SPECIAL REPORT WORLD AIRLINE RANKINGS

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1 SPECIAL REPORT WORLD AIRLINE RANKINGS CONTENTS 32 Revenue spread A graphic view of the standout performance and headline numbers in the 2011 World Airline Rankings 34 Regional view A review of the 2011 airline financial performances and analysis of key developments around the globe 44 The Top 150 financial rankings 53 Airlines hold up traffic A review of airline traffic figures in 2011 and the challenges for The Top 200 passenger rankings Rex Features Despite further increases in traffic and revenues, fuel price volatility cast an inescapable blight across global airline profits last year. Yet the 2011 World Airline Rankings show how widely different sectors and regions were able to cope All our special reports are available online at flightglobal.com/ airlines flightglobal.com/airlines August 2012 Airline Business 31

2 WORLD AIRLINE RANKINGS SNAPSHOT NORTH AMERICA LATIN AMERICA North America $206bn Asia- Pacific $191bn Europe $186bn Middle East $41bn Latin America $30bn Africa $12bn GRIP ON CAPACITY HELPS SUSTAIN IMPROVEMENT Mixed fortunes for the North American majors; Delta Air Lines and United-Continental led profits for the region continuing their improved results, but American Airlines parent AMR incurred heavy losses as it filed for bankruptcy protection. North America was second only to Asia in 2011 profitability North America $206bn Asia- Pacific $191bn Europe $186bn Middle East $41bn Latin America $30bn Africa $12bn CONSOLIDATION LEADS LATIN GROWTH The mergers of AviancaTaca and LAN with TAM, finally now completed, have dominated the Latin airline landscape. The region continues to expand rapidly, revenue growth of 23% was the fastest of the regions in But profits came under fire, particularly in the highly competitive Brazilian market EUROPE NORTH AMERICA AFRICA LATIN AMERICA PROFIT REVENUE SPREAD Conditions closed in on the airline industry over the last year as the fuel cost burden mounted and economic growth stalled for many. This year s World Airline Rankings illustrate the differing fortunes for the top 150 airlines by revenue in 2011 Total revenue $666bn Total profit $6.0bn AIRLINES BATTLE TO KEEP A GRIP High fuel costs and a weakening economic picture for many have made it a battle to keep hold of profits. Net profits for the top 150 airlines slipped to $6 billion, of which low-cost carriers contributed almost a quarter. But it was a brighter story at an operating level, as profits while down on 2010 still topped $20 billion 32 Airline Business August 2012

3 EUROPE ASIA-PACIFIC North America $206bn Asia- Pacific $191bn Europe $186bn Middle East $41bn Latin America $30bn Africa $12bn North America $206bn Asia- Pacific $191bn Europe $186bn Middle East $41bn Latin America $30bn Africa $12bn DEBT CRISIS BEGINS TO TAKE TOLL ON AIRLINES European carriers lifted revenues 14% in 2011 and managed to largely cling on to their operating profits in 2011, despite the increasingly difficult operating environment as fuel volatility continued and the European sovereign debt crisis deepened. But net profits for the region were nearly wiped out CARRIERS LEAD THE WAY ON PROFITS IN 2011 Revenues for Asia-Pacific carriers within the top 150 grew 14% in 2011 as the region s recent strong growth continues. While profit levels slipped on 2010, the Asia-Pacific region was still the most profitable. The potential for the region is underlined by the glut of recent airline start-up projects, notably in the low-cost space REVENUE MIDDLE EAST ASIA-PACIFIC Total revenue $666bn Total profit $6.0bn STRONG SALES GROWTH STORY Revenues across the top 150 airlines jumped nearly 14% in Revenues at network carriers increased 12% to $526 billion, while they grew nearly 25% at low-cost operators in reaching $67 billion. Cargo revenues among the top 150 operators were up only 10% to reach $42 billion as the airfreight market struggled to pick up AFRICA MIDDLE EAST North America $206bn Asia- Pacific $191bn Europe $186bn Middle East $41bn Latin America $30bn Africa $12bn North America $206bn Asia- Pacific $191bn Europe $186bn Middle East $41bn Latin America $30bn Africa $12bn OIL PAIN TAKES TOLL ON AFRICAN CARRIERS Sub-Saharan African operators saw much of the benefits of improved revenues in 2011 wiped out by the sharp increase in fuel, curtailing profits for many. Airlines in North Africa were also hit by the disruption to air travel last year from the spread of the Arab Spring to a number of countries in the region GROWTH PATH CONTINUES BUT FUEL COSTS HIT HARD The growth of mega-gulf carriers continued apace in 2011, as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways helped drive a 16% jump in revenues for Middle East airlines in Emirates profits took a hit from higher fuel costs, but Etihad was in 2011 able to record its first profit since its launch Gareth JJ Burgess August 2012 Airline Business 33

