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.
During the COVID-19 pandemic (since Apr-2020) seven European airlines have ceased operations: Germanwings, LGW, LEVEL Europe, SunExpress Germany, Jet Time, Laudamotion and Montenegro Airlines.
Six of these stopped flying as part of a wide restructuring within their parent groups – the two exceptions being Jet Time and Montenegro Airlines, both small airlines.
Not only has the pandemic claimed surprisingly few airline victims, but also it has not discouraged entrepreneurs from planning new airlines. Although not necessarily an exhaustive list, CAPA’s databases record 18 new-start airlines in various stages of plans to launch in Europe (as at 13-Apr-2021).
Perhaps the highest profile start-ups planned in 2021 are the long haul low cost operators Norse Atlantic Airways (Europe to US) and flypop (UK to South Asia), and the Norway-based short haul LCC Flyr.
However, the list also includes Airseven, Sky Alps, Andorra Airlines, Heston Airlines, Jump Air, PRAGUSA.ONE, Bees Airline, HiSky, ASL Airlines UK, CMA CGM AIR CARGO, EGO Airways, Fly Armenia Airways, PLAY, ExtraJet and Italian Airways.
Some of these have been planned since before the pandemic, but the length of this list demonstrates that opportunity will always be seen in a crisis.
TO READ ON, VISIT: More European airlines plan entry than have gone bust during pandemic
The long-anticipated financial aid package for Air Canada from Canada has materialised just as Canada is enduring a second wave of COVID-19 infections and more domestic lockdowns are emerging.
Even before the latest wave of infections, Canada’s air traffic recovery was stalled due to the government’s tight travel restrictions. Vaccination progress is slow, and Canada’s rate of total infections is among the lowest in the world.
Now the airline must decide if the stipulations attached to the nearly CAD6 billion package, including a 6% ownership stake by the government, are worth having an extra layer of liquidity in what continues to be a highly uncertain environment.
TO READ ON, VISIT: Air Canada faces huge uncertainty as government aid emerges
China Southern’s domestic capacity has soared beyond pre-pandemic levels after recent setbacks, but the grim outlook for international traffic is causing the carrier to re-evaluate its fleet plans.
While the COVID-19 crisis will add complications to its dual-hub strategy, the airline still has better medium term prospects than most others in the region.
As the largest airline in China, China Southern is affected by the same trends as the rest of the country’s airlines. Following an initial plunge in early 2020, capacity rebuilt steadily and had fully recovered by the end of 2020. A new wave of infections early in 2021 caused a sharp drop, which affected the peak spring holiday season, but domestic capacity has resumed its upward climb and is now reaching new heights.
The sheer scale of the Chinese domestic market gives China Southern and the country’s other airlines an advantage that many others in the Asia-Pacific region do not have.
The fact that COVID-19 cases have largely been brought under control in China also helps. But the dramatic rebound in capacity has created oversupply that is hurting revenue and yields. And like airlines in other countries, Chinese airlines will need international restrictions to be eased before they can move towards full recovery.
TO READ ON, VISIT: Domestic advantages boost China Southern’s post-COVID prospects
Despite the challenges South America is facing in containing COVID-19, the strategy of the Chilean airline group Sky Airline remains intact – leveraging its presence in Chile and Peru to drive low cost air travel within the region, and on some longer haul routes once its Airbus A321neoXLR aircraft arrive in 2023.
Sky’s markets were highly competitive before the crisis, and that will remain the case once the region is on a course to recovery. But Sky is unfazed by the competitive landscape that could emerge post-crisis, and believes its competitors will make the company even stronger.
TO READ ON, VISIT: CAPA Live: Sky Airline is well positioned to weather the storm
There are very few new deals in the business of airport ownership and leasing, and many have been suspended. Brazil is one of those countries (another is Japan) where transactions do continue, as frequently reported by CAPA.
In Brazil there has been an airports auction every two years on average since 2011, and the sixth was completed in the days following 07-Apr-2021, in a flurry of activity which saw Brazilian company Grupo CCR succeed in a bid for two blocks of airports and France’s VINCI Airports for one block: 22 in total. None of the airports is particularly big, and several of them are tiny as the process begins to run out of steam.
CCR’s expansion can be viewed as an extension of its initial deal to operate the main Belo Horizonte airport within a consortium. But in VINCI’s case the strategy is not clear, unless it is positioning for one or more re-concessioning procedures that may arise over the next year.
TO READ ON, VISIT: Brazil’s sixth airport auction attracts big hitters and big bucks
A CAPA report published in mid Apr-2021 pointed to a small number of airports that were able to demonstrate some actual traffic growth in Mar-2021 and they aren’t in China, where that growth is up to 200% at many airports.
While that is good news, they are statistical outliers.
A more cogent picture has been provided by three large and powerful operators – VINCI, Corporación América and Groupe ADP. Their traffic statistics for Mar-2021 and for 1Q2021, where they are available, demonstrate that the way that the industry is starting to recover from the pandemic’s body blows is very inconsistent, with one group’s worst performers being thousands of miles apart – in Uruguay and Italy.
