Tag Archives: STN

Aegean Airlines adds more routes for the winter and next summer

Aegean Airlines (Athens) is adding more destinations and frequencies to its existing network. Aegean has announced the operation of nine additional international flights from Athens, compared to the winter of 2013.

Aegean will also extend the operation of 8 summer seasonal flights into the winter period. The airline will also resume flights from Athens to Cairo. The winter timetable will operate from October 26, 2014 until March 28, 2015.

2014 summer flights from Athens to Stockholm, Copenhagen, Manchester, Zurich and Marseille will be continued into the winter season.

During the winter season, beginning on October 26, Aegean will continue to operate flights to Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Amman, while the company will resume flights to Cairo after a three year hiatus.

The company is also increasing the frequencies on routes from Athens to Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Düsseldorf, Geneva, Vienna, Prague, Warsaw, Rome and Tel Aviv.

Aegean will also increase the size of its fleet with the order of seven new Airbus A320s, equipped with the new “Sharklets” on their wings, which will be delivered directly from the manufacturer. The deliveries of the seven new aircraft will begin in June 2015 and will be completed in early 2016.

Aegean currently operates 205 international routes, from its eight Greek bases.

Increased frequencies on existing routes:

Athens – Barcelona from 3 to 4 weekly,
Athens – Berlin from 3 to 5 weekly, additional frequencies in Christmas season
Athens – Budapest from 2 to 3 weekly, additional frequencies in Christmas season
Athens – Dusseldorf from 2 to 4 weekly
Athens – Geneva from 3 to 4 weekly
Athens – Vienna from 4 to 5 weekly, additional frequencies in Christmas season
Athens – Tel Aviv from 5 to 6 weekly
Athens – Prague from 3 to 5 weekly, additional frequencies in Christmas season
Athens – Warsaw from 4 to 5 weekly
Athens – Rome from 9 to 12 weekly

For the Summer 2015 schedule, the airline will launch of 23 new routes. These new routes are mainly focusing on Corfu, Irakleion and Rhodes according to Airline Route.

Planned new summer service:

From Corfu to Paris and Rome

From Heraklion to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Geneva, Istanbul (Sabiha Gokcen), London (Gatwick), Metz, Milan (Malpensa), Nantes, Prague, Rome (Fiumicino), Stockholm (Arlanda), Stuttgart and Toulouse

From Rhodes to Amsterdam, Geneva, Larnaca, Lyon, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv and Vienna

Copyright Photo: Pedro Pics/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A320-232 SX-DVJ (msn 3365) departs from London (Stansted).

Aegean Airlines: AG Slide Show

Aegean is celebrating this award from Skytrax:

Aegean FA-Best Regional (Aegean)(LRW)

 

Air France-KLM to retire the Martinair McDonnell Douglas MD-11 freighters in 2015 and 2016, will expand Transavia leisure flights

Air France (Paris) and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) (Air France-KLM Group) issued this statement about its shrinking and unprofitable freighter fleet including Martinair‘s (Amsterdam) McDonnell Douglas MD-11 freighter fleet:

At its meeting on September 4, 2014, the Air France-KLM Board of Directors examined the findings of the strategic review of its full-freighter operations which was launched earlier this year.

On top of the ongoing reduction of the full-freighter fleet, and facing a slower than expected recovery in demand, the Board of Directors has decided to reduce the full-freighter fleet based in Amsterdam to 3 aircraft in operation by the end of 2016. Five MD-11s will be phased out on an accelerated basis during 2015 and 2016.

By then, the Group will operate five full-freighter aircraft: 2 Boeing 777Fs in Paris and 3 Boeing 747 ERFs in Amsterdam, compared with a total of 14 in 2013.

The group intends to find alternative employment internally for all affected staff. It will engage in consultations on this matter with the Works Council and trade unions of the companies involved.

The Group will remain a major player in the cargo sector in Europe through its extensive belly network effectively supplemented by a limited number of full-freighter aircraft.

This adjustment of the full-freighter fleet is part of a broader strategic vision designed to increase cargo contribution to the group. Other measures include a strong focus on specialized products such as pharmaceuticals and express, as well as investment in state-of-the-art IT infrastructure and E-developments, further cost reduction and expansion of partnerships.