4 WORLD AIRLINE RANKINGS EUROPE REPORT GRAHAM DUNN LONDON SHORT CUTS As conditions continue to round on Europe s carriers, they are again turning to cost control to stem losses Europe s carriers as a whole saw net profitability almost wiped out in This year has already witnessed high-profile airline casualties, and the Association of European Airlines (AEA) projects operating losses among its members of around 1.5 billion ($1.8 billion). Traffic and economic growth forecasts for large parts of the region are flat or negligible. And all this assumes that governments can resolve the sovereign debt that hangs over the region was predicted to have a gloomy, uncertain economic outlook, says AEA s acting secretary general, Athar Husain Khan, and our forecasts are proving to be accurate. The climate of course differs by country and carrier. Airlines operating in fast-growing European markets outside of the EU, like Turkey and Russia, grew strongly in And within the EU, low-cost carriers have, in the main, kept a grip on profitability. It is network carriers large and small within the EU that are feeling the sharpest pressure. Europe s big three network carrier groups Air France-KLM, International Airlines Group and Lufthansa are all restructuring parts of their businesses, notably in short-haul operations. The financial figures for all three have, to differing extents, been weighed down, not just by higher fuel costs and the weak climate, but by under-performing parts of the business. Lufthansa s net results were hard hit by costs associated with loss-making BMI and 34 Airline Business August 2012 $776m IAG led net profits among European carriers, aided by British Airways performance its sale to IAG. Iberia s performance within the latter group lagged behind the robust British Airways performance, while Air France contributed largely to the group s overall operating loss last year. At the other end of the scale, the tough environment, combined with a regulator clamping down on state-supported excesses of the past, makes survival the name of the game for many mid-sized European operators. Many cannot confidently predict that they can do so alone. Malev, Spanair and Cimber Sterling have fallen by the wayside already this year. Small wonder foreign investors, such as Etihad, which has already helped to rescue Air Berlin, are in demand. The difficulty for these carriers is that there appear to be many more airlines on the block than suitors. Europe s big carriers are busy getting their own houses in order, leaving them with little investment appetite for anything other than strategic no-brainers such IAGs move for Heathrow-slot-laden BMI. This leaves most of the potential saviours coming from outside the EU. There has been some activity. Gulf carriers Etihad and Qatar Airways through its investment in Cargolux have already shown an interest. Turkish Airlines is also an active observer, though it was dissuaded from investing in LOT Polish Airlines by the limitations in foreign ownership levels by non-eu carriers and quickly distanced itself from moves to invest in Aer Lingus for similar reasons. Aer Lingus is one of a number of small or mid-sized European carriers where stakes are on the market. It is though in the enviable position or unenviable depending on your perspective of having at least one declaration of interest already from a bidder in the guise of existing shareholder and noisy neighbour Ryanair. Amid this tough environment, attention has again turned to tackling costs. Air France- KLM s Transform 2015 programme aims to cut its net debt by 2 billion; Lufthansa is targeting 1.5 billion in efficiency gains by 2014; Finnair aims to save 140 million by

5 OPERATING RESULT, $m 3,348 4, OPERATING MARGIN 1.8% % 2010 NET RESULT, $m 2, NET MARGIN 1.8% 0.3% LARGEST GROUPS BY REVENUE Rank Airline group Revenue $m 1 Lufthansa 40,164 2 Air France-KLM 34,109 3 IAG 22,839 4 Turkish Airlines 7,008 5 SAS Group 6,441 6 Ryanair 6,063 7 Air Berlin 5,909 8 EasyJet 5,552 9 Aeroflot 5, Alitalia 4,862 NET PROFIT LEADERS REVENUE 2011 $186.2bn CHANGE 14.4% Rank Airline group Net profits $m 1 IAG Ryanair Aeroflot EasyJet Thomson Airways 109 HEAVIEST LOSSES Rank Airline group Net losses $m 1 Air France-KLM -1,131 2 Air Berlin SAS -262 Gareth JJ Burgess 2014; SAS aims for SKr5 billion ($749 million) in savings during If you look at the really successful airlines, the carriers that are thriving, a combination of network and low-cost carriers, are those with an unrelenting focus on costs, says Emre Serpen, head of airline practice at the Intervistas Consulting Group. [The challenge is to] keep reducing costs, focus on quality and give enough difference to the customer. Decide what your strength is. That s where the good CEOs come in. They manage to maintain the short-term focus, but don t lose sight of the strategic focus. COST CHALLENGE Peter Morris, chief economist at Flightglobal consultancy Ascend, says no network carrier will ever get their costs down to match those of their low-cost counterparts. There are certain sticking points for the legacy carriers, things like pilot conditions, he says, yet notes the market means these carriers have to tackle such issues to compete. You don t have an option to ignore the market it s what the market is willing to pay, he says. They have to carry on focusing on cost reduction, yet have to be conscious there will always be a gap, so it comes back to frequency, and service enhancement, he adds. The challenge, though, is that evolving low-cost carriers continue to encroach on the traditional network carrier territory increasing frequency and enhancing their product offering to appeal to business travellers. [Network carriers have] got to look at it objectively on what the value is of these services [they offer], he says. What else have you got other than a bottle of champagne? What are the weapons they have left to fight with? So a decade on from the first European network carrier responses to the arrival of lowcost outfits, the incumbents in many ways find themselves back at square one and renewing their attack on short-haul. This is crucial in order for their overall business to work. Carriers must find a way to retain their feeder networks without wiping out their long-haul profits in the process. Europe s big three carrier groups are taking steps to address short-haul. Lufthansa will decide by spring 2013 how to restructure its intra-european network and merge its inhouse narrowbody operations with low-cost subsidiary Germanwings; Air France has made overhauling its short and medium-haul operations central to its restructuring; and IAG launched Iberia Express to tackle shorthaul challenges in the Spanish airline s Madrid operations. IAG is following a similar model at Iberia The challenge is that evolving low-cost carriers continue to encroach on the traditional network carrier territory Express as Iberia chose with Click Air the budget operation it launched to operate shorthaul out of Barcelona and which ultimately merged to form Vueling. With the axe hanging over Bmibaby, Vueling is one of the two last European network carrier budget affiliates left standing, along with Lufthansa s lowcost unit Germanwings. Vueling s chief executive, Alex Cruz, believes one of the keys to its success was that Iberia has given the carrier its independence. The starting point was we are going to let the people go and do it, and that was a big leap of faith, he says. If you are a big airline, unless you are in a position of severe financial stress and you have the support of the government, the task of restructuring the short-haul operation is difficult, Cruz adds. He believes there is likely to be a move to lower-cost platforms two ways the friendly or unfriendly way. Either will be through competition from low-cost carriers, which will have a substitution effect while also growing the market or through co-operation between the network carrier and low-cost partner, such as being seen with Eurowings/ Lufthansa or the creation of Iberia Express. The minutes flight segment will continue to be the industry s premier battleground, Cruz adds. Read our recent analysis of the financial challenges facing European network carriers: flightglobal.com/fuelpain August 2012 Airline Business 35

