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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.
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A common theme in the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit 2016 in Brisbane on 4 and 5-Aug-2016 was opportunities in Australia’s international market. Australia is experiencing rapid inbound and outbound growth, opening up opportunities for airports, local airlines and foreign airlines.
Australia-China in particular is a market in the spotlight following 22% growth in inbound visitors from China in 2015. However, there are also opportunities to develop new routes to other Asian countries and the more mature markets in Europe and North America, driven partially by new aircraft technology.
The Summit attracted over 40 airlines and 40 airports. Jetstar Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka and Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce opened both days of the summit with stimulating keynote addresses to over 400 delegates.
As airlines have embraced dual brand strategies to reach full service and low cost growth aviation IT has responded, as seen with Amadeus' acquisition of Navitaire, which mostly but not exclusively powered the passenger service systems (PSS) of LCCs. In the first six months since the deal closed Navitaire has added 230m passengers boarded, to Amadeus Altea's 393m. Navitaire passengers account for 37% of Amadeus' total.
Having significantly grown its market share, and with past LCC product forays not having worked out, Amadeus receives a new business stream. Some Navitaire customers (Ryanair, AirAsia, IndiGo) are larger than Altea customers and have high growth ahead of them. A second benefit is the Navitaire acquisition supporting Altea customers. By owning both products Amadeus can improve connectivity between Altea and Navitaire airlines. Most of Altea's large customers – Lufthansa, IAG, AF-KLM, Qantas and JAL – have an LCC operating Navitaire software. Of Navitaire's passengers – 35% are on airlines that are LCC units of full service airlines. Other airlines may be holding out on pursuing partnerships and connectivity until there is a cheaper, simpler and streamlined way.
It may seem that the Amadeus-Navitaire marriage is about full service and low cost segments, but its greatest strength is the role it will have in the hybrid segment. Hybridity is growing, and Amadeus-Navitaire could galvanise further expansion.
The nature of the South Pacific's geography makes finding the right partners for its airlines essential for their survival in international long haul markets – as most are.
The region is characterised by relatively liberal access regimes and by partnerships of varying levels – in New Zealand especially, where Air New Zealand’s international network is dominated by JVs. Virgin Australia has built a ‘virtual alliance’ alongside HNA, Singapore Airlines, Etihad and Delta, with very little of its own metal flying outside Australia. At Qantas Group, international performance has improved markedly following its Emirates partnership, as its operating focus has shifted from Europe toward Asia and North America, with local JVs, and close partnerships with American Airlines and China Eastern continuing to grow and mature.
For all airlines in the region, the China market will define much of the growth over the coming decade. (This report is taken from the Jul/Aug-2016 issue of CAPA's Airline Leader)
Key aviation industry executives will converge on Brisbane this August to debate and discuss the strategic issues facing the region’s airline, airport and corporate travel industries.
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, Jetstar Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka, Etihad Airways CEO Peter Baumgartner, Garuda Indonesia CEO Arif Wibowo, Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani, Nok Air CEO Patee Sarasin, Tigerair Australia CEO Rob Sharp and Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Karl Schuster are among the airline industry leaders who will be gathering in Brisbane for the fourth annual CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit on 3-5 August.
The Summit, to be held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, will be hosted by Brisbane Marketing in conjunction with Foundation Partners, Brisbane Airport Corporation and K&L Gates.
Australia-Philippines market faces overcapacity concerns as Cebu Pacific, PAL plan further expansion
Passenger traffic between Australia and the Philippines grew by 39% in 2015, making it Australia’s fastest growing international market. The Australia-Philippines market is poised for more rapid growth driven by expansion at Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines (PAL).
PAL is planning to use its new A321neo fleet to launch new nonstop flights to Brisbane and potentially add a second frequency to Sydney. Cebu Pacific plans to launch service to Melbourne as it expands its A330-300 fleet.
However, overcapacity is a major concern. Cebu Pacific’s entrance has stimulated demand but impacted load factors and yields. In 2015 the average load factor on Australia-Philippines flights was less than 67%, including a dismal 60% at PAL and only 64% at Cebu Pacific.
The past month has been, as the Chinese might say, an interesting time for Virgin Australia. Two major new Chinese shareholders, HNA and Nanshan Group, an aggravated departure by one shareholder and now the announcement of a major restructuring, delivered to an unsuspecting world at 30 minutes’ notice, seemingly leaving behind its (previously) largest shareholder, Etihad – this has all occurred in a blur.
A financial restructuring has been in the wind for some time, but there was little to explain the breathless announcement of a one-for-one share issue on 15-Jun-2016. This involves a fully underwritten AUD852 million equity raising; together with a previously announced proposed AUD159 million placement to HNA Innovation, the total amount raised will slightly exceed AUD1 billion.
It sounds like good news for a cash-strapped Virgin Australia, but working out the winners and losers is more challenging as the dust settles.