The North Atlantic Battle Ground – Airline Heaven or Graveyard?

The North Atlantic Battle Ground – Airline Heaven or Graveyard?

The North Atlantic market is potentially one of the most lucrative in the world for airlines. Known for its rich pickings, especially in the heady months of summer, it can equally become a graveyard in the stormy months of winter.

Competitive pressure is intense and only the fittest airlines succeed in delivering profits. In this year’s WTM panel on 3rd November we’ll hear from two companies who have found different ways to survive and prosper in this challenging market.

Delta Airlines is one of the world’s largest airlines and in recent years has experienced something of a renaissance. Having come out of US bankruptcy protection, its fleet and network have been rationalised to deliver impressive profits. It has established a powerful position in the Europe-US market with its partner Air France KLM and is increasingly exploiting its strength at London’s Heathrow Airport with its other strategic partner, Virgin Atlantic, in which it became a 49% shareholder in June 2013. The airline is now focussing  a good deal of attention on its customer service, something which is critical to success and has, historically, been a weak point for American carriers.

Taking a different position in the market place is Icelandair.  Making good use of Iceland’s natural position as halfway point between  North America and Europe, the airline is building up an increasingly impressive portfolio of US and Canadian cities which it connects via its Reykjavik hub to a broad range of European markets, including several UK cities. In addition the airline is tapping into the growing popularity of Iceland as an end destination. It has survived the financial crisis which hit Iceland first as well as the 2010 volcanic eruption to carve out a profitable niche in this highly contested market.

We’ll learn more at the panel on 3rd November but for Delta and Icelandair the North Atlantic looks to be airline heaven.

Tagged , , , .

Director, John Strickland, is a graduate of the University of York and has held senior positions with a number of airlines including British Caledonian, British Airways, KLMuk and Buzz. John was instrumental in the decision by KLM to establish the low cost operator Buzz and in its selection of new routes. His 36 years of experience have exposed him to the business models of regional, global, legacy and low cost carriers. JLS Consulting was established in 2003 and now serves a growing range of clients including airports, airlines, investors and those whose businesses require strategic insight on and advisory services concerning the air transport sector. John regularly devises and chairs panel discussions and interviews senior executives at industry conferences and events. Media work is undertaken for numerous global media organisations including the BBC, CNN, Sky, Al Jazeera, and business specialists Bloomberg and CNBC. John also contributes to a wide range of respected written publications including the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires, Business Week, The New York Times, Gulf News, Reuters and AFP.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *