Each week, CAPA – Centre for Aviation, produces informative, thought provoking and detailed market analysis of the aviation industry. With supporting data included in every analysis, CAPA provides unrivalled and unparalleled intelligence.
The world’s low cost airline widebody aircraft fleet – a niche that is growing
Widebodies are a small proportion of the global LCC fleet, but orders are high relative to the number in service with LCCs, particularly in South East Asia and Western Europe (already the two leading regions for LCC widebodies in service).
Of the 22 low cost airlines operating widebodies, 17 are in Asia Pacific or Europe, although the world’s biggest LCC widebody fleet is currently operated by Air Canada rouge, a North American airline (followed AirAsia X and Norwegian).
AirAsia X, one of only six LCCs that operate widebodies exclusively, has more twin-aisle orders than any other LCC, followed by Norwegian and WestJet. A330 variants are the most popular widebodies in service and on order with LCCs, followed by Boeing 787 variants.
This report presents a detailed analysis of data on the LCC widebody fleet and aircraft orders from the CAPA Fleet Database.
Australia-Malaysia market: Malaysia Airlines to regain market share as it expands; AirAsia X cuts
Malaysia Airlines will regain Australia-Malaysia market share as it adds back capacity on the heels of a reduction from its rival, AirAsia X.
In Jun-2018 Malaysia Airlines is resuming the Kuala Lumpur-Brisbane route, which it suspended in 2015, and adding frequencies to Adelaide and Perth.
The additional flights will boost Malaysia Airlines’ seat capacity to Australia by 21%, partially offsetting a 40% cut that was implemented in 2015 as the airline restructured. The increase from Malaysia Airlines follows a 26% cut in Australia-Malaysia capacity by AirAsia X, which will be implemented at the beginning of Feb-2018.
Australia-Malaysia has been a very dynamic market in the past five years, with the two main competitors making major adjustments multiple times – both increases and decreases. The jockeying between Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia X is continuing in 2018.
A380s in the China, the world’s largest market. Is there a place for the world’s largest aircraft?
As the A380’s sales become more difficult, new purchases are becoming more complex. Rather than the ordering of aircraft for a clear commercial recipe, or adding the usual ingredient of politics, A380 sales are becoming a fusion.
Airbus sold A380s to All Nippon Airways, but only in exchange for backing ANA’s partnership of the bankrupt A380 customer Skymark. A failed bid to sell the A350 to Emirates hinged on commitment to keep the A380 line open.
Now, according to press reports, Airbus plans to sell the A380 to China in exchange for giving China greater industrial participation on the A380. China already has an A320 final assembly line and A330 (and soon 737) completion centres, so it is unclear what further insights China gains, unless A380 involvement is on the way to China becoming another Japan (which builds an astounding one fifth of a 777), or US/France (building widebodies).
It is this political factor that is key: on their own, Chinese airlines would not order A380s. It is a complex scenario, all the more complicated by Airbus’ management changes.
AirAsia Group 2017 fleet analysis: fleet reaches 200 aircraft, expansion reaccelerates
The AirAsia Group significantly accelerated expansion in 2017, growing its fleet by 16%. The total figures of the group, which consists of six short haul low cost airlines, exceeded 200 aircraft and 60 million annual passengers in late 2017.
AirAsia took delivery of 31 A320s in 2017, being 24 new aircraft and seven second hand aircraft. The group is now the world’s largest operator of the A320ceo and the second largest operator of the A320neo (after IndiGo).
Only three A320s exited the fleet in 2017, resulting in a net increase of 28 aircraft. Only in one other year in its history has the AirAsia Group fleet grown by more than 25 aircraft.
Lion Group 2017 fleet analysis: delivery deferrals & retirements mean slower growth once again
Lion Group slowed its rate of fleet expansion for the second consecutive year in 2017. The Indonesia-based airline group took delivery of 29 aircraft in 2017, compared to 36 aircraft in 2016 and 57 aircraft in 2015.
Lion Group has slowed 737 deliveries over the past two years, from an average of two per month to one per month. ATR 72 deliveries have also slowed, from a high of 17 deliveries in 2015 to only four deliveries in 2017. Deliveries of A320s, which Lion only began taking in late 2014, also slowed, from 16 aircraft in 2017 to 10 aircraft in 2016.
The group’s fleet grew by 22 aircraft in 2017 – the lowest figure in several years – to 294 aircraft. Five 737-900ERs and two 747-400s were phased out, partially offsetting the 29 deliveries.
The five 737-900ER retirements are the first 737NGs Lion has phased out since taking its first 737NG in 2007. More 737-900ER retirements are likely in 2018, offsetting a potential reaccelerated rate of deliveries as Lion starts taking 737 MAX 9s and A320neos.
EasyJet takes over from airberlin as Berlin’s biggest airline: aviation also abhors a vacuum
In spite of the exit of its former leading airline, airberlin, Berlin Tegel Airport will enjoy a slight capacity increase once the new entrant easyJet’s network there is fully up and running. In addition to easyJet, others such as Eurowings are also rapidly filling the gap left by airberlin, and LCCs will have close to half of Tegel’s seats.
EasyJet launched Berlin Tegel services in the second week of Jan-2018, initially operating 13 routes (Munich, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Vienna, Zurich, Copenhagen, Palma de Mallorca, Rome Fiumicino, Madrid, Paris CDG, Budapest and Catania). According to OAG, it will grow its Tegel network to 19 routes by the week of 26-Feb-2018 (adding Stockholm Arlanda, Tel Aviv, Milan Malpensa, Helsinki, Fuerteventura and Paphos).
In the week of 26-Feb-2018, easyJet will become the number one airline by seats at both Tegel and its other (long-established) Berlin base – the LCC-dominated Schoenefeld. EasyJet will be the biggest overall airline in the Berlin airports system, ahead of Eurowings and the contracting Ryanair, while the Lufthansa Group will be Berlin’s leading airline group.