Lufthansa‘s airlines continued to bleed cash during the second quarter, but the group believes the recovery — fueled first by transatlantic demand — is gathering steam and will be solidly underway by the end of the year.
The group’s network carriers, which in addition to Lufthansa include Swiss, Austrian, and Brussels Airlines, report the transatlantic market has once again become Lufthansa’s most profitable market. This is despite the fact that traffic almost completely originates in the U.S. The Biden administration is expected to lift the restrictions on European citizens entering the U.S., which Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr says will unleash strong demand for travel. “The North Atlantic is back to being our most important and most profitable intercontinental market, even though we more or less can only sell tickets on one side of the ocean,” he said.
Business travel, which now is a small fraction of 2019 levels, is showing some signs of strength. “I think there’s not a single businessman or businesswoman who does business with the U.S. who doesn’t want to go there in the fall,” Spohr said on the company’s second-quarter earnings call. But business travel is expected to return more slowly in Europe than in the U.S., where carriers are forecasting that business travel could be 60 percent of 2019 levels in the next quarter, Spohr admitted. He pointed to intra-European travel restrictions for the disparity.
But the group’s real area of strength was shorthaul European traffic, particularly to leisure destinations. Spohr said the carrier will continue to allocate capacity to leisure destinations, both shorthaul and longhaul, through this year. Visiting friends and relatives traffic also is picking up, particularly to Africa and South and Central America. Asia-Pacific traffic remains depressed, although Sporh believes it will start to recover by the end of the year as vaccination rates in several Asian countries ramp up and travel restrictions begin to fall.
Capacity gradually is coming back online. In its network airlines group, Lufthansa’s capacity at the beginning of the quarter was 25 percent of the same period on 2019, but had risen to 40 percent by the end of the quarter. The growth in capacity was even sharper at Eurowings, which operated only 10 percent of its 2019 capacity when the quarter began and ended the quarter at 40 percent of 2019. Load factors at Eurowings rose to 70 percent, again fueled by shorthaul European leisure demand.
Lufthansa ended the quarter with 734 aircraft across all its operating units, or 23 fewer than at the end of last year. Spohr said the group is retiring nine fleet types, including its Airbus A380s, A340-600s and -300s; MD-11s, Boeing 767s and Austrian’s 777s. The group plans to retire 150 aircraft, 115 of which have already been removed from the fleet. The group took delivery of one leased A350 and will eventually shift from being a 90 percent owned fleet to a mix of owned and leased aircraft, Spohr said.
Lufthansa’s non-airline divisions performed strongly and helped offset the losses at its airlines. Lufthansa Technik and catering saw business spike, especially as U.S. carriers added more flights during the summer.
But the real star was Lufthansa Cargo. The unit delivered record profits in the quarter, €326 million ($386 million), up from €299 million in 2020. Spohr attributed the growth to ever-increasing demand for e-commerce shipments, especially in Europe. Yields are high as, with much of the world’s longhaul international flights operating a fraction of their pre-pandemic frequency, belly-hold space is at a premium. Lufthansa is adding another Boeing 777F to its fleet, bringing the total at the end of the quarter to 14. And it is acquiring two A321Fs for European package freight. Lufthansa Cargo reported €640 million in profits in the first half and is on track to report €1 billion in profits by yearsend, “higher than ever before in the history of Lufthansa Cargo,” Spohr said.
The group is focused on trimming costs and has reduced its headcount by 30,000 employees since the pandemic began. Most recently, it reduced its workforce by 3,000 in Germany and will let another 2,000 employees go this year. The group also is seeking to reduce headcount at Swiss by 2,000 employees.
Lufthansa reported a second-quarter loss of €952 million, which is a 43 percent improvement over last year. The airlines division reported losses of €1.2 billion. Revenues rose 70 percent year-over-year to €3.2 billion.
Copa Rationalizes Fleet as Recovery Takes Hold
Leisure and visiting friends and relatives (VFR) traffic is fueling Copa‘s recovery, so much so that the carrier decided to hold onto six Boeing 737-700s it had planned to sell and to return to a six-bank structure at its hub at Tocumen.
But, like many of its competitors in the region, the recovery has been uneven. Certain markets it serves, like Mexico, the U.S., Brazil, and some Caribbean islands, have eased restrictions, resulting in a corresponding spike in demand. But some of Copa’s important markets, like Argentina and Chile, have retained restrictions, or, in the face of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, made them even stricter. Still, CEO Pedro Heilbron believes the rate of vaccinations will increase and restrictions will ease.
