Airline orders at ‘unprecedented levels’

Airline orders are at ‘unprecedented levels’ with low cost carriers expanding their fleet more than others.

In Europe, EasyJet, Ryanair and Norwegian Air Shuttle have placed orders in the past two years totalling hundreds of aircraft, extending to 2021 for fulfilment, reports the Financial Times.

Airlines have managed their seat capacity carefully to counter any downward pressure on ticket prices, KPMG said in a report, but the number of new aircraft due to come into service means there will be greater competition between airlines.

“Airlines around the globe are replacing their fleet at unprecedented levels,” said James Stamp, global head of aviation at KPMG.

“Much of the order activity by legacy airlines is driven by the desire to cut operating costs. With fuel costs continuing to be at record levels and a new aircraft generation on the market which is up to 20 per cent more fuel efficient, this trend should not come as a surprise.”

Airbus and Boeing have record levels of aircraft on order – at the end of last year Airbus had unfulfilled orders for 5,559 aircraft and Boeing had 5,080.

Low-cost carriers have continued to outperform other airlines in terms of share price, the research also found.

Sourced by Travelmole


Airline profit expectations remain strong

Airline profit expectations remain strongBy Phil Davies

Airline profit expectations remain strong and in line with levels seen since April 2013, a poll of carrier financial chiefs shows.The quarterly Iata survey indicates confidence that air transport volumes will continue to grow over the next 12 months.

The results of the January survey show that a majority of respondents expect to see improvements in profitability.

“The positive outlook has been broadly stable since the April 2013 survey, and in January 2014 over 70% of respondents were expecting profits to improve over the coming 12 months,” Iata said.

A majority (72%) of respondents expect passenger travel to expand over the year ahead, but at a slightly slower pace than the last survey in October (83%).

Airlines took on more staff in the last quarter of 2013, consistent with an improvement in financial performance. This trend is expected to continue in the year ahead.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Middle East aviation growth will continue to set the pace

Middle East aviation growth will continue to set the paceBy Phil Davies
International airline traffic growth in the Middle East will continue to outpace the rest of the world, according to the latest forecast from Boeing.The region will need 2,610 new aircraft worth $550 billion over the next 20 years.

A third of that demand – 900 aircraft – will be replacements but 66% is expected to be driven by rapid fleet expansion in the region, the manufacturer says.

Long-range, twin-aisle aircraft, such as the 777 and 787 Dreamliner, will continue to dominate order books in the Gulf region, reflecting the global network priorities and emerging alliances and partnerships of the region’s carriers.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes marketing vice president Randy Tinseth said: “The Gulf region benefits from a unique geographic position that enables one-stop connectivity between Europe, Africa, Asia and Australasia.

“Additionally, over the last decade, we’ve seen a rise in low-cost carriers that have benefitted from a large youthful population, large migrant workforce and trends toward market liberalisation.”

Twin-aisle aircraft will account for more than half of the region’s new deliveries over the next two decades against 24% globally.

Single-aisle aircraft will make up 47% of regional deliveries through to 2032, while large aircraft will account for 10% of forecast demand.

Globally, Boeing has forecast a long-term demand for 35,280 new aircraft, valued at $4.8 trillion. These new aircraft will replace older, less efficient types.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Aeroflot to establish low-cost airline

Aeroflot to establish low-cost airlineBy Phil Davies

Aeroflot is taking serious steps to launch the country’s first sustainable budget carrier.The airline, which still controls 40% of the Russian aviation market, is hoping from 2014 to launch its first budget routes from Moscow to Saint Petersburg and to cities in the south of Russia from next year.

The new Aeroflot subsidiary, whose name has yet to be unveiled, plans to eventually serve international destinations including Kiev, Yerevan, Istanbul and Barcelona with a fleet that will comprise 40 aircraft starting with Boeing 737s, according to the daily newspaper Vedomosti.

The budget Aeroflot would likely be based at Domodedovo in the south of Moscow as opposed the airline’s main hub at Sheremetyevo airport, the AFP news agency reported.

Russia’s third biggest airline, UTair, is also planning to set up its own low-cost carrier, pointing to a clear market demand.

“People consider more and more that their time is precious and they are going to want less and less to spend two or three days to get anywhere,” chief executive Andrei Martirossov toldVedomosti.

But setting up a budget airline is still dependent on changes to Russia’s aviation regulations which are stricter than in Europe.

Russian law also forbids the hiring of foreign pilots, a major problem in a country whose aviation boom had led to a pilot shortage and consequent high salaries.

