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Old February 4th, 2008, 09:26 PM   #101
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Look, I am sick and tired of your aggressive tone. I have already reported your messages to moderators and I have also sent you a PM to warn you against using aggressive language, but I see you continue here. Excessive language such as "every thread" (every thread really? I must have posted messages in less than 1% of the threads in the international forums FYI) or "glorifying the French Nation" (strong words; and rather funny considering that in the French forum I'm known as someone very critical of France) is not only aggressive but also rather childish. As for me I have seen over the months many messages from Spanish forumers celebrating/pointing out to Spanish successes, sometimes they do it in a very childish way (such as when they rejoice over Madrid having allegedly the most urban motorways in Europe, when we all know that in this age of global warming we should reduce car use), yet I don't lash out at the Spanish forumers and brand them as "nationalists" or people "glorifying the Spanish Nation". So stop insulting fellow forumers please.

Anyway, I hope some moderators will delete all these aggressive messages cluttering the thread.
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Old February 4th, 2008, 09:31 PM   #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brisavoine View Post
Look, I am sick and tired of your aggressive tone. I have already reported your messages to moderators and I have also sent you a PM to warn you against using aggressive language, but I see you continue here. Excessive language such as "every thread" (every thread really? I must have posted messages in less than 1% of the threads in the international forums FYI) or "glorifying the French Nation" (strong words; and rather funny considering that in the French forum I'm known as someone very critical of France) is not only aggressive but also rather childish. As for me I have seen over the months many messages from Spanish forumers celebrating/pointing out to Spanish successes, sometimes they do it in a very childish way (such as when they rejoice over Madrid having allegedly the most urban motorways in Europe, when we all know that in this age of global warming we should reduce car use), yet I don't lash out at the Spanish forumers and brand them as "nationalists" or people "glorifying the Spanish Nation". So stop insulting fellow forumers please.

Anyway, I hope some moderators will delete all these aggressive messages cluttering the thread.
On the ignore list you go.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 01:19 PM   #103
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EU Airlines, Regulation, and Consolidation

Hi,

I thought I would start this topic on airlines based in the EU to cover the general issues around reform of the sector and the changes to the airline industry that are likely to take place over the coming years.

There are a number of factors that make what happens to airlines in the EU in the coming years particularly interesting:
  • The single EU air transport market generates €120 billion in annual revenues, employs 3 million people and accounts for more than 30% of the worldwide air transport market (2005 figures),
  • The European Common Aviation Area (ECAA) covers 35 states and allows EU-based airlines to operate freely in any one of those states under supranational regulation,
  • The new EU-US Open Skies Agreement covers about two thirds of the global aviation market and will increase competition on the valuable trans-Atlantic, and intra-EU routes,
  • The gradual adoption of a single Air Traffic Management space for the ECAA will simplify procedures and air corridors thus reducing costs and flight times,
  • The airlines of the 27 states in the EU are a mix of State-owned, partially-privatised and fully-privatised national carriers, together with new independent entrants in the low-cost, charter and premium sectors,
  • The EU airline sector is highly fragmented when compared to the US.


In addition to these points, there are a number of factors that will bring about change:
  • The ECAA, the Open Skies, and the US Anti-Trust agreement(s) are helping to make the minimum 51% local ownership requirements less important in preserving access rights to third-party nations and thus removing a major barrier to airline consolidation within the EU,
  • Competition from the growing High-Speed rail network will continue to erode the viability of short-haul flights within the EU. High-Speed rail has the advantage over air travel for journeys of less than three hours, but growing energy cost differentials are likely to see slightly longer rail journeys becoming more attractive.
  • The rising cost of fuel will affect the profitability and viability of individual flight sectors and airlines,
  • The ECAA also allows airlines based outside the EU to gain access to the internal market, thus possibly opening the door for entrants say from India were personnel costs are much lower.


It is most likely that these factors will contribute to us seeing consolidation take place within the EU airline industry, but it will be interesting to see what form this takes.