6 WORLD AIRLINE RANKINGS NORTH AMERICA REPORT EDWARD RUSSELL WASHINGTON DC HOLDING FIRM North American carriers recent profitability continues as airlines keep capacity tight and look for further gains from regional fleet overhaul 36 Airline Business August 2012 $854m US major Delta Air Lines and United-Continental led the way on profits in a strong 2011 Since moving back into the black in 2010, the sustained profitability of North American carriers has been one of the brightest spots for the airline industry. Amid continued tight capacity discipline, leading North American carriers posted collective profits of over $7 billion in 2011 though net profits were much lower, in part hit by heavy losses at American Airlines parent AMR. Having striven so hard to reach profitability, there is a determination to retain it, which is evident in their performance so far this year. This was underlined when IATA s eurozone-woes-dominated recent global forecast for 2012 quietly lifted projected North American carrier profits by $500 million. Costs and capacity remain the focus of carriers in North America. The former is largely a story of fuel and its history as a leading indicator of demand, while the largest airlines continue to maintain bearish attitudes towards the latter as they focus on improving return on invested capital (ROIC). Fuel is the largest and most volatile cost for airlines in the region, notes industry body Airlines for America (A4A). The price of jet fuel has fluctuated from around $120 per barrel at the beginning of January to nearly $140 per barrel in March, before settling to about $110 per barrel at the end of June, according to the organisation s calculations. This volatility results in varied losses and gains for air carriers. In June, Delta Air Lines predicted it would take an $800 million writedown on its fuel hedges and realise losses of $155 million in the second quarter because of declines in the spot market price of jet fuel. One way Delta has addressed its fuel bill is through buying the Trainer oil refinery in Pennsylvania from Phillips for $180 million. The Atlanta-based carrier hopes that the refinery deal will result in about $300 million in annual savings once the plant begins operations later this year. However, more than $100 million in upgrades are needed first. Delta s approach to fuel is innovative, to say the least, and other carriers as well as market analysts are watching closely to see if it will succeed. Others, such as US Airways, have opted instead not to hedge jet fuel and are expected to benefit from the declines in the price of jet fuel in the short- to medium-term. But the downward slide in the price of oil may not be a good thing. UNDERLYING DEMAND Historically, large changes in fuel prices have been a strong predictor of economic activity and underlying demand for air travel, William Greene, senior transportation analyst at Morgan Stanley, said in a recent report. This could mean a decline in passenger demand, which, he says, typically lags behind fuel by three to four quarters. Demand is already slowing. IATA data shows traffic in RPKs increased only fractionally in North America in May, compared with a 1.3% year-on-year increase a month earlier. Traffic is running 1.9% higher for the year to date, but that compares with the 4.1% year-on-year growth seen for the same period in But at the same time, IATA notes that carriers in North America have the highest load factors globally, at 83.4%, because of their continued capacity discipline. Airlines have yet to officially acknowledge a slowdown. In a June investor update, United Airlines reported a 2.1% increase in six-week domestic advance bookings, and Alaska Airlines reported that bookings were up to 3.5% higher through August. However, one industry analyst notes that

