Industry Research Airline Industry

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1 Airline Industry Airline Industry Industry Outlook: Stable Executive Summary 3 December 214 Parat Mahuttano Ruangwud Jarurungsipong The world economy is expected to grow by 3.3% in 214, the same growth rate as in 213. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasts the number of air passengers will reach 3.3 billion in 214. Revenue passenger kilometers (RPK) will rise by 5.9% in 214, almost the same rate of increase as in 213. The IATA expects the volume of air shipments to reach 52 million tonnes in 214, as shown by its forecast of a 3.1% rise in freight tonne kilometers (FTK). In the first 1 months of 214, the number of air passengers in Thailand did not grow. The worldwide economy was weak and domestic political turmoil kept tourists away. The Thai economy grew slowly in the first three quarters of 214, rising by just.2% year-on-year (y-o-y). The political unrest in early 214 also cut the number of tourist arrivals by 8.7% y-o-y during January to October. However, history shows that the Thai tourism industry recovers quickly after a crisis. Competition in the airline industry in Thailand is intense. Thailand is a popular travel destination, serviced by more than 5 airlines. There are about 3 low-cost carriers (LCCs) serving in Thailand. About 39% of total air passengers in the first 1 months of 214 took LCCs. The main airlines serving in Thailand are Thai Airways, Thai Air Asia, and Nok Air, which are all Thai airlines. The number of passengers flying on LCCs is growing at a faster rate than the growth in the number of all air passengers. Passengers on LCCs grew by 29% in 213 and 23.5% y-o-y in the first 1 months of 214. Premium airlines face a significant challenge as they try to compete with the LCCs. Regulations in the airline industry are easing. ASEAN member nations are trying to impose the fifth freedom liberalization within 215. The liberalization will raise competition in the Thai airline industry. More competitors mean lower profitability in the industry. However, the Thai government actively promotes tourism, which is beneficial for the industry.

2 Passenger volumes rise worldwide Air passenger traffic is correlated with the worldwide economy and tourism. The airline industry is more volatile than the worldwide economy. The number of air passengers has risen nearly every year. Industry statistics compiled by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) show that scheduled passenger traffic worldwide grew by an average of nearly 5.5% annually during the last 1 years. Passenger traffic dropped only once during the past decade, in 29 during the economic crisis. Despite several recent heavily publicized aviation accidents, air travel is still the safest form of transportation. As of June 214, the IATA forecasted 3.3 billion passengers will take flights in 214. This represents a 5.7% growth. The IATA expects the growth rate in 214 will be a little higher than the historical average, as some regions show better economic performance. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts strong economic expansions in Germany (gross domestic product or GDP growth from -.4% in 213 to 1.4% in 214), Spain (-1.2% to 1.3%), the United Kingdom (UK) (1.7% to 3.2%), India (5% to 5.6%), and Mexico (1.1% to 2.4%). However, in October 214, the IMF cut its forecast of worldwide economic growth in 214. The forecast growth rate slipped from 3.4% to 3.3%. This sign of a weaker world economy may reduce the growth rate in the number of airline passengers. The IATA reported that RPK grew by 5.8% year-on-year (y-o-y) in the first 1 months of 214, with a forecast of a 5.9% growth for the whole year. RPK is calculated by multiplying the number of commercial airline passengers by the distances they travel. The growth in RPK in 214 is slightly higher than the 5.7% growth rate in 213 because of better economic outlooks in some countries. The RPK measure in the Middle East grew at the highest rate: a 12.7% y-o-y rise in the first 1 months of 214. The RPK in Europe significantly increased from 3.8% in 213 to 5.9% y-o-y for the first 1 months of 214. The RPK in Africa dropped from 5.1% in 213 to.7% y-o-y in the first 1 months in 214, largely because of the Ebola outbreak. TRIS Rating 2 3 December 214