The preferred option in the USA seems to be for mergers between the airlines as in the case of United with US Air, and Delta with NWA. However, Continental favours following a different line by looking to preserve its independence but within one of the better airline alliances.

There are advantages for the low-cost operators such as EasyJet and perhaps some of the poorer performing middle-market airlines in seeking mergers. Some states are also backing their former national carriers to merge with others to build national champions but since these Old-Europe mergers have an ulterior motive, they are not always in the customer's interests.

There is however an alternative (as illustrated by the Continental's approach), at least for airlines with a good brand name, stable ownership, and a good performance in the share markets, to look at preserving their independence within the Airline Alliances. The alliances enable the airlines to reduce costs through adoption of shared services, and to generate revenue by linking into the alliance networks. The alliances are perhaps a more flexible means for airlines to reduce their costs in a fast changing market without having to go through the long drawn-out structural and corporate changes that a merger would entail, while at the same time avoiding regulatory difficulties that can consume management resources. The down side to the alliances are however that they are potential vulnerable to predatory buy-outs of member airlines by competitors.

So it will be interesting to see how the EU market develops over the coming years.

Last edited by Magellan; May 8th, 2008 at 01:51 PM.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 01:31 PM   #104
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EU regulation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinivan View Post
Commissioners get a really tough examination by the Parliament when acceding to power, so even if he is Italian he will act objectively, otherwise if there is suspicion he's going to be partial he probably won't be let to get the chair, and if he has arrived to power and then favours Italy he would be forced to resign, so don't worry about that.
Interesting follow up to this which demonstrates the weakness of EU Institutions and the level of corruption that permiates them; the current Transport Commissioner, Jacques Barrot (former member of the Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP Party), was convicted for fraud in 2000 before taking up his current office, but this information was not disclosed at the EU Parliamentry hearings which approved his appointment. He was not forced to resign after the information was disclosed. He is currently also a Vice President of the Commission.

It may not seem much in itself, but it potentially undermines any moral high-ground that the Commission may hope to take with regard to the new Italian Transport Commissioner and Alitalia.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 01:55 PM   #105
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TAP Portugal

An example of the changes that have taken place already, and of the difficulties that EU airlines face:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpost.php?p=20197458
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Old May 8th, 2008, 02:04 PM   #106
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Here are some of threads I participated in over the years scattered across this section :

Airlines Seek Trans-Atlantic Routes
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...ghlight=europe

EU Tackles Rising Airport Costs
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...ghlight=europe

Spain-Gibraltar Passenger Flights
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...ghlight=europe

"Open Skies" - The World of International Aviation Regulation
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...ghlight=europe

EU Plane Tax for Development Aid
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...ghlight=europe

European Airline Profit Outlook
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...ghlight=europe

Low Cost Carriers Transforming European Travel
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...ghlight=europe

LCCs in Europe
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...ghlight=europe

European Low-cost Airline Bubble May Burst
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...ghlight=europe

Eastern Europe : Low-Cost Carriers Open New Tourism Opportunities
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...ghlight=europe
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Old May 8th, 2008, 02:06 PM   #107
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Market Forces within the EU

Some of the issues facing EU airlines:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpost.php?p=20149612
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Old May 8th, 2008, 02:08 PM   #108
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Links

Thanks hkskyline, I will have a look through them.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 06:27 AM   #109
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Well Done Magellan for this post as it is a hot topic of the current times. I was thinking of something like this for the US aviation market but anyways, bravo for the European sector too.

I think European and US aviation sectors are overcroweded with new airlines bubbling up every other day while the existing ones are just adding to their fleets. The same goes for the Asian and Arabian markets which will either go corrupt, get dissolved or will be regularised. Arabian airlines are the most likely to get liquidated soon.

The EU should regulate its aviation sector or else will face overcapacity like that of the US.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 09:55 AM   #110
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Consumers ripped off by misleading online airline tickets: EU

BRUSSELS, May 8, 2008 (AFP) - Consumers are getting ripped off by misleading information for airline tickets sold online, the EU's top consumer protection official said Thursday, promising a crackdown if the industry fails to clean up its act.

