Analysis for Europe/MEA
When the UK departs the European Union in 2019, Berlin will replace London as the continent’s largest city and it will perhaps have a brand new airport to celebrate that standing, although we should perhaps still mention that with a whisper.
After strong growth since the end of the financial year to March 2015, UK low-fare carrier Flybe says its fleet numbers reached a peak in May 2017 and are now set to fall by 18% over the next three years. The airline's new CEO, Christine Ourmieres-Widener should reap the benefits of actions taken by her predecessor to limit the impact of surplus capacity ordered by his predecessor.
It seems completely logical if one airline has had to park many of its short-haul aircraft for the short-term due to the forced suspension of flights into four neighbouring nations and another needs an immediate capacity uplift to prepare for an impending staff walkout, then moving those resources seems sensible. But, in a regulatory-enriched sector such as aviation such a simple and obvious task is not always easy. Qatar Airways and British Airways (BA), both members of the oneworld alliance, appear to be working on just this solution to overcome their current operational issues.
Tourists flying to the UK this summer appear so far to be relatively undaunted by recent terror attacks, according to intelligence provider ForwardKeys. The company, which predicts future travel patterns by analysing 16 million booking transactions a day, says looking ahead, data shows that, as of June 17, 2017, forward bookings for international arrivals in London for the months of July and August were 12% ahead of what they were at the same point last year. This is a significantly more positive position than the European average, which is currently 7.8% ahead.
Gulf carrier Qatar Airways will place its new Qsuite business class concept into commercial service later this month, just days after unveiling the product onboard one of its aircraft for the first time. After launching the design at ITB Berlin in March this year, the airline has now fully retrofitted the four-seat design into the first of its Boeing 777-300ERs and displayed the aircraft at this week’s Paris Air Show.
Airbus is presenting a development study for an enhanced A380, the “A380plus” in the hope of securing additional customer for the slow-selling aircraft. The study includes aerodynamic improvements in particular new, large winglets and other wing refinements that allow for up to 4% fuel burn savings. Added to an optimised A380 maintenance programme and the enhanced cabin features first shown at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in April, the overall benefit is a 13% cost per seat reduction versus today’s A380.
Irish virtual airline powdair plans to launch a winter programme of flights into Sion, the capital of the canton of Valais in Switzerland. The airline will inaugurate flights from eight destinations across Belgium, Germany and the UK from the middle of December 2017 using two Embraer E170s or E190s operated on an ACMI basis by an as yet announced carrier. It is ultimately seeking to raise around €5 million to apply for its own Irish Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) and manage its own operations.
A start-up backed by a leading Russian airline has resurrected the Cyprus Airways brand and boost connectivity from the Mediterranean island. Established under the name Charlie Airlines, the business, which shares common ownership with S7 Airlines paid just over €2 million to the Cypriot Government for rights to operate under the Cyprus Airways brand for the next ten years.
After selecting its Bavarian hub for the deployment of its initial batch of Airbus A350s at the start of this year, German flag carrier Lufthansa has now revealed that it will transfer more than a third of its Airbus A380 fleet to Munich Airport from summer 2018. The move suggests a recent disagreement with Fraport, the operator of its Frankfurt Airport hub, over changes to its development strategy and costing structure, may be influencing its own network strategy.
The Blue Swan Daily brings you another exclusive infographic, focussing on aircraft deliveries for 2017 and sourced from the CAPA Fleet Database.