China's HNA Group, parent firm to Hainan Airlines (HU, Haikou) among others, is in talks to acquire Air Europa (UX, Palma de Mallorca Son Sant Joan), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Spanish firm Globalia Corporación, local paper El Confidencial has reported.
- In the fourth promotional mission in the Asian country, the director of the Catalan Tourist Board, Xavier Espasa, Espasa also delivered the diplomas to the Chinese travel agents who have become "experts in Catalonia" by passing the fourth training course on the Catalan tourism destination.
- In 2014, 175,000 Chinese tourists visited Catalonia and this figure is expected to rise between 15% and 20% in 2015 and to exceed 200,000 tourists
The director of the Catalan Tourist Board (CTB), Xavier Espasas, travelled to China, specifically to Shanghai and Hong Kong to hold several high-level meetings to promote Catalonia among major Chinese tourist agents. This is the fourth promotional mission carried out by the director of the CTB in this country.
Within the program of interviews and meetings scheduled, Xavier Espasa, accompanied by
the director of the Tourism Promotion Centre of Catalonia in China, Li Antonio, met with the directors of the company Fosun Investment Group, specifically its subsidiary Fosun Tourism and Commercial Group, which recently acquired the entire Club Med, as well as 5% of Thomas Cook. Both companies, Fosun and Thomas Cook, are planning to create a major travel agency in China and the director of the CTB met with them to schedule Catalonia into the package tours sold in the Chinese market.
The director of the Catalan Tourism Board also met with the executives in China of the wine company Torres, partner of the CTB, to coordinate with them the promotion in the Asian country of 2016 as the Year of Wine Tourism and Gastronomy.
Finally, accompanied by representatives of the Shanghai office of the airline Emirates, Espasa visited two of the country's largest tour operators: Caissa Tour and Hua Yuan Tour.
Precisely 483 agents from these two companies, namely the cities of Beijing and Shanghai, have participated this year in the on-line tourism training course on Catalonia, which the Catalan Tourist Board has been teaching for four years among the leading tour operators and travel agents in China and whose partner is Emirates.
Since China is a highly intermediated market, the objective of this course is to introduce the Catalan tourist destination to the major Chinese tour operators so that they can then schedule Catalonia into the European circuits marketed in their travel agencies.
The agents who have passed this course, 93 in total, received from the hands of Xavier Espasa the diploma accrediting them as "Experts in Catalonia." In addition, half a dozen of the most outstanding students this year will participate at the end of the year in a familiarization trip to Catalonia, organized by the CTB so that they can know first-hand what they have learned during the course.
Catalonia was the first destination in Spain to launch a course of this kind in China, and its
success has been so great that this model of training consultants has been exported to other countries in Southeast Asia, such as India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Japan, among others.
China, an expanding market
China is currently the largest source market of tourists in the world, with more than 100 million Chinese each year traveling outside their country. Culture, luxury, shopping, and incentive trips are some of the most popular products among Chinese tourists.
State-owned airline Pakistan International Airlines’ (PIA) privatization plans have been postponed until mid-2016, following what the government described as “legal obstacles in finalizing the transaction structure.”
In 2014, the Pakistan government agreed to a sell off parts of various strategic state-owned assets, including power corporations and steelmakers as well as PIA. The move to divest corporations was a condition of a $6.7 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund made in 2013.
Pakistan Minister of State for Privatization Mohammad Zubair said at the time of the agreement that the sale of PIA would commence in mid-2015. “The process is absolutely on and financial advisers are performing their job, [working on] the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) sale,” he said.
In 2014, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave approval for the airline to take five new Boeing 777 aircraft, in addition to an agreement for 13 leased Airbus A320s, of which the fifth was delivered in June 2015.
“With newer versions of fuel-efficient aircraft, the employees will have to put in extra efforts for turning around the corporation [prior to sale],” PIA managing director Shahnawaz Rehman said.
But government intervention and factional delays have pushed the timeline back twice already, with the original deal for a restructuring prior to a 26% IPO sell-off still subject to internal opposition and political wrangling.
In the meantime, the airline is posting continuing losses—in the first quarter, it lost PKR2.1 billion ($206 million) taking its total losses to date to $2.1 billion.
Brazil’s TAM and its Paraguay affiliate will also be rebranded under LATAM, as will Santiago de Chile-based LAN’s affiliates in Peru, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador and LAN and TAM’s cargo operations. The rebranding is the culmination of the 2012 merger of LAN and TAM under LATAM. While “LATAM” was the parent company of the carriers post-merger, LAN and TAM have continued to operate under their own brands.
But LATAM will spend $40 million to overhaul the carriers’ branding, with the bulk of the money expected to go towards re-painting more than 300 aircraft in a unified livery and issuing new LATAM-branded apparel to more than 50,000 employees.
LATAM board of directors’ president Mauricio Amaro said in a statement, “We knew that having a single brand was essential to consolidate the connection between LAN and TAM, and the name LATAM creates a strong identity for the airlines that form the largest airline group in Latin America.”
LATAM CEO Enrique Cueto added the branding change is about more than liveries and uniforms. “The passenger experience will improve with access to a single product and service within one network, more powerful online presence and integrated channels of communication, in addition to faster development of innovation and technology in the countries where [LATAM] operates,” he said. “LATAM will increase optimization of our fleet, provide easier access for passengers and clients to the best network of destinations in the region while offering a new inflight experience, updates in service and inflight entertainment, and innovative technology that gives passengers more control over their travel experience.”