Aeroflot chief executive Vitaly Saveliev called it a “paradox” that Russian authorities have allowed Wizz Air and easyJet to fly into the country but has not levelled the regulatory playing field so Russian companies can use the same business model.

“As long as the law does not change, absolutely nothing is going to fly. We are not going to take the risk,” he said. “Aeroflot is not going to invest $100 million in a project which is not going to make us money.”

The Russian authorities appear to have understood the necessity of acting after president Vladimir Putin gave his agreement in principle to the creation of a low-cost airline last October. But changes have been slow to come, according to the AFP report.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


The complete guide to airline charges

We compare charges for items including checked luggage, sporting equipment, credit card use, and seat reservations, at 12 major airlines.

The complete guide to airline charges

Airlines continue to increase their baggage charges and booking fees

By Oliver Smith

The Telegraph

In their efforts to keep headline fares down, airlines continue to increase their baggage charges and booking fees.

Last month Ryanair’s designated “peak period” began, meaning the cost to check in a 20kg suitcase rose from £25 to £35. Since last year Thomson’s checked baggage fee has increased from £15 to £22, and easyJet’s from £14.50 to £18.

Charges for carrying an item of overweight hand baggage have soared too, from £30 to £50 on Monarch, and from £30 to £40 on Flybe, while booking fees rose for those travelling with Ryanair, Aer Lingus and easyJet.

Ahead of the summer holidays, to help passengers compare charges for “extras” such as these, Telegraph Travel – with help from the Civil Aviation Authority – has produced the following tables, detailing fees at 12 major airlines operating short-haul flights from Britain.

Ryanair has outdone its rivals in the a number of categories, with the highest charges for checked luggage (up to £45 on selected routes) and excess baggage (£20 per kilo, although BA’s one-off fee of £40 could be costlier if you’re just a pound or two over). Its £17 per person admin fee to claim back government tax on a cancelled flight is also worth mentioning. Considering it only flies short-haul, the tax paid will never amount to more than £17.

Other notable charges include Thomson’s and Flybe’s hefty excess baggage charges (£13-18 and £15 per kilo, respectively), Thomas Cook’s industry leading charge for sports equipment (up to £70 for some items), and its charge of up to £70 for overweight hand luggage. Aer Lingus’s £8 security surcharge on flights to the US is novel, as is Norwegian’s staggering £160 name change fee on long-haul services (even more than Ryanair’s exorbitant £110 charge).

If you believe any of these charges are wrong or out-of-date, please email travelviews@telegraph.co.uk, and we will update the table.

Luggage

Hold luggage (per flight) Excess Sports/musical equipment Hand luggage Excess hand luggage Other
Aer Lingus £12-20 for 20kg £6 per kg £25 free, 55x40x24, 10kg Hold luggage fee applies Hand luggage allowance less on regional flights
Bmi Regional Included, upto 20kg in economy £10 per kg As part of baggage allowance, or £30 free, 55x40x23 Hold luggage fee applies
British Airways Included, upto 23kg in economy £40 one-off charge (max 32kg) As part of baggage allowance, or £20 free, 56x45x25 Hold luggage fee applies Second item 45x36x20 may be carried on board
easyJet £8-£18 for 20kg £7-£11 £35 per flight free, 56x45x25 £25-£40 Hand luggage larger than 50x40x20 may be put in the hold, at no extra charge
Flybe £13.99-£14.99 (max 20kg) £15 per kg £30 free, 55x40x23, 10kg £40 Checked baggage included on premium fares
Jet2.com From £8 for 22kg £12 per kg £25 free, 56x45x25, 10kg Hold luggage fee applies
Monarch £9.99-£21.99 for 20kg £10 up to 3kg; £10 per kg after £25 free, 56x40x25, 10kg £50
Norwegian £15-42 for 20kg £7 per kg £20-40 free, 55x40x23, 10kg Hold luggage fee applies Checked baggage included on premium fares
Ryanair £15-45 for 15-20kg £20 per kg £50 free, 55x40x20, 10kg £60
Thomas Cook £17-26 for 20kg £8 per kg £25-70 free, 55x40x20, 5kg £50-70 Checked baggage included on package holidays
Thomson £15-25 for 20kg £13-18 per kg Charged as excess baggage free, 55x40x20, 5kg Hold luggage fee applies Checked baggage included on package holidays
Wizz Air £13-30 £9 per kg £34 free up to 42x32x25, 10kg, £8-17 up to 56x45x25, 10kg Hold luggage fee applies

