May 31, 2016
Ryanair is like a runaway train, in that nothing seems to be able to stop it. Despite unfavorable hedges, terrorism, air traffic control strikes and plenty of economic weakness, the airline still managed to turn a profit during the historically weak first quarter. A 6% operating margin never looked so good.
How did Ryanair’s performance compare to that of Wizz Air and easyJet—two airlines that also had solid off-peak quarters? Also, with all three of those airlines growing, when will they start stepping on each other’s toes? Outside Europe, China’s HNA Aviation is purchasing a piece of the struggling Virgin Australia. Is it a smart move? Plus we have an optimistic take on the important, even if not-so-interesting, TSA situation in the U.S.
May 25, 2016
Why are we seeing such different results from the two big Korean airlines? Korean Air again overcame systemic challenges to deliver a standout performance in the first quarter. And although the fuel situation certainly helped, the story wasn’t only about fuel. If you don’t believe us, just ask Korean’s chief rival Asiana, who struggled mightily in the same quarter. And although there’s no sign of a joint venture happening between Korean Air and Delta, we discuss it anyway, because that’s how we are.
Terrorism is—for good reason—on the minds of airlines around the world right now. It’s wreaking havoc on the balance sheet of Turkey’s Pegasus, which is losing a lot of money. But terrorism might be having the opposite effect for Thai Airways, which has made a brilliant return to profitability. We touch on SpiceJet, a comeback story in its own right. And, of course, we talk about what last week’s horrible crash means for Egyptair in the longer run.
May 17, 2016
Emirates last week posted an operating margin nearing 10% for its fiscal year. That’s significantly better than the 7% the year before and a whole lot better than the 5%, 4%, and 3% posted in the years prior to that. Is the airline permanently out of its funk? Turkish Airlines meanwhile is struggling in the face of serious revenue declines brought on by fears of terrorism, among other things.
To make matters worse, costs are rising too, which is particularly nasty when combined with low revenues. Still, Turkish remains undeterred if its 19% capacity growth rate is any indication. By the way, is such growth sustainable? Plus we check in on two very sick airlines, Gol and Air Berlin. And Frontier posted a mediocre Q4 in what was otherwise a terrific year.
May 10, 2016
Is growing Eurowings a safe bet? Lufthansa’s low-cost unit had a rough first quarter and that might not be the last. Eurowings is growing like gangbusters, propelling itself into the teeth of a crowded airline market and doing so with an unproven low-cost longhaul model. Lufthansa’s competitor Air France/KLM meanwhile posted a first-quarter loss, pulled down by its own low-cost unit Transavia. Perhaps a new CEO can turn things around.
Meanwhile, JetBlue presumably wants nothing to turn around as it posted a 22% operating margin in Q1, which was once considered a weak quarter in the U.S. airline industry. Nonetheless, JetBlue is reportedly considering Bombardier’s CSeries. Would it be a good fit?
May 4, 2016
Delta’s new CEO Ed Bastian thinks it’s great that the competition is trying to catch up to Delta in terms of operational performance. He also says, without hesitation, that the competition—namely American Airlines—won’t catch his airline and makes the case in this 30-minute interview. The interview covers a lot of ground and touches on Delta’s fleet philosophy, its network and its joint ventures around the world.
Other topics include online travel agencies, fuel hedging and the SkyMiles program. We even broach what some have called Delta’s arrogance, or as Bastian refers to it, the airline’s “maverick style.” And we learn the real reason Korean Air and Delta haven’t formed a joint venture—Bastian’s response was something we’ve never heard before.