Issue No. 897

Mideast Goes Low Cost

The Gulf Sees a Wave of New Budget Airlines

Pushing Back: Inside the Issue

The earnings parade marches on. More airlines reported their calendar fourth results last week, including Japan’s two major airlines. In a break with pre-Covid norms, ANA is now outperforming its smaller and more internationally-focused rival JAL. In India, IndiGo continues to dominate the domestic scene but wants to become more international; more importantly, it’s delivering robust profits again. Forgive Korean Air if thinking that the pandemic was the best thing that ever happened to it. Its cargo business produced extraordinary profits during the crisis. Now its passenger business is coming back strong.

The one and only Ryanair astounded once again with an impressive financial result. Icelandair did well. So did Allegiant in the U.S. Sun Country’s CEO said: “I can't find any weakness across the network.” On the other hand, Hawaiian Airlines still has a Japan problem.

There is one thing making even the strongest airlines a bit nervous. As the Wall Street Journal noted, the S&P Global jet fuel price index has increased 20 percent since early December, and much more than that in some markets like the U.S. east coast. The relief carriers enjoyed in late 2022, as fuel inflation eased, seems to be vanishing.  

Also vanishing is the era of the 747, Boeing's storied jumbo jet that's no longer in production. In other developments, low-cost carriers are proliferating throughout the Middle East. Air France has a new route to Canada. Frontier is expanding in Purto Rico. And Alaska Airlines wants a bigger slice of the San Diego market.

Airline Weekly Lounge Podcast

A goodbye to the Boeing 747, the Queen of the Skies. The planemaker delivered the last off the line of the iconic jumbo jet to Atlas Air last week. Listen to this week’s episode to find out. A full archive of the Lounge is here.

Weekly Skies

Japan was one of the last major airline markets to reopen its borders. Finally, the reopening happened in October, triggering the start of a revival for the country’s two major airlines. All Nippon Airways (ANA), the larger and more domestic…

Feature Story

For much of the past two decades, one of the biggest stories in global aviation was the rise of the Gulf carriers. Now, within the Middle East itself, another story has taken center stage: The rise of low-cost carriers.