Emirates partnership with easyJet set to strengthen company’s European network

Emirates has around 130 non-stop flights from Britain to Dubai per week. (Shutterstock)
Updated 02 December 2018
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Emirates partnership with easyJet set to strengthen company’s European network

  • Emirates has long eschewed the formal alliances favored by the likes of British Airways
  • The easyJet tie-up, although initially restricted to flights in and out of London Gatwick, could bring significant benefits

Emirates’ fledgling partnership with low-cost carrier easyJet will strengthen the Dubai-based company’s European network, industry experts predict, enabling it to indirectly serve destinations that would otherwise be beyond logistical reach.
Emirates has long eschewed the formal alliances favored by the likes of British Airways, instead agreeing codeshare partnerships with 21 airlines, including several budget carriers such as US-based JetBlue Airways and Australia’s Jetstar Airways.
Last year, it began a complex partnership with FlyDubai, which is also wholly owned by Dubai’s government, in which the duo will codeshare, integrate their networks and deliver “fleet synergies.”
The easyJet tie-up, although initially restricted to flights in and out of London Gatwick, could bring significant benefits; easyJet customers can now make a single booking for its flights to Britain’s No. 2 airport that includes a connecting Emirates flight to Dubai. The same is available in reverse.
The agreement will be expanded to other destinations, the companies said in a joint statement — easyJet’s fleet of 308 aircraft flies to 159 airports in 34 countries. Emirates, meanwhile, flies to 150 destinations worldwide and has about 130 non-stop flights from Britain to Dubai per week, including three daily from Gatwick.
“Emirates gets to leverage the strength of easyJet’s broad European network — particularly to those cities that Emirates itself either doesn’t serve or has no plans to serve due to various restrictions on access, airplane size or slot availability,” said Saj Ahmad, chief analyst at StrategicAero Research.
“It’s really a win-win situation from a connectivity standpoint, as well as offering the chance to accrue Skywards miles that could also be used on FlyDubai flights too.”
EasyJet has similar agreements with the likes of Virgin Atlantic, Norwegian, WestJet and Singapore Airlines, which typically include a minimum 2.5-hour connection time between flights to ensure passengers make their connecting flights. These tie-ups are in response to the growing trend of “self-connecting,” whereby passengers make bookings with multiple airlines to reach particular destinations at the lowest price, even though this requires collecting baggage and checking in again.
“It’s an extra opportunity because easyJet knows some people will self-connect anyway, so by facilitating that through agreements with other airlines it can generate extra revenue,” said John Strickland, a director at London’s JLS Consulting.
“Although this is relatively incremental in the case of easyJet because it’s flying about 95 percent full on most routes, so can’t squeeze on that many more people.”
EasyJet’s partnerships span 11 European airports, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris, Milan and Berlin, and the disparity between an Emirates flight and flying budget should do little to deter travelers.
“It’s really not any different to traveling economy on any other conventional airline and making a connection,” said Strickland.
“The service experience is no different. If you fly BA short-haul, there are buy-on-board products for food and drink. Seat space in economy is about the same. It would be different for Emirates business-class travelers, but the vast majority of passengers doing self-connections will be flying economy.”
He believes easyJet would want to link with Emirates at all airports where the pair overlap, such as Paris Charles de Gaulle, Milan Malpensa, Geneva, Lyon, and Nice.
“There are quite a lot of places around Europe where they could do it, providing the necessary facilities were in place,” said Strickland.
StrategicAero’s Ahmad was more cautious, predicting that Emirates — which in May reported an annual profit of 2.80 billion dirhams ($763 million), up 124 percent year-on-year — would wait to assess the impact on its Gatwick-Dubai service before expanding the easyJet partnership.
Emirates is ranked the fourth most valuable airline brand worldwide, according to Brand Finance, behind US trio American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines, which are also the only airlines to rank higher in terms of passenger miles flown. The Dubai carrier’s various codeshare agreements support its brand, analysts said.
“Emirates’ brand is immense globally. Arguably, it’s the most recognized airline anywhere in the world,” said Ahmad.
“Given that Emirates is not choked by the reins of an alliance, it is free to supplement its organic expansion with industry peers that also want to enjoy that growth.
“This flexibility bolsters Emirates’ branding and partnerships with other carriers — and passengers will ultimately like what they see when Emirates provides them with a platform that covers the entire planet.”
In September, Emirates and Abu Dhabi-owned Etihad both denied a Bloomberg story that the Dubai company would buy the main airline business of its loss-making rival.


Lufthansa profit warning spooks European airline sector

Updated 17 June 2019
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Lufthansa profit warning spooks European airline sector

  • Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary last month warned of the impact of what he called ‘attritional fare wars’

FRANKFURT: Germany’s Lufthansa sent shockwaves through the European airline sector on Monday as it cut its full-year profit forecast, with lower prices and higher fuel costs compounding the effect of losses at its budget subsidiary Eurowings.
The warning follows gloomy comments last month from Irish budget airline Ryanair, which vies with Lufthansa for top spot in Europe in terms of passengers carried. Air France-KLM also reported a widening quarterly loss last month.
In a statement issued late on Sunday, Lufthansa forecast annual EBIT of between €2 billion and €2.4 billion, down from the previously targeted €2.4 billion to €3 billion.
“Yields in the European short-haul market, in particular in the group’s home markets, Germany and Austria, are affected by sustained overcapacities caused by carriers willing to accept significant losses to expand their market share,” it said.
European airlines are locked in a battle for supremacy, with a surfeit of seats holding down revenues and higher fuel costs adding to the pressure. A number of smaller airlines have collapsed over the past two years.
Lufthansa cited falling revenue from its Eurowings budget business as a key reason for the profit warning.
“The group expects the European market to remain challenging at least for the remainder of 2019,” it said.
It also pointed to high jet fuel costs, which it said could exceed last year’s figure by €550 million, despite a recent fall in crude oil prices.
Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary last month warned of the impact of what he called “attritional fare wars” and said four or five European airlines were likely to emerge as the winners in the sector.
“No signs that anyone is prepared to reduce capacity, therefore we would anticipate the wave of consolidation in European short haul is not over,” said analyst Neil Wilson, analyst at London-based broker market.com.
Earlier this month global airlines slashed a widely watched industry profit forecast by 21 percent as an expanding trade war and higher oil prices compound worries about an overdue industry slowdown.
Lufthansa’s problems are centered on its European business, with a more positive outlook for its long-haul operations, especially on transatlantic and Asian routes.
Eurowings management is due to implement turnaround measures to be presented shortly, Lufthansa said, adding that efforts to reduce costs had so far been slower than expected.
Lufthansa’s adjusted margin for earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) was forecast between 5.5 percent and 6.5 percent, down from 6.5 percent to 8 percent previously, it said in a statement.
Lufthansa also said it would make a €340 million provision for in its first-half accounts, relating to a tax matter in Germany originating in the years between 2001 and 2005.