Compiled by Willie Bodenstein
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IATA-STRONG PASSENGER DEMAND CONTINUES IN JUNE
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced passenger data for June 2022 showing that the recovery in air travel remains strong. Total traffic in June 2022 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) was up 76.2% compared to June 2021, primarily propelled by the ongoing strong recovery in international traffic. Globally, traffic is now at 70.8% of pre-crisis levels.
Domestic traffic for June 2022 was up 5.2% compared to the year-ago period. Strong improvements in most markets, combined with the easing of some Omicron-related lockdown restrictions in the Chinese domestic market, contributed to the result. Total June 2022 domestic traffic was at 81.4% of the June 2019 level.
International traffic rose 229.5% versus June 2021. The lifting of travel restrictions in most parts of Asia-Pacific is contributing to the recovery. June 2022 international RPKs reached 65.0% of June 2019 levels.
"Demand for air travel remains strong. After two years of lockdowns and border restrictions people are taking advantage of the freedom to travel wherever they can," said Willie Walsh, IATA's Director General.
International Passenger Markets
Asia-Pacific airlines had a 492.0% rise in June traffic compared to June 2021. Capacity rose 138.9% and the load factor was up 45.8 percentage points to 76.7%. The region is now relatively open to foreign visitors and tourism which is helping foster the recovery.
European carriers' June traffic rose 234.4% versus June 2021. Capacity rose 134.5%, and load factor climbed 25.8 percentage points to 86.3%. International traffic within Europe is above pre-pandemic levels in seasonally adjusted terms.
Middle Eastern airlines' traffic rose 246.5% in June compared to June 2021. June capacity rose 102.4% versus the year-ago period, and load factor climbed 32.4 percentage points to 78.0%.
North American carriers experienced a 168.9% traffic rise in June versus the 2021 period. Capacity rose 95.0%, and load factor climbed 24.1 percentage points to 87.7%, which was the highest among the regions.
Latin American airlines' June traffic rose 136.6% compared to the same month in 2021. June capacity rose 107.4% and load factor increased 10.3 percentage points to 83.3%. After leading the regions in load factor for 20 consecutive months, Latin America slipped back to third place in June.
African airlines had a 103.6% rise in June RPKs versus a year ago. June 2022 capacity was up 61.9% and load factor climbed 15.2 percentage points to 74.2%, the lowest among regions. International traffic between Africa and neighbouring regions is close to pre-pandemic levels.
China's domestic RPKs fell 45.0% year-on-year in June but this was a substantial improvement compared to May's year-over-year performance as lockdown measures were eased.
Japan's domestic traffic was up 146.4% in June, compared to June 2021
The Bottom Line
"With the Northern Hemisphere summer travel season now fully underway, predictions that the lifting of travel restrictions would unleash a torrent of pent-up travel demand are being borne out. At the same time, meeting that demand has proved challenging and likely will continue to be so. All the more reason to continue to show flexibility to the slot use rules. The European Commission's intent to return to the longstanding 80-20 requirement is premature.
"Just look at the issues that airlines and their passengers at some hub airports are being confronted with. These airports are unable to support their declared capacity even with the current 64% slot threshold and have extended recent passenger caps until the end of October. Flexibility is still essential in support of a successful recovery.
"By capping passenger numbers, airports are preventing airlines from benefitting from the strong demand. Heathrow Airport has tried to blame airlines for the disruption. However, Service Level Performance data for the first six months of this year show that they have failed miserably to provide basic services and missed their Passenger Security service target by a massive 14.3 points. Data for June has not yet been published but is expected to show the lowest level of service by the airport since records began," said Walsh.
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SAA ALL FEMALE CREW FLIGHTS THIS WOMEN'S MONTH
Celebrating the immense contribution made and success achieved by South African and African women on the continent, SAA will place three flights under the complete command of women during the month to demonstrate its support for gender equality. The all-female crewed flights, both at cockpit and cabin, will take charge of selected SAA's scheduled flight operations on 9th and 30th August 2022.
