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Qantas Airways is operated as part of the publicly listed Qantas Group. It is the national airline of Australia with major hubs in Sydney and Melbourne and secondary hubs in Perth and Brisbane. Utilising a large fleet of narrow and wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft, Qantas operates an extensive domestic and international network, with services to New Zealand, the Americas, Asia, South Africa and Europe. Regional services are provided by subsidiary, QantasLink. Qantas is a founding member of the oneworld alliance.
Location of Qantas Airways main hub (Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport)
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5,349 total articles
414 total articles
Air New Zealand to sell Virgin Australia stake to fund expansion: Chengdu could be next after Manila
Air New Zealand has been on a long haul growth streak, opening five destinations since 2015. Manila was most recently announced and Chengdu could be next, once again giving Air NZ two destinations in mainland China after exiting Beijing. Chengdu as a destination – or another city – would mean that Air New Zealand would serve more points in Asia than Qantas.
Globally, Air NZ is catching up to Qantas for destinations outside Australia/New Zealand/Pacific Islands. In 2006 Qantas served 21 points outside the region and in 2016 serves 18, although this is an increase from the situations in recent years. Where Qantas has cut, Air New Zealand has grown, increasing from 10 long haul destinations in 2006 to 16 (if Chengdu is included) in 2016. With Air New Zealand due to receive nine 787-9s through 2019, with only some of those due to replace existing aircraft, the airline could serve more points than Qantas. A sale of Air NZ's stake in Virgin Australia could pay the cost of three widebody aircraft and possibly accelerate Air NZ's growth even more. Qantas will remain bigger for number of flights and seats. Qantas offers upwards of five daily flights to Singapore whereas Air NZ offers just one.
Virgin Australia's future is fundamentally sound, but ownership uncertainty was introduced after Air New Zealand flagged the potential sale of either part, or all, of its 25.99% stake in the airline. Air New Zealand CEO, Christopher Luxon, has been the only shareholder to state publicly that Virgin "needs to get profitable", and he was reported to have called for Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti to resign before his own departure from the board. Chairman Elizabeth Bryan equally, reportedly rejected the call.
The announcement leaves the door open to another airline joining the share register, or for existing shareholders Etihad and Singapore Airlines to increase their holdings - or even a possible full takeover and subsequent delisting of the airline. Singapore Airlines has the most obvious strategic investment in Australia and the funds to easily acquire and recapitalise Virgin and therefore favourite to move. But this is far from certain; no public indications have been made and (though unlikely) it is possible that no buyer is interested.
China may be the story for the great outbound travel boom, but its neighbour Japan is the home for inbound visitor growth. Despite being one of the world's most populous nations, with a high GDP and rich culture, Japan has hardly registered with visitor arrivals. That is quickly changing. Between 2010 and 2015 Japan added 11 million annual visitors. Japan ended 2015 with 19.7 million visitors, five years ahead of its goal to have 20 million visitors in 2020. Tokyo has now doubled its goals: by 2020, Japan wants another 20 million, and then 30 million more in the next decade after that. Before the end of the decade, Japan expects to crack the list of 10 most popular countries for tourism. By 2030, it could be in the top five.
China and other Asian markets are driving most of the growth: in early 2016, they account for 87% of visitor arrivals, up from 62% in 1998. Long haul markets to Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand have experienced a corresponding decrease. Japan's new tourism goal is to rebalance and gain stronger growth from these long haul markets. Yet the capacity is not there.
Overall long haul capacity has been reduced over recent years. Virgin Atlantic and Austrian cancelled service while Iberia and LOT enter, yet Air France-KLM and Lufthansa are making steep reductions. American Airlines has added a flight but Delta is withdrawing more long haul capacity in 2016 than any airline. Japan may consider re-evaluating the joint ventures it has approved, or to be more liberal with fifth freedom rights.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer: over recent years Air New Zealand has transformed its long haul network – and New Zealand's aviation market – by turning one competitor after another into a joint venture partner. Air NZ's latest is a revenue-sharing JV with United Airlines, to come into force on 01-Jul-2016 when United resumes New Zealand services.
The JV follows link-ups between Air NZ and Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Air China. Yet this is not just another JV: Air NZ-United will be the largest, accounting for 25% of Auckland's long haul seat capacity. It will be twice the size of the Air NZ-Singapore Airlines JV. In total, 80% of Air NZ's long haul capacity from NZ will be under JVs, with the balance in monopoly markets.
The A380 continues to be intertwined with London Heathrow. Malaysia Airlines has cut both its European and A380 scheduled network to just twice daily Heathrow A380 services. Emirates will introduce a sixth daily A380 flight to Heathrow and British Airways is evaluating taking second-hand A380s. London Heathrow is not the busiest A380 airport: that title goes to Dubai, home of Emirates, which operates more A380s than any other airline.
London Heathrow stands out among major A380 airports, as only 30% of its A380 flights are flown by a local airline (British Airways). At Bangkok, Sydney and Melbourne foreign airlines also have more A380 flights than local operators. At Seoul Incheon, 82% of A380 flights are flown by local airlines. Of the 15 largest airports with A380 operations, all but three – Los Angeles, New York JFK and Hong Kong – are the hub of an A380 operator. Qantas flies the world's longest A380 route (to Dallas) and Emirates the shortest (to Kuwait City). China Southern and Qatar have the shortest average sector lengths, which are half those of Malaysia and Qantas, which have the longest.
In the world's most premium air market, London Heathrow, Gulf airlines are increasing their presence. Emirates has obtained a sixth daily slot, the first time in a decade that it will grow above five daily flights at Heathrow (it has meanwhile been growing at Gatwick). Qatar Airways has offered six flights since May-2014 but on smaller aircraft, while Turkish Airlines will have six daily flights on three days a week from Mar-2016. Etihad has not grown slots since last decade but has increased capacity by deploying A380s. Emirates will have an all-A380 operation at Heathrow in Jun-2016.
Oman Air bills itself as a boutique airline focused on Oman, but with a high share of connecting traffic and ambitious growth plans, Oman Air is becoming a Gulf network airline. It paid USD75 million – reportedly a record – for a morning slot at Heathrow in order to have twice daily service. Beside the growth, the Big 3 Gulf airlines hold 2% of international Heathrow slots but account for 5% of seat capacity (more than local airline Virgin Atlantic). Including Oman Air and Turkish they hold 3.5% of slots. London Heathrow is a premium focus of attention but Gulf airlines are growing faster elsewhere in Europe as they diversify their networks away from London and the UK. In 2006, one in two of Emirates' Western European seats went to the UK, but in 2016 only 30% will.