7 OPERATING RESULT, $m 10,433 7, OPERATING MARGIN 3.5% % 2010 NET RESULT, $m 3, NET MARGIN 0.2% 1.8% LARGEST GROUPS BY REVENUE Rank Airline group Revenue $m 1 United-Continental 37,110 2 Delta Air Lines 35,115 3 FedEx Express 26,515 4 AMR 23,979 5 Southwest Airlines 15,658 6 US Airways 13,341 7 Air Canada 11,779 8 UPS Airlines 5,941 9 JetBlue 4, Alaska Air 4,318 NET PROFIT LEADERS REVENUE 2011 $205.9bn CHANGE 12.3% Rank Airline group Net profits $m 1 Delta Air Lines United-Continental Alaska Air Group US Airways Southwest Airlines 178 HEAVIEST LOSSES Rank Airline group Net losses $m 1 AMR -1,979 2 Air Canda Republic Airways -151 Gareth JJ Burgess continued capacity cuts are a signal to the market that airlines are not expecting good things in the near term. North America s two largest airlines, Delta and United, plan to shrink capacity by 1% and up to 1.5% respectively this year. Southwest expects to keep capacity flat, while Air Canada and US Airways are predicting modest increases of 1.5% and 1% respectively. American Airlines has not released its capacity guidance for the year as it moves through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganisation process, but is expected to cut capacity too. These carriers combined carry the vast majority of travellers in the region. Smaller and low-cost airlines are still planning growth. Allegiant Air, Hawaiian Airlines and Spirit Airlines plan to increase capacity by double digits this year, while Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways and WestJet all plan mid-to-high single-digit increases. However, these increases will have little impact on overall capacity as a result of these carriers relatively small share of the North American market. NO GROWTH FOR GROWTH S SAKE Maintaining capacity discipline is a challenge, says Jamie Baker, an analyst at JP Morgan. US airlines need to make sure they don t succumb to the temptation to grow for growth s sake. The industry can t afford for anyone to fall off the wagon. Capacity cuts and continued discipline have led to rising airfares, improved margins and higher ROIC at airlines in the region in recent years. US Airways continuing pursuit of a merger with American could result in further decreases in the coming years. Details of what a combination of the two airlines would look like have yet to emerge, but it is widely expected that a merger would result in some capacity cuts, as did the mergers of Delta and Northwest Airlines in 2008 and United and Continental Airlines in In a recent report, Morgan Stanley estimated that a merger between the airlines could result in a mid-to-high single-digit reduction in capacity at the merged entity. Assuming a 9% cut, this would translate into about a 1.6% reduction in overall US passenger traffic, based on 2011 numbers from the US Department of Transportation. Consolidation is positive for airline fundamentals in a number of ways, Morgan Stanley s Greene said in the report. He cites more rational fare pricing, labour expenses and capacity trends as being benefits of consolidation. US Airways expects American to begin discussions on a potential merger following the bankruptcy court judge s ruling on its labour contracts, which is expected in mid-august. North American carriers are also looking at other ways to address costs and boost returns. Delta received approval from its pilots to implement a dramatic restructuring of its regional fleet that could result in lower costs per passenger in June. Under the plan, it will remove seat regional jets, which have some of the highest per passenger costs in the industry, for a total of 125 from its regional fleet by 2015 and will add seat regional jets to its contract carrier fleets and seat Boeing s to its mainline operations during the same period. While this will result in a net increase of 4,716 seats in Delta s combined fleets, the airline hopes that it will result in lower costs per passenger and improved margins. TENTATIVE AGREEMENT Other airlines are expected to follow Delta s lead. The tentative agreement that American s pilots will vote on in July would allow the airline to add up to 195 large regional jets those with 66 to 79 seats and reduce the number of small regional jets. United is expected to pursue a similar strategy as contracts for 55% of its regional fleet expire during the next five years. What the focus on cost and capacity boils down to at the region s airlines is ROIC. Alaska has become the industry leader on this metric, reporting an 11.7% ROIC in 2011 and maintaining a company target of average annual returns above 10%. All of the region s carriers are now focused on ROIC, and their respective strategies, which include reducing costs and improving margins, reflect this. Spirit Airlines chief executive Ben Baldanza on how the low-cost carrier will expand: flightglobal.com/baldanza August 2012 Airline Business 37

8 WORLD AIRLINE RANKINGS ASIA-PACIFIC REPORT SIVA GOVINDASAMY SINGAPORE POLE POSITION Asia-Pacific s carriers were again the most profitable in 2011 and the race is on to lead the way in the next stage of the region s development Last year further underlined the profitability of the fast-growing Asia-Pacific airline sector. At a net and operating level, Asian carriers in the top 150 biggest airlines generated higher profits than any other region. Of the most profitable 10 carriers by net profit, half were from Asia-Pacific. It continues the rapid growth in the region which has seen Asia-Pacific carriers move sharply up the airline rankings. Revenues for Asia-Pacific among the top 150 operators were just shy of $200 billion, second only to North America. Ten of the 20 biggest airlines in 2011 by revenue were from Asia. This compares with just five Asian carrier groups 10 years ago. This includes three mainland Chinese carriers. The top Chinese mainland operators ten years ago ranked 35th, 39th and 43rd respectively in 2012, underlining the dynamic growth of China s airline sector. While still the most profitable of the regions, the Asia-Pacific sector also saw profits fall on 2010 highs. Carriers could not escape the pain of rising fuel which hit all airlines in 2011, while Asia Pacific operators were harder hit than many others by the continued weak air freight market because of their relatively higher exposure to air cargo activities. The likes of Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines and Korean Air all ended the year in the red; losses piled up in India s struggling airline market which continues to fail to fulfil its potential; and operating profits were even reined in for fast-growing Chinese carriers. 38 Airline Business August 2012 $2.4bn Restructuring at Japan Airlines has been successful, enabling it to report strong net profits IATA, in its most recent forecast for Asia- Pacific carriers, scaled back its profits expectations for the region this year to $2 billion. While that figure would still make it the most profitable of the regions, it is well under the near $5 billion profit Asia-Pacific carriers made last year. IATA notes the region s carriers have so far seen little sign of benefiting from the recent modest improvement in cargo, while also citing the slowing of the key Chinese and Indian economies as factors for the slow-growth environment. Mark Winterbourne Yet the long-term potential is undoubted and it is against this backdrop that some of the most dynamic activity in the industry is taking place in Asia. A string of new airline projects and initiatives have been set in motion over the last 18 month as airlines jockey for position in moves which could change the industry over the long term. Top-tier airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Qantas Airways and Cathay Pacific retain their lead, but could face a rather gloomy near-term outlook. Partly, this is because of the higher fuel prices and the fact that the premium market has not recovered as well as they thought it would after the 2008 financial crisis. Star Alliance carrier Singapore Airlines had a rare quarterly loss in the three months to 31 March, although it did report a full-year profit, while Cathay and Qantas have issued profit warnings and said that the near-term outlook was gloomy. The challenge for them, however, is that they have to restructure their operations while fighting on several fronts to fend off competition. In the short-haul market, this comes from growing low-cost carriers that have been more dominant in Southeast Asia but are increasingly making inroads in their white spot, Northeast Asia. This started with Malaysia s AirAsia, which gradually set up affiliates in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines and will soon do so in Japan. Singapore s Tiger Airways, which is one third owned by Singapore Airlines, is following that model with

