The first half of 2019 featured quieter forms of aircraft-related disruptions, some engine-related and others tied to delivery delays. Just as frustrating were inordinate operational disruptions from increasingly volatile weather and increasingly unreliable air traffic control, the latter affecting Europe most disruptively. Overlay these concerns with a raging trade war that’s already torpedoing air cargo demand and triggering broader concerns about the health of the global economy, especially outside the U.S. There were geopolitical concerns too, including Brexit, U.S.-Iran tensions, India-Pakistan tensions, unrest in Hong Kong, and terror attacks in Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
Amid these unsettling developments was an avionic plague that claimed the lives of several airlines, some of them large. As those infected struggled, those in positions of strength took advantage, in some cases by acquiring their sickly comrades. In other first-happenings, Airbus developed a new longhaul narrowbody product even as the longhaul low-cost business model showed scant signs of success. Premium longhaul demand generally help up well. Airlines continued their push to take advantage of data-informed marketing and other technology-enabled advancements. There was labor unrest. The U.S. dollar was mostly strong. And one of the most important global hubs opened a giant new airport….
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