FOXTROTS*

 

What’s working; what’s not. Airlines in Europe.

Our summary of traffic results for the leading airlines (not airline groups, where relevant) in Europe, excerpts from the current editions of the Travel Business Analyst newsletter, over January-February.

 

Seat sales (RPKs for British; our estimates for Ryan), in alphabetical order: Air France (no longer separated out from AF-KLM); British +2%; Easyjet +4%; Lufthansa +6%; Ryanair +5%.

 

Notes (on notable details; on whole-group for Air France, British (=ICAG), Lufthansa):

 

-Air France. As noted, the unhappy managers at AF-KLM, who are mainly AF despite the faster-growing strength of KLM, have elected for results-opacity. Starting this month, data for AF and KL are no longer separated – probably because AF is doing badly. And no data for new subsidiary Joon either.

We are surprised that the Dutch stockmarket allows this (we understand that the Paris market would be sympathetic). The group’s no-frills-airline Transavia not doing well (+6%); is Joon getting favoured treatment (in all forms?).

The whole group at +4%. Because figures are now hidden, we cannot determine what is doing what, and thus we are left with just one observation – the group is not doing well.

 

-British (=ICAG). Iberia +7%, good for a full-service-airline. AerLingus’s +8% (our estimate) should be better. Barcelona-based Vueling’s +17% (our estimate) good; are the Barcelona troubles over (that’s travel; political ones are not).

 

-Easyjet. Whoops on traffic, but at least its already-impressive seat factor grew 1pt to 93%.

 

-Lufthansa. Austrian +16%; is this a market-share war as a number of players push their product in the market? Brussels, at +17%, is becoming a big player; it is almost the same size as the much-longer established Austrian.

The Eurowings story should be covered in all the trade (and consumer) media, but relatively, it gets little attention. Yet in seat sales, it is the biggest airline in the group after Lufthansa itself! And look at that growth – +44%! Swiss is the weakest (although one airline must always be last), with +3%.

With group growth at an impressive +13%, the Lufthansa group might even be able to relax with AF-KL in disarray, and ICAG troubled and soon to be more so as one of its members, British, gets caught up in the UK’s coming exit from the European Union.

 

-Ryanair. Growing slower than rival Easy is close to becoming the norm, after years when Ryan was fastest as well as biggest. Norwegian is growing faster, but with its (too?) fast medium/long-haul route growth, is no longer a direct competitor. Today, Europe’s No3 no-frills-airline is Wizz, +24%, with a 92% seat factor.

 

 

The Fox. Remember, I’m an industry expert in the parallel world.

*Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.

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