Other charges

Admin fee Credit card fee Reserved seating (per flight) Name change fee (per person, per flight) Infant fee Cancellation fee (per person, per flight) Other
Aer Lingus £7 per person per flight n/a £5-14 £80 £19 £13.50 Security surcharge of £8 on flights to US
Bmi regional n/a £4.50 per passenger n/a n/a 10% of adult fare £25 Admin fee of £8 for telephone bookings
British Airways n/a £4.50 per passenger £10-£25 free online 10% of adult fare £15
easyJet £10 per booking 2.5% of transaction £3-£12 £40 £20 £30
Flybe n/a 3% (minimum £5) £6.50-£15 £40 12% of adult fare £25
Jet2.com £6 per person per flight (online); or £10 at airport 2.5% £7 £35 £20 All flights non-refundable
Monarch n/a 2% (minimum £5) £3.99-£7.99 £100 name change; £35 flight change £20 £35
Norwegian n/a £4 £5-25 £25 (£160 on long-haul flights) 10% of adult fare, plus taxes £160 £11 per person per flight charge for telephone bookings
Ryanair £7 admin + £7 check-in (both per person per flight) 2% £10 £110 name change; £30-60 flight change £30 All flights non-refundable, £17 per person admin fee to claim back tax £70 per person boarding card re-issue fee
Thomson n/a 2.5% (minimum £4.95) £12 (£7 for children) % of original fare, plus £50 for name change; £30 flight change 10% of adult fare All flights non-refundable
Thomas Cook n/a 2% £5 (£3 for children) £20, except for spelling errors spotting with 48 hours of booking 10% of adult fare All flights non-refundable £10 priority check-in
Wizz Air £6 per person per flight n/a £3-14 £38 name change; £26 flight change £21 £51 £9 airport check-in fee

Iata calls for relaxation of airline merger rules

Iata calls for relaxation of airline merger rulesBy Phil Davies,

Governments are being urged to take a more relaxed view on global airline mergers because consolidation is seen as a key driver of profits.

The call came in an Iata study supported by analysis from McKinsey showing that returns on capital invested in airlines have improved in recent years, but are still far below what investors would normally expect to earn.

Director general and chief executive Tony Tyler (pictured) said: “The airline industry has created tremendous value for its customers and the wider economies we serve.

“Aviation supports some 57 million jobs globally and we make possible $2.2 trillion worth of economic activity. By value, over 35% of the goods traded internationally are transported by air.

“But in the 2004-2011 period, investors would have earned $17 billion more annually by taking their capital and investing it in bonds and equities of similar risk.

“Unless we find ways to improve returns for our investors it may prove difficult to attract the $4-5 trillion of capital we need to serve the expansion in connectivity over the next two decades, the vast majority of which will support the growth of developing economies.”

He said that airlines “face a hyper-fragmented industry structure owing to government policies that discourage cross-border consolidation. There is plenty of room for some fresh thinking on all accounts”.

The biggest cost for airlines is fuel and companies in this sector benefited from an estimated $16-48 billion of their annual net profits generated by air transport.

The most profitable part of the rest of the value chain is in distribution, with the computer reservation systems businesses of the three global distribution system companies generating an average return on invested capital (ROIC) of 20%, followed by freight forwarders with an ROIC of 15%, according to the research.

Sourced by Travel Weekly


P&O Cruises mulls move towards airline-style pricing

P&O Cruises mulls move towards airline-style pricingBy Lee Hayhurst

P&O Cruises is exploring enhancements to its dual-fare pricing system in 2014 to add greater value to its flexible early booking deals similar to how airlines operate.The UK market leader and sister operator Cunard introduced Vantage and less flexible, late deal oriented Getaway fares last year.

But the operator says it wants to increase the differential between the fare types so customers recognise the value in Vantage fares and the two types can be offered together throughout the selling process.

Work on how this might be achieved comes after agents complained some customers were angered by Cunard Getaway fares released in March five months before departure.

These were offering a £700 per couple saving which agents complained undermined the benefits of Vantage fares which they had persuaded customers to buy.

Although the operator has included a price promise with its Vantage fares under which it will make up any difference if they have to be reduced no such offer is made if the deal is a Getaway fare.

Speaking to Travel Weekly at the keel laying of P&O Cruises’ new ship in Italy last week, managing director Carol Marlow said deliberations were still at an early stage.

“It’s all about differential between the two fares and how much people value those differences,” she said.

“We are looking at the positioning of the two prices and whether there is demand for a Getaway earlier in the process more like an airline with a fully flexible fare and a more restricted fare.”

Marlow said that P&O Cruises has had to reduce its Vantage fares this year on a number of occasions and customers were able to take advantage of the price promise.

