In the Dec. 17 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology, our commercial editorial team rounds up the 25 airlines that they believe will act as catalysts for change in the airline industry in 2013. Click here to read the full feature.
At a glance:
Bankruptcies, acquisitions and mergers define the majority of our North American list, with Delta, Southwest, American and Pinnacle all set for more transformation in 2013, while Hawaiian, WestJet and Air Canada all focus on international expansion.
In South America, the consolidated Latam is focused on strong growth, but will the bankrupt Mexicana De Aviacion resume operations in 2013?
In Asia Pacific, competition on the Kangaroo routes is about to get even stronger as Qantas partners with Emirates. China's low-cost Spring Airlines poses a serious threat to the country's larger airlines and Tianjin Airlines just keeps growing. Acquisitions and flotations abound for AirAsia as it expands its footprint further across Asia. Meanwhile, a shakeup of the airline industry is expected in Southeast Asia with the start of Lion Air's Malaysian affiliate Malindo Airways, which will go head-to-head with Malaysia Airlines. And, tapping into all market segments with a range of brands in its portfolio, Singapore Airlines will make China a key focus in 2013.
Will new low cost carrier FastJet overcome that African challenge of poor infrastructure and political interference? Meanwhile, the first African carrier to operate a Boeing 787, Ethiopian Airlines, has some work to do on its onboard product if it wants to compete on long-haul routes to Asia. Once again in a leadership crisis, South Africa's national carrier needs to find a new CEO to return the airline into a sustainable business.
In the Middle East, Qatar Airways will have a new home in 2013 when the long-delayed New Doha International Airport opens, allowing Qatar to finally capitalize on connecting traffic. And Etihad Airways, already holding a stake in Air Berlin, Aer Lingus, Air Seychelles and Virgin Australia, looks to be preparing for yet more acquisitions in 2013.
And in Europe, Low-cost carrier Vueling's impressive performance could be a blessing and a curse. Will IAG's acquisition of the carrier in 2013 be an advantage to its business model? IAG meanwhile is in crisis mode with all eyes on struggling Iberia. Lufthansa, having finally concluded that its short haul flights can't compete against low-cost carriers, is handing short haul operations over to Germanwings – a long overdue move. And Air France has a busy year ahead with code-shares, bilateral agreements and deciding if it wants to invest in other subsidiaries.