Looking Back, Looking Ahead: The top 10 developments in 2014—and what to watch in 2015

North American airlines thrived 2014

Stunning is the only way to describe what’s happened in the oil markets during the second half of 2014, a year otherwise characterized by steady upward momentum in the U.S. economy but economic turbulence nearly everywhere else. As North American airlines thrived, their counterparts elsewhere faced more difficult times—times that challenged even some of the industry’s best.

Airline Weekly’s 10 most noteworthy developments in 2014, in no particular order, as well as a quick glance at what to watch for in 2015:

  1. LCCs go corporate, while legacy carriers go low cost: Shorthaul LCCs don’t want to settle for leisure traffic anymore. They want high-yield business traffic too, so they’re selling through third parties, offering premium amenities and flying to primary airports. Ryanair is even being nice to people. But oddly enough, as Ryanair, easyJet, Vueling, WestJet, Gol, AirAsia and other LCCs add perks and services, giants like Air Canada, Lufthansa, Air France/KLM, Aeroflot, Turkish Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, All Nippon and China Eastern are moving in the opposite direction, embracing the price-sensitive no-frills model with in-house LCCs
  2. Low-cost longhaul flying— never more popular but never less successful: AirAsia X and Norwegian have been two of the worst performing airlines worldwide in 2014. Skymark is on the verge of collapse after canceling an A380 order it never should have placed. Flynas in Saudi Arabia abandoned longhaul flying. Jetstar’s longhaul finances have never been disclosed. Scoot is clearly a disappointment. But none of this has stopped Azul, WestJet, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Cebu Pacific, Korean Air, Nok Air and others from jumping into the space. At the same time, Air Asia X and Norwegian continue to grow at a furious pace. The only known examples of modest success come from European tour operators like Condor, whose longhaul routes had a decent year. Ryanair says…

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