Now, however, leisure travel comprises half of Copa’s traffic. VFR accounts for another third. Business demand is about 20 percent of its pre-pandemic level, although Heilbron said small- and medium-sized businesses in the region are returning to the road. Like many airlines in the U.S. and Europe, Copa expects larger corporate clients to return to travel more gradually.
Before the pandemic, Copa’s traffic was equally split among business, leisure, and VFR. Heilbron expects the carrier to drift back toward that mix as the world emerges from the pandemic. It will not alter its product or route structure significantly to cater to leisure or VFR passengers at the expense of business travelers.
The carrier saw an uptick in demand for travel to the U.S. in April when vaccines were first widely available. This “vaccine tourism” has subsided as the shots have become more widespread in Central and South America, Heilbron said.
When travel begins to return, Copa is not worried about the competition, even as carriers like Volaris surge from strength to strength. Heilbron noted that 70 percent of the markets Copa serves are too small to sustain point-to-point service, putting Copa in a position of strength with its strong connecting hub at Tocumen. Ths hub serves as a “formidable competitive moat,” Raymond James analysts Savanthi Syth wrote in a note.
Furthermore, he does not think some of the region’s legacy carriers, some of which — Aeromexico and Latam — are operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, will pose a threat. “There are a number of our main competitors restructuring under Chapter 11, but we expect them to come out of Chapter 11 with a network that won’t be much different than what they had before,” Heilbron said.
Copa is in the midst of a fleet transformation. The last three of its Embraer E-190s were sold during the quarter. The carrier sold six Boeing 737-700s but decided to keep another six that it had originally planned to sell. Copa will take delivery of two more 737-9s by the end of the year, and expects to have 89 aircraft — 68 -800s and 13 -9s — in its fleet by then, down from 102 last year. The year-end fleet projection includes the six operated by Wingo, Copa’s Colombian subsidiary.
Copa can shift its fleet up or down depending on demand. It is in talks with Boeing to accelerate deliveries of some -9s, although the company did not say how many. It can extend leases of some of its -800 fleet if it needs the lift before the -9s are delivered, or it can return them if demand does not recover as expected. Copa has no immediate plans to add -10s for high-capacity routes, nor does it plan to add widebodies, Heilbron said.
In the second quarter, Copa flew 48 percent of its 2019 second-quarter capacity, but that is up from 39 percent of 2019 capacity in the first quarter. Copa expects to fly 70 percent of its 2019 capacity in the third quarter, Heilbron said.
Copa reported a second-quarter profit of $28 million. Excluding special items, it reported a loss of $16 million. Revenues were $304 million, down 53 percent from the same period in 2019, but up 64 percent from the first quarter of this year. Cargo revenues were $17 million, a 1.4 percent increase from 2019.
Airline Optimism Bumps Into Corporate Travel’s Reality
Deloitte has warned business travel is set for a slow takeoff, based on the findings of its new report — a message which is in stark contrast to many recent airline statements.
Travel managers predict a slower recovery compared to bullish outlooks from the aviation sector. To start with, only a third of companies expect to reach or surpass 50 percent of 2019 travel spend levels by the end of 2021. And just over half (54 percent) of respondents expect their companies to reach 2019 levels by the fourth quarter of 2022.
Deloitte polled 150 U.S.-based travel managers and executives from May 28 to June 20 this year, and interviewed executives at companies whose 2019 air spend averaged $123 million a year. Overall, Deloitte pegs a U.S. corporate travel recovery of 65-80 percent of 2019 levels by the end of 2022. But there are some “ifs” — the biggest being sustainability. Airlines may not see eye to eye.
United Airlines expects its overall 2022 capacity to be higher than in 2019, with the return of corporate road warriors bolstering its viewpoint. Commercial chief Andrew Nocella forecasts business travel will be down just 40-45 percent in this year’s third quarter.
Delta Air Lines is optimistic too, and thinks business travel will rebound this autumn after schools reopen and companies recall workers to their offices. “The surge is coming … there is enormous pent-up energy and demand for [business] travel,” said CEO Ed Bastian. Surprising comments considering its own survey of corporate clients showed about one-third expected to return to pre-Covid levels of travel by 2022, with 21 percent expecting their travel to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023.