3 Million Passengers Industry Research Chart 1: Global Air Passenger Traffic and Economic Growth 3,5 3, 2,5 2, 1,5 1, e 214f % Scheduled Passengers RPK Growth (Right-Axis) World GDP Growth (Right-Axis) World Tourist Growth (Right-Axis) Sources: 1) International Air Transport Association (IATA) 2) World Bank Table 1: Economic Growth by Region Unit: % f World Euro Area USA Japan China ASEAN Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF) Table 2: Growth in Revenue Passenger Kilometers by Region Region 213 YTD Oct 214 (Y-O-Y) Africa 5.1%.7% Asia/Pacific 7.1% 6.8% Europe 3.8% 5.9% Latin America 6.3% 6.4% Middle East 11.4% 12.6% North America 2.3% 2.7% Source: IATA TRIS Rating 3 3 December 214

4 % Industry Research Trade recovers worldwide The IATA predicted air trade volume will rise to 51.7 million tonnes in 214, growing by 4.4%. FTK in 214 is expected to grow by 3.1%. FTK is calculated by multiplying the tonnes of air freight cargo by the distance the load is carried. The expected FTK growth in 214 was lower than the 1-year average of 3.5%. However, the expected growth rate in 214 is the highest it has been in the past three years because fuel price are falling, the United States (US) economy is improving, and there is less concern over the Euro-zone financial crisis. FTK in most regions expanded in 214. However, Latin America and the Middle East showed lower growth rates in the first 1 months of 214. In Latin America, the weak economy in Brazil led to less trading activity, while geopolitical conflicts in the Middle East slightly lowered the FTK in this region. Chart 2: Global Air Freight Traffic and World Trade Volume f World Trade Volume Growth FTK Growth Sources: 1) IATA 2) IMF Table 3: Growth in Freight Tonne Kilometers by Region Region 213 YTD Oct 214 (Y-O-Y) Africa 1.% 5.6% Asia/Pacific -1.% 5.3% Europe 1.8% 2.1% Latin America 2.4% 1.3% Middle East 12.8% 1.5% North America -.4% 3.2% Source: IATA TRIS Rating 4 3 December 214

5 Jan-6 Jun-6 Nov-6 Apr-7 Sep-7 Feb-8 Jul-8 Dec-8 May-9 Oct-9 Mar-1 Aug-1 Jan-11 Jun-11 Nov-11 Apr-12 Sep-12 Feb-13 Jul-13 Dec-13 May-14 Oct-14 US$/Barrel Industry Research Rising supply of crude oil cuts price of jet fuel Fuel cost typically accounts for around 4% of an airline s total costs. In the past, rapid rises in the price of jet fuel had a huge effect on the profits of the airline industry. For example, more than 1 airlines in the US were forced to close down during the 28 oil spike, according to the US Air Transport Association. In 213, the Singapore price for jet fuel averaged US$122.8 per barrel, 3.1% lower than the price in 212. Fuel prices were volatile from 28 through 211, but became more stable recently. However, crude oil prices started falling sharply in September 214, and dropped to a five-year low. Dubai crude oil prices sank to US$61 per barrel in December 214, dropping the jet fuel price to US$79 per barrel. Oil prices fell because the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pumped more oil, production of shale oil increased, the US dollar appreciated, and worldwide economic growth was not as robust as initially forecast. OPEC maintains a level of production designed to protect their market share. Falling fuel prices boost airlines profit margins, allowing carriers to cut ticket prices. Ticket prices will fall by an average of 5.1% across the industry in 215, according to the IATA. Demand for air travel is expected to rise in 215. Carriers are certainly aware of the uncertainty of fuel prices. For example, the prolonged geopolitical events in the Middle East may spike fuel prices if the political situation gets worse. Chart 3: Singapore Jet Fuel Price Singapore Jet Fuel Dubai Crude Oil Sources: 1) EIA 2) Thai Oil TRIS Rating 5 3 December 214

