KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
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- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
P.O. Box 7700
1117 ZL Schiphol
- Main hub
- Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
- Business model
- Full Service Carrier
- Domestic | International
- Airline Group
- Part of Air France-KLM S.A.
- Joined Alliance
- Association Membership
- Codeshare Partners
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Air Europa Lineas Aereas
China Eastern Airlines
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Established in 1920, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is the national carrier of the Netherlands. KLM operates an extensive network which includes services within Europe and to Asia, Africa, North America, Central and South America and the Middle East. The carrier also operates freight services, and handles all service operations from its hub at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. KLM is a founding member of the SkyTeam alliance, and is part of Air France-KLM S.A.
Location of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines main hub (Amsterdam Schiphol Airport)
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Europe has yet another airline trade body. It has been formed by Europe's three biggest legacy airline groups (Air France-KLM, IAG, Lufthansa Group) and its two largest LCCs (easyJet and Ryanair) to lobby European governments and regulators on airport charges, air traffic control issues and passenger taxes.
The six existing "airspace user associations" have already demonstrated unity on these matters through joint responses to the EU Aviation Strategy in Dec-2015 and Jan-2016. This leaves questions over the founding members' view of the new body's role relative to the old associations. Designed to increase the perception of industry unity, it avoids matters on which its founding members disagree, notably competition from Gulf airlines. Moreover, it has drawn a hostile response from the European airports' trade body, further highlighting divisions in aviation.
It is difficult to avoid the feeling that the new association changes little. Even its name lacks originality: Airlines for Europe, inevitably abbreviated for the digital age to A4E, is just an adaptation of Airlines for America. A4E will hope that A4A's loss of a key member (Delta) in 2015 is not a glimpse of its own future.
Paris Orly Airport: Air France shrinks as its LCC Transavia grows, but easyJet & Vueling grow faster
The Paris terrorist attacks on 13-Nov-2015 interrupted a healthy year of traffic growth at Paris Orly Airport but did not prevent it from posting record passenger numbers for the year. Its traffic suffered more in the global downturn than that of its larger sibling airport, Paris CDG, but it also recovered more strongly. However, Orly's growth has been slower than CDG's in the past two years, since Air France's network cuts at its number two airport have offset LCC expansion there.
As a low cost market Orly is relatively small, but it has the distinction of being an important base for the LCC subsidiary of two of Europe's Big Three legacy airline groups. It is the second largest base for Air France-KLM's Transavia, and the third largest for IAG's Vueling. However, both have much less capacity there than easyJet, for whom Orly is only the tenth largest airport.
Transavia's growth, while Air France shrinks, is little more than maintaining Air France-KLM's traffic at Orly. It is not maintaining the group's market share, since Vueling and easyJet are growing faster. A 2014 agreement with pilots limits Air France-KLM's room for manoeuvre.
Air France flight 439 from Mexico City arrived in Paris CDG on 11-Jan-2016, and was the airline's last commercial 747 passenger flight.
The service brings to an end over 45 years of 747 flights at the French flag carrier. Later in 2016 Cathay Pacific and Saudia will also retire their passenger 747 models. Once a ubiquitous sight, 747-400s are disappearing, 221 of them now remaining in service (according to CAPA's Fleet Database). One third of them are in service with just three airlines: British Airways, United Airlines and KLM. BA operates almost twice as many 747-400s as the next largest operator, and still intends to have a 19-strong fleet by the end of 2020.
Almost half of the world's passenger 747-400s are with European carriers, but seven of the world's 10 longest 747-400 routes are to/from Australia, all operated by Qantas. Of the 15 longest 747-400 routes, all but one are to/from Asia-Pacific.
The fading of the 747-400 has meant a diminishing role on long haul routes. The aircraft type accounted for nearly half of Asia-Europe and Asia-North America flights in 1H2006, but in 1H2016 it accounts for less than 10%. On the trans-Atlantic, 747 flights have gone from a 15% share to 9%.
Air France-KLM's low cost subsidiary Transavia will open its first base outside the group's home markets of France and the Netherlands. From Mar-2016, it will base four Boeing 737-800 aircraft in Bavarian state capital Munich. The airport will be Transavia's seventh base, after Dutch airports Amsterdam, Rotterdam/The Hague and Eindhoven and the French airports Paris Orly, Nantes and Lyon.
Flights from Munich will operate under Transavia's Dutch AOC, thereby presumably avoiding the need for agreement with Air France pilots, using mainly German pilots and cabin crew. However, Munich is by no means a low cost airport and Transavia will need to increase its initial fares, typically starting at EUR29 on many routes. The relative lack of LCC competition at Munich may be an attraction, but Lufthansa may eventually respond with its LCC Eurowings.
In addition to analysing Transavia's plans in Munich, this report also reviews Transavia's track record and compares it with the LCC subsidiaries of IAG and the Lufthansa Group. Judging by the size of its fleet, network and profitability, Transavia currently trails the other two. All three trail behind Europe's leading LCCs Ryanair and easyJet.
HNA of Hainan Airlines buys 24% of Azul as China's airlines eye their final continent: South America
Having established a footprint in Australia, Europe and North America, this year Chinese airlines turned their attention – with government direction – to Africa. Now they are closing in on their latest continent: South America. China's HNA Group, which owns flagship Hainan Airlines, disclosed on 24-Nov-2015 that it would take a 24% stake in Azul for USD450 million, becoming the largest shareholder of Brazil's third largest airline.
This stake is HNA's largest airline acquisition by value, and most significant outside greater China. It follows a separate non-airline transaction in recent days and a slew of acquisitions over the summer, including Swissport, bringing known acquisition spend to over USD11 billion in a handful of months.
Unlike the US and European investments in Latin American carriers, HNA's objective is different. It wants to link South America with China but also, by all indications, to learn about an efficient domestic operation, which Azul has created in its own right. Air China serves São Paulo while other Chinese airlines rely on partners, but more fifth freedom Chinese services into Latin America are expected. Vancouver, the most popular North American point for Chinese carriers, hopes China will ask Canada for beyond rights to connect China with Latin America over Vancouver.
Chinese airlines have finally kick-started international growth, expanding 37% in the first eight months of 2015. This equates to an additional 7.38 million passengers in 8M2015 compared to 8M2014. This almost equals the 7.39m passengers Chinese carriers added between 8M2010 and 8M2014. The volume growth Chinese carriers used to achieve over four years is now being achieved over just a single year.
With countries continuing to liberalise visas for Chinese nationals, and the Chinese government directing airlines to expand internationally, this faster international growth is the new norm. Although most international Chinese traffic is short haul, the accelerated growth is seen with long haul expansion: Sichuan Airlines launched long haul flights in 2012 and not another Chinese carrier went long haul until Xiamen Airlines in Jul-2015. Beijing Capital Airlines followed in Sep-2015, and 2016 could see two more airlines – Tianjin Airlines and Tibet Airlines – fly long haul. 2016 will see at least 10 Chinese airlines operate widebody aircraft. This report looks at the long haul growth from China's secondary carriers that will increasingly become intercontinental names.