to wind back new competitors. Etihad has been the prime target for its investment and ongoing top-ups in a range of European airlines including Lufthansa's home competitor, the failing airberlin. Despite that, it is not well known that the two have come close to a liaison before, suggesting that each sees an intrinsic logic in a relationship.
The partnership has potential to be more significant than Emirates-Qantas, Qatar-IAG or Etihad-AF-KLM. But for now it is limited in scope and caution should be exercised in extrapolating too far at this stage.
Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr is seeking new growth platforms that sidestep the flagship business' uncompromising unions who would seemingly prefer a status quo that exists only in memory. Their support will be necessary if the partnership is to work and grow. Then Lufthansa, which has rallied the Star Alliance and JV partners against Gulf airlines, will need to explain its change of heart. For now Lufthansa will not partner on Etihad's beyond-Abu Dhabi network, a move that would embrace the fundamental business plan of Etihad and peers. That upside remains a matter for speculation.
Onur Air: Turkey's number two LCC goes into reverse after German expansion stalls
Turkey's fifth largest airline by seat capacity, LCC Onur Air, has thrown its operation into reverse. After growing scheduled seat numbers at an average rate of 11% pa for four years, including growth at around 20% for most of 2016, it will cut capacity by 20% this winter.
A series of geopolitical events has weighed heavily on demand for air travel in Turkey, particularly in international travel. Weak trading conditions have also prompted the market leaders – national airline Turkish Airlines and LCC Pegasus – to halt their own rapid growth. Onur Air is bigger in the domestic market than it is in the international market, but much of its 2016 expansion was driven by international growth, particularly to Germany.
Onur's network faces strong competition on almost every route, particularly on international routes, and this has clearly posed a severe challenge in the face of falling demand.