Two of the three all-female crew will depart from Johannesburg to Harare at 10h40 (SA022) and Johannesburg to Durban at 16h55 (SA571) on Tuesday, 9th August 2022 commemorating National Women's Day.
Captain Anuska Pillay along with First Officer Michelle Coombes will be in the cockpit and the crew on the Airbus A320 which departs OR Tambo at 10h40 will be led by purser Kim Petersen and assisted by Agnes Maabane, Rene Essack and Loraine Mitchell. Jacquiline Mashinini will be the ramp agent coordinating and monitoring all the arrangements at the aircraft including pushing back the Aircraft from the parking bay.
The special flight is just one initiative SAA has implemented during Women's Month under the theme "Fly High #NdizaNtombazane," "Fly High Girl."
Celebrations also include discounted fares for customers during the month of August and an external competition where customers stand a chance of winning a flight simulator experience with one of the airline's female pilots. The third all-female flight has been planned for 30th August from Johannesburg on a route to be announced.
Captain Pillay says, "Along with the rest of the crew, we are honoured at being given this responsibility and we are flying the flag for all South African women recognising not only their daily challenges and hardships but also the immense strides they have made in furthering gender parity. There is of course still much work to do, but an all-female flight initiative like this is important as it demonstrates to people, particularly young girls, and women that nothing is impossible."
Purser Kim Petersen says, "This is a special moment for all of us in the cabin and in addition to providing a safe, warm and friendly service SAA is famous for, we also want to show all young South Africans that dreams can be achieved through hard work and dedication no matter your gender."
SAA's Interim Chairman and CEO Professor John Lamola says, "The all-female flight project should show that all genders are equal in life and in the workplace, and we should all support the struggle for women for equality and protection against all the injustices they currently endure in our country". He says there are many female SAA employees who occupy positions within leadership structures, strategic management, the pilot community, technicians, chefs, front line and behind the scenes. He says SAA salutes them and the contribution they make daily to the ongoing success of the carrier. Women's Day/Month he says is a time to celebrate the strength and resilience of women and their contribution to society at large.
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ETHIOPIAN LAUNCHES TOUR AND ACTIVITIES SERVICES IN PARTNERSHIP WITH GETYOURGUIDE
Ethiopian Airlines, the largest aviation group in Africa, has partnered with the globally leading online booking platform GetYourGuide, to offer passengers an unforgettable travel experience. This partnership provides Ethiopian Airlines' customers easy access to book travel activities alongside their flight. Passengers will have the option of booking high quality and well-curated tours and activities online either immediately after booking flights or at a later date.
Regarding the partnership Ethiopian Airlines Chief Commercial Officer Mr. Lemma Yadecha said "Ethiopian strives to offer passengers a service beyond just travel and its ancillary services are its tools in doing so. The new partnership with GetYourGuide will be the new stream of convenience our leisure passengers can enjoy. Putting our vast network and GetYourGuide's services in major cities around the world into consideration, our passengers will have a great number of exciting experiences to choose from."
Ethiopian's ancillary services, in addition to bringing end to end package shopping experience to customers, widens Ethiopian streams of services, bringing extra convenience to passengers. The airline already provides other ancillary services that are complementary to passenger's travel before its new partnership with GetYourGuide.
GetYourGuide is the globally leading online booking platform offering unforgettable travel experiences and extraordinary tours and activities around the world such as guided tours with the best local experts, cooking and craft classes, local food tours, skip the line tickets to the world's most famous sights, once-in-a-lifetime "bucket list" experiences and niche offers that can't be found anywhere else. The tours and activities offered by GetYourGuide will be available for booking through Ethiopian Airlines website.