JetBlue is meanwhile “cautiously optimistic” of an uptick in corporate travelers this fall, Joanna Geraghty said during the airline’s first quarter earnings in April. However, U.S.-UK travel restrictions persist and last week it pulled back on its initial London schedule. Further field Brazil’s Gol, which wants to restart flights to the U.S. by the end of the year, also expects business travel to return to its pre-pandemic levels by the first quarter of next year.
What could explain the differing results from Deloitte’s own polling of corporate America? “There’s a lot of uncertainty, which is why corporate travel managers are taking the view they’ve expressed with us,” said Bryan Terry, global aviation leader at Deloitte
Another question is: should airlines be nervous? Deloitte’s survey — Return to a World Transformed: Corporate Travel Post-Pandemic, published on Tuesday) — is extensive, and if correct represents a significant decline in high yielding passengers. “It’s fair, however you want to characterize it. Nervous, anxious, concerned,” Terry said.
“Airlines are cautiously optimistic, if you look at what they’re projecting. They’re a little more optimistic than we are. That’s fair, but they’re concerned about coming back to 2019 levels and when that will occur. And what will that new business traveler look like? Will they still be flying at the front of the plane, or in the same patterns of destination or duration? It’s still an uncertain future,” he added.
Even though the “cone of uncertainty” was narrowing, due to the successful vaccination program, there was still a material amount of uncertainty, Terry said. In particular, when it comes to a longer term recovery, the report reveals much will depend on how seriously companies take sustainability, on top of budget squeezes.
Nearly a third of travel managers surveyed said their company had a stated commitment to reduce emissions by a certain amount within a specific time frame. Altogether, 79 percent of companies had made some kind of pledge, or were working toward one. This interest in sustainability brings some scrutiny for travel policies, the report argues.
About half (48 percent) of the survey’s respondents said they planned to optimize business travel policy to decrease their environmental impact within the next year. Travel ranks among the top targets for corporate environmental harm reduction, along with reducing paperwork and greening supply chains.
Sustainability and corporate social responsibility was also more important to companies than before the pandemic, according to Global Business Travel Association research, based on a poll of 618 companies carried out July 6-13, 2021.
“It’s not just how Covid will impact the return of business travel, but as business travel returns, how will sustainability impact that and beyond the Covid impact,” Terry said. “Sustainability, combined with cost considerations, will also be a dampener on the return to travel.”
Interestingly, 7 in 10 companies said they planned to reduce travel frequency in an effort to bolster the bottom line. However, the greener travel point of view differs widely, if you look at Europe. Another survey from the Business Travel Show Europe recently asked 337 travel managers what they expected would be their biggest challenge over the next 12 months.
The pressure to be more sustainable, which entered the chart for the first time last year, had fallen back out to number 11. In the top three were “a change in my role,” “keeping up with Covid legislation, restrictions and supplier/traveler information” and “pandemic uncertainty.”
It’s not all bad news. Bigger airlines that cut back due to the pandemic have left the door open to their more economy-flying focused counterparts. Terry said that low-cost carriers are now best positioned to recover faster and stronger than the legacy network carrier model. As the large carriers receded in terms of fleet size and network, that created opportunities, especially in business airports which might have been slot or gate constrained, which opens up avenues to those entrants, he said.
“Look at our survey: travel managers said that as travel returns, cost consideration will impact how they return,” Terry added. “Southwest, Ryanair, easyJet, Wizz Air and so on, they all fall into that category of carrier that is well positioned to benefit from these changes in travel.”
There’s currently plenty of optimism, because business travel really is accelerating off a low base, and that may carry over into the second half of this year. But there’s a risk this is a blip because in the long term international travel bans will linger as long as there are pockets of coronavirus outbreaks, new variant headlines, CDC updates and corridors that fail to materialize.
Southwest Lawsuit Alleges Skiplagged and Kiwi Collude to Deceive Flyers
Citing multiple flight delays because of the sale of “hidden city tickets,” Southwest Airlines filed a federal lawsuit against New York-based Skiplagged, and alleged that it works “in concert” with Czech-based online travel agency Kiwi.com to deceive the public and illegally use the airline’s fare information.