An EU probe found that one in three ticket booking sites in 13 participating countries have breached consumer law and that regulators had to pursue them to enforce the rules.

"It is unacceptable that one in three consumers going to book a plane ticket online is being ripped off or misled and confused," EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva said.

"We will need to see credible evidence of improvement to clean up these sales and marketing practices within the airline sector by May 1 next year or we will be left with no choice but to intervene," she added.

With the EU investigation due be wrapped up by May 2009, the industry would remain under tough scrutiny for signs of improvement over the next year before it was decided whether further action was needed.

Kuneva said that most countries participating in the investigation had kept the names of offending airlines and tour operators to themselves and that only Sweden and non-EU member Norway had passed that information on.

Of the names given in statements by those two countries, low-cost carrier Ryanair was the only airline on both lists while Norwegian authorities said Austrian Airlines and Finland's Blue 1 had broken consumer rules.

Other offenders were third-parties such as tour operators selling tickets online.

Giving an insight into the problems facing consumers, Norwegian authorities found that Ryanair included the right to priority boarding as a pre-chosen option and charged a fee of 50 Norwegian kroner (6.4 euros, 9.8 dollars) for it.

Similarly, Blue 1 included insurance in case of cancellation as a pre-chosen option for customers booking tickets online.

Norwegian authorities found that Austrian Airlines had a booking fee of 100 kroner per ticket that was not included in the advertised prices on the front page of the airline's website.

Kuneva said that misleading prices were the most common problem on ticket booking sites, followed by unfair contract terms.

Another big problem was that advertised offers were not available.

She said that the booking problems facing consumers online were rampant across the industry, with small and big airlines alike guilty.

Advising how to avoid getting ripped off, Kuneva said consumers should "compare final offers, be vigilant, especially about pre-checked boxes and complain."

She stressed the importance of complaining as being essential for authorities to gather information and build cases against companies.

While welcoming the commission's interest in online ticket booking, the BEUC European consumers association said the offending companies should be named and shamed.

"The commission has done part of the work by underlining the continued presence of unfair practices in the sector of online sales of airline tickets," BEUC director general Monique Goyens said.

"We will be asking our members to go further and to divulge, if necessary, the names of the companies in the wrong," she added.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 10:19 AM   #111
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Everyone wants BMI

There is talk of BMI being bought out in a merger and disappearing before the end of 2009. Such talk has been going off and on since 1999, with a brief lull in 2005. However, it seems that the increased levels of competition brought about by the new EU-US Open Skies agreement have revived interest in a take over of the airline, with the hardened economic environment perhaps bringing about a change of mind on the part of Sir Michael Bishop, the main shareholder of the airline, and that of the airline's potential buyers.

The current ownership of the airline breaks down into (figures rounded up):

50% Sir Michael Bishop
30% Lufthansa
20% SAS

In 2007 SAS indicated that it wanted to dispose of its holding to reduce its costs. In addition, Lufthansa has, since 1999, held an option to buy Sir Michael Bishop's stake in the airline, and this falls due in the period between December 2008 and June 2009.

The purchase of a controlling interest in BMI would make Lufthansa the second biggest airline at Heathrow in terms of take-off and landing slots (after acquiring BMI's 12% of slots). This would give Lufthansa another major European hub and a fourth significant operating unit in addition to the parent airline, Swiss International, and its 19% stake in JetBlue. In April 2008 Lufthansa briefed that it is 'determined' to exercise the option to buy.

It is interesting that Lufthansa's renewed expression of interest in BMI seems to have coincided with the December 2007 announcement that it was no longer interested in purchasing Alitalia. The reason given at the time was that it did not want to risk its credit rating by purchasing Alitalia. A purchase of BMI may not carry such a risk. Clearly if Sir Michael Bishop had given indication about this time that he may be ready to sell, then Lufthansa would have been wise to quickly jettison the debt-ridden Alitalia bid in favour of the more profitable and competitively valuable purchase (the Heathrow landing/take-off slots alone are valued in the region of £1Billion).