AMERICAN AIRLINES ANNOUNCES INVESTMENT IN HYDROGEN-ELECTRIC ENGINE DEVELOPER ZEROAVIA
American Airlines recently announced its investment in ZeroAvia, a leader in hydrogen-electric, zero-emission aviation. In addition to the investment, a memorandum of understanding provides American the opportunity to order up to 100 engines from ZeroAvia's hydrogen-electric powertrain development program. The engines are intended to power regional jet aircraft with zero emissions.
"Our investment in ZeroAvia's emerging hydrogen-electric engine technology has the potential to play a key role in the future of sustainable aviation," said Derek Kerr, American's Chief Financial Officer. "We are excited to contribute to this industry development and look forward to exploring how these engines can support the future of our airline as we build American Airlines to thrive forever."
ZeroAvia is working to achieve certain type certifications of its innovative propulsion technology that will pave the way for the engines to be incorporated into the regional jet market in the future. The ZA2000-RJ powertrain is anticipated to enable passengers to fly in zero-emission regional jets as early as the late 2020s.
"Having support from the world's largest airline is a strong indication of the progress we're making on the development of hydrogen-electric, zero-emission flight," added ZeroAvia Founder and CEO Val Miftakhov. "We are focused on delivering sustainable travel, and are delighted that American, a visionary leader in the industry, sees ZeroAvia as a part of the future of aviation."
This investment showcases another action on American's path to achieve its aggressive climate goals, including achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. In addition to the strategy and progress outlined in American's recently published Environmental, Social and Governance Report, other recent sustainability efforts by the airline include:
Receiving the industry's first-ever CORSIA-certified batch of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from Neste.
Reaching an agreement to purchase 500 million gallons of SAF over five years from Gevo, Inc., American's most significant SAF commitment to date.
Becoming the first airline globally to receive validation from the Science Based Targets initiative for its 2035 GHG emissions reduction targets.
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ETIHAD AIRWAYS SOARS TO RECORD-BREAKING FIRST HALF PROFIT AS TRANSFORMATION PAYS OFF
Etihad Airways today announced its financial and operating results for the first half of 2022, posting a record-breaking core operating profit of US$ 296 million (H1 2021: US$ 392 million loss). This result was achieved despite fuel costs increasing by almost 60% in comparison to the same period last year.
Etihad carried 4.02 million passengers in H1 2022, over 3 million more than last year (H1 2021: 980,000), with an average seat load factor of 75%. Passenger loads increased consistently over the first six months, rising by 21.9 percentage points as travel demand recovered. The airline saw a strong boost in passenger volumes in February as Abu Dhabi further relaxed pandemic-related restrictions.
Network capacity came in at 24 billion ASKs for H1 2022, growing by 46% compared to last year (H1 2021: 16.4 billion), as the airline connected Abu Dhabi to 71 passenger and cargo destinations across 45 countries. The first half of the year saw Etihad launch five summer services, including new seasonal routes to Heraklion on the island of Crete and the French city of Nice.
Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, said: "Thanks to our transformation programme, Etihad is emerging from the pandemic stronger than ever, with a world-class fleet, an unmatched customer proposition and sustainability woven into every fibre of our business.
"As air travel came roaring back in 2022, Etihad was there to reconnect our customers with their loved ones and take them on their long-awaited vacations, carrying over 4 million passengers to and from our beautiful home of Abu Dhabi.
"Sustainability continued to be a priority area for Etihad as we entered our fuel-efficient A350-1000s into service and continued our industry-leading decarbonisation efforts, leading to Etihad being recently named Environmental Airline of the Year.
"Etihad Guest delivered record results this year as we continued to drive member engagement and launched Conscious Choices, the first green loyalty programme in the world to reward frequent flyers for making sustainable choices in the air and on the ground.
"Our results would not be possible without the hard work and commitment of the entire Etihad family, and our focus now is on continuing this momentum into the second half of the year."
Financial and loyalty related highlights
Etihad's passenger revenues tripled in the first six months of the year, climbing to US$ 1.25 billion (H1 2021: US$ 320 million) as more business and leisure travellers returned to the air. This was supported by more countries across Etihad's network relaxing their Covid-related travel restrictions.
