News for The Americas

Qantas Group domestic market share increases in Q3FY2022, expected to reach 70%

3 May, 2022

Qantas Group reported (02-May-2022) the following highlights for Q3FY2022:

  • Leisure demand is very strong, with Qantas and Jetstar operating at approximately 110% of pre-COVID-19 capacity over the Easter school holidays;
  • Small business travel is now above pre-coronavirus levels and corporate travel is at 85%;
  • Group overall domestic market share has increased and is expected to be 70% between the two main competitors;
  • Bookings for markets including London, Los Angeles, South Africa and Bali are all above pre-coronavirus levels and Jetstar has resumed more than 60% of its international routes as more leisure destinations in Asia have reopened;
  • Higher domestic freight volumes are expected to be largely maintained given the structural shift in Australia's e-commerce activity. Some softening of international yields is anticipated as more passenger flights return in the months ahead;
  • Qantas Loyalty's underlying EBIT is expected to approximately double from Q3FY2022 to Q4FY2022. [more - original PR]

United Airlines to resume San Francisco-Melbourne service from Jun-2022

3 May, 2022

United Airlines announced (02-May-2022) plans to resume three times weekly San Francisco-Melbourne service from Jun-2022. United Airlines SVP of international network and alliances Patrick Quayle stated the airline sees "a bright future ahead for United, for Melbourne and for US-Australia travel". According to OAG, the service will resume on 06-Jun-2022 and will be operated using Boeing 787-9 equipment. United Airlines last operated the service in Mar-2020, and will be the sole scheduled operator on the route. [more - original PR]

Spirit Airlines to advance with acquisition by Frontier Airlines, rejects JetBlue proposal

3 May, 2022

Spirit Airlines announced (02-May-2022) its board of directors unanimously determined JetBlue Airways' proposal to acquire the airline for USD3.6 billion "does not constitute a 'Superior Proposal'" in comparison to Frontier Airlines' planned merger with Spirit. The board found JetBlue's proposal is "not reasonably capable of being consummated" due to antitrust concerns, adding the proposal involves an "unacceptable level" of closing risk that would impact Spirit stockholders. Spirit Airlines noted that as long as JetBlue's Northeast Alliance with American Airlines remains in existence, the proposed JetBlue/Spirit combination has a "low probability" of receiving antitrust clearance. Spirit's board maintains the pending transaction with Frontier represents "the best opportunity to maximise value". Spirit Airlines will continue to work towards finalising the transaction with Frontier, expected to close in 2H2022, subject to regulatory approval. [more - original PR] [more - original PR - II]

JetBlue Airways enhances proposal to acquire Spirit Airlines

3 May, 2022

JetBlue Airways enhanced (02-May-2022) its proposal to acquire Spirit Airlines for USD3.6 billion. The updated proposal includes the following changes:

  • Divestiture commitment: If necessary, JetBlue would agree to divest assets of both carriers up to a material adverse effect on Spirit, with a limited carve-out for actions that would negatively impact JetBlue's Northeast Alliance (NEA) with American Airlines;
  • Remedy package to address NEA and regulatory concerns: JetBlue would offer a remedy package including the divestiture of all Spirit assets in New York and Boston to prevent JetBlue from further increasing its presence at airports covered by the NEA. The package would also include gates and assets at other airports including Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport;
  • Reverse break-up fee: In the event that the transaction is not finalised due to antitrust concerns, JetBlue would provide a USD200 million reverse break-up fee to be payable to Spirit Airlines.

JetBlue Airways CEO Robin Hayes stated: "By creating a national competitor to the Big Four airlines, this transaction would deliver meaningful benefits for customers, superior value for shareholders of both airlines, and new opportunities for our combined crewmembers. We have confidence that we can complete this transaction to bring more low fares and great service to more customers. A JetBlue-Spirit combination will deliver enhanced financial strength and accelerate revenue growth and profitability for JetBlue shareholders". [more - original PR] [more - original PR - II]

New Zealand Government welcomes visitors from approximately 60 visa waiver countries

2 May, 2022

New Zealand's Tourism Minister Stuart Nash and Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi announced (02-May-2022) visitors from approximately 60 visa waiver countries may travel to New Zealand from 02-May-2022. Mr Nash stated: "Thousands of passengers are touching down today on around 25 flights at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch international airports as New Zealand opens up further for business". Services arriving on 02-May-2022 are departing from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Australia, Nadi and Rarotonga. Mr Nash added: "We are currently seeing around 33,000 arrivals per week and we know today's changes will further boost arrivals as interest in travel to New Zealand remains high. International flight searches to NZ are running 19 per cent higher than pre-COVID (March-April 2019)". [more - original PR]