In other news, the Air France-KLM Group will expand its leisure operations under the Transavia brand with new bases outside of Paris and Amsterdam. The Group issued this statement:

At its meeting on September 4, 2014, as proposed by its Chairman and CEO Alexandre de Juniac, the Air France-KLM Board of Directors approved the group’s development project on the leisure market in Europe.

This development will take place under the Transavia brand from the two existing airlines – Transavia France and Transavia the Netherlands – and new bases will be opened in other European countries.

This project will strengthen the development of Transavia France (Paris) and Transavia Airlines (Amsterdam) in the Netherlands. The terms of these developments are the subject of consultations in both countries.

The group is positioning itself as a major player in this rapidly growing market in Europe.

This project is part of the group’s new plan for growth and competitiveness, Perform 2020, which will be presented in details to investors and to the press on September 11.

Air France-KLM have also unveiled its new “Perform 2020″ program which replaces its “Transform 2015″ program. Here is the formal plan:

Air France-KLM unveiled its new Perform 2020 strategic plan.

Perform 2020 is the successor to Transform 2015, which represented the first phase in the Group’s turnaround. While maintaining the imperatives of competitiveness and the ongoing strengthening of the Group’s financial position, this growth plan will focus on the following three strategic areas:

  •   Selective development to increase exposure to growth markets
  •   A product and services upgrade targeting the highest international level
  •   An ongoing improvement in competitiveness and efficiency within the framework of strictfinancial disciplineAir France-KLM’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Alexandre de Juniac, made the following comments:
    “Transform 2015 will be completed by the year end having fully delivered on its objective of significantly improving the Group’s competitiveness and delivering a €1 billion-plus reduction in costs. Perform 2020, the strategic plan we are launching today, will be supported by two main levers: growth, which we are looking to capture in a number of areas, and competitiveness combined with financial discipline which should continue to ensure firm foundations for the development of Air France-KLM. This is why the ambitious initiatives we are launching today will go hand in hand with redoubled efforts to reduce costs and restructure activities which remain loss-making. By 2020, we will have built an air transport Group focused on a leading long-haul network at the heart of global alliances, with a portfolio of unique brands, restructured short and medium-haul operations with a reinforced presence in the low cost segment in Europe, leadership positions in cargo, maintenance and catering, and a significantly improved risk profile both operationally and financially.”

    1 See definition in appendix
    2 At constant currency, fuel price and pension cost

Business review

In an environment which remains challenging but with profitable growth opportunities across all the Group’s markets, Air France-KLM plans to reinforce its key strengths, namely its network, its products and services, and its brands, while adjusting its portfolio of activities.

The development of the passenger hub business based on an upgraded product offer, an increased customer focus and a stronger positioning of brands. Benefiting from the broadest long-haul network on departure from Europe, the Group will be able to continue to capture growth opportunites particularly via the reinforcement of strategic partnerships.

The Group will maintain strict capacity discipline with growth in passenger capacity expected to be around 1% to 1.5% for the 2015-2017 period.

The Group will continue to restructure its point-to-point operations, aiming at a return to operating breakeven by 2017. In addition to the full impact of the measures launched in 2013, this objective will be reached thanks to new initiatives to restructure the network and reduce costs, together with the creation of a single business unit combining HOP and the Air France point-to-point operations.

The accelerated development of Air France-KLM in the European leisure market, under the Transavia brand, based on the two existing companies – Transavia France and Transavia Netherlands – and new bases to be created in other European countries. In a growth market, the Group plans to build on the results achieved within the framework of Transform 2015 to move to a more pan-European scale. By 2017, Transavia will rank amongst the leading low cost carriers in Europe, operating a fleet of 100 aircraft and carrying more than 20 million passengers. This business should contribute an additional €100 million of EBITDAR in 2017. With profitability being impacted by ongoing ramp-up costs, the Group is targeting operating profits by 2018.

The finalization of cargo repositioning: a significant reduction in the full-freighter fleet, from 14 aircraft in operation in 2013 to 5 aircraft at the end of 2016, should enable this business to return to operating breakeven in 2017 (versus a loss of €110 million in 2013 and a €200 million loss including bellies). The group will maintain a small full-freighter fleet as an important commercial lever to support its revenue premium on bellies. The Group will remain a major player in the European cargo sector thanks to its extensive belly network, but with only very limited remaining exposure (15% of capacity) to full-freighter volatility.