9 OPERATING RESULT, $m 12,844 8, OPERATING MARGIN 4.4% % 2010 NET RESULT, $m 5, , NET MARGIN 2.7% % 2010 REVENUE 2011 $191.0bn CHANGE 14.0% LARGEST GROUPS BY REVENUE Rank Airline group Revenue $m 1 ANA Group 17,897 2 JAL Group 15,276 3 Air China 15,260 4 Qantas 14,842 5 China Southern 14,017 6 China Eastern 12,943 7 Cathay Pacific 12,649 8 Singapore Airlines 11,896 9 Korean Air 10, Thai Airways 6,361 NET PROFIT LEADERS Rank Airline group Net profits $m 1 Japan Airlines 2,366 2 Air China 1,095 3 China Southern Cathay Pacific China Eastern 689 HEAVIEST LOSSES Rank Airline group Net losses $m 1 Malaysia Airlines Kingfisher Airlines Thai Airways -333 Gareth JJ Burgess Australian, Indonesian and Filipino operations. More could follow for both. Qantas s main Jetstar subsidiary is based in Australia, but there are Jetstar affiliates across the region in Singapore, Vietnam and Japan. Qantas also plans to set up a Jetstar-branded airline in Hong Kong as a joint venture with China Eastern Airlines, potentially giving it access into the highly lucrative Chinese market. Spring Airlines, the sole Chinese lowcost carrier, plans to set up a Japanese affiliate within the next year. While still the most profitable of the regions, the Asia-Pacific sector also saw profits fall on 2010 highs Full-service carriers must also compete with the growing long-haul low-cost phenomenon, which could see four participants from Southeast Asia itself in 2013 and that, too, in a market segment that has not yet proven if it can deliver profit on a sustainable basis. AirAsia was again the pioneer here with its AirAsia X affiliate. Jetstar had been offering these with Airbus A330s from Australia to some limited markets, and Singapore-based Jetstar Asia has moved into the market as well. Philippine carrier Cebu Pacific has also announced that it will begin long-haul services in 2013, but the most intriguing entrant into this segment is Singapore Airlines itself. RETURN TO LEISURE The Star Alliance carrier s Scoot subsidiary began operations in June with flights to Australia, and will soon fly to Taipei, Tokyo and Tianjin. SIA s plan is to use Scoot to return to the leisure market, from which it has largely withdrawn during the past few years. Scoot, as well as AirAsia X, Jetstar and Cebu Pacific, aim squarely at a growing group of passengers from Australia and Southeast Asia who have more disposable income than the previous generation, and do not mind sacrificing comfort for cost. The tier two full-service carriers, however, are responding. Airlines such as Garuda Indonesia, Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines, and the three main Chinese airlines have also been restructuring their product and improving their network partly in response to the low-cost carriers, but also to get some of the traffic that now goes to the bigger names. They may not get to the same level as SIA, Cathay and Qantas in the full-service segment but they could get close enough to grab some passengers and make a dent. At the same time, they are also making their own inroads into the low-cost market. Garuda is busy transforming its Citilink subsidiary into a proper low-cost carrier in response to the growing presence of Indonesian rival Lion Air. And the latter, which has made major inroads into the domestic market, plans to set up a full-service subsidiary. Lion will launch Batik Air next year with Boeing ERs, and has also signed a commitment to add Boeing 787s for the venture. Thai Airways meanwhile has started up a full-service regional carrier, Thai Smile, to serve the premium market. The carrier also plans to set up a low-cost carrier as part of a joint venture with Nok Air. BIG IN JAPAN In Northeast Asia, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways are to push into the low-cost market via joint ventures with Jetstar and AirAsia respectively. It is still not clear when, or if, Jetstar Hong Kong will get the go-ahead, but one or two low-cost airlines could also emerge in Taiwan in the next year and start services into China. Yet mainland Chinese carriers, by and large, remain protected. This is important for them, especially since many of their domestic operations remain low-fare full-service airlines. But there is growing speculation that one or two of Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines could set up a proper low-cost carrier to have the first-mover advantage. And industry sources say that the likes of AirAsia and Jetstar will find it hard to plant their flag More on ANA, Japan Airlines, Thai Airways and Malaysia Airlines in our IATA AGM daily papers: flightglobal.com/iata12 August 2012 Airline Business 39

