• Citing impact of COVID-19 and global pandemic, Korean Air acquires Asiana: Korean Air Lines is acquiring its competitor, Asiana Airlines, in a government-supported move that is aimed at helping the country’s two largest carriers survive the COVID-19 crisis. In a transaction worth more than $1.35 billion, Korean Air acquire 63.9 percent in Asiana—supported by the state-run Korean Development Bank. The bank said that it “realized that without restructuring in the aviation industry it is unclear whether the flag carriers would survive even after the coronavirus pandemic ends.” “With the deal,” the bank statement noted, “the integrated flag carrier will be one of the top 10 global airlines.” Meanwhile, the Hanjin Group, owner of Korean Air, said, “The main reason behind Korean Air’s decision to acquire Asiana Airlines at this time is to stabilize the Korean aviation industry, which is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
• Half-year sales for dnata Travel drop 95 percent: The big players in global tourism are posting big numbers that help to illustrate how devastating and far-reaching the global pandemic drive by the COVID-19 virus is. Recently, TUI announced figures suggesting that it will likely seek help from the German government to prevent a financial shortfall. Next, it was dnata, the Dubai-based company which is the largest travel company in the Middle East (it also has extensive holdings in the UK.)
Dnata’s travel division announced that it suffered a 95 percent slump in sales in the six months ending with September 30 as Covid-19 brought travel to a virtual standstill.
A part of the Emirates Group, dnata has brands that include Travel 2, a trade-only provider of tailor-made holidays; Global Travel Group; Sunmaster.co.uk; Travelbag, long-haul specialists; Netflights, a UK online long-haul specialist; Gold Medal, a trade only brand; and Travel Republic, an OTA serving the UK and Ireland. Revenue from the Emirates-owned tour operating business fell to $26 million from $488 million for the same period last year. In a statement coinciding with the release of the figures, the Emirates Group (dnata is a part of the group) said: “This reflects the significant refund volume and pay-out in cancelled customer bookings mainly during the beginning of the pandemic.” The sum of all the above is—this was the first half year loss recorded in more than 30 years.
• OAG strikes deal with ForwardKeys: Forward Keys, a leading global travel analytics firm that has become widely known for research models that are able to, among other features, predict air travel passenger activity using booking data and other measures, has deepened its hold over the travel industry by cementing a new deal with global flight information provider OAG, which has data sets for measures such as on real-time flight activity worldwide A statement from ForwardKeys said the move came following a study that began earlier this year because of the COVID-19 crisis. This review ultimately led to the long-term agreement with OAG in which the latter will provide data and, at the same time, receive: a weekly feed of the latest worldwide airline schedules; a daily feed of schedules changes to understand volatility better; a daily feed of flight status data to track flight cancellations worldwide; and improved modelling and identification of aircraft configurations used on specific routes.
Meanwhile, the partnership will enable ForwardKeys to provide even more accurate data to its list of clients keen for a real understanding of seat capacity figures in a world of last-minute cancellations and refunded tickets: “Seat Capacity and schedule data is a core, strategic asset for ForwardKeys. It is not only a dataset that is consumed directly by a significant number of clients via our online platforms and offline reports, but it is also used extensively in the company and is a key component for our algorithm to model and generates total air market estimates,” says Olivier Jager, CEO, and Co-Founder of ForwardKeys, which is based in Valencia, Spain. OAG is headquartered in Luton, England.
• And, most importantly, ipw is less than 10 months away: If you missed the Tweet by the U.S. Travel Association, exhibitor registration for #ipw21 is now open. Following a well-received digital edition for 2020 held earlier this year, the next ipw is scheduled to take place September 18-22, 2021 where, US Travel said, “we rebuild, reconnect and most importantly, reunite. Register now at ipw.com. Questions? Contact the IPW Team at 202.408.8422.