The recent development of the maintenance business has proven successful, with increased profitability and rapid growth in the order book. The Group will pursue its growth in this segment, particularly in engines and components, including via targeted acquisitions. This business should generate an additional €50 million to €80 million of EBITDAR in 2017, depending on acquisitions.

From a selective capex management while adopting a disciplined approach to growth opportunities. financial perspective, Air France-KLM plans to pursue the reduction in its unit costs and The Group will leverage the structured approach implemented within the framework of Transform 2015 to maintain unit cost reduction at an annual rate of 1% to 1.5%. To achieve this target, the group will go beyond traditional efforts directed at reducing unit costs (e.g. reduction in external expenses, purchasing policy and renewal of the long-haul fleet). This will involve the ongoing restructuring of uncompetitive activities and implementing a systematic review of processes using benchmarking based on profit centers. It will also entail negotiating with staff on the achievement of productivity gains paving the way to growth.

A progressive increase in fleet capex will be undertaken within the framework of strict capex control. Investment will remain below its pre-2012 level. Dedicated sources of funding will be allocated to significant development opportunities to ensure control over credit ratios. For example, the first phase in Transavia expansion will be financed by the €339 million proceeds generated from the partial disposal of Amadeus shares on September 9.

Medium-term financial targets to 2017

As a result of all these initiatives, Air France-KLM has set itself the following Group financial targets:

  •   EBITDAR up by 8% to 10%5 per year between 2013 and 2017
  •   An adjusted net debt/EBITDAR4 ratio of below 2.5 in 2017
  •   Base businesses to consistently generate annual positive free cash flowThese targets are consistent with a ROCE of 9% to 11% in 2017.

Read the analysis by Bloomberg Businessweek: CLICK HERE

Top Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Martinair’s McDonnell Douglas MD-11 (F) PH-MCS (msn 48618) prepares to land at London’s Stansted Airport.

Air France: AG Slide Show

KLM: AG Slide Show

Martinair: AG Slide Show

Transavia Airlines (Netherlands): AG Slide Show

Transavia Airlines (France): AG Slide Show

Bottom Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. Transavia Airlines’ (Netherlands) Boeing 737-8K2 PH-HZA (msn 28373) with a Kulula underside taxies at the Amsterdam base.

 

Ryanair posts a fiscal first quarter net profit of $264.1 million, an increase of 152%

Ryanair (Dublin) has announced a fiscal first quarter (Q1) net profit of €197 million ($264.1 million), an increase of 152% over last year.

The ultra low-fare airline cautioned that this result was distorted by the timing of a very strong Easter in Q1 with no holiday period in the prior year comparable. Traffic grew to 24.3 million as load factors rose by 4% points to 86%. Average fare rose by 9%, boosted by a strong Easter period, while total revenues were up 11% to €1.496 billion. Unit costs fell by 2%, excluding fuel they rose by 1%.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:

“Q1 profits were boosted by a strong Easter (but are somewhat distorted by the absence of Easter on the prior year Q1). The earlier launch of our summer schedule and actively raising our forward bookings has delivered a 4% increase in load factor to 86% and enabled us to better manage close-in yields. Ancillary Revenues rose 4% in line with traffic growth, as airport and baggage fee reductions were offset by the rising uptake of allocated seating.“

New Routes and Bases.

Our four new bases at Athens, Brussels, Lisbon and Rome are performing strongly, as customers switch to Ryanair’s lower fares and our industry leading customer service. Our strategy to raise forward bookings continues to drive higher load factors and we expect to release our summer 2015 schedule in mid-September, some 3 months earlier than last year.

This winter we will open four new bases in Cologne, Gdansk, Warsaw and Glasgow (Intl.) as well as substantially increasing new routes and frequencies at Stansted and Dublin as we invest heavily in our network to build schedules on key city pairs to make them more attractive for business customers.

We are overrun with growth offers from primary European airports whose incumbent flag and regional carriers continue to cut capacity and traffic. These new airports along with our existing 69 bases offer Ryanair significant growth opportunities as the first of our 180 new Boeing order delivers this September. These new aircraft, with the benefit of the much weaker US$, will drive significant cost efficiencies over the next 5 years.

Customer Experience Improvement.