10 WORLD AIRLINE RANKINGS MIDDLE EAST OPERATING RESULT, $m , OPERATING MARGIN 0.2% % 2010 NET RESULT, $m 1, NET MARGIN 4.0% -0.3% LARGEST GROUPS BY REVENUE Rank Airline group Revenue $m 1 Emirates Group 16,958 2 Qatar Airways 6,825 3 Saudia 5,500 4 Etihad Airways 4,100 5 El Al 2,043 REVENUE 2011 $41.1bn CHANGE 15.0% NET PROFIT LEADERS Rank Airline group Net profits $m 1 Emirates Air Arabia 75 3 Middle East Airlines 64 Gareth JJ Burgess MAX KINGSLEY-JONES LONDON FUEL BILLS HIT PROFIT Middle East carriers have posted healthy increases in revenue but are feeling the pain of soaring fuel costs A strong rise in revenues among the Middle East carriers, led by Emirates, was more than offset by the impact of high fuel prices, which saw overall net profitability tumble into the red. However strong growth and a good hedging policy helped local rival Etihad Airways become profitable for the first time. Revenue for the Middle East s top 10 airlines increased by around 15% last year, to $41.1 billion. Once again Emirates Group reported the highest figure, contributing more than two-fifths of the total amount. The Dubai carrier s revenue grew by around 15% in to reach $18.4 billion on a 10% jump in passenger traffic. But its net profit fell sharply to $441 million as rising fuel costs hit home. Emirates shared its pain, revealing that its fuel 40 Airline Business August 2012 bill increased by 44% to Dh24.3 billion and contributed to a 24% increase in operating costs. Down the road in Abu Dhabi, Etihad broke into the black for the first time, nine years after launch, with an operating profit (EBIT) of $137 million and a net profit of $14 million, on revenue of $4.1 billion. The airline s chief executive, James Hogan, credits the success to a good fuel-hedging policy, cost control and high load factors. INCREASING INVOLVEMENT It s about brand maturity, network and scale all coming together, he says. I ve moved into profitability and I ll stay there. Although the three Gulf network carriers are all unaligned from a global alliance perspective, there has been increasing involvement between them and other airlines around the world. Qatar Airways kick-started this last year with its 35% stake in Cargolux. Etihad has been more prolific of late, concluding a string of share deals, starting last December with the acquisition of a 29% stake in struggling German carrier Air Berlin. Subsequent deals have seen Etihad acquire small stakes in Aer Lingus and Virgin Australia, as well as take a 40% holding in Air Seychelles. The thinking behind these deals and the many codeshare deals it has signed up is to gain access to new markets at the end of our network, says Hogan. Discussions are also being held with Air France-KLM about a codeshare tie-up and perhaps more although Hogan dismisses talk of a wider partnership agreement as speculation. While Emirates anti-alliance position is well documented, the situation with its two rivals is less clear and speculation is rife that, sooner rather than later, Qatar Airways or Etihad will join one of the three global groupings. Meanwhile, Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker is preparing for the opening of the new Doha international airport, which is due to be completed early next year. It won t be a phased opening, everyone will transfer to the new airport in one go, he says. Read our recent cover interview with Qatar Airways chief Akbar Al Baker at: flightglobal.com/albaker

11 WORLD AIRLINE RANKINGS LATIN AMERICA OPERATING RESULT, $m 1,744 1, OPERATING MARGIN 5.8% % 2010 NET RESULT, $m 1, NET MARGIN 5.5% 0.8% LARGEST GROUPS BY REVENUE Rank Airline group Revenue $m 1 TAM 7,574 2 LAN 5,718 3 GOL 4,515 4 AviancaTaca 3,815 5 Aeromexico 2,872 NET PROFIT LEADERS Rank Airline group Net profits $m 1 LAN Copa Aeromexico 167 GHIM-LAY YEO BOGOTA & WASHINGTON DC REVENUE 2011 $30.1bn CHANGE 23.2% Gareth JJ Burgess MERGING CHANGE Latin American powerhouses dominate new landscape When in June the merger between LAN Group and Brazilian operator TAM was finally completed, it created the largest airline group in fast-growing Latin America. LATAM Airlines would have generated combined revenues in excess of $13 billion last year based on their individual returns. This would have made it the 16th biggest airline group in the world, underlining its importance on the global stage. Small wonder there has been a tug of war from alliances for the merged carrier. A decision is still to come, but as a competition ruling attached to the merger blocks LATAM being in the same alliance as recent Star Alliance recruit AviancaTaca, LAN s existing relationship puts Oneworld in the box seat. The new partners are initially concentrating on integrating their networks and fleets, says LATAM chief executive Enrique Cueto. The two airlines, in the meantime, will continue to operate separately under their individual brands. TAM is a very strong brand in Brazil so we want to keep it as it is, says Cueto, who expects 27% of LATAM s overall revenue to come from TAM s domestic Brazil operations. It would be a little risky to begin with a new brand now, he adds, although he envisages a single brand to be a possibility in about two to three years time. Cueto says LAN and TAM overlap on about 3% of the routes, meaning significant potential for new routes such as Sao Paulo-Cordoba. TAM could not fly to Cordoba, but we are very strong in the Argentinean market, he says Cueto, pointing to LAN s presence in the country through its Argentinian affiliate. Cueto expects the route integration between LAN and TAM to take place this year and stretch into the first half of The creation of LATAM marks the second recent big-ticket merger in the region. The combination of Avianca and Taca consolidates a pool of carriers in Central American countries such as Colombia, El Salvador and Ecuador. It estimates synergies resulting from the merger will top $219 million in One of the group s first tasks was to streamline a combined fleet that comprised 135 aircraft across 11 aircraft types. The fleet now consists of 155 aircraft and six aircraft types. It has also just completed its entry into Star Alliance, alongside Panama s Copa Airlines. Next is an effort to consolidate the airlines in the group under a single branding of Avianca, explains chief operating officer Estuardo Ortiz. The group has signed an IT deal with Amadeus to roll out a common customer management system across its airlines to integrate operations, and hopes to be able to operate all flights under a common airline code, AV, in the first half of But there is no definite plan yet to bring Avianca Brazil, run separately from the group and owned by AviancaTaca s majority shareholder Synergy Group. into the group. Elsewhere, Brazil has been at the centre of consolidation activity. After the region s second-largest carrier, GOL, acquired fellow lowcost operator WebJet, fast-growing regional carriers Azul and Trip have announced plans to merge. The deal could, based on 2011 revenues, create an operation which would already be the sixth largest in the region. August 2012 Airline Business 41