6 Million Passengers % y-o-y Industry Research Thai airline industry slows down Thailand is known as one of the world s top travel destinations, whether for business or leisure. According to Airport of Thailand (AOT), air passenger movement in Thailand peaked in 213. The number of air passenger in 213 was 88 million persons, rising by 16%. In 214, the Thai economy was weaker than expected. The Bank of Thailand (BOT) expects the economy will grow by only.8%. The current slowdown was caused by several negative factors, such as lower growth in the worldwide economy and domestic political uncertainty. The number of air passenger in Thailand did not grow in the first 1 months of 214. The slowdown occurred especially in Bangkok, the center of the political protests. The number of passengers at Suvanabhumi airport fell by 12% y-o-y in the first 1 months of 214. However, the Thai tourism industry has recovered quickly in the past after political turmoil or a natural disaster. A calmer political situation and a new government brought tourists back to Thailand in October 214. Chart 4: Passengers in AOT International Airports International Passenger Growth (Right-Axis) Domestic Thai GDP Growth (Right-Axis) Sources: 1) Airports of Thailand (AOT) 2) National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) (17 Nov 214) The tourism industry in Thailand boomed in 213, growing by 18.8% to 26.5 million tourists. Tourists from Asian nations comprised the largest part of the rise, followed by European tourists. Tourist receipts exceeded Bt1 trillion in 213. However, the political unrest from the last quarter of 213 to the middle of the second quarter of 214 weighed on the confidence of visitors. In the first 1 months of 214, 19.7 million tourists visited, a drop of 2 million visitors or an 8.7% y-o-y fall. However, October was the first month of 214 in which the number of tourist arrivals grew, climbing by 6% y-o-y. In the first 1 months of 214, most tourists were from China (18.2% of all tourist arrivals), Malaysia (1.3%), Russia (6.5%), and Japan (5.2%). TRIS Rating 6 3 December 214

7 Q1/28 Q2/28 Q3/28 Q4/28 Q1/29 Q2/29 Q3/29 Q4/29 Q1/21 Q2/21 Q3/21 Q4/21 Q1/211 Q2/211 Q3/211 Q4/211 Q1/212 Q2/212 Q3/212 Q4/212 Q1/213 Q2/213 Q3/213 Q4/213 Q1/214 Q2/214 Q3/214 Million Tourists Q1/212 Q2/212 Q3/212 Q4/212 Q1/213 Q2/213 Q3/213 Q4/213 Q1/214 Q2/214 Q3/214 Million Tourists % y-o-y Industry Research Chart 5: Tourist Arrivals Tourist Arrivals Tourist Arrivals Growth Source: Department of Tourism The first and the last quarters are tourist high season. Arrivals in these two quarters comprise around 55% of annual tourist arrivals. December is the most popular months of the year because of nice weather, and the Christmas and New Year holidays. Nevertheless, some recent, unfavorable events had affected peak season tourist arrivals. For example, flooding in the fourth quarter of 211 and political uncertainty in the first quarter of 214 caused tourist arrivals to drop. Chart 6: Quarterly Tourist Arrivals 7 Political unrest 6 Flood Low seasons High seasons Source: Department of Tourism TRIS Rating 7 3 December 214

8 Low-cost airlines increase competition The airline industry in Thailand is intensely competitive. In 214, there are over than 5 airlines traveling to Thailand; around 3 are LCCs. More than 88 million passengers, including transit passengers, passed through Thailand s six international airports in fiscal year 213. In October 212, AOT moved most of the LCCs from Suvarnabhumi airport to Don Muang airport, in order to decrease the passenger volume at Suvarnabhumi airport. The move to Don Muang also enhanced the facilities used by LCCs and increased the capacity of the carriers. Since the move, Don Muang airport has become the hub of low-cost airlines in Thailand, serving 14.8 million passengers in fiscal year 213. The major airlines in Thailand are Thai airways, Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, and Bangkok Airways, according to the share of passengers through Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports. In the LCC segment, Thai Air Asia is the biggest airline, followed by Nok Air. The number of passengers transported by LCCs grew by 29% in 213, compared with a 16% growth in the total number of passengers transported by all airlines in Thailand in 213. The number of LCC passengers has grown more slowly since the fourth quarter of 213, but the growth rate was still in the double digits. For the first 1 months of 214, the total number of LCC passengers, including transit passengers, from the six international airports in Thailand reached 28.3 million passengers, a 23.5% y-o-y rise. Passenger on LCCs increased from 25% of all passengers in 21 to 39% in the first 1 months of 214. The number of LCCs flying in short- to medium-length routes has increased rapidly over time. Competition has intensified. Carriers have been fighting on many fronts: in terms of price level, services offered, and flight schedules. Carriers have a limited ability to pass on higher fuel costs to customers. To compete effectively with the LCCs, premium carriers focus on minimizing their costs, maintain the levels of services, and expanding their networks. Several premium airlines have launched lower price services for their short- and medium-haul routes. The premium airline can offer a variety of choices for their customers. For instance, Thai Airways offers services on board for premium segment passengers, services on Thai Smile for hybrid segment passengers, and on Nok Air for the low-cost segment. Not every LCC can cover the long-haul routes like the premium carriers do, because long-haul flights would increase the costs for an LCC. An LCC would need different types of aircraft, hire more employees, and use more fuel, if it flies long-haul routes. A limited route network makes some LCCs more sensitive to event risks. For example, a disease outbreak, an economic slump or even a terrorist threat would affect the LCCs more severely than the premium airlines. TRIS Rating 8 3 December 214