Our “Always Getting Better” program has delivered significant improvement to the customer experience. In addition to the initiatives launched last September which included allocated seating, free second carry-on bags, and an easier to use website with a “fare finder” facility, we launched our family product in June. In July we released our industry leading mobile app (including mobile boarding passes) which has been very positively reviewed by independent commentators and our customers and has reached 1m downloads in the 10 days since its release. In September we will launch Ryanair’s business service which will include same day flight changes, bigger bag allowances, premium seat allocation, and fast-track through security at many Ryanair airports. This new service along with our new routes, improved schedules and wider GDS distribution, will make Ryanair’s low fares much more accessible to, and attractive for business customers. We will continue this winter to rapidly develop both our website and mobile platform to deliver more innovative features and services in addition to the lowest fares to our customers.

Fuel

We are 90% hedged for FY15 at approx. $96 p.bl, which will deliver savings of €50m this year at current market rates. This is lower than the €70m previously guided due to increased volumes in H2. We have also hedged 55% of our H1 FY16 fuel needs at approx. $95 p.bl and weaker US$ which will deliver a 2% fall in our unit fuel cost at current market rates.

Bond Issue

The BBB+ rating awarded by S&P and Fitch makes Ryanair the highest rated airline in the world. This rating reflects the strength of our Balance Sheet and our highly cash generative business model and enabled us in June to issue our first €850m unsecured Eurobond at a coupon of 1.875% fixed for 7 years. This attractively priced financing (which was 7 times oversubscribed) will further reduce our aircraft ownership costs over the next 5 years.

Shareholder returns

In FY14 we completed €482m of share buybacks as part of our commitment to return €1 billion to shareholders over a 2 year period. We now plan to return another €520m via a special dividend of 37.50 cents per ordinary share (subject to AGM approval) to be paid in Q4 FY15. This brings the total returns to shareholders since 2008 to over €2.5bn which is more than 4 times the €585m originally raised from shareholders since our 1997 IPO.

Outlook

Based on these Q1 results and our strong forward bookings it is clear that we are on track to deliver a strong H1, during which traffic will grow by 3%, and fares will rise by 6% subject to late booking fares in Aug. and Sept. However we would strongly caution both analysts and investors against any irrational exuberance in what continues to be a difficult economic environment, with some company-specific challenges in H2.

We expect H2 to be characterized by a much softer pricing environment as many competitors are lowering fares, partly in response to Ryanair’s strong forward bookings. Added to this Ryanair will aggressively raise capacity this winter by 8% (7% in Q3 and 10% in Q4) to take advantage of growth discounts and build out business friendly frequencies from Dublin and Stansted in particular. These initiatives will inevitably put downward pressure on fares and (mindful of last winter’s weak pricing environment) we continue to expect H2 yields to fall by between 6% to 8% which will result in full year yields rising by only 2%. Unit costs (ex-fuel) for FY15 will rise by approx. 4%, which is slightly better than the 5% increase we originally guided, due to higher H2 traffic volumes which will be positive for unit costs.

In summary, we now expect full year traffic to grow by 5% to 86m. This increased traffic and higher load factors, combined with a slightly improved performance on unit costs allows us to cautiously raise our full year profit after tax guidance (from the previous range €580m to €620m) to a range of €620m to €650m. However this guidance, which is about a 21% rise over last year’s net profit, is heavily, reliant upon the final outturn for H2 yields over which we currently have zero visibility”.

Copyright Photo: Keith Burton/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8AS EI-CSW (msn 29935) in the old small-titled 1994 livery arrives at Stansted Airport near London.

Ryanair:

 

Ryanair to open new bases at Cologne/Bonn and Gdansk

Ryanair Holdings plc (Ryanair) (Dublin) announced that it intends to open its 5th German base located in Cologne/Bonn in October 2014.

Ryanair will be offering eight routes from CGN, including five new routes to Dublin, London (Stansted), Madrid, Riga and Rome (Ciampino).

Previously the airline announced it would open its third Polish base (66th in total) at Gdansk in October 2014 with one based Boeing 737-800 and three new winter routes to Birmingham, Leeds/Bradford and Warsaw (Modlin) (10 in total).

Copyright Photo: Globalpics/AirlinersGallery.com. Ryanair’s new “UK Airport Transfers” logo jet for National Express on Boeing 737-8AS EI-EMK (msn 38512) is pictured landing at the London (Stansted) hub.

