Styling itself as “Africa’s first pan-African low-cost carrier,” Fastjet certainly looks like an airline in a hurry. Having opened its base in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, only late last November, it now plans to launch operations in Kenya, Angola and Ghana this year, starting with five Airbus A319s it aims to acquire during the first six months of its expansion and 15 within a year. It also hopes to benefit from the wreckage of South Africa’s low-cost sector with its pending acquisition of defunct 1Time Airline.
Online booking portal Victor is aiming to dramatically increase available charter capacity almost ten-fold. As of the end of 2012, its site showed approximately 1,300 available private jet seats at any given time, and it wants to boost this number to approximately 10,000 seats by the end of this year’s first quarter. Victor allows members to book aircraft directly for what it guarantees are fixed, all-inclusive rates and then offers individual seats for sale to other members.
Airbus has landed a firm order for 58 A320neos and 17 A321neos from Turkey’s Pegasus Airlines, the manufacturer announced Tuesday. Pegasus, the second largest airline in Turkey, also reserved options on 25 more of the re-engined narrowbodies. The contract establishes Pegasus as a new Airbus customer and makes it the first Turkish airline to order the A320neo. It now flies more than 40 Boeing 737-800s.
AirAsia, the largest low-cost airline in Asia, has placed a new order with Airbus for 100 more A320-family narrowbodies, Airbus announced Thursday. The contract covers another 64 A320neos and 36 current-generation A320s, raising Air Asia’s single-aisle order count from Airbus to 475.
Policy-making paralysis over much-needed reforms and liquidity concerns raised by the grounding of Kingfisher Airlines has deterred investors, vendors, lessors and suppliers from doing business in India’s air transport sector, according to delegates attending last month’s Asia-Pacific Airlines Association Assembly of Presidents in Kuala Lumpur. Association calculations show that average profits among Indian airlines amount to just $1 per passenger.
Virgin Australia said it has reached an agreement in principle to buy a 100-percent stake in Perth, Australia-based Skywest Airlines. Announced on October 30 and still subject to approvals from regulatory authorities and Skywest shareholders, the deal would see the Western Australian regional assume the Virgin Australia brand and, according to Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti, benefit from further investment by the would-be parent company.
More evidence of capacity constraint among U.S. airlines appeared in a recent quarterly earnings report from one of the fastest-growing carriers in the country. Virgin America, which has seen annual available seat mile (ASM) growth average 28 percent for the past three years, has reconsidered its fleet expansion strategy and said it would move to cut the number of airplanes it plans to add over the rest of the decade.
Tough economic times are resulting in innovations by carriers in the Asia Pacific region looking beyond traditional business models through strategic realignments and new product offerings. Recent ground-breaking deals include Virgin Australia selling a 10-percent stake to Singapore Airlines (SIA) and buying 60 percent of Tiger Airways; the new partnership between Emirates Airline and Qantas; and Etihad Airways purchasing a 10-percent stake in Virgin Australia.
Decelerating growth at Virgin America has led the airline to reconsider its fleet-expansion strategy and move to cut the number of airplanes it plans to add over the rest of the decade. Under a revised agreement reached with Airbus, Virgin America’s order for current-generation A320s will shrink from 30 airplanes to 10, all scheduled for delivery in 2015 and 2016, the airline announced Friday.
The association representing major U.S. airlines expects that carriers will scale back capacity early next year, aligning it more closely with passenger demand to offset record high jet fuel prices. Airlines for America (A4A) projects a 2.4-percent reduction in scheduled domestic flights, a 1.3-percent decrease in domestic seats and a 0.1-percent cut in domestic available seat miles (ASMs) in the new year. This year, domestic ASMs rose a modest 0.1 percent over last year’s total seat capacity.