Industry Intelligence – catch up on CAPA’s exclusive market analysis insights

11 October, 2021

Each week, CAPA - Centre for Aviation produces informative, thought provoking and detailed market analysis of the aviation industry. With supporting data included in every analysis, CAPA provides unrivalled and unparalleled intelligence. Here's some of the reports published over the past week.

Air New Zealand targets zero-emission aircraft in its fleet plan

Air New Zealand is studying how it could incorporate hydrogen-fuelled aircraft in its network, which could help it meet an ambitious goal of replacing part of its domestic fleet with zero-emission aircraft.

The airline has signed an agreement with Airbus to undertake a joint research initiative focused on hydrogen aircraft, and particularly on the key question of fuel supply infrastructure. Air New Zealand is interested in using either hydrogen or electric aircraft technology in its regional operation.

While there is nothing yet available in the size the airline would need, the airline believes there is enough potential that such aircraft could be a viable option for the next generation of its smallest fleet type.

Zero-emission aircraft are one facet of Air New Zealand's emission reduction plans, along with sustainable aviation fuel usage. The airline has historically been an industry leader in terms of sustainability efforts, which sits well with the airline's - and New Zealand's - marketing image.

On a more practical level, this will also allow the airline to stay ahead of global industry emissions commitments and government standards, and future-proof its fleet strategy.

TO READ ON, VISIT: Air New Zealand targets zero-emission aircraft in its fleet plan

US aviation: unruly US airline passenger behaviour remains high

One unfortunate by-product of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US is a sharp rise in unruly passenger behaviour, spurred in large part by mandates that passengers wear masks on aircraft.

Although trends in aggressive passenger behaviour are moving in the right direction, in reality those incidents remain alarmingly above pre-pandemic levels.

Now pressure is growing for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to flex its legal muscle to deter the belligerent behaviour. But the reality is that these incidents could continue in some form until mask mandates are lifted.

TO READ ON, VISIT: US aviation: unruly US airline passenger behaviour remains high

Ultra Air ready to bring new ULCC competition to Colombia

Colombian ultra-low cost start-up Ultra Air has formally outlined plans to launch by YE2021 from a base in Medellín. The company will be Colombia's second ULCC after Viva and will also face legacy competitors - Avianca and LATAM - that are becoming more lean during Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

All of Colombia's airlines see promise in the market as South America recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, and there's no shortage of ambition among those operators. Dynamics are also evolving as low cost operators think outside their model's traditional confines.

TO READ ON, VISIT: Ultra Air ready to bring new ULCC competition to Colombia

Misplaced 'environmental stand' against Bristol Airport expansion

The COP-26 climate conference will be held shortly. Pigs will fly and Hell freeze over before anyone stands up at that event and makes a case for sustainable expansion of airports, which is what all responsible airport managers aspire to.

Meanwhile, local politicians - such as the new breed of city-region mayor in the UK, flushed and heady with hitherto unavailable powers - are bending over backwards to prevent even moderate levels of airport expansion designed merely to keep pace with the level of growth which preceded the coronavirus pandemic, and which hopefully will soon return.

The most recent example is at Bristol Airport in the UK, a mid-ranking airport that supports an economically and culturally successful city-region.

In this instance the mayor has insisted, incredibly, that the expansion of a small terminal building, a new car park and a few ancillaries is tantamount to being "bad for our planet".

If it weren't so serious it would be risible. But it is not only Bristol Airport that stands to suffer. In the wake of the COP-26 just about any airport, struggling to recover from the pandemic, will be at risk from politicians who have lost touch with, or choose to ignore, the simple reality that the air transport business is the most successful on earth at limiting its carbon footprint.

TO READ ON, VISIT: Misplaced 'environmental stand' against Bristol Airport expansion

Vietnam wants local authorities to manage small airports

A few years ago Vietnam attempted to entice Groupe ADP (France) to take an equity position in the expensive greenfield Long Thanh airport near Ho Chi Minh City. The expectation gap could not be closed and the deal fell through.

Now the government has another tack. Dividing airports into three categories, it wants Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) to take responsibility for primary airports and Long Thanh. There will be no private sector involvement. Nor will there be involvement with a second group, joint civil and military airports.

But a third group, of smaller airports, should become the responsibility of 'localities', with some ACV help but with private sector collaboration uppermost, if it can be found.

An interesting diversion, but one which goes against the grain of how it has been done elsewhere, and probably at the wrong time, too.

TO READ ON, VISIT: Vietnam wants local authorities to manage small airports