Ryanair: AG Slide Show

Ryanair logo-3

Current and some the new destinations from Cologne/Bonn:

Ryanair 4.2014 Cologne Route Map

Ryanair to appeal the UKCC final report concerning Aer Lingus

Ryanair (Dublin) will appeal the UK Competition Commission (UKCC) final report concerning Ryanair’s 29.8 percent share of Aer Lingus (Dublin) and its effort to acquire a controlling share. Based on this decision the Irish ultra low-fare carrier has been shopping its share to other carriers but so far there are no takers. Here is the statement by the flamboyant airline:

Ryanair has confirmed that it will appeal the UK Competition Commission (UKCC) final report which wrongly found that Ryanair, through its 7 year old minority (29.8%) shareholding in Aer Lingus, “had led or may be expected to lead to a substantial lessening of competition between the airlines on routes between Great Britain and Ireland”. This baseless claim is manifestly disproven by 7 years of evidence and by the European Commission’s recent (Feb 2013) ruling that competition between Ryanair and Aer Lingus has “intensified” since 2007.

Under EU law, the UKCC has a duty of sincere cooperation with the EU, and cannot contradict or reach different conclusions to the European Commission’s findings. Inexplicably, today’s report by the UKCC infringes this legal duty by ignoring and contradicting the recent findings of the European Commission that:

“Aer Lingus and Ryanair compete on a greater number of routes compared to the 2007 Decision”, “there is significant competitive interaction between the Parties”, and“evidence collected by the Commission in the market investigation has also confirmed that the competitive relationship between Ryanair and Aer Lingus has at least persisted, if not increased, since 2007”.

In addition, the UKCC has inexplicably dismissed Ryanair’s unprecedented remedies package which comprehensively addressed the UKCC’s three invented “concerns”. For example, the UKCC rejected Ryanair’s offer to unconditionally sell its minority stake to any other airline that makes a bid for Aer Lingus and obtains acceptances from 50.1% of Aer Lingus’ shareholders. Ryanair also offered to support Aer Lingus’ rights issues and any disposal of Aer Lingus’ Heathrow slots, but these simple and effective remedies were also rejected by the UKCC.

The UKCC’s manifestly unjust ruling demonstrates that it did not conduct any fair investigation and that it has now merely announced what was its pre-determined conclusion. Ryanair will appeal the UKCC’s unlawful ruling to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal. In any event, until the completion of Ryanair’s appeal to the EU courts against the European Commission’s February 2013 prohibition decision, the CC cannot lawfully impose any remedies on Ryanair.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:

“This report by the UKCC is bizarre and manifestly wrong but also entirely expected. From the first meeting with the UKCC it has been clear to us that Simon Polito’s and Roger Davis’ minds had been made up in advance and no truth or evidence was going to get in the way of their story. This prejudicial approach to an Irish airline is very disturbing, coming from an English government body that regards itself a model competition authority.

Polito’s and Davis’ ignoring of evidence, their conduct of a manifestly unfair investigation, their omission of all the substantial body of evidence that conclusively disproves their case, and their rejection of Ryanair’s unprecedented undertakings (which patently address their three invented future concerns), all in a misguided pursuit of their pre-determined conclusion, demonstrate that this process was not a competition investigation but merely a corrupt and politically biased charade.

While Ryanair is one of the UK’s largest airlines, Aer Lingus has a tiny presence in the UK, serving just 6 routes to the Republic of Ireland, a traffic base that has declined over the past 3 years and now accounts for less than 1% of all UK air traffic. This case, involving two Irish airlines where one (Aer Lingus) accounts for less than 1% of the UK’s total air traffic and concerns very few UK consumers, is yet another enormous waste of UK taxpayer resources from a body which took no action whatsoever when the two main UK airlines (BA and bmi) merged. It would appear to be a case of one rule for the UK airlines but an invented set of rules for two Irish airlines.

In February 2013 the European Commission found that competition between Ryanair and Aer Lingus has “intensified” since 2007. The UKCC’s failure to accept this finding is a breach of its legal duty of sincere cooperation between the UK and the EU competition authorities and will form the basis for Ryanair’s appeal against this bizarre and manifestly unsound ruling, which our lawyers will lodge with the Competition Appeal Tribunal in the coming weeks.”