Cargo operations continued to deliver exceptional results with revenues of US$ 802 million in the first half of 2022, representing an increase of 6% on the same period last year. Revenues remained strong despite the increase in passenger volumes limiting belly-hold capacity, leading to a 19% reduction in freight carried (295,020 tonnes).
As a result of a constant focus on cost containment, fixed overhead and finance costs decreased in H1 2022, falling by 9% (or US$ 29 million) and 13% (or US$ 22 million) respectively.
Etihad Guest, the airline's award-winning loyalty programme, delivered a record of new member acquisitions in June 2022, increasing to 7.95 million members globally. Flight redemptions increased 15% in H1 2022 compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, with over 737,000 flights taken, and member engagement levels translated into record card spends across the programme's portfolio of UAE banks, supported by a new partnership with Emirates NBD.†
Adam Boukadida, Chief Financial Officer, said: "Our transformation programme has made Etihad substantially more resilient and efficient, and we are extremely proud of our return to profitability in the first half of 2022.
"Our overall operating profit of US$ 296 million is testament to the strength of our business model at Etihad and the improvements we have made to our underlying financial performance over the years."
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EMIRATES ANNOUNCES NEW ROTATIONS IN ITS COMMERCIAL TEAM
Emirates has announced further movements in its commercial team in the Middle East, Far East, Africa, and West Asia in line with the airline's continuous expansion and accelerated operations.
The new rotations will position talented and dedicated UAE Nationals in some of Emirates' key markets, to help drive the airline's commercial initiatives. The newly appointed commercial leads will each bring their experiences and skills to lead the airline's development in their respective markets, including growing the customer base, strengthening existing partnerships and identifying opportunities to forge ones.
"We're proud to place UAE Nationals into leadership positions through our commercial outstation programme, representing Emirates and the UAE on the global aviation front. As a government directive and advocated by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, we continue to prioritise Emiratis to fill internal vacancies, where they can optimise their capabilities and reach their full potential. We are committed to building a talent pool of well-accomplished UAE Nationals, and I'm confident that our newly-appointed managers will not only gain new experiences, but also use their knowledge and expertise to support our current and future strategies as we continue to expand our global operations." Adnan Kazim, Emirates' Chief Commercial Officer
Effective 1 August, the following changes will take place in the Emirates commercial team:
Mohammad Lootah currently Manager Jordan will take on the role of Manager Israel
Mohammad Bin Hafiz currently Manager Zambia will take on the role of Manager Jordan
Omar Bushlaibi currently Manager Oman will take on the role of Manager Zambia
Fahad Al Hassawi currently Commercial Manager in India will take on the role of Manager Oman
Nasser Bahlooq currently Manager Zimbabwe Area will take on the role of Manager Hong Kong
Talal Al Gergawi currently District Manager - Dhahran & KSA Eastern will take on the role of Manager Zimbabwe
Saood Al Aqili currently Commercial Support Manager in Egypt will take on the role of District Manager - Dhahran & KSA Eastern
Mohamed Taher currently Commercial Support Manager in Nairobi will take on the role of Commercial Support Manager in Egypt
Emirates is committed to the UAE's Emiratisation strategy and continues to create opportunities for UAE Nationals to grow professionally and progress their careers so that they can play vital roles within the organisation. Through the airline's commercial outstation programme, UAE Nationals are able to build their skills and expertise by broadening their exposure across its diverse global commercial operations roles.
LUFTHANSA GROUP BACK TO BLACK WITH OPERATING PROFIT OF 393 MILLION EUROS AND ADJUSTED FREE CASH FLOW OF 2.1 BILLION EUROS IN THE SECOND QUARTER
"The Lufthansa Group is back in the black. This is a strong result after a half-year that was challenging for our guests but also for our employees. Worldwide, the airline industry reached its operational limits. Nevertheless, we are optimistic about the future. Together, we have steered our company through the pandemic and thus through the most severe financial crisis in our history.