9 Table 4: Airline Market Shares by Passenger Volume (Fiscal Year 213) Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Muang Airport Airlines Passengers Share (%) 1. Thai Airways 17,641, Thai Air Asia 9,56, Nok Air 6,351, Bangkok Airways 4,54, Emirates Airlines 1,72, Cathay Pacific 1,367, Thai Lion Air 1,14, Qatar Airways 836, Thai Smile Airways 76, Etihad Airways 72, Total passenger (person) 65,187,888 Source: AOT Table 5: LCC Market Shares by Passenger Volume (Fiscal Year 213) Don Muang Airport Airlines Passengers Share (%) 1. Thai Air Asia 9,56, Nok Air 6,351, Thai Lion Air 1,14, Air Asia Berhad 573, Orient Thai Airlines 371, Total passenger (person) 18,69,631 Source: AOT TRIS Rating 9 3 December 214

10 Million Passengers % y-o-y Industry Research Chart 7: LCC Passengers in AOT s International Airports International Domestic Passenger Growth Source: AOT Table 6: LCC Passenger Contribution Total Passengers LCC Passengers Contribution (%) 21 58,239,591 14,674, ,367,593 18,17, ,132,59 21,889, ,291,33 28,25, m214 72,788,668 28,33, Source: AOT Regulation of the airline industry The airline industry is controlled by the government s regulations and policies. The Thai government restricts the domestic airline business to Thai nationality-owned airlines. Thai Airways is the national flag airline. The Thai government also supports domestic airlines through traffic rights negotiations with other countries, in an effort to open new routes. Since 21, the Thai government has launched a domestic open skies policy to encourage industry competition. This policy allowed commercial airlines to operate domestic routes that compete with Thai Airways. TRIS Rating 1 3 December 214

11 Since 21, ASEAN member countries have followed the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on the Full Liberalization of Passenger Air Services (MAFLPAS), the fifth freedom traffic rights. The liberalization effort for the fifth freedom is planned to begin in 215. The fifth freedom will lower barriers in airline industry among ASEAN countries, increasing the operation frequency for each aircraft. However, Mr. Lui Tuck Yew, Singapore s Transport Minister, expects a delay in the liberalization of the fifth freedom. Furthermore, ASEAN nations are striving to extend the agreement to other countries such as China, Japan, Korea, India, and the European Union (EU). Table 7: Liberalization of Air Traffic Freedom First freedom Second freedom Third freedom Fourth freedom Right The right to fly over ASEAN airspace without landing. The right to land on ASEAN countries but only for refueling and maintenance. The right to fly from the home country to another ASEAN country without prior inter-governmental approval. The right to fly from another ASEAN country to the home country without prior inter-governmental approval. Fifth freedom The right to fly between two non-host ASEAN countries, but only for fights that originate or end in its home country. Source: International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Currently, citizens of some nations do not need a visa when traveling to Thailand. The Thai government established two categories of nations: citizens that receive a 3-day visa and citizens who receive a 9-day visa. As shown in Table 8, tourists from these nations comprise more than 2% of total tourist arrivals in 213. The majority are Russian (7% of total tourist arrivals in 213), Korean (5%), and Laos (4%). Table 9 shows the countries that Thai citizens are able to visit without a visa. The maximum allowance varies from 14 days to 18 days, but most of the stays are 3 days. According to the Department of Tourism, 2.7 million Thai passengers departed from Suvarnabhumi airport in the first 1 months of 214. The growth rate in the number of passengers was quite volatile over the past seven years, but the average growth rate during was 5.4% per year. TRIS Rating 11 3 December 214