12 WORLD AIRLINE RANKINGS AFRICA OPERATING RESULT, $m OPERATING MARGIN -0.1% % 2010 NET RESULT, $m NET MARGIN -2.1% 2.4% LARGEST GROUPS BY REVENUE Rank Airline group Revenue $m 1 South African Airways 3,200 2 Royal Air Maroc 1,607 3 Ethiopian Airlines 1,517 4 EgyptAir 1,500 5 Kenya Airways 1, NET PROFIT LEADERS Rank Airline group Net profits $m 1 Ethiopian Airlines 74 2 Kenya Airways Air Mauritius -40 DAVID KAMINSKI-MORROW & MAX KINGSLEY-JONES BEIJING REVENUE 2011 $11.7bn CHANGE 1.8% Gareth JJ Burgess SLIM PICKINGS Fuel takes toll on African airline profits in tough year For African airlines still struggling to unlock the potential of the continent s fragmented aviation market, fuel has been a heavy burden. Subsaharan Africa s big three carriers have continued to grow, lifting revenues and traffic. But profits among Kenya Airways, South African Airways and Ethiopian Airways in their most recent financial years were curtailed by rising fuel costs. Kenya Airways net profits more than halved to Kenyan shillings (KSh) 1.66 billion ($18.7 million). While revenues grew a quarter, its costs jumped a third. Its fuel costs were 64% higher, the increased oil price exacerbated by the weak Kenyan shilling. SAA and Ethiopian Airlines are still to report their most recent financial years, but during the recent IATA annual general meeting in Beijing both pointed to the weight of fuel costs. SAA chief executive Siza Mzimela says the airline has suffered despite a rise in revenue, load factors and yield in the last financial year. Unfortunately, all of that got wiped out by the increase in costs, mainly because of fuel, she says. This means SAA s results will not be very positive, she adds. To address this, the airline is stepping up cost-reduction efforts, and is moving aircraft around to boost yield. It has also been reviewing its network to eliminate any weak routes, it cut Cape Town-London in August, and increasing aircraft utilisation. There is still a lot we can do around our cost base on top of the work we did last year, says Mzimela. Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Tewolde Gebremariam stresses that the carrier, whose financial year ends in June, is profitable, even if it might not have been as profitable as expected in the Vision 2025 plan, owing to fuel prices. But growth has been beyond our expectations, he says, indicating it has achieved a traffic rise of 30% and forecasts a repeat for the next fiscal year. The Star Alliance carrier is aiming to start Sao Paulo services this year, having identified Brazil as a crucial market, and intends to feed the flights with its Togolese operator ASKY. Gebremariam says the carrier will have a heavy emphasis on Brazil, China and India and says these countries will drive the huge growth central to its Vision 2025 strategy. Key issues impacting carriers in the region include the continued slow progress on liberalising African skies, while at the same time combating the competition from overseas carriers. We cannot compete with carriers from outside Africa unless we make our airlines strong by opening up the African market, says Elijah Chingosho, secretary-general of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA). In the process, some smaller airlines are going to disappear, but it will strengthen some of our carriers to take on the world carriers. Our major threat comes from outside Africa. The big carriers realise that Africa is a growing market and are coming in. And opening up the market is the only way we can strengthen African airlines, he adds. Meanwhile, carriers in North Africa continue to look for political stability after a tumultuous 2011 for many countries in the region as the Arab Spring spread. Traffic and revenues for many carriers were hard hit last year as air services were disrupted during the political upheaval. August 2012 Airline Business 43