Now we must continue to stabilize our flight operations. To this end, we have taken numerous measures and successfully implemented them. In addition, we are doing everything in our power to expand the premium positioning of our airlines again and thus to fully meet the demands of our customers and also our own standards. We want to and will continue to strengthen our position as the number 1 in Europe and thus maintain our place in the global top league of our industry. In addition to the achieved return to profitability, top products for our customers and prospects for our employees are now once again our top priority."
The Group generated an operating profit of 393 million euros in the second quarter. In the prior-year period, Adjusted EBIT was still clearly negative at -827 million euros. The Adjusted EBIT margin rose accordingly to 4.6 percent (prior year: -25.8 percent). Net income increased significantly to 259 million euros (prior year: -756 million euros).
The company turned over 8.5 billion euros in the second quarter, almost three times as much as in the same period last year (previous year: 3.2 billion euros).
For the first half-year of 2022, the Group recorded an Adjusted EBIT of -198 million euros (prior year: -1.9 billion euros). The Adjusted EBIT margin amounted to -1.4 percent in the first half of the year (prior year: -32.5 percent). Sales increased significantly compared with the first six months of 2021 to 13.8 billion euros (prior year: 5.8 billion euros).
Increase in yields and high load factors for passenger airlines
The number of passengers on board the Passenger Airlines more than quadrupled in the first half-year compared with the same period last year. All in all, the airlines in the Lufthansa Group welcomed 42 million travellers on board between January and June (previous year: 10 million). In the second quarter alone, 29 million passengers flew with the Group's airlines (previous year: 7 million).
Despite the higher price level, the Lufthansa Group's flights had an average load factor of 80 percent in the second quarter. This figure is almost as high as before the Corona pandemic (2019: 83 percent). In premium classes, the load factor of 80 percent in the second quarter even exceeded the figure for 2019 (2019: 76 percent), driven by continued high premium demand among private travellers and rising booking numbers among business travellers.
Thanks to ongoing and consistent cost management and the expansion of flight capacity, unit costs at the passenger airlines fell by 33 percent in the second quarter compared with the same period last year. They remain 8.5 percent above the pre-crisis level, due to the still significantly reduced offer.
Adjusted EBIT at the passenger airlines improved significantly in the second quarter to -86 million euros (previous year: -1.2 billion euros). Between April and June, the result was burdened by 158 million euros of irregularity cost in relation to disruptions in the flight operations. In the first half of the year, the Adjusted EBIT in the Passenger Airlines segment amounted to -1.2 billion euros (previous year: -2.6 billion euros).
The positive result at SWISS deserves special mention. Switzerland's largest airline generated an operating profit of 45 million euros in the first half-year (previous year: -383 million euros). In the second quarter, its Adjusted EBIT was 107 million euros (previous year: -172 million euros). SWISS benefited above all from strong booking demand combined with profitability gains as a result of the successful restructuring.
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EMIRATES ADDS FLIGHTS TO MAURITIUS
Close on the heels of re-introducing double-daily flights, Emirates has announced plans to up frequencies to Mauritius starting 1 October 2022. The additional evening frequency which will operate up till 31 January 2023 is in response to increased travel demand to and from Mauritius, and will boost connectivity to the island nation.
The third-daily flight will boost seat capacity to and from Mauritius by approximately 35%, catering to the surge in demand and providing added support to the tourism industry during one of the busiest travel seasons. The added frequency supplements the existing double-daily Airbus A380 services and will also offer customers travelling to Mauritius with more flexibility when planning their trip with the choice of an early morning arrival at Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in addition to the existing EK 0701 service which arrives mid-morning, and EK 0703 that arrives early evening. Travellers departing Mauritius will also have ample choice to connect safely and seamlessly to Dubai, and through Dubai onwards to Emirates' global network of 130 destinations. All three daily flights offer code sharing with Air Mauritius to allow greater access and a seamless travel experience to and from the island nation.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group said, "We thank the Mauritian authorities for considering our request to operate a third daily flight. Air connectivity is critical to international tourism, and these extra seats will help us bring even more visitors from across our network to Mauritius, and accommodate rising demand. Emirates is committed to playing a key role to promote inbound travel, and support the government in achieving its goal of hosting 1.4 million tourists by June 2023."