Southwest has long seen it as a competitive advantage and barred online travel agencies from scraping its website and selling its flights without authorization, and in the lawsuit referenced five successful lawsuits barring online travel agencies from doing so since 2004. The unlucky defendants ranged from FareChase in 2004 to Roundpipe in 2019.
Southwest sued Kiwi.com in a still-pending lawsuit in January in federal court in the Northern District of Texas for trademark violations and unauthorized use of the airline’s flight information, and on July 23 filed a lawsuit against Skiplagged on similar grounds in the same court. Southwest will try to consolidate the two lawsuits into one.
Southwest alleged that Skiplagged has become a Kiwi partner, and illegally obtains Southwest flight information through Kiwi, and gets commissions when it promotes Southwest flights on Skiplagged and refers flyers to Kiwi.com to book them.
In the lawsuit, the airline said it can’t figure out how many of those flight bookings on Kiwi.com originate with Skiplagged. “In sum, Kiwi is sharing Southwest’s data with its partner, Skiplagged, who, alone and together with Kiwi, has been using Southwest’s data and trademarks to sell tickets (including prohibited “hidden city” tickets) on Southwest Airlines at a markup, without Southwest’s authorization,” the lawsuit alleged.
The lawsuit alleged that both Skiplagged and Kiwi deceive the public because the Southwest fares they offer at times come with added fees, and are costlier than if the traveler purchased the ticket on Southwest.com. Kiwi has also failed to refund flyers for cancelled Southwest flights, the airline claimed.
Skiplagged, according to Southwest’s lawsuit, has countered that it doesn’t claim to sell the airline’s flights at the actual fares sold on Southwest.com.
Asked to comment on the lawsuit, a Kiwi spokesperson said: “We cannot comment on the latest lawsuit itself, but trying to hold back freedom of choice for the consumer, brought about through tech innovation, with aggressive legal action is a sad situation from an airline that was a disruptor themselves.”
Skiplagged declined to comment.
Finding deals for hidden city tickets, a Skiplagged specialty, has become a problem for Southwest and other airlines. A hidden city ticket cited in Southwest’s lawsuit would be a flight from Los Angeles to New York with a stop in Las Vegas. If travelers deplane in Las Vegas, that can often be cheaper than booking Los Angeles to Las Vegas. But Southwest said deplaning at the stopover violates its terms and conditions, and disrupts airline operations.
“For example, flight crews and ground operations employees in connecting cities will attempt to locate connecting passengers (or ‘through’ passengers) for the final leg of the flight, or delay flights when passengers are missing—unaware that a passenger has ended his or her trip in the connecting city,” the lawsuit said. “The practice negatively affects Southwest’s ability to estimate passenger headcounts, causing potential disruptions at the airport gate and maintenance adjustments, such as variations in the amount of jet fuel needed for each flight and proper passenger distribution within the plane.”
Southwest has been trying to bar Kiwi.com from scraping its website and selling its flights for several years, and claimed Skiplagged failed to adhere to a cease and desist letter prohibiting the use of Southwest fare information that the airline sent it several weeks ago.
In litigation filed in early July in the Southern District of New York, Skiplagged seeks a declaratory judgment that it is not breaking Southwest’s terms and conditions because it doesn’t obtain Southwest flight information from the airline.
Southwest’s lawsuits in Texas and Skiplagged’s complaint in New York are a battle in some ways for home-court advantage. Southwest is based in Texas, and Skiplagged operates in New York.
Southwest said in its lawsuit against Skiplagged in Texas that Skiplagged’s litigation in New York is an attempt to “to deprive Southwest of its right as plaintiff to the forum of its choice … ” The airline seeks to recover all of Skiplagged’s profits from selling Southwest’s flights and to obtain compensatory damages. Southwest likewise seeks to bar Skiplagged from using any of its trademarks or obtaining any of its flight information while the lawsuit is pending and permanently, as well.
Travel Restrictions Crimp ANA’s Domestic Network
ANA projects returning to profits this year, despite reporting yet another loss in its most recent fiscal quarter that ended on June 30. The carrier sees renewed interest in flights to North America and Europe as vaccination rates in those regions tick up.
But routes elsewhere in its network remain depressed. Travel restrictions continue to exact their toll on the carrier’s international flights, particularly within Asia, Chief Financial Officer Ichiro Fukuzawa said. Business travel, particularly by expatriates, to Japan is starting to tick up.
