Virgin Blue Group has hinted at future SkyTeam membership, reportedly stating that passengers originating in Australia may benefit if V Australia was permitted to enter SkyTeam, in a submission by Virgin Blue and Delta Air Lines (Sydney Morning Herald, 26-Jan-2010). The proposed alliance of Virgin and Delta on trans-Pacific routes still requires approval from the US Department of Transportation (DoT).
Virgin Blue hints at SkyTeam membership
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Copa Holdings believes a recovery in demand will support marked rise in 2017 capacity growth
Panama’s Copa Airlines is planning markedly increased capacity year-on-year in 2017 as demand patterns in Latin America continue to build on strength that began to emerge in 2H2016. That followed two years of economic contraction in the region. Most of Copa’s growth in 2017 stems from higher utilisation, given that its fleet is expanding by just a single aircraft during the year. The airline also plans to add back, in the lower season, the capacity that it cut in 2016 to adjust to Latin America’s weakened supply demand scenario.
Copa’s outlook is based on its determination that demand is holding steady in Latin America, and it is joining other airlines in the region in expanding capacity as a slow economic recovery begins to take effect. Its approach, that there is strengthening demand, stretches broadly across its network, even in Brazil, whose deep economic recession drove Latin America’s overall two year long economic contraction.
Copa has no concerns about its fellow Star Alliance partners Avianca and United potentially deepening their partnership through a proposed equity stake by United in Avianca. Although Copa has not publicly confirmed that it courted Avianca during its evaluation process for a strategic partner, the airline now believes United is the best partner for Avianca.
United Airlines stresses that capacity adds are accretive as 2Q2017 unit revenues turn positive
United Airlines expects to attain a positive passenger unit revenue performance in 2Q2017, which would mark the first positive result for the airline in that metric since early 2015. The airline’s PRASM results in 1Q2017 were in line with its initial forecast, which was more conservative than those of its larger US rivals. American and Delta refined their 1Q2017 unit revenue forecast downward, while United kept its guidance intact, and its performance fell within its initial estimates.
The airline’s 2Q2017 positive unit revenue outlook is driven by many factors, including a shift in its management of close in bookings to reduce reliance on advance purchase discounts. Latin America and the US domestic market continue to be bright spots for United, while declines in Pacific unit revenue continue to moderate. United’s better than expected unit revenue performance in trans-Atlantic markets in 1Q2017 should moderate as point of sale tilts more toward Europe later in the year.
Markets seem still to be digesting United’s decision to increase its planned 2017 capacity growth by 1.5ppt. United is stressing that much of the growth is driven by increased gauge, and the growth is designed to restore United to its natural share in the US domestic market.