Copyright Photo: Antony J. Best/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8AS EI-DLO (msn 34178) with “Bye Bye EasyJet” sub-titles approaches the London (Stansted) for landing.

Ryanair: AG Slide Show

Airberlin narrows its second quarter loss

Airberlin (airberlin.com) (Berlin) narrowed its second quarter loss to 8.1 million euros ($10.8 million), down from a loss of 29.4 million euros for the same quarter a year ago. The airline has been downsizing, eliminating 300 positions.

The company issued this statement:

In the second quarter of 2013, Airberlin improved its operating result (EBIT) despite a difficult market environment. Airberlin was able to increase EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) to EUR -8.1 million, an improvement of two-thirds over the corresponding quarter of 2012 (EUR -29.4 million). EBITDAR (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, and leasing expenses and rentals) increased by 12 percent to EUR 166.4 million (2012: EUR 148.0 million). Despite a noticeable eight percent capacity reduction, Airberlin’s total revenue at EUR 1.11 billion remained at the level of the previous year (EUR 1.13 billion). Airberlin reduced its net loss for the second quarter to EUR -38.0 million, an improvement of almost two-thirds over the previous year’s corresponding quarter (EUR -99.8 million).

Increased capacity utilization, RASK and Yield

In the second quarter, Airberlin further increased its capacity utilization, revenue per available seat kilometer (RASK) and revenue per passenger. The number of routes flown in the second quarter decreased from 520 in 2012 to 440 in the current year, while the number of route frequencies increased by 14 percent. Capacity utilization increased by four percentage points, to 83.7 percent (previous year: 79.7 percent). Revenue per available seat kilometer (RASK) increased by 4.8 percent to 7.20 Eurocents (previous year: 6.87 Eurocents). Average yield (revenue per passenger) increased to EUR 113.74 (previous year: EUR 112.85).

Presenting the second quarter results for 2013, Airberlin’s CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer comments: “An improved operating income, increased capacity utilization, increasing revenue per seat kilometer and stable revenue despite capacity reduction, demonstrate that important key numbers are moving in the right direction. The positive effects of our Turbine program will bear fruit later in the year. As a result of the generally muted economic conditions and the market environment, the ability to reach our targets is becoming increasingly challenging.”

Turbine implementation according to plan

The implementation of Turbine is continuously progressing according to plan, and will due to increasing challenges continue to be advanced as a matter of priority over the course of the year. The focus remains on increasing efficiency, expanding services, and negotiating with relevant stakeholders.

Airberlin has concluded new collective labor agreements with all relevant employees. This is the first time that uniform collective labor agreements have been concluded for all pilots and respectively for all cabin crew. These long-term collective agreements enable planning reliability and give Airberlin the required flexibility for further restructuring and increasing productivity. Personnel cutbacks are proceeding as planned, and by the end of July, Airberlin had eliminated 300 full-time positions.

Wolfgang Prock-Schauer comments: “The Turbine program is progressing as planned. The negotiations with our contracting partners have yielded productive results, and we are continuously optimizing our structure and our operating performance. More than 80 percent of the Turbine program’s planned contribution for 2013 has already been attained, with respect to both earnings and costs. Despite the challenging environment, we continue to strive to reach the target figure of EUR 200 million for 2013. For the coming winter flight plan, we will implement a streamlined concept of aircraft-positioning, in order to use our fleet even more efficiently.”

Improved liquidity

At the end of the first half-year, Airberlin had liquid assets amounting to EUR 436.8 million at its disposal, those assets having grown by more than one-third from EUR 315 million in the first half-year of 2012. Equity capital at the end of the traditionally weak first half-year amounted to EUR -116.3 million as at the reporting date of 30 June. As a valuation at the reporting date according to IFRS, equity capital has no impact on the economic operation of the company.

Airberlin’s Chief Financial Officer Ulf Hüttmeyer explains: “The traditionally weak earnings position in the first six months together with the non-recurring charges stemming from our turnaround program lead to negative equity capital. We expect the equity capital to increase over the following quarters. The target of reaching an equity capital ratio of 15 to 20 percent in the medium-term remains unchanged.”