LAN, one of the world’s longest operating airlines, has been around since 1929 and adopted the Línea Aérea Nacional de Chile brand in 1932. It was known as LAN Chile from 1932 to 2004, when “Chile” was dropped from the brand to convey a broader Latin American image. São Paulo-based Táxi Aéreo Marília, or TAM, has existed since 1976.
Sharjah-based low-cost carrier (LCC) Air Arabia reported a first-half net profit of AED237 million ($64.5 million), down 4% compared to the same period last year.
The airline said this slight downturn was “mainly driven by pressured yield margins due to market conditions, as well as a number of strategic investments made by the airline in first half 2015 which will begin to fully deliver value in the near future.”
Revenue for the half year was marginally up, to AED1.8 billion from AED1.7 billion year-on-year, while direct costs were down 6% to AED1.4 billion year-over-year.
Passenger numbers for the first half were up 9% year-on-year to 3.6 million, and passenger load factor stood at 79%.
Healthy profits, strong passenger growth
Air Arabia chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Thani said: “Air Arabia continues to deliver healthy profit levels and strong passenger growth against a backdrop of challenging market conditions. The first half 2015 has seen Air Arabia taking major steps in investing in its growth. We have launched ‘Air Arabia Jordan’ following the completion of a strategic acquisition, as well as invested in new routes and capacity increases across the group’s operating hubs, which today provide our customers with access to over 115 routes across the world.”
Air Arabia Jordan was launched in the first half of 2015, following the acquisition of a 49% stake by Air Arabia in Petra Airlines. Based at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, it flies to Kuwait, Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Erbil (in the Kurdistan region of Iraq) and Sharm al Sheikh (Egypt).
For the second quarter ended June 30, net profit was AED152 million, down 12% on the same period the previous year. Turnover for the quarter was AED860 million, down 6% year-on-year, with 2Q passenger numbers rising 4% to 1.8 million.
“The economic performance from Russia and CIS countries and the impact of oil prices on the global economy in addition to regional political instability have all served to put pressure on yield margins across the entire aviation sector,” Al Thani said. “We are confident that these factors are temporary and will be mitigated in the coming quarters when the long-term investments we have made into the business, come fully on stream.”
Air Arabia added 15 new routes to its network in first half 2015, including the first operated by an LCC from the Middle East and Africa to China when it launched non-stop services to Urumqi, the largest city in Western China.
This year, the airline has also become the first LCC in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to launch a rewards program. Called ‘Airewards,’ it awards points based on money spent rather than distance flown.
El Al Israel Airlines has signed an agreement with Boeing to purchase and lease up to 15 787 Dreamliners, with purchase rights for 13 additional aircraft.
The aircraft are part of El Al’s fleet renewal plan.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Ray Conner said, “The Dreamliner will be an excellent addition to El Al’s all-Boeing fleet and marks another chapter in a partnership between our two companies that spans over half a century.”
Low-cost carrier (LCC) Norwegian Air Shuttle reported a significantly improved second quarter over the previous year, with net profits rising to NOK 325 million ($39.8 million) compared to NOK129 million a year ago. The result was achieved with an 8% growth in capacity (ASKs) being outstripped by 15% growth in RPKs. Passengers are traveling farther as more long-haul routes are added and are also contributing to higher levels of ancillary revenue. Revenue, at almost NOK5.9 billion, was up ...
Avianca Brasil joined the Star Alliance in ceremonies at São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport Wednesday. Avianca’s membership brings the number of Star airlines to 28. “Today we are setting the future pace of our airline and close a two year process, which saw us move to a new IT platform, review and update our internal processes, and specific training program for our employees to ensure they can provide the best possible service to customers. We are proud to ...
Taipei-based EVA Air has finalized an order for five Boeing 777 freighters, in an order valued at more than $1.5 billion at list prices. The commitment was first announced at the Paris Air Show. These are the first 777Fs to join EVA Air’s fleet, and the first to be delivered to a Taiwanese airline. The aircraft, which will be powered by GE90-115B engines, are scheduled for delivery from 2017. According to GE Aviation, the$750 million engine order includes a 12-year OnPoint solution ...
In Terminal T-1, Vanderlande has operated and maintained the baggage handling facilities since 2009, when it delivered a state-of-the-art TUBTRAX system. The requested service levels in this O&M contract were among the highest in the industry and Vanderlande has managed to meet them successfully over the last six years.
In Terminal T-2, Vanderlande has installed the majority of baggage handling equipment over the last few decades, but the O&M has been carried out by other parties. In launching a tender for the O&M of both terminals, AENA applied the current service levels in place for Terminal T-1 to all baggage handling systems at the airport. Vanderlande was one of several companies to make an initial bid.
Winning the contract means that Vanderlande will continue to be AENA’s preferred partner for O&M, this time for all baggage handling facilities at Barcelona-El Prat Airport.
Freek Wullems, Manager Services at Vanderlande Spain, said: “We are delighted that AENA has chosen Vanderlande to take its baggage handling facilities at Barcelona-El Prat Airport to the next level. It confirms the productive partnership we share with them and highlights the effort our team has invested over the last six years in maintaining a best-in-class O&M performance of the Terminal 1 baggage handling system.”