The only certainty is that Europe continues to be the continent that is suffering the most, since the virus is on the increase again as fast as the countermeasures brought in again to try to thwart it. Indeed, two partly owned subsidiaries of one of the operators turn out to be the better performers, seemingly because they have no western European assets.
While little comfort can be taken from the majority of these statistics, one crumb of comfort is that in all cases here where the operators have reported cargo statistics, they have been universally positive.
TO READ ON, VISIT: Aviation’s biggest airport groups; unpredictability rules
The Caribbean Sea has attracted some notable airport privatisation deals over the years; and some surprisingly successful ones too. It is the centre of attention now as well, as a legion of heavy-hitting operators and investors have weighed in on the concession for the airport in Bridgetown, Barbados.
That process has been set back a couple of months, not surprisingly in the circumstances, but that fact shows no sign of reducing interest so far.
At the same time, the government in Puerto Rico is seeking operators for a number of regional airports, the concession on the main airport having been deemed a successful one. These regional airports are small though, and are a different prospect altogether.
And in the Bahamas, where the government is trying (again) to regain control of the Freeport Grand Bahama airport from a Hong Kong-based firm, a new airport project (Exuma) based around an existing one will seek a private operator through a P3 deal when it is completed.
All three transactions are, or will be, based around the P3 concept, which (as CAPA has often reported) is becoming the dominant one in the sector, just as it is in others.
TO READ ON, VISIT: Caribbean airports: new investment alliances, but privatisation delays
Each CAPA Live, held on the second Wednesday of each month, contains a summary of the latest key developments by region. In this report: Global aviation on an upward trend in Apr-2021; Global: COVID-19 cases per country; Global: COVID-19 vaccinations per country; USA: a remarkable domestic recovery amid testing times; China: continued impressive domestic capacity rebound; UK: a less optimistic view than previously projected, despite vaccine success; Brazil: battling COVID-19 may mean supressed capacity for some time; Singapore and Hong Kong: less than favourable capacity projections; and Australia: ready for the trans-Tasman bubble.
TO READ ON, VISIT: CAPA Live: global aviation update, Apr-2021
Each CAPA Live, held on the second Wednesday of each month, contains a summary of the latest key developments by region. In this report: Asia Pacific continues upward trend; Asia Pacific: COVID-19 cases per country; Asia Pacific: COVID-19 vaccinations per country; China: continued impressive domestic capacity rebound; Australia: ready for the trans-Tasman bubble; New Zealand: continued impressive domestic capacity recovery; Singapore and Hong Kong: less than favourable capacity projections; Japan: robust domestic capacity projections through to the end of the year; South Korea: a shining example of domestic capacity recovery; and Vietnam: a strong domestic outlook.
TO READ ON, VISIT: CAPA Live: Asia Pacific aviation update, Apr-2021
Each CAPA Live, held on the second Wednesday of each month, contains a summary of the latest key developments by region. In this report: In North America – impressive capacity increases amid lower COVID cases; South America represents the only region with negative growth in April; Americas: COVID-19 cases per country; Americas: COVID-19 vaccinations per country; USA: a remarkable domestic recovery amid testing times; Canada: still at near record lows in capacity, even domestically; Mexico: an impressive domestic and international capacity recovery; Colombia: despite high COVID-19 infections, capacity growth is gaining momentum; Brazil: battling COVID-19 may mean supressed capacity for some time; Peru: a small market with small capacity gains; Argentina: bucking the trend in South America.
TO READ ON, VISIT: CAPA Live: Americas aviation update, Apr-2021
Each CAPA Live, held on the second Wednesday of each month, contains a summary of the latest key developments by region. In this report: Europe shows signs of preparing for the summer season; Middle East recovery continues into the spring; Africa has turned the tide on months of negative data; EMEA: COVID-19 cases per country; EMEA: COVID-19 vaccinations per country; UK: a less optimistic view than previously projected, despite vaccine triumph; France: surprisingly robust capacity; Germany: an uncertain summer season ahead; Spain: looking ahead to a quieter than normal summer season; Greece: not projected to exceed 40% of 2019 capacity in summer 2021; UAE and Qatar: Middle East miracles in impressive international capacity recovery; and South Africa: a fall in COVID cases, projecting an increase in capacity.
TO READ ON, VISIT: CAPA Live: EMEA aviation update, Apr-2021
This regular weekly CAPA report features a summary of recent aviation sustainability and environment news, selected from the 300+ news alerts published daily by CAPA. This week’s issue includes: Etihad Airways operates Abu Dhabi-Rome ecoFlight with Greenliner 787; Alaska Airlines sets course for net zero carbon emissions by 2040; All Nippon Airways to introduce biodegradable meal trays; Lufthansa expands Compensaid to include corporate clients; and UK Government to include international aviation and shipping emissions in net zero targets
TO READ ON, VISIT: SPECIAL REPORTS: Aviation Sustainability and the Environment