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TAAG Angola Airlines is discussing with Boeing a potential acquisition of additional 737 aircraft which would be used to rightsize and grow its fleet. TAAG operates an all Boeing fleet and has traditionally relied on guarantees from the US Ex-Im Bank, which has an uncertain future under the administration of the new US President Donald Trump.
TAAG prefers to stick with the 737 to support regional growth and potentially replace some of its older model 777s. It is not yet considering other aircraft options – such as the Airbus A320, Embraer E190 or Bombardier CSeries families. However, TAAG and its government shareholder will have to consider other manufacturers – and other loan guarantees schemes – if Boeing does not come up with a viable financing alternative.
TAAG has completed an initial phase of a turnaround, posting a near break even result in 2016, but needs to change its fleet composition to position the airline for long term profitability. The government owned airline has too many 777s, given the limited size of its long haul network, and also needs to retrofit at least some of these aircraft as they are in an unideal three class configuration.
Global commercial aircraft deliveries fell in 2016 as Boeing again outsold Airbus; 2017 to be a peak
The global commercial aircraft fleet grew by 4% in 2016 and the year ended with an order backlog of more than nine years of production. Among the regions, North America still has the biggest and oldest fleet, but the lowest ratio of orders to aircraft in service. By contrast, Middle East has the fewest in service, but the highest ratio of orders to current fleet numbers.
This report gives an overview of the number of commercial aircraft deliveries in 2016 and the outlook into 2017 and beyond. It also looks at numbers in service and on order by region. It is based on preliminary numbers from the CAPA Fleet Database and guidance on 2016 deliveries from Airbus and Boeing, who have yet to announce final numbers.
The data indicate that total worldwide deliveries fell in 2016, the first such decline for six years, as a result of delays to new aircraft programmes. Boeing delivered more aircraft than Airbus for the fifth straight year, but its deliveries fell short of its 2015 level, while Airbus increased its numbers year-on-year. Total deliveries will likely rise again in 2017, but this may prove to be a peak year.
The summer 2016 season came to an end on 29-Oct-2016. Adjusting for an extra week relative to the previous summer, it produced seat growth of 6% for capacity to/from/within Europe, matching the rate of growth in summer 2015, but higher than the 10-year average rate of 4% and higher than any other summer since 2010.
Current indications from data filed with OAG are that Europe will also experience accelerating capacity growth in the winter 2016/2017 season, which runs from 30-Oct-2016 to 25-Mar-2017. Adjusting for the season being shorter by one week relative to last winter, total seat growth in Europe is set to reach 7%, compared with 6% growth in winter 2015/2016 (and 6% growth in summer 2016). This is higher than the 10-year average rate for winter of 3% and the highest winter growth since 2007/2008.
On routes to all but one region from Europe, seat growth this winter will both be faster than last winter and higher than its 10-year average. The one exception is Europe to Middle East, the fastest-growing region, where capacity growth will remain at 10%. This report presents analysis of this winter's seat growth for Europe by region and by airline group.
Airports in the US energy capital of Houston appear to be effectively weathering the downturn in that business sector due, in part, to a diversification scheme undertaken three to four years ago. This scheme was designed to shore up the number of foreign airlines serving the area’s largest airport – Houston Intercontinental. International passenger growth at the airport has helped to alleviate some of the pressure created by fewer domestic connecting passengers from its biggest operator United.
Houston Hobby is also posting solid growth, partially attributable to new transborder services that Southwest started up from a new international terminal at the airport in late 2015. The new service has helped to sustain overall passenger growth of 1.3% in the Houston area for 1H2016. For the first five months of 2016 Hobby recorded 10% passenger growth year-on-year.
With two airports offering commercial service for the metro area Houston has a unique operating profile. Southwest’s dominance at Hobby and Frontier, and Spirit’s operations at Intercontinental, also ensure a solid mix of full service and low cost airlines.
TAAG Angola Airlines is expanding its long haul operation following delivery of two additional 777-300ERs and is looking to build up its regional network. A new strategy being rolled out with the assistance of its new partner Emirates focuses on developing a hub in Luanda and pursuing more sixth freedom transit traffic.
TAAG recently added capacity to Portugal, the only European country in its limited long haul network. TAAG is now preparing to launch new European routes, taking advantage of opportunities made available by its recent removal from the EU blacklist.
However, TAAG faces huge short term challenges as the decline in oil prices has subdued demand in its home market. TAAG remains unprofitable, and it will not be easy to turn the airline around in the current environment.
Air Mauritius has returned to profitability and is keen to pursue expansion in support of an ambitious hub strategy by its government shareholder. The airline turned an EUR18 million operating profit in the year ending Mar-2016 as passenger numbers grew by 9.4% - representing the fastest growth in five years.
Mauritius is geographically well positioned to attract sixth freedom traffic between Africa and Asia, a fast-growing market. However, competition is intensifying in the Africa-Asia market and in Mauritius, which could make it difficult for Air Mauritius to succeed at developing a new east-west hub while maintaining its new-found profitability.
This is the second part of an analysis report on Air Mauritius and the Mauritius market. The first report looked at Air Mauritius' expansion in Asia, and the need to bolster its network in continental Africa in order to secure more sixth freedom traffic between Asia and Africa. It also examined the impact of AirAsia X’s Oct-2016 launch of services to Mauritius. In this half of the report CAPA will look in more detail at the intensifying competition in the Mauritius market; how this may impact Air Mauritius’ new-found profitability and its ability to further develop an Africa-Asia hub.