The carrier’s domestic network traffic doubled from the same quarter last year. It’s low-cost unit, Peach, reported its domestic demand exceeded pre-pandemic levels in April. But a new outbreak of Covid-19 and the ensuing restrictions, saw demand start to fall off in May, ANA reported. Load factors at ANA averaged at 43 percent during the quarter and were 47 percent at Peach.
Cargo continues to fuel ANA’s results. International cargo traffic rose by 136 percent in the quarter from last year, generating ¥66 billion ($610 million), or 160 percent more than last year. Domestic cargo revenue were ¥6 billion, a 64 percent increase.
ANA reported al ¥51 billion loss on ¥200 billion, which the carrier said is the best performance it’s had since the end of 2019. Revenues rose by 65 percent year-over-year.
Frontier Sees Healthy Summer Demand Weakening Over Delta Variant Concerns
Leisure-focused Frontier Airlines stood poised to benefit from this summer’s pent-up demand for vacations. But the airline’s buoyant season has taken a dark turn as the Delta variant of the coronavirus crimps forward bookings and deters passengers from planning trips.
The Denver-based discounter said demand for trips has shown some softening in recent weeks as the Delta variant took hold and caused outbreaks in many parts of the country, especially the leisure hotspots of Florida and Las Vegas. In response, cities and states have re-imposed mask mandates, with many jurisdictions considering following New York’s lead in requiring proof of vaccination for indoor dining or entertainment. The result has been that Frontier trimmed its third-quarter growth plans by a few percentage points, now expecting to increase capacity by between 2-4 percent.
Both fear of contracting the disease as well as concerns about what venues may be open at the destination are contributing to the decline in demand, Frontier CEO Barry Biffle said during the company’s second-quarter earnings call. But he expects the slump to be temporary, given how the disease progressed in other countries, like the UK and Israel, where the latest outbreaks lasted between six to eight weeks. The Delta variant will delay the recovery but not derail it, he said.
But Biffle stressed that vaccines are key to both the duration of the Delta variant-fueled outbreaks and to the full recovery of the airline industry. Travelers now are “confused” by conflicting reports about the prevalence of “breakthrough cases,” or infections of already fully vaccinated people. The data show, however, that breakthrough cases are rarer than the media report. “People who are vaccinated are getting a little freaked out in the last week,” he said. “Everybody got scared a little bit, but as people start to understand, they’ll go back to their normal lives.”
Biffle thinks the majority of passengers traveling now are vaccinated, and said informal “quiet” polling of Frontier passengers has shown that people are more likely to plan trips only after getting their shots. The carrier supports vaccine mandates, especially for international visitors. Mandates can stimulate demand, Biffle said, pointing to the example of Broadway, which has a mandate and has seen reservations for performances soar. “Everybody is concerned about protecting the unvaccinated’s feelings,” he said. “Let’s talk about the vaccinated.”
Frontier’s caution is a marked departure from other U.S. airline leaders, who expressed almost untrammeled optimism during their companies’ second-quarter results. The difference? Most U.S. airlines reported their second-quarter earnings two weeks ago, before the breadth and severity of the Delta variant outbreak had been fully assessed, Biffle said.
Frontier is less likely to see the operational mayhem that Spirit and American recently have, because Frontier predicted a busy summer and had its staff and aircraft in place before the advent of the season, Biffle said. “We are not immune from workforce challenges,” he noted, but he said the company is encouraged by recruitment activity at job fairs and by the number of applications it’s getting for open jobs. This shows that more people are rejoining the workforce as the pandemic subsides, he said.
The competitive landscape also will change as the recovery takes hold, which Biffle thinks will happen in October, when the Delta variant ebbs. Legacy carriers like United, Delta, and American, which made much of their revenue from business travel before the pandemic, will go back to chasing that market as it heats up. This means they will reallocate aircraft from some of the leisure routes they added during the pandemic, giving Frontier an opening. “Our competitors are doing irrational things,” he said.
Longer-term, Frontier plans to grow aggressively. The carrier plans to add as much as 12-14 percent more capacity in the fourth quarter, rising to almost 20 percent next year, all fueled by aircraft deliveries. Frontier took delivery of five Airbus A320neos in the quarter and plans to take delivery of an additional five in the third quarter. From the second half next year, Frontier will take delivery of 10 A321s. The carrier ended the quarter with 109 aircraft.