13 WORLD AIRLINE RANKINGS FINANCIAL ANALYSIS BY FLIGHTGLOBAL INSIGHT DATA COMPILED BY SILVA ISHAK FLIGHTGLOBAL DATA RESEARCH TOP AIRLINE GROUPS BY REVENUE TOP AIRLINE GROUPS RANKED BY REVENUES 2011: 1 TO 50 Ranking Group/Airline Country Revenues Change (%) Operating result ($m) Operating margin (%) 2011 (2010) ($m) Local In US$ (1) Lufthansa Group Germany 40, ,146 1, (2) United-Continental Holdings USA 37, ,822 1, (3) Delta Air Lines USA 35, ,975 2, (4) Air France-KLM Group France 34, (5) FedEx Express USA 26, ,260 1, (6) AMR USA 23, , (7) International Airlines Group UK/Spain 22, (9) ANA Group Japan 17, , (10) Emirates Group United Arab Emirates 16, , (14) Southwest Airlines USA 15, (8) Japan Airlines Group Japan 15, ,598 2, (11) Air China China 15, , (13) Qantas Australia 14, (16) China Southern Airlines China 14, (12) US Airways USA 13, (17) China Eastern Airlines China 12, (15) Cathay Pacific Group Hong Kong 12, , (18) Singapore Airlines Group Singapore 11, (19) Air Canada Canada 11, (20) Korean Air South Korea 10, (21) TAM Linhas Aereas Brazil 7, (24) Turkish Airlines Turkey 7, (25) Qatar Airways Group Qatar 6, (22) SAS Group Sweden 6, (23) Thai Airways International Thailand 6, (29) Ryanair Ireland 6, (28) UPS Airlines USA 5, (27) Air Berlin Germany 5, (31) LAN Airlines Chile 5, (30) EasyJet UK 5, (26) Saudia Est* Saudi Arabia 5, (34) Aeroflot Russia 5, (35) Alitalia Italy 4, (33) Asiana Airlines South Korea 4, (36) Malaysia Airlines Malaysia 4, (38) GOL Transportes Aereos Brazil 4, (40) JetBlue Airways USA 4, (32) China Airlines Taiwan 4, (37) Virgin Atlantic Group Est* UK 4, (39) Alaska Air Group USA 4, (47) Etihad Airways United Arab Emirates 4, (42) Hainan Airlines Group China 4, (45) AviancaTaca Colombia 3, (50) SkyWest Airlines * USA 3, (41) EVA Air Taiwan 3, (48) Air New Zealand New Zealand 3, (53) Virgin Australia Australia 3, (44) Air India Est* India 3, (46) TAP Portugal Portugal 3, (43) South African Airways Est* South Africa 3, * SkyWest includes acquisition of ExpressJet; Est Airline Business estimates used where full-year figures are unavailable to give an indication of the airline s revenue ranking See P51 for methodology details. 44 Airline Business August 2012

14 Net result ($m) Net margin (%) Mainline operating revenues by division ($m) Period Notes Passenger Change (%) Cargo Change (%) to end: -18 1, , , Dec , , Dec , , Dec 11-1, , , Dec 11 May 12-1, , Dec , , Dec , , Mar , , , Mar Dec 11 Includes AirTran since May , , Mar 12 1,095 1, , , Dec , Jun Dec Dec 11 Source: US DOT , , Dec , , , Dec Mar , Dec , , Dec , Dec , Dec , Mar 12 Airline estimates. Pax and cargo figures for airline only , Dec , Dec , Mar , Dec 11 Source: US DOT , Dec , , Dec , Sep 11 Dec 11 Source: Airline Business estimate , Dec Dec Dec , Dec , Dec , Dec Dec 11 Feb 12 Source: Airline Business estimate , Dec , Dec , Dec , Dec , Dec Dec , Jun , Jun 11-1, Mar 12 Source: Airline Business estimate Dec Mar 12 Source: Airline Business estimate August 2012 Airline Business 45

15 WORLD AIRLINE RANKINGS FINANCIAL TOP AIRLINE GROUPS RANKED BY REVENUES 2011: 51 TO 100 Ranking Group/Airline Country Revenues Change (%) Operating result ($m) Operating margin (%) 2011 (2010) ($m) Local In US$ (49) Jet Airways India 3, (54) WestJet Airlines Canada 3, (58) Garuda Indonesia Indonesia 3, (52) Thomson Airways UK 2, (59) Transaero Airlines Russia 2, (57) Aeromexico Mexico 2, (51) Republic Airways Holdings USA 2, (55) Finnair Finland 2, (56) Air Transat Canada 2, (61) Vietnam Airlines Est* Vietnam 2, (60) El Al Israel 2, (73) Norwegian Norway 1, (63) Cargolux Luxembourg 1, (75) UTair Aviation Russia 1, (68) Air Europa Spain 1, (74) Copa Airlines Panama 1, (69) Condor Germany 1, (66) Aer Lingus Ireland 1, (64) Volga-Dnepr Airlines Russia 1, (65) Philippine Airlines Philippines 1, (71) Jazz Canada 1, (76) Hawaiian Airlines USA 1, (70) Royal Air Maroc Morocco 1, (77) S7 Airlines Russia 1, (78) Ethiopian Airlines Ethiopia 1, (67) Thomas Cook Airlines (UK) Est* UK 1, (62) Egyptair Est* Egypt 1, (84) Shandong Airlines China 1, (81) AirAsia Malaysia 1, (82) Brussels Airlines Belgium 1, (79) Pakistan International Airlines Pakistan 1, (86) Kalitta Air USA 1, (80) Atlas Air USA 1, (90) Pinnacle Airlines USA 1, (87) Kenya Airways Kenya 1, (88) Vueling Airlines Spain 1, (83) Aerolineas Argentinas Est* Argentina 1, (96) IndiGo Est* India 1, (72) Kingfisher Airlines India 1, (102) Spirit Airlines USA 1, (92) LOT Polish Airlines Poland 1, (89) Nippon Cargo Airlines Japan 1, (93) Royal Jordanian Airlines Jordan 1, (106) Virgin America USA 1, (111) Skymark Airlines Japan 1, =96 (85) Gulf Air Est* Bahrain 1, =96 Lion Air Est* Indonesia 1, (95) Flybe UK (100) Wizz Air Est* Hungary (94) Monarch Airlines Est* UK NOTES: Est Airline Business estimates have been used where full-year figures are unavailable to give an indication of the airline s revenue ranking. 48 Airline Business August 2012

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