Meanwhile, Marlow said she was optimistic that the line’s as yet unnamed new superliner would be hitting the market at the right time as the economic upturn takes hold.

“There is a certain optimism out there even now. How great if this ship can add to that sense of optimism and encourage people to be positive and move on.

“We are looking at this ship as being a vehicle for us bringing in a whole host of new cruisers. This is the biggest and best ship built for Britain. We are seeing this as the next generation of new ships.”

The new vessel, which is the same class of ship as Princess Cruises new Royal Princess, will enter service in 2015, but will go on sale in around a year’s time.

Sourced from Travel News


Global airline demand up but problems remain

Stronger business confidence in emerging regions of the world helped push up global airline passenger demand by 3.7% in February.

Demand has been growing at an annualized rate of 9% since October – almost double the growth trend over the first nine months of 2012, according to Iata.

But the airline body warned that dark clouds still exist in Europe and the US.

Director general and chief executive Tony Tyler said: “The industry’s fortunes appear to be moving in the right direction. But the margins are wafer thin. And any shock – the continuing eurozone crisis or budget sequestration in the US – could negatively impact the outlook.

Budget sequestration measures began to take effect on Monday. Alongside the economic impact of uncertainty and reduced US government spending, operational concerns are “significant”, Iata warned.

Passengers in the US could face flight delays and even longer lines then usual at security and border control.

“It’s unfair that air travellers should suffer the impact of sequestration given that airlines and passengers already pay around $4.5 billion a year in fees and taxes for the essential services of border control and airport security,” Tyler said.

“It is unlikely that the savings that will be achieved from sequestration will offset the damage to the economy if air travel is discouraged by these cutbacks.

“Aviation is an important catalyst for economic growth and prosperity. The cost of the shocks, uncertainty and unpleasant surprises can only hamper efforts to revive the economy.

“The government’s priority should be on extracting the greatest economic benefit possible from aviation – not making it more difficult to do business.”

He added that the February figures show that demand for air travel continues to rise on economic optimism and improved business confidence.

“But that comes with a few caveats,” Tyler said. “Much of the growth is concentrated on emerging markets. Europe continues to be a laggard. And the handling of the banking crisis in Cyprus has reminded all of us that the deep problems in the eurozone economies still remain.”

European carriers have not seen any growth in international demand since October, reflecting the contraction of the Eurozone economy in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Iata. Overall growth was up by just 0.8% compared to February last year.

They have responded by tightly managing capacity, which declined by 2% year-on-year in February. This pushed the load factor up to 76.5%.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Airlines are ranked for the most ‘on-time’

Japanese airlines have scored the top spot in both on-time performance and the fewest cancellations globally.

Flight tracking website, Flightstats, has announced its 2012 Airline On-time Performance Service Award Winners.

For the third year, Japan Airlines (JAL) comes out on top. The airline has been in the top five since the awards began in 2009.

The other four finalists were Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, KLM and Scandinavian Airlines.

Another Japanese airline, All Nippon Airways, had the lowest number of global cancellations. Other finalists in that category were El Al Airlines, Emirates, Finnair and Singapore Airlines.

Within Europe,  LOT Polish Airlines was top of the list with 89.35% of its flights being on time. Close runners up were Aer Lingus, Finnair, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Scandinavian Airlines.

Among European regional airlines, the winner was Aegean Airlines, with a 93.02% on-time performance. Close runners up were Brit Air, KLM Cityhopper, Regional Compagnie Aerienne and Tyrolean Airways.

Sourced by Travelmole


American and US Airways poised to create world’s largest airline

American and US Airways poised to create world's largest airlineBy Phil Davies

A merger between American Airlines and US Airways to create the world’s largest carrier could be announced as soon as next week.The two airlines have been discussing a potential deal for months and US media outlets are reporting that the board of American’s parent company AMR will meet on Monday to consider a possible merger.

The combined carrier is expected to retain the American Airlines name and be based in Fort Worth in Texas.

A combination of the two airlines would create the world’s largest airline, with a combined $38.7 billion in revenue and a workforce of more than 100,000.

American would be 2.3% larger than rival United Airlines by capacity, and 2.2% in terms of traffic.

American creditors would own roughly 72% of the airline and US Airways shareholders about 28%, the Wall Street Journal reported.

US Airways chief executive Doug Parker is likely to take over as chief executive after the merger with his AMR counterpart Tom Horton expected to fill the role of chairman.

American filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2011 and faces a decision to either merge or climb out of bankruptcy while remaining as an independent airline.

Nothing has been decided and no actual deal is in place, a source told ABC News. Both airlines have declined to comment on reports that a merger is imminent.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


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