The June quarter was only Frontier’s second as a public company, after its stock market debut on April 6. The carrier reported $266 million in proceeds from its public offering. It also benefited from $171 million in federal payroll support. Excluding those items, revenues from operations generated $550 million in the quarter, resulting in a $19 million profit.
IATA Survey Reveals Confidence Is Rising, Slowly
The airline industry is showing signs of recovery, albeit slowly.
That was the general belief expressed by airline chief financial officers and cargo heads in a July 2021 survey for IATA’s airline business confidence index. A majority — 73 percent — of respondents expect profitability to improve due to an increase in passenger traffic following vaccine rollouts while roughly the same percentage of carriers reported smaller losses when Covid rates decreased.
The optimism numerous executives expressed about their finances also is notable when they were asked about a potential rebound in passenger growth. While only a slight majority (52 percent) of respondents expect air travel demand to reach 2019 levels in 2023, 89 percent expect demand to recover when markets reopen.
In many cases, a rebound in passenger volumes has already happened. 81 percent of respondents stated they saw an increase in passenger numbers in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the second quarter last year when air travel was largely shut down.
But, not surprisingly, concerns brought about by the pandemic are never far from the minds of executives in the airline industry. 28% of respondents revealed that Covid-19 continues to have a major impact on their operations, and a slight majority said their companies continued to report decreasing employment levels as airlines were still adjusting to a new pandemic normal. Furthermore, 40 percent of surveyed executives predict the rise in scheduled services will not lead them to hire more staff, which is only 5 percent lower than those who believe airlines will hire more employees.
Meanwhile, regarding cargo, there is general optimism, as 73 percent of respondents reported that cargo volumes were up from the second quarter of 2020 as the rising number of passenger flights eased the pressure on belly cargo capacity. And 72 percent of cargo heads expect demand to increase in the next 12 months.
In Other News
- IAG is making four daily slot pairs at London Heathrow available as part of the divestment it agreed to when the group acquired British Midland, IAG said in a regulatory filing. The European Commission required the carrier to divest the slots as well as four additional Saturday and two Sunday slots. The slots are earmarked for mainly shorthaul flights but also include weekend slots from Heathrow to Riyadh, Cairo, and Moscow. However, would-be applicants are warned that IAG is disputing the EC’s ruling.
- The U.S. Transportation Department (DOT) granted a foreign air carrier permit to SunExpress, the Turkey-based joint venture between Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa. SunExpress applied for rights to fly charter flights to the U.S. from Turkey, which the DOT has tentatively granted for a two-year term. The carrier currently operates a fleet of 58 Boeing 737-800s, which would require a tech stop to reach the U.S. from Turkey.
- The FAA granted Global Crossing an air operators certificate, allowing it to operate scheduled commercial flights. The carrier, which flies on Airbus A320 now mainly for charter flights, is adding an A321 to its fleet and expects to add two more aircraft by the end of the year. The approval is subject to Transportation Department review.
- United and Frontier join the ranks of U.S. companies that will require its employees to be fully vaccinated. United said employees have until Oct. 20 to show proof of vaccination, while Frontier is giving employees until Oct. 1 to provide proof of vaccination or be subject to weekly Covid-19 tests. By contrast, in a New York Times podcast interview, American CEO Doug Parker said that carrier would not mandate vaccines but is offering incentives to employees who choose to get their shots. Delta so far has said it will mandate vaccines only for new employees.
- The AirAsia Group (AAGB) made $56.83 million in profits from its shares of Fly Leasing Limited following the merger between Carlyle Aviation Partners and Fly Leasing, AirAsia announced on Thursday. The Fly Leasing shares acquired by AAGB in August 2018 as a cash-in-kind consideration for its earlier divestment of aircraft leasing operations amounted to 3.3 million or 10.94 percent common shares, the company said. The proceeds will go towards the airline group’s efforts to raise 2.5 billion Malaysian Ringgit or the equivalent of $5193.12 million through a combination of raising equity and borrowing, CEO Tony Fernandes said. The Carlyle Group’s acquisition of Fly Leasing closed on Aug. 2.
Correction: A story in last week’s issue of Airline Weekly should have said British Airways has retired its Boeing 747 fleet but that the carrier has not made an announcement about the fate of its Airbus A380s.