Avianca and Viva to merge under Avianca Group holding company

2 May, 2022

Avianca and Viva announced (29-Apr-2022) plans to incorporate Viva into the Avianca Group International Limited holding company, pending regulatory approval. Features of the agreement include:

  • If approved, both carriers will retain individual branding and strategies;
  • Viva founding partner Declan Ryan will join Avianca's board;
  • Any transfer of control rights over Viva's operations in Colombia and Peru is subject to obtaining necessary regulatory authorisations.

Avianca chairman Roberto Kriete said: "This new and robust group of airlines will benefit customers by using a more efficient cost structure to offer lower fares, a route network that delivers direct connections between destinations, a strong loyalty program and friendly and efficient service". Viva founding partner Declan Ryan added: "If the authorities approve the management of both groups under the same holding company, it will encourage the growth of the air transport market, promoting low rates for users and good service with the best punctuality". As previously reported by CAPA, Avianca reincorporated as Avianca Group International Limited, a UK based holding company, following the completion of its restructuring process. [more - original PR]

Lufthansa introduces new A350 business class

2 May, 2022

Lufthansa announced (29-Apr-2022) an A350-900 aircraft (D-AIVC, 'Munich') was christened at Munich Airport on 29-Apr-2022 by Bavaria's Minister-President Markus Söder. The aircraft is the first in the carrier's fleet to be equipped with an updated business class, which provides direct aisle access for all business class seats. The aircraft was deployed immediately on routes from Munich to Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. The carrier said the introduction of the new business class "marks beginning of an extensive renewal of Lufthansa's cabins", as it plans to introduce a "new top product" across economy, premium economy, business and first class in 2023. [more - original PR]

Qantas to order 12 A350-1000s for 'Project Sunrise'

2 May, 2022

Qantas Airways announced (02-May-2022) plans to order 12 A350-1000s to operate non-stop 'Project Sunrise' flights from Australia to cities including New York and London. The 238 seat aircraft will feature first class suites with a separate bed, recliner lounge chair and personal wardrobe, a 'next generation' business class suite, a new premium economy seat pitched at 40 inches, a new economy seat pitched at 33 inches and a 'wellbeing zone' designed for movement, stretching and hydration. The aircraft will have the smallest seat count of any A350-1000 currently in service. Qantas stated travellers can expect more direct routes to Australia and significantly reduced point-to-point travel time. The cabin interior and service design were influenced by medical and scientific research carried out on three Project Sunrise research flights from New York and London to Sydney in 2019. Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce stated: "The first Project Sunrise flights will be from New York and London, but the aircraft will also be able to operate non-stop flights to Australia from destinations such as Paris and Frankfurt". [more - original PR] [more - original PR - II]

Norse Atlantic Airways to launch four services from Oslo to US in summer 2022

2 May, 2022

Norse Atlantic Airways announced (29-Apr-2022) plans to launch the following services in summer 2022:

  • Oslo-New York JFK: Three times weekly from 14-Jun-2022, increasing to daily from 04-Jul-2022;
  • Oslo-Fort Lauderdale: Three times weekly from 18-Jun-2022;
  • Oslo-Orlando: Three times weekly from 05-Jul-2022;
  • Oslo-Los Angeles: Three times weekly from 09-Aug-2022.

CEO Bjorn Tore Larsen said the launches will be "a major milestone", adding: "The introduction of affordable Norse Atlantic Airways point-to-point flights between Europe and the US will benefit both local tourism and businesses. Not only are we directly investing in the countries that we operate by employing local staff we are also supporting job creation across the wider tourism and service industry". All services will be operated with Boeing 787 aircraft. [more - original PR]

Rex and Delta Air Lines to enter partnership from late 2022

2 May, 2022

Regional Express (Rex), via its official LinkedIn account, stated (02-May-2022) it entered a partnership with Delta Air Lines. Scheduled to commence in late 2022, Rex passengers will be able to connect with Delta's Los Angeles-Sydney service to nearly 50 destinations in the US and Latin America. The final agreement will see Rex and Delta providing reciprocal interline ticketing and baggage services to each other commencing during the third quarter in 2022. [more - original PR]

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