Partnerships exceed expectations

In the second quarter, the strategic partnership with Etihad Airways (Abu Dhabi) again delivered strong growth in the number of Airberlin passengers stemming from the code-share flights. The number of passengers more than tripled from 75,000 in 2012 to 267,000, based on a half-year comparison. With 449,000 passengers – this includes bookings made through July – the expectations for the entire year for the common code-share routes of Etihad Airways and Airberlin have already been exceeded. Furthermore, Airberlin is benefitting from code-share agreements with partners of Etihad Airways’ “Equity Alliance”, including Virgin Australia, Air Seychelles and Air Serbia. Airberlin and Etihad Airways are also expanding their cooperation in other fields such as maintenance and procurement.

The number of passengers traveling on oneworld® alliance flights likewise exceeded expectations. In the first half of the year, 267,000 passengers had already traveled on code-share flights operated by Airberlin and its oneworld partners.

Read the analysis by Reuters: CLICK HERE

Copyright Photo: Pedro Pics/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-7Q8 D-ABBW (msn 30642) taxies at London (Stansted).

Airberlin: AG Slide Show

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings reports 1Q net income of $5.9 million

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (Atlas Air) (New York-JFK) today announced adjusted net income attributable to common stockholders of $5.9 million, or $0.22 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2013 compared with adjusted earnings of $13.6 million, or $0.51 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2012.

On a reported basis, net income attributable to common stockholders in the first quarter totaled $20.1 million, or $0.76 per diluted share, compared with $12.8 million, or $0.48 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.

Adjusted earnings in the first quarter of 2013 exclude an income tax benefit of $14.2 million, or $0.54 per diluted share, related to the tax treatment of extraterritorial income from the offshore leasing of certain aircraft. Adjusted earnings in the first quarter of 2012 exclude fleet retirement costs of $0.9 million, or $0.03 per diluted share.

First-quarter revenue grew 5% to $377.3 million, with operating income increasing 10% to $22.6 million and operating margin expanding slightly. Free cash flow for the period totaled $42.4 million compared with $1.0 million in the first quarter of 2012.

“Our first-quarter results and initiatives demonstrate the benefits of a modern, efficient fleet, diversified business mix and solid balance sheet in a challenging business environment,” said William J. Flynn, President and Chief Executive Officer.

“Operating income during the quarter reflected the strength of our ACMI operations, especially our new 747-8 freighters. It also gained from new organizational capabilities and the evolution of our business, such as our expanding 767 service and growing CMI operations. We also realized operating efficiencies through our continuous improvement initiatives.

“Capitalizing on our financial strength, we acquired an immediately profitable 777 freighter under long-term customer lease for our Dry Leasing business. We also implemented an immediately accretive share repurchase program that acquired 3.4% of our outstanding stock for a total of $36.5 million through late April.

“Earnings in the first quarter were in line with our expectations and our outlook for the year. As a result, we are affirming previous guidance for 2013 but we are raising our expected adjusted earnings per share to $4.80 from $4.65 to reflect our actual and anticipated share repurchases.”

First-Quarter Results

Revenue, volume and profitability growth in our core ACMI business during the first quarter were driven by our new 747-8Fs, with four additional -8F aircraft in service compared with the first quarter of 2012, as well as the continued ramp up of CMI flying for Boeing and DHL Express.

Improved ACMI segment earnings during the period also benefited from higher rates per block hour and lower maintenance expense for our 747-8Fs, partially offset by the redeployment of 747-400 aircraft to other business segments.

In AMC Charter, strong growth in passenger service volumes partially offset a 41% reduction in cargo block hours, a reduction in the number of one-way AMC missions, and lower average cargo revenue per block hour, which led to a decline in segment contribution. Lower average passenger revenue per block hour during the period stemmed from an increase in flying on smaller-gauge 767 aircraft added to supplement our wide-body 747-400 passenger service and enhance our share of military passenger business.

Segment results in Commercial Charter reflected the seasonal nature of this business and were primarily related to a reduction in yields driven by soft first-quarter global charter-market conditions.

Results in the first quarter were also affected by higher non-operating expenses, primarily due to a reduction in capitalized interest on 747-8F aircraft that entered service.

Income Taxes

Reported earnings for the first quarter of 2013 included an effective income tax rate benefit of 97.4%, reflecting a federal income tax benefit of $14.2 million related to the tax treatment of extraterritorial income from the offshore leasing of certain of our aircraft.

