This week we take a look at the East Africa market, the competitive European short-haul space and dive into which routes are most lucrative for airlines.

The Competitive European Short-Haul Market

Due to the volume of airlines (low cost, full service and everything in between), the confined, but fragmented space of the market and ever-changing socio-political issues, Europe is a very challenging market for commercial aviation. Patrick Whyte from Skift, penned the latest coverage on this topic.

The much talked about topic of consolidation, also surfaces in Whyte's piece, as he quotes Midas Aviation partner John Grant.

“Ultimately we do have too many airlines in Europe, and some further consolidation would both help the stronger carriers and also create a bit more balance in the market.”

The other topic outlined is the increasingly competitive European rail system. Improvements to the customer experience (more comfortable seating, faster trains and better wifi) along with environmental concerns are making travel via railway a more viable option for consumers.

The Battle for the East Africa Market

While on the topic of competitive complex markets, let's move over to a different region of the world. This article from The Independent outlines the increasing number of competitors in the East Africa market.

Ethiopian Airlines is one of several competing airlines in East Africa

The likes of Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, RwandAir and South African Airways are already battling it out in the region. Now comes a new entrant Uganda Airlines. The national carrier has reported to have obtained certification from IATA and plans to take to the skies on August 28.

The fledgling airlines hopes to capitalize on the Uganda population that is estimated to be spending slightly over US$400million on flights annually.

One of the major hurdles to air travel in the region is the cost. The article quotes Aeko Ongodia, CEO of Xeno Technologies.

“Despite of the many flights on the Entebbe-Nairobi route, prices of the tickets are still quite expensive. Flying from London to Barcelona is possibly 45 euros yet the distance is much longer.”

The Most Lucrative Airline Routes

After OAG released its findings on the most lucrative routes in commercial aviation, Forbes caught up with them to understand more. Dominic Dudley of Forbes quotes (coincidentally) the previously referenced John Grant who also does work with OAG.

“For every airline there are a small selection of lucrative routes where either competitive advantage, market circumstances or limited competition make for very attractive revenues. It is equally likely that, for each of these airlines, operating profits are amongst the highest on their respective networks."

The top 10 routes are as follows:

  1. LHR-JFK
  2. MEL-SYD
  3. LHR-DXB
  4. LHR-SIN
  5. SFO-EWR
  6. LAX-JFK
  7. LHR-DOH
  8. HKG-LHR
  9. SYD-SIN
  10. YVR-YYZ

Aviation Video of the Week: 5 Freedoms of Aviation

This week we're featuring another informative video from Wendover Productions. The commercial aviation sector has always had to contend with regulations, rules and policy. This video takes a look at the history behind centuries of political negotiations and accords that dictate who, how, and where airlines can fly.

Random Read: Delta Frequent Flyer Gets Private Flight

Frequent flyer Vincent Peone had the opportunity to live out every traveler's dream by having a flight all to himself. He was the sole passenger on a flight from Aspen to Salt Lake City. Check out his tweet below detailing the experience.

So how did this happen? An early departing flight (that seemingly had more bookings) was canceled so Peone rebooked for a flight that evening. Ryan Barwick described it from Delta's perspective in his Adweek article.

A spokesperson with Delta said Peone’s flight was “fairly rare,” though flights with only a handful of passengers happen more frequently.

Despite what may seem like a waste of jet fuel, the Delta rep said the flight would have left regardless as it would be needed for additional routes out of the airline’s Salt Lake City hub.

“The reality is that we still have a responsibility to operate that flight,” the spokesperson said. “We’re happy to do it for a Diamond Medallion holder, but we’re also happy to do it for anyone else.”