In May this year, Emirates renewed its MoU with the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) aimed at jointly promoting the island destination across Emirates' global network. Mauritius is a very popular leisure destination, and continues to experience consistent growth post-pandemic.
Travellers flying with Emirates can enjoy the best experience in the sky with an unmatched culinary experience, regionally inspired multi-course menus developed by a team of award winning chefs complemented by a wide selection of premium beverages. Customers can sit back and relax with more than 5,000 channels of carefully curated global entertainment content featuring movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, games, audiobooks and more with ice, Emirates' award-winning inflight entertainment system.
In addition to carrying more passengers, Emirates' third-daily flight between Dubai and Mauritius will provide around 30-40 tonnes of cargo belly-hold capacity for businesses, further opening global trade lanes through enhanced import and export opportunities.
Emirates started operations to Mauritius in September 2002 with three weekly flights and currently are in its 20th year of operations to the Indian Ocean destination.
Emirates have been building up connectivity in response to growing customer demand on the back of rising travel confidence and the easing of international travel protocols. Boosting connectivity and expanding its Tel Aviv schedule with a second daily flight, and recently resuming passenger services to London Stansted, Emirates has sufficiently restored its pre-pandemic frequencies as travellers return to the skies.
PASSENGER TRAFFIC CONTINUES TO GROW IN JUNE, HKIA NAMED "AIRPORT OF THE YEAR 2022"
Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) today announced traffic figures of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) for June 2022. During the month, the airport handled 295,000 passengers, representing a surge of 254.1% over June 2021 despite passenger volume remaining significantly below pre-pandemic levels. Cargo throughput recorded a 9.0% drop year on year to 363,000 tonnes, while flight movements increased by 1.2% to 11,175 compared to the same month last year.
Following the relaxation of inbound travel and transfer/ transit measures, all passenger segments - including Hong Kong residents, visitors and transfer/ transit passengers - experienced significant year-on-year growth in June compared to the same month last year. Passenger traffic to and from Southeast Asia saw the largest increase.
Disruptions to global supply chains caused by the pandemic and continuing geopolitical tensions in Europe led to the overall decline in cargo volume. Exports registered a year-on-year decrease of 10%. Cargo traffic to and from key trading regions in Europe and North America saw the most significant drops.
Over the first six months of the year, HKIA handled 842,000 passengers, an increase of 121.7% compared to the same period last year. The airport handled 2.1 million tonnes of cargo and 62,155 flight movements, representing decreases of 8.2% and 1.1%, respectively.
On a 12-month rolling basis, the airport handled 1.81 million passengers, marking 99.1% year-on-year growth. The airport handled 4.8 million tonnes of cargo and 144,150 flight movements, representing increases of 2.6% and 11.5%, respectively.
In other news, HKIA was named "Airport of the Year 2022" at the World Air Cargo Awards hosted by Air Cargo Week. The award is considered one of the most prestigious recognitions of excellence in the global air cargo industry. Industry groups from the air freight supply chain sector, as well as logistics providers and suppliers, vote on the winners.
Cissy Chan, Executive Director, Commercial of AAHK, said, "We are honoured to receive this award, which recognises the HKIA cargo community's exceptional professionalism and commitment in strengthening the airport's position as the world's busiest cargo airport. Despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, HKIA ceaselessly strives for service excellence and operational efficiency. We will continue to work closely with our partners to enhance our cargo services, connectivity and digitalisation to further reinforce our status as the world's leading air cargo hub."
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