Cash, Cash Equivalents and Short-Term Investments

At March 31, 2013, our cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $343.9 million, compared with $419.9 million at December 31, 2012.

The change in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments was primarily driven by an increase in cash provided by operating and financing activities, offset by cash used for investing activities.

Net cash used for investing activities in the first quarter of 2013 primarily related to the purchase of a 747-8F aircraft for our ACMI operations and a 777-200 LRF aircraft for our Dry Leasing business.

Net cash provided by financing activities primarily reflected proceeds from the issuance of debt in connection with the acquisitions of these aircraft. These proceeds were partially offset by payments on debt obligations and a prepayment under an accelerated share repurchase program agreement (“ASR”).

Share Repurchase Activity

Between mid-February and late April 2013, we repurchased 903,301 shares of our common stock for $36.5 million at an average cost of $40.40 per share. The shares were acquired pursuant to an ASR with an investment bank that settled on April 25, 2013.

We acquired 427,168 of these shares during the period ended March 31, 2013, which added $0.01 per diluted share to our adjusted and reported earnings for the first quarter.

Future repurchases may be made at our discretion, and the actual timing, form and amount will depend on company and market conditions.

Outlook

We expect to generate strong earnings and cash flow in 2013. Led by ACMI, each of our business segments is expected to be profitable for the year.

Incorporating our share repurchase activity, we anticipate that our adjusted fully diluted earnings per share this year will total approximately $4.80, an increase from prior guidance of approximately $4.65. Including the extraterritorial income tax benefit of $0.54 per share, our reported fully diluted earnings per share in 2013 should be approximately $5.34.

Both adjusted and reported full-year 2013 EPS guidance assume the repurchase of $50.0 million of our outstanding stock during the year.

Our expectation for full year 2013 operating performance is unchanged from the outlook we issued last quarter. We now expect to fly fewer block hours in our Commercial Charter segment in 2013 than we previously forecast. We also expect lower operating expenses as a result of continuous improvement initiatives that drive productivity improvements and operating efficiencies. These initiatives target all aspects of our business, including engine overhauls, procurement efforts, passenger catering, ground travel, and crew scheduling.

Similar to the first quarter, adjusted and reported full-year earnings in 2013 will reflect strong growth from the company’s 747-8Fs in ACMI, driven by an increase in the number of -8F aircraft in ACMI service compared with 2012, including the incremental placement with Etihad Airways we announced today.

Market growth during 2013 should be seasonal and second-half weighted. We continue to anticipate a sequential increase in our quarterly earnings throughout the year, with approximately 75% of adjusted earnings per share and 66% of reported earnings per share occurring in the second half.

Based on our revised view, block-hour volumes in 2013 are now expected to total approximately 175,000 hours. ACMI segment flying should account for about 135,000, or 77%, of expected 2013 block hours, with about 22,000, or 13%, in Commercial Charter and 18,000, or 10%, in AMC Charter. Passenger charter flying should account for more than 10,000 AMC Charter block hours in 2013.

Based on anticipated deliveries of 747-8Fs in our outstanding order, the average number of -8Fs in service in 2013 should increase to more than eight from 4.3 in 2012.

In addition, we now anticipate that maintenance expense will total approximately $172 million in 2013, about 60% of which should be incurred in the first half of the year.

Mr. Flynn concluded: “In an environment of continuing global uncertainty, we are well-positioned to serve our customers and the airfreight markets. We have performed well. We are ready to capitalize on market improvements. And we are executing a strategic plan that leverages our core competencies, provides a basis for returning capital to our investors through share repurchases, and will enable us to grow over the long term.”

In other news, Atlas Air has confirmed the placement of its eighth Boeing 747-8 Freighter into ACMI service.

The aircraft will fly on behalf of Etihad Cargo, the cargo arm of Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, pursuant to a multi-year aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance agreement that commences in May 2013.

The new contract between the companies follows a letter of intent announced on April 1, 2013, and complements an existing Boeing 747-400F ACMI arrangement between Atlas and Etihad. The aircraft will be operated in full Etihad Cargo livery.

Copyright Photo: Pedro Pics. Atlas Air operates this Boeing 747-87UF N850GT (msn 37570) for Panalpina Air and Ocean in their colors.

Atlas Air: AG Slide Show

Panalpina: AG Slide Show