Issue No. 901

Air France's Premium Bet

Air France Woos Premium Leisure Flyers as Corporate Travel Lags

Pushing Back: Inside the Issue

Lufthansa’s fourth quarter results are in and — once again — IAG’s were better and Air France-KLM’s were worse. Will the Lufthansa Group forever be stuck in the middle? For any chance of surpassing IAG, it will surely need to lift margins for its core Lufthansa-branded operation; it hopes to do so with new planes and new products. It needs to stop the bleeding at Eurowings and Brussels, too. Will teaming with Italy’s ITA provide a boost? Fortunately, there’s always Swiss, the group’s perennial all-star. Cargo is still producing monster margins but that party is at least quieting down if not ending. Austrian had flashes of excellence this summer but fell back into the red (if just barely) with the onset of winter.

The onset of 2023 sees Turkish Airlines soaring through the clouds, building upon a phenomenal 2022. The airline's 15 percent operating margin for the year matched that of Panama’s Copa. Enough said.

Who said China’s travel sector wouldn’t bounce back after reopening borders? AerCap, a giant aircraft lessor with a keen perspective on air travel trends, speaks of a strong shorthaul revival for Chinese airlines. And that’s great news too for airlines like AirAsia, which itself is on the rebound.

In other developments last week, Delta pilots voted yes to a contract they claim will net them more than $7 billion in benefits over the course of the four-year deal. Can Delta stomach those added costs? In South America, Viva Air suspended operations. FlyDubai said it earned a nice profit in 2022. Air France’s chief says the premium leisure segment is thriving. And Kansas City has more than just a Super Bowl ring … it now has a new airport terminal.  

Airline Weekly Lounge Podcast

Airlines face wide-ranging fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago in February. The biggest is the airspace closure, but the war has also triggered a surge in global energy prices while western sanctions are pressuring Russian airlines. Plus, why you need an accounting degree and years of experience to decipher AirAsia-parent Capital A’s numbers. Listen to this week’s episode to find out. A full archive of the Lounge is here.

Weekly Skies

Turkish Airlines began its fourth quarter earnings call with an expression of condolences for those affected by the recent earthquakes that killed more than 40,000 people. With respect to its financial results, it was once again a triumphant quarter for…

Feature Story

Air France CEO Anne Rigail leads an airline renewed. The legacy carrier successfully navigated the pandemic and a major restructuring to emerge a leaner and — one hopes — stronger Air France. In the fourth quarter, the long-time laggard in…

By the Numbers

How Europe's Big Three — Air France-KLM (Air France, KLM, and Transavia), IAG (British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, and Vueling), and the Lufthansa Group (Austrian, Brussels, Eurowings, Lufthansa, and Swiss) — did in the fourth quarter of 2022. Note that…