Industry Intelligence – catch up on CAPA’s exclusive market analysis insights

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. Here’s some of the reports published over the past week.

Ryanair heads Europe’s top 20 airline groups by pax 2019

In 2019 Ryanair Group regained from Lufthansa Group the title of Europe’s biggest airline group by passenger numbers, with a 9.5% increase to 152 million passengers. Lufthansa Group slipped to second place, with 145 million.

IAG remained third, growing by 4.7% to 118.3 million passengers. Air France-KLM was fourth, growing by 2.7% to 104 million.

The next three groups – easyJet (97 million passengers, up 5.9%), Turkish Airlines (74 million, down 1.1%), Aeroflot Group (estimated 61 million, up 9.2%) – also held their 2018 positions.

Wizz Air enjoyed the fastest growth in the top 20, growing by 17.7% to almost 40 million passengers, and jumped over Norwegian (36 million, a fall of 2.8%) into eighth place. Pegasus Airlines entered the top 10 for the first time in spite of shrinking its passenger numbers by 0.3%, to just under 30 million. SAS shrank by 1.0% to slightly further below 30 million, and fell out of the top 10 for the first time.

The collapse of Thomas Cook Group allowed SunExpress and LOT Polish to enter the 2019 ranking in equal 20th place, both on just over 10 million passengers.

This report ranks Europe’s top 20 airline groups by passenger numbers in 2019 and also includes a ranking of the top 20 individual airline brands.

TO READ ON, VISIT: Ryanair heads Europe’s top 20 airline groups by pax 2019

American Airlines ups the competitive stakes in Boston Logan

For the foreseeable future American Airlines’ major growth is targeted at its large hubs in Dallas/Fort Worth, Charlotte and Washington National. But over the course of the past few months American has tabled plans to launch new routes from Boston Logan, which is a key pillar of JetBlue’s network, and now a coastal hub for Delta Air Lines.

Boston Logan is JetBlue’s largest base measured by total weekly departing frequencies as of mid-Jan-2020 and Delta has built a focus city in Boston, before declaring Logan International as a coastal hub in 2019.

During the past few months American has outlined plans to launch numerous new routes from Boston, including Austin, London Heathrow, Wilmington (NC), Indianapolis and Raleigh Durham. American is upping competition on all of the new routes that the airline is launching from Boston in 2020.

Although American is challenging JetBlue and Delta in many of its new routes from Boston, its ultimate size in the market will likely remain a distant third. Even with the new competition American is injecting into Boston, the company will not attempt to build up Boston to the levels that JetBlue and Delta are planning at Logan International airport.

TO READ ON, VISIT: American Airlines ups the competitive stakes in Boston Logan

Avianca Holdings: positive start to 2020 after a rocky 2019

The Latin American airline group Avianca Holdings is in the midst of a significant overhaul that includes a financial restructuring, an overhaul of its network, and a continued revamp of its fleet.

Avianca has reached a deal to cancel some narrowbody orders and to defer a significant number of aircraft deliveries, which will result in decreased capex in the short term. The latest fleet changes will help the company continue its balance sheet repair.

It is a positive start for Avianca in 2020 after a tumultuous 2019 that included shareholder upheaval and major changes in its senior executive team, including the installation of a new CEO. However, Avianca still has a lot of work to do to decrease its leverage and establish a path to sustained profitability.

TO READ ON, VISIT: Avianca Holdings: positive start to 2020 after a rocky 2019

Brussels Charleroi airport targets 10 million ppa by 2025

Brussels South Charleroi Airport (BSCA) is aiming to handle 10 million passengers per annum by 2025. Most European airports that are attuned to handling budget carriers only, even on the fringes of large conurbations, count themselves lucky to put 1-2 million passengers through each year.

BSCA has benefitted enormously from the decision by Ryanair in 2000 to make it that carrier’s first-ever international base, and also from the vast army of international public sector workers in Brussels (as well as attendant lobbyists and journalists) – it is estimated that there are 70,000 international workers domiciled in Brussels.

Twenty years after Ryanair declared BSCA to be its first international base it is pertinent to examine which other airports that are primarily LCC bases or are major airports served by LCCs in Europe have achieved five million annual passengers and which might achieve 10 million ppa.

This report examines how the Belgian airport has achieved its success and also other such airports in Europe – they are few in number – that can claim to have matched or bettered that success.

TO READ ON, VISIT: Brussels Charleroi airport targets 10 million ppa by 2025

Interjet: tough challenges linger but airline paints a positive view

Mexico’s value airline Interjet is working to send a positive message at the start of 2020 after enduring challenges in 2019 that ranged from attempting to rid itself of Sukhoi Superjet 100s to battling back reports about its precarious financial state.

At the same time, Interjet has also been focusing on rejigging its network, bolstering its operations in Mexico City and building a hub in Cancún.

Now, at the beginning of 2020, Interjet is touting its international expansion with a focus on growth to the US. This is an interesting move for Interjet, and occurs just as other Mexican airlines are experiencing the return of a certain level of rational behaviour to the Mexico-US transborder market.

TO READ ON, VISIT: Interjet: tough challenges linger but airline paints a positive view

Jeju Air-Eastar Jet deal would advance Korean LCC consolidation

Jeju Air’s proposed takeover of Eastar Jet is a significant development for South Korea’s airline sector. The pair are each important players in a crowded South Korean low cost carrier field, and their combined footprint will change the competitive dynamics in some of the country’s most important international and domestic markets.

It has been clear for some time that the South Korean LCC sector is ripe for consolidation; a Jeju-Eastar merger would be an important step in that direction.

There are currently at least six locally based LCCs in South Korea – Jin Air, Jeju Air, Eastar, T’Way, Air Busan, and Air Seoul. South Korean authorities have added new competitors to the mix by approving three more airlines – Fly Gangwon, which launched in Nov-2019, and Aero K and Air Premia, which are both due to begin flights this year.

More than 20 LCCs – including Korean and overseas-based carriers – competed in South Korea’s international markets in 2019. CAPA and OAG data show that as of 13-Jan-20 LCCs account for 37.8% of South Korea’s international seats and 50% of domestic seats.

TO READ ON, VISIT: Jeju Air-Eastar Jet deal would advance Korean LCC consolidation

Swoop Airlines: low competitive threat, high opportunities

The Canadian ultra low cost airline Swoop recently marked a milestone when it reached two million passengers carried since its launch in Jun-2018. That is an accomplishment for an airline that entered the market under intense scrutiny as sceptics questioned whether Swoop’s parent WestJet could effectively execute owning an airline with a distinctively different business model and brand.

The consistent message Swoop sends is simple – it is in the business of passenger stimulation. And for now, the airline sees no shortage of opportunity for spreading the ULCC model across Canada. Swoop believes it is also benefitting from having little direct competition over its network of secondary bases.

Swoop also seems poised to quickly apply lessons quickly learned as it evolves, ranging from distribution to network strategy.

TO READ ON, VISIT: Swoop Airlines: low competitive threat, high opportunities