However, British Airways with 43% of the slots at Heathrow would be reluctant to allow one of its major competitors to so easily gain a significant foothold at its home base. If this was to happen, BA's dominance of Heathrow would come under serious competition on its home turf from both the Star Alliance and SkyTeam airline partnerships. Such an eventuality could seriously undermine the airline's survivability in a potentially aggressive open-market competition for customers. BA would potentially be left with no option but to take the battle to the home hubs of its two major European competitors at Frankfurt and Paris CDG which would prove very costly to all involved.

It is therefore perhaps understandable that BA has indicated that it might be interested in purchasing BMI should the airline come up for sale. The problem is that a merger between British Airways and BMI would give BA more than half the slots at Heathrow which the Government, the EU, and other airlines would probably strongly oppose. The option to buy a stake in the airline is also unlikely to come about given that Lufthansa holds the first call through the buy-option.

Lufthansa has reported already put aside funds to increase its stake in BMI, but not necessarily enough to buy full control. The difficulty for Lufthansa however is that it is likely to be buying at the top of the cycle which will potentially undermine its current drive to reduce operational costs and its desire to avoid a lowering of its Credit Worthiness Rating. Its general tendency towards expansion by acquisition has already lead to a down-grading of its shares.

It is possible that Lufthansa is considering the use of the buy option to gain control of the airline so that it can then sell it on to a third-party making a healthy profit for itself in the process. It has been suggested that this is Lufthansa's intention, with its aim instead being to gain control of Iberia. This has perhaps been suggested given that BA has recently increased its stake in the latter to just over 13% with options to acquire a bigger stake, BA's motive being to trade the Iberia stake for control of BMI. This is probably unlikely given the issues that would arise from its resulting share of the slots at Heathrow. The shift in control of Iberia to Lufthansa would also leave a hole in the Oneworld network.

However there is possibly another serious player making moves for BMI. Virgin Atlantic is reported to have been in talks with a Dubai investment fund to finance a purchase of BMI. This could come about either as a purchase of a controlling stake from Lufthansa after the latter had exercised its option, or direct from Sir Michael if Lufthansa was to pass up on its buy-option. Combined with the purchase of the SAS stake, the merged airline would have control of 17% of the landing slots at Heathrow and would give BA's biggest adversary and hardest critic a significant competitive boost and perhaps a bigger headache to BA than a takeover by Lufthansa. Its possible that any deal that Branson makes with the Dubai fund will see Singapore Airlines sell its 49% stake in Virgin to DIC. Such a sale would not be too hard on SAL given that it now has rights to fly beyond London Heathrow to the US, while at the same time it has the merit of removing any potential conflict of interest with Virgin if it should decide to start UK to US flights at a future date.

Other names mentioned as being interested in buying BMI include Jet Airways of India, and possibly Emirates.

Some details about BMI (http://www.flybmi.com) (all figures for 2006):

Revenue: £905m
Passengers: 10.5m
Profit: £29.7m
Destinations: 48
Fleet (2008): 53
Average fleet age (March 2008): 5.9 years
Member of Star Alliance
Owns:
Bmiregional - regional - included in above figures
Bmibaby - low-cost

Last edited by Magellan; May 12th, 2008 at 11:28 AM.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 11:51 AM   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Afghan View Post
Well Done Magellan for this post as it is a hot topic of the current times. I was thinking of something like this for the US aviation market but anyways, bravo for the European sector too.

I think European and US aviation sectors are overcroweded with new airlines bubbling up every other day while the existing ones are just adding to their fleets. The same goes for the Asian and Arabian markets which will either go corrupt, get dissolved or will be regularised. Arabian airlines are the most likely to get liquidated soon.

The EU should regulate its aviation sector or else will face overcapacity like that of the US.
Thanks Afghan. I think the airline sector in the EU and Europe in general is going to be very interesting over the next few years. The trend in the EU is to remove the restrictions on competition and let the market decide how it should develop rather than move to tighter regulation (other than on safety, security, and competition).

