- CAPA Analysis
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The Department of Civil Aviation of Belize works in conjunction with the Belize Airport Authority in order to provide security and air navigation services. There are two main airlines that operate, Maya Island Air (Maya Airways) and Tropic air, both based in Belize City Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport.
Airports in Belize
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Airports in the US energy capital of Houston appear to be effectively weathering the downturn in that business sector due, in part, to a diversification scheme undertaken three to four years ago. This scheme was designed to shore up the number of foreign airlines serving the area’s largest airport – Houston Intercontinental. International passenger growth at the airport has helped to alleviate some of the pressure created by fewer domestic connecting passengers from its biggest operator United.
Houston Hobby is also posting solid growth, partially attributable to new transborder services that Southwest started up from a new international terminal at the airport in late 2015. The new service has helped to sustain overall passenger growth of 1.3% in the Houston area for 1H2016. For the first five months of 2016 Hobby recorded 10% passenger growth year-on-year.
With two airports offering commercial service for the metro area Houston has a unique operating profile. Southwest’s dominance at Hobby and Frontier, and Spirit’s operations at Intercontinental, also ensure a solid mix of full service and low cost airlines.
After a massive push from Dallas Love Field that began in late 2014 and continued through 2015, much of Southwest’s capacity growth in 2016 will stem from increased aircraft utilisation and the annualisation of an international push from Houston Hobby airport that occurred in late 2015.
The airline plans few new cities in 2016 as it works to shrink the number of new routes under development in order to continuing growing its revenues. Some unexpected discounting on competitive walk up fares in late 2015 triggered a revision of Southwest’s unit revenue forecast for 4Q2015 from positive growth to a flat to negative 1% performance. But Southwest seems unconcerned over the revision, highlighting its projected record profitability for 2015.
Although Southwest has made a significant international push during the last couple of years, the airline maintains that most of its growth prospects remain in the domestic US market. The company believes much opportunity remains to connect the dots within its domestic network, and sees potential for a resurgence in some short haul flying.
Weak economies in Latin America continue to drag down the results for Panama’s Copa Airlines, reflected in a 10.4ppt drop in its 2Q2015 operating margin to 9.1%. The airline’s results were worse than expected, driven by a particularly challenging Jun-2015.
Central American poster airlines Copa has been battling difficult dynamics in Venezuela and Brazil for roughly a year, and during 2Q2015 some challenges emerged in its Colombian markets. The airline is taking steps to adjust its network to lessen its exposure to those regions, but they still comprise a sizeable portion of Copa’s operations.
Copa does foresee some slight sequential improvement in its yield performance from 2Q2015 to 3Q2015, but third quarter yields are still expected to decline in the double digits.
The company has issued a second downward revision to its unit revenue and operating margin guidance for CY2015, and it seems some of the obstacles Copa has faced throughout the last year are lingering into 2016.
US airlines are bolstering their service to the Caribbean as macroeconomic conditions in Latin American remain tenuous for the short term. With the current service and planned additions to the Caribbean, airlines may need to brace themselves for some pressure on yields due to oversupply.
Even with increases in industry capacity, two airlines that have recorded ample increases in their respective supply from the US to the Caribbean – JetBlue and United – feel reasonably confident however that the region will generate a performance that will make a positive contribution to each airline’s respective bottom lines.
JetBlue in particular stresses that it is prepared to weather the ebb and flows of industry capacity to the Caribbean since the region remains a key element in its overall network, reflected in its plans to open between three and five destinations from the US to Latin America and the Caribbean in CY2015.
This is Part 2 of a report on JetBlue's strategy.