Globally, many flag carriers are in trouble, Simple Flying reports. On the other hand, other aviation divisions have made incredible progress. But the rise of other private companies also raises the question: does flag carriers still make sense in 2019?
Flag carrier slings in trouble
Unfortunately, more flag carriers are known for their predicament rather than their success. Lately, South African Airways seems to be on the verge of collapse. Despite the receipt of some of the A350 sons, the strike and subsequent collective bargaining agreements have weakened South African Airways and left it with a long way to go.
In Asia, Thai Airways was supposed to be a very successful flag carrier. Thailand is not only an increasingly popular tourist destination, it is also a commercial center. However, fierce low-cost competition and rising costs have put Thai Airways on the brink of crisis.
Air India is also in a lingering stretch. For now, it appears that the indian government may consider shutting down the loss-making flag carrier if Air India does not sell. Unattractive products, intense market conditions, and a large number of inefficient employees have left Air India with little hope of survival.
In Europe, Alitalia has been more successful in attracting buyer interest than Air India. However, the airline’s sales process is not yet complete, and it is still losing a lot of money every day.
Successful Flag Carrier Airlines
However, there are also many successful flag carriers. British Airways is a good example. Based at London’s Heathrow Airport, BA operates an extensive network of long-haul routes and hubs. Financially, BA has performed well and has a good reputation among passengers.
In addition, Royal Dutch Airlines also enjoys a good reputation among passengers, operating an impressive number of destinations.
In Africa, Ethiopian Airlines is a well-known aviation giant. Not to mention that its success has attracted the attention of several African countries, which have asked Ethiopian Airlines to help build new airlines.
Turkish Airlines is one of the world’s largest flag carriers in terms of the number of navigable countries. It is known for its quality products, and with the new Istanbul airport, Turkish Airlines still has room to grow.
Why is flag carrier still important?
Flag carriers can still play an important role globally. South Africa, Thailand and India continue to maintain the operation of their flag carriers, which play an important role as a bridge to the outside world.
Important political links also help to maintain the presence of flag carriers. In many cases, the Foreign Aviation Division may not want to operate routes that local governments and businesses may consider important. New York, for example, is an important business market, and Aeroflot is the only airline operating direct Moscow-New York flights. No u.S. airline operates this route.
In some cases, however, the Foreign Aviation Division provides better route services than flag carriers. Or, flag carriers can’t keep up with the growing demand. Air Canada, for example, operates several flights from Vancouver to Toronto to India, while Air India has only recently resumed its Toronto route.
But in the United States, the three major airlines carry most of their passengers, and none of them can claim to be U.S. flag carriers. But the three major U.S. airlines as a whole offer an extremely extensive global network of routes, giving passengers plenty of choice.
Examples of global success and failed flag carriers exist at the same time. In the end, every flag carrier faces competition. Some countries, such as the UK and the United Arab Emirates, also own two flag carriers. Flag carriers can still play an important role in the world, although their importance may be diminishing.