The existing national carriers have been under growing pressure from low-cost carriers, and high speed rail. Now they are also having to factor in high fuel prices, competition in their home markets from other national carriers, and the new EU-US Open Skies agreement. However up until now (Q1 2008) they have been seeing growth in their passenger numbers across almost all sectors while load factors have remained steady so their expansion in capacity has been justifiable. It is only in the last few months that load factors have started to drop off significantly. I expect then that we will shortly see more airlines, particularly some of the large number of low-cost and medium-sied airlines, start to get into difficulties.

I'll leave comments on airlines from outside the region to other threads.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 10:38 PM   #113
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BMI

Etihad Airways and Jet Airways are added to the list of Interested Parties:
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-120508d.htm
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Old May 14th, 2008, 04:05 AM   #114
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Evidence that competition works in favour of the Customer

Heathrow – US airfares fall:
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ws-130508f.htm
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Old May 16th, 2008, 05:20 AM   #115
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Virgin

Singapore Airlines puts up for sale its 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic:
http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ews-150508.htm
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Old May 16th, 2008, 07:09 AM   #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magellan View Post
I thought Heathrow - New York fares at least were very competitive. I've seen $99 each way even.
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Old May 16th, 2008, 07:43 AM   #117
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I thought Heathrow - New York fares at least were very competitive. I've seen $99 each way even.
That would have been one of the special offers that are run on a regular basis, or possibly a one-off offered by one of the new entrants into Heathrow (US Air, Continental, NWA, and Air France I think) following the start of the EU-US OpenSkies agreement.

The usual minimum fare is around £299, with most fares above that.

Up until the start of the EU-US OpenSkies agreement, the North Atlantic routes into/out of Heathrow had been limited to four airlines (AA, BA, United, and Virgin under the Bermuda II agreement) and offered a good profit margin as a result. BA derived significant benefit from the arrangement, and it made Heathrow a key point in the negotiations of the new agreement. Now with all the added competition, we are likely to see further cuts in the fares as the airlines battle it out.
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Old May 16th, 2008, 04:47 PM   #118
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Being low season, the winter fares usually drop to 99 bucks.
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Old May 17th, 2008, 01:13 AM   #119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Being low season, the winter fares usually drop to 99 bucks.
Sorry, I do not see these fares; is that one-way? Is it with a named airline? Does it include all the taxes and charges, and fuel surcharge? Is it on a low-cost airline, and is it to/from Heathrow?

There are a lot of problems with adverts for cheap flights that turn out to be much more expensive after all the other charges are added. It is also possible that airlines are offering low discounted fares at the moment to encourage US travellers given the low value of the USD, while UK/Europe based travellers may be getting charged a higher fare.

The cheapest return on offer I can find with a named airline for London Heathrow to/from New York is £195 for late May - i.e $380 at current prices.

Last edited by Magellan; May 17th, 2008 at 01:23 AM.
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Old May 17th, 2008, 03:17 PM   #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magellan View Post
Sorry, I do not see these fares; is that one-way? Is it with a named airline? Does it include all the taxes and charges, and fuel surcharge? Is it on a low-cost airline, and is it to/from Heathrow?

There are a lot of problems with adverts for cheap flights that turn out to be much more expensive after all the other charges are added. It is also possible that airlines are offering low discounted fares at the moment to encourage US travellers given the low value of the USD, while UK/Europe based travellers may be getting charged a higher fare.

The cheapest return on offer I can find with a named airline for London Heathrow to/from New York is £195 for late May - i.e $380 at current prices.
Yes, those are BA prices, and I found them on the other major carriers such as AA as well. The other European ones such as LH were not that far away. Keep in mind it is not low season on the transatlantic route right now. Keep an eye on the papers and the websites around Christmas time.

In the US, taxes and fuel surcharges do not need to be included on base fares. The 99 dollar amount is the base fare. Even within the EU the concept of an all-inclusive fare is a contested subject that is not consistently implemented across the board.
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