For Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia, the recent fall in the price of oil was an early Christmas present. By the end of the day last week that the airline boss had taken to twitter to express his delight, the price of Brent crude had fallen further to $69.78 a barrel, its lowest price in four years.
Fernandes’ enthusiasm can be easily understood. Airlines spend more than 30 per cent of their operating costs on fuel: the oil price fall means higher profits for the industry, which can now lower fares to attract more customers.
Stock market investors have also been buoyant toward airlines. US airlines have seen their stocks surge over the past two months, while China’s three largest airline companies gained over 10% last week. Meanwhile, airlines in the Asia-Pacific have been reported to be waiting for oil prices to fall more before “hedging” their fuel needs for the next year in an attempt to capitalise on the price slide. Read more
If you have ever sat mute on a plane trying, but failing, to think of a way to start a conversation with the person next to you – then South Africa Airways (SAA) is here to help.
In recent days it launched “social check-in”, through which you share personal details with strangers on Facebook before checking in and choose to sit next to someone you’d like to get to know better. Read more
Poland’s troubled Lot Polish Airlines is getting a helping hand from Boeing: the US aircraft manufacturer stuck an agreement with the carrier, which had complained about losses incurred after two of its 787 Dreamliner planes were pulled from service due to faulty batteries. Read more
Poland is thinking of saving its national airline in the same way the Czechs have – by creating a holding company uniting the loss-making carrier with a more profitable airport and ground services operation.
Will it work? Read more
The fortunes of airlines may fluctuate from tricky to troubled the world over, but new numbers out on Monday show that one sector is booming, at least in the number of seats available.
Asian carriers have expanded the number of low-cost seats available dramatically in 2013, leaving other regions trailing in terms of growth, and catching up with the low-cost capacity of the US and Europe. Read more
Poland’s flat countryside hasn’t been regularly visited by elephants since mammoths disappeared at the end of the last ice age, but a new elephant has appeared not far from Warsaw – a white one.
That would be the problem-plagued Modlin airport about 40km north-west of Warsaw. This week it was dealt a body blow by Hungary’s low-cost Wizz Air airline, which announced it would not be returning to Modlin after the airport was forced to close for more than half a year to rebuild its runway. Read more
It may be having a rough time at home, but South African Airways still has friends overseas – and the latest is Etihad Airways. The airlines announced a strategic partnership on Monday, including a route-sharing partnership on flights to Abu Dhabi and beyond.
SAA and Etihad will also look at joint procurement and maintenance opportunities, according to the statement. In return, Etihad gets access to 10 cities in South Africa and other parts of Africa. Read more
In the bird flu pandemic of a decade ago, airline stocks plunged by up to 30 per cent as travellers scrapped their plans and investors took fright. But SARS was new and it took weeks for the story to really hit the financial markets.
The outbreak this week of a new strain of the disease seemed to have spooked fund managers far more quickly. On Friday, Chinese airline shares plummeted by as much as 15 per cent. Read more
Bad debt and bad bankers have dominated most headlines about Vietnam in the last few years. What gets less attention, however, is its promising tourist industry. Unfortunately, getting people to Vietnam’s tourist attractions has nevertheless proved difficult. The country’s airlines are struggling to stay alive, let alone profitable.
Of the five private airlines launched in Vietnam since 2007, only one is still in business. Read more
EasyJet is bringing budget air travel to one of Europe’s more expensive routes – London to Moscow – in a move that will appeal to many a cash-strapped business traveller.
The airline said that it would undercut its rival British Airways – offering a £125 return fare for the next three years, which is less than half BA’s cheapest ticket of £311. Read more
1time it flew
South Africa’s domestic air travel should be one of Africa’s most lucrative aviation patches. But with a history of failures, increasing consumer caution, and court action challenging the state’s aviation funding, new budget players eyeing the market may be in for a turbulent time.
The sector, with 12.7m trips in the last 12 months, is being hurt by high fuel costs and airport taxes. It also has had a fair amount of corporate failures. Over the last two decades, 10 of the 11 independent airlines have collapsed. Can the newcomers make a go of it? Read more
It’s been billed Africa’s “best airline” for a good ten years running now but South Africa’s troubled SA Airways (SAA) has little to celebrate nowadays, with news that it could slash more flight routes to save money. Read more
Source: Tata Sons
JRD Tata (pictured) is known as the man who ran India’s largest conglomerate for 53 years. He was also the first person to qualify as a pilot in India and launched the country’s first carrier in 1932 – Tata Airlines – which was later nationalised.
Now, Tata Sons is going back to aviation. Read more
Sebastian Mikosz is a man in a hurry.
Only four days after taking over Poland’s Lot Airlines, the new chief executive (who also headed the company in 2009-10) is racing to turn around the loss-making flag carrier as quickly as possible and to put the government-owned airline on the market before the end of this year. Read more
The bottomless money pit that is Lot Polish Airlines is asking for yet another handout – this time 400m zlotys ($127m), but that is only the starting point of a demand that could go as high as 1bn zlotys or more.
The airline’s need for cash took many by surprise. Lot has been making a loss ever since 2008 but had been expected to scrape out a small operating profit this year after posting a 145m zlotys loss in 2011. Read more
Argentina’s import restrictions are a headache for many companies. Now it appears that Lan, the Chilean airline that has recently merged with Brazil’s Tam is having trouble importing a new aeroplane from its South American neighbour. The upshot? Lan is talking about having to cut services on certain routes out of Buenos Aires city airport as a result. Read more
By Nicholas Watson of bne
Emirates, the Gulf carrier, is preparing a new route from its Dubai hub to Poland and upgrading its connection to Russia by putting Moscow on its Airbus 380 superjumbo flight list.
While such an expansion by the world’s largest airline is a vote of confidence in emerging Europe, it’s less good news for the region’s struggling flag carriers that are desperately looking to be rescued by such global airlines. Read more
At the launch of an Indonesian-Malaysian airline in Kuala Lumpur earlier this week, Najib Razak, the Malaysian prime minister, suggested the venture heralded a new era of co-operation between two neighbours more used to bickering.
But while a politician with an election to fight soon might put it like that, the market has taken a different view of the establishment of Malindo Airways, a joint venture between ambitious Indonesian budget carrier Lion Air and Malaysia’s National Aerospace & Defence Industries. Read more
Myanmar has undergone significant reforms in the last year, putting it firmly on the tourism and business agenda. But aside from economic and political changes, merely providing the means for foreigners to visit is a significant challenge, even as Myanmar begins to receive considerable international investment.
This has not escaped the attention of major airlines, who are scrambling to meet demand. Read more
Qantas has ditched its alliance with British Airways for Dubai’s Emirates airline, in a further sign of the shifting balance of power from Europe’s legacy carriers to the Gulf.
As part of the 10-year deal, the Australian carrier will move its long-haul hub from Singapore to Dubai, where Emirates’s cavernous Terminal 3 building is already filling up to the rafters. The move dovetails with Dubai’s plan to ramp up capacity through Dubai airport to match the airline’s aggressive expansion plan and boost the number of passengers travelling through the emirate. Read more