12 Table 8: Nations Exempt from Thai Visa Requirements Ordinary Passports 3 Days Hong Kong SAR Macau SAR Laos Mongolia Russia Vietnam 9 Days Argentina Brazil Chile Peru Republic of Korea Source: Thaivisa Table 9: Countries Exempting Thai Citizens from Visa Requirements Ordinary Passports (Days) 3 Days and Below Cambodia (14) Bahrain (14) Brunei (14) Japan (15) The Philippine (21) Laos (3) Hong Kong SAR(3) Indonesia (3) Macau SAR (3) Malaysia (3) Maldives (3) Mongolia (3) Russia (3) Seychelles (3) Singapore (3) South Africa (3) Turkey (3) 9 Days and Over Argentina (9) Brazil (9) Chile (9) Ecuador (9) Peru (9) Republic of Korea (9) Panama (18) Source: Department of Consular Affairs TRIS Rating 12 3 December 214

13 Recent tourism promotions Tourism is a major industry in Thailand. Tourism receipts in 213 totaled Bt1.36 trillion or more than 1% of Thai GDP. The Thai government has promoted the tourism industry by implementing policies to attract tourists. Political unrest in the first half of 214 hurt tourism. As a result, the new government implemented two policies: waiving visa fees for Chinese and Taiwanese visitors, and allowing tax deductions for domestic travel by Thai citizens. The government implemented the visa waiver as a way to celebrate the 4 th anniversary of Thai Chinese diplomatic relations, and to promote the tourism industry. The policy waives the visa fees for Chinese and Taiwanese citizens from 9 August 214 to 8 November 214. This policy boosted the number of Chinese and Taiwanese tourists from under 4, persons per month in the first seven months of 214 to nearly 5, persons per month in August and September. Furthermore, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) expects 2, more Chinese and Taiwanese tourists as a result of this scheme. A total of 1.5 million Chinese and Taiwanese tourists will visit Thailand in the last quarter of 214. The Thai government also promotes the domestic tourism industry by offering tax deductions for domestic travel made or seminars arranged from 16 December 214 till the end of 215. Individuals can use their bills for accommodation or touring package to reduce their taxable income by a maximum of Bt15,. For companies and other organizations, the Thai government allows the entity to reduce its taxes by an amount up to double the amount spent on seminars. Airline operator rated by TRIS Rating (as of December 214) Company Rating Outlook Thai Airways International A+ Negative TRIS Rating Co., Ltd., Tel: ext 5 Silom Complex Building, 24th Floor, 191 Silom Road, Bangkok 15, Thailand, Copyright 214, TRIS Rating Co., Ltd. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized use, disclosure, copying, republication, further transmission, dissemination, redistribution or storing for subsequent use for any purpose, in whole or in part, in any form or manner or by any means whatsoever, by any person, of the credit rating reports or information is prohibited. The credit rating is not a statement of fact or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any debt instruments. It is an expression of opinion regarding credit risks for that instrument or particular company. The opinion expressed in the credit rating does not represent investment or other advice and should therefore not be construed as such. Any rating and information contained in any report written or published by TRIS Rating has been prepared without taking into account any recipient s particular financial needs, circumstances, knowledge and objectives. Therefore, a recipient should assess the appropriateness of such information before making an investment decision based on this information. Information used for the rating has been obtained by TRIS Rating from the company and other sources believed to be reliable. Therefore, TRIS Rating does not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any such information and will accept no liability for any loss or damage arising from any inaccuracy, inadequacy or incompleteness. Also, TRIS Rating is not responsible for any errors or omissions, the result obtained from, or any actions taken in reliance upon such information. All methodologies used can be found at TRIS Rating 13 3 December 214

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