United Airlines traded 14 slots per week at London Heathrow Airport to Continental Airlines for winter 2010/11 on 03-Jun-2010 (slottrade.aero, 24-Jun-2010). The trade description noted: “Daily morning arrival and evening departure.”
United trades Heathrow slots to Continental
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Qantas' first 787 routes, Perth-London nonstop and Melbourne-LA, address urgent strategic needs
Qantas' first regular 787 services are a year away, but the airline is already announcing the initial routes so it can increase its proposition in deeply significant markets (and also begin preparations while avoiding possible media leaks). The well-flagged Perth-London nonstop service was announced first, but the first route to be flown will be Melbourne-Los Angeles from 15-Dec-2017.
Perth-London nonstop is less about the actual market between Perth and London (it is small) and more about Qantas connecting the rest of Australia with a one-stop proposition via an Australian port with an experience that Qantas can intimately control. Even with Qantas' successful restructuring and cost base reduction, it will still need to command a yield premium.
Nonstop to London, an unprofitable market not expected to turn to black in the short term, is also about the prestige and marketing value of being the only airline to operate Australia-Europe nonstop. Melbourne-LA was likely a late change, prompted by US rejection of its proposed JV with American Airlines. The JV would have resulted in American entering the Melbourne-LA market; Qantas' 787 will instead provide the necessary boost in presence of a market that has become more competitive.
US airlines: a turnaround in unit revenue just as cost pressures rise in 2017
The four largest US airlines are moving closer to returning to positive unit revenue in 2017 after each of those companies has issued an improved unit revenue forecast for 4Q2016, driven by stronger yields and continued improvement in close in bookings. The yield improvement indicates that the US domestic environment is gaining some pricing traction after two years of weak fares, and the results on close in bookings continue a trend that emerged in the US market during late 3Q2016 and continued through the rest of the year.
Delta and Southwest have both publicly cited a bump in demand since the US presidential election in Nov-2016. Delta has expressed cautious optimism that the US revenue environment has turned a corner, and the positive momentum is driving the company’s confidence of climbing out of a negative unit revenue performance in 1Q2017.
Key to sustaining unit revenue momentum is keeping capacity in check over the course of 2017. American, Delta, United and Southwest have all declared their intentions to lower capacity growth in 2017, and show no intentions of revising those targets upwards. Rising fuel cost and non fuel cost inflation are the major headwinds for US airlines in 2017, which has resulted in Delta declaring margin compression for the year.