Hello and welcome to our weekly aviation business briefing for the week beginning Monday 30 October 2017.
First of all, we were very saddened to learn that Ben Sandilands, author of the Plane Talking Blog has passed away. Australian aviation has long been a source of very strong corporate and personal rivalries between airlines and their senior executives. Ben offered consistently robust and reliable industry commentary.
Adieu to Air Berlin
Air Berlin bowed out gracefully on Friday evening with its final flight AB6210 from Munich to Berlin Tegel and a series of tweets on its official feed taking an affectionate look back at its history.
The fate of its aircraft and slots now seems certain. easyJet announced on Friday that it is to acquire up to 25 leased Airbus A320s and slots at Berlin Tegel. With Lufthansa also acquiring a substantial number of Air Berlin aircraft and slots, the next step is for the competition authorities to announce any remedies.
The Third Quarter Reporting Season Continues
A string of airlines announced their third quarter results last week:
International Airlines Group announced a 20% rise in its 3Q operating profit €1,455 million. IAG also signaled the possibility of Aer Lingus acquiring more Airbus A321 LR aircraft which could open up many new routes from Dublin to North America and, ergo, providing more one-stop options from London via Dublin.
There were also strong results from Lufthansa for the 9 months to 30 September 2017.
American Airlines announced a pre-tax quarterly profit of $1bn.
Air Canada announced EBITDAR of CAD$1.388 billion
JetBlue operating income of $310m a decrease of 12.6% year on year.
Qantas also provided a trading update for its first quarter of the year.
International Airlines Group holds its annual Capital Markets Day on Friday
Amongst the industrial quantities of Powerpoint slides, we should learn more of plans for IAG group airlines in 2018. Last year we learned of BA’s plans to invest £400m in Club World and to “densify” its London Gatwick Boeing 777s. On Friday, we may learn more of BA’s plans for Club World.
Also of note this week:
Today, Monday 30 October, the Transport Select Committee will hear evidence from John Holland-Kaye (CEO of London Heathrow), Willie Walsh (CEO of International Airlines Group) and others on the impact of Brexit on aviation.
BA announced short-haul fares of less than £40 each way from London Heathrow, signalling a determination to compete in London’s short-haul market and stimulate new demand.
BA’s turnaround of Club World took another step with White Company bedding and amenity kits now available on the London Heathrow – New York JFK route.
Delta has released a new web series “Earning Our Wings” featuring newly recruited flight attendants going through training. A lot of work has clearly gone in to it there are strong shades of American reality show production values.
The administrators of Monarch, KPMG, announced they are to seek a judicial review of the likely forfeiture of Monarch’s slots at London Gatwick after Airport Coordination Ltd determined that Monarch’s slots should be returned to the slot pool rather than retained for disposal by Monarch’s administrators. A judicial review is an expensive process and not easily won.
United Airlines has now ended Boeing 747 operations to London Heathrow with flight UA900 from London Heathrow to San Francisco on Saturday 28 October 2017. United will officially end passenger Boeing 747 flights on Tuesday 7 November 2017 with a special flight UA747 from San Francisco to Honolulu.
Virgin Atlantic visits an airline graveyeard for Halloween.
Finally, here are two videos that really caught our attention this week:
First, this is a great film by KLM highlighting initiatives to improve the airport experience at Amsterdam Schipol. Produced by DDB & Tribal Amsterdam it’s a clever use of non-aviation imagery, which is often the best source of aviation advertising, to highlight a part of passengers’ journeys that is very much taken for granted.
Also, this is great film in BA’s “BA Magic” initiative featuring a surprise on. a passenger who has not been able to fly for some years due to life changing injuries. Having initially been sceptical of the entire initiative, all credit to BA for a very nice gesture.
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