United, Delta and American Airlines announced their latest USD10 hike on round-trip fares has failed as LCC giant Southwest Airlines did not follow suit (AP/Wall Street Journal, 06-Apr-2011). On 05-Apr-2011, the increase collapsed at the same time AirTran and Frontier put a limited number of seats for summer travel on sale. The average ticket price for a US domestic economy seat sold on Expedia has been up 6% to 17% weekly in 2011 compared with the same weeks in 2010. Services from LaGuardia to O’Hare cost 27% more in Mar-2011 on average. Tickets sold for LA-New York were 21% more expensive than in 2010.
United, Delta and American Airlines fare increase fails
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Branded fares: a philosophical shift to preserve premium product pricing for large US airlines
The Basic Economy trend sweeping the US airline market is fostering speculation about the exact results that American, Delta and United hope to achieve by introducing new tiered pricing structures into the market place. On the surface, the pricing structures are tools for those airlines to compete more effectively with ULCCs in the market. But more strategically, new pricing segmentation provides the large three US global airlines an avenue to execute their revenue management more effectively, preventing pricing dilution of their more higher end offerings.
Even the rivals that American, Delta and United are targeting with their bare bones product offerings believe that ultimately their new pricing schemes could create pricing stability in the US market – which appears on a fragile path to recovery. The logic for that conclusion rests on the ability of the Big 3 for product upsales that drive up pricing for all fares in the market.
One challenge the large US airlines face in the expansion and roll out of their new tiered pricing structures is ensuring the correct product attributes are communicated correctly through distribution channels outside their respective websites. Proper execution is key in order for American, Delta and United to realise the billions in potential revenue that they believe exists from the overhaul of their pricing structures.
Delta Air Lines & Korean Air announce joint venture in shadow of China Southern's SkyTeam defection
It is surely no coincidence that Delta Air Lines and Korean Air announce their joint venture a mere two days after their SkyTeam partner China Southern Airlines – the largest in Asia, second largest in SkyTeam and sixth largest in the world – agrees to an investment and broad strategic partnership from Delta's rival, American Airlines, a member of oneworld.
Delta and Korean Air have long flagged their JV and the 29-Mar-2017 announcement is only a Memorandum of Understanding. The JV will have to be strong, with a high level of integration and trust, since it will involve profit sharing and not just revenue sharing.
Yet aside from that Delta and Korean have offered no new details, or even a time frame. Their announcement merely formalises what they have essentially been saying for months.
If it is to be leverage against China Southern-American, it should be noted that the two partnerships will be very different in the medium term and will not create significant competition with each other. The Delta-Korean JV comes with unfortunate timing for Korean Air, which continues to face slackening investor confidence and severe pressure in the Korea-China market.