Saturday, January 29, 2011

Politics and The Airlines

In the news today "Emirates, Etihad get France Clearance" Gulf News today 29 January 2011 (click here for full story) reported that a tentative agreement was reached to grant additional 22 weekly flights to Emirates and Etihad (4 to Paris and 7 to other French  cities). These were granted despite Air France-KLM lobbying the government to refuse granting the authorities on the basis that lower taxes and airport fees in their home bases give the carriers an unfair advantage.

Air France-KLM position has been made public for weeks, right at the time Canada refused to grant additional flights to the UAE carriers. However, a few weeks after both the government and Air Canada opposed Air Services to Qatar, Canada granted authority to Qatar Airways (a CS order with Bombardier was probably at stake). It appears that the French Government are smarter than the Canadian, they did not listen to the parochial demands of their airline, at stake are mega orders with Airbus and a Rafale deal that was faltering. The Government decided that what is at stake transcends the potential losses of an airline on a couple of routes.

Legacy Airlines have conveniently forgotten that aviation and airlines are very much affected by politics and economic conditions and realities that far transcends the immediate needs of individual airlines.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Canada's Air Transport Competitiveness

On 20 January 2011 in an address in Montreal Mr.Giovanni Bisignani the Director General of IATA called on the Government of Canada "to improve its global competitiveness in air transport, travel and tourism" Government policies has eroded Canada's competitive edge to the extent that Canada became the 15th most visited country in 2009 from the 8th in 2002 and the World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Competitiveness in 2009 has ranked Canada (106) behind Japan (86), UAE (50), India (46) and China (20).
As a result the government protects Air Canada at the expense of the tourism industry by preventing airlines from   freely operating into Canada or allowing Canadian operators the freedom to compete with Air Canada.
Claims of loss of jobs if Emirates and Etihad operated additional flights into Canada are not supported by the realities on the ground. On the contrary, these additional services would have increased the number of visitors to Canada and probably generated additional jobs.
The short sightedness of these policies has resulted into more barriers and a rift with the UAE which is affecting Canadian Businesses and Citizens.  

For the full Press Release click here

Friday, January 7, 2011

Qatar Airways Extends Its Global Reach

Qatar Airways is expanding its presence in Brazil in a big way (click here for full story). Six months after starting its Sao Paolo service the airline signed a code share agreement with GOL Linhas aereas inteligentes Brazil's fastest growing low cost low fare airlines. The agreement covers Sao Paolo and 47 destinations in Brazil. The code share agreement allows Qatar Airways to use its QR code on all segments of a flight no matter where it originates on the Qatar Airways network and terminates on the GOL network. Both airlines have submitted a joint application for approvals and anti trust immunity to the Brazilian Civil Aviation Authority and the Antitrust Agency. They are also working on coordinating their Frequent Flyer Programs.

This agreement has the potential to extend the arrangement beyond Brazil to include GOLs international destinations in nine (9) countries, in the future.

Qatar Airways is aggressively pursuing a rapid expansion of its network in Brazil, South America's largest country and one of the world's rising economic powers. This arrangement will probably be replicated in other important markets to give the airline a larger global reach.


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