Moderators: jsumali2, richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
embraer420
Topic Author
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:51 pm

State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:26 pm

Hello everyone,

I'm just posting this thread as state-owned airlines in dictatorships intrigue me, and I have a number of questions, such as:

How do they decide where to fly? (Well for routes like PEK-FNJ this is obvious, but ASB-BHX I just don't understand)

Do they actually make money on the route, or is it all subsidies?

How do they operate differently to a privately owned airline in a deregulated industry?

Thanks :)
 
User avatar
DocLightning
Posts: 21893
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2005 8:51 am

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:05 am

So there are a few different models. For example, China could be considered a dictatorship. They have multiple airlines and technically they are state-owned. There is heavy regulation and yet there is room for entrepreneurship.

Then there was the Soviet Aeroflot. Every non-military aircraft in the USSR belonged to Aeroflot. Air Koryo is probably more similar to the Soviet Aeroflot.

Then there are the ME3. Neither Qatar nor the UAE have democratic governments. They are monarchical dictatorships. I believe EK, QR, and EY are all government-owned.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
-Carl Sagan
 
EChid
Posts: 567
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:00 am

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:13 am

Depends what you classify as a dictatorship. North Korea is a particularly exaggerated example, but just have a look at Saudia. There, the carrier is seen as part of the political body. Their routes regularly exist as a symbolic statement of relations between Saudi Arabia and another county. I believe the Riyadh - New York route was quite a loss for the company itself, but that was irrelevant to Saudia's purpose. It's cancellation of the YYZ flight over a political spat with Canada is similar.

There are certainly a lot of airlines that exist but shouldn't, more as pet projects to presidents than profitable machines. Several semi-operational African carriers would fall into this category.

Can we call China a dictatorship? Quite possibly. There you can see the dedication not to profitability, necessarily, but to a large degree of control in the marketplace (such as strict controls on how many airlines can fly the same route). China, similarly, uses control over access to its market to exert pressure on companies (and countries) to refer to contested regions by its terms.

I think the end result is this: It's not consistent. In some dictatorships, airlines will be rational and seek profit or, at least, something like it (Qatar, EK, perhaps TK), others act as statements of wealth or opulence (EY), others as symbols of political relationships (SV). The challenge is that the behaviour is based on the person in charge, so ultimately the only consistent thing is the inconsistency.
 
embraer420
Topic Author
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:51 pm

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:24 am

EChid wrote:
Depends what you classify as a dictatorship. North Korea is a particularly exaggerated example, but just have a look at Saudia. There, the carrier is seen as part of the political body. Their routes regularly exist as a symbolic statement of relations between Saudi Arabia and another county. I believe the Riyadh - New York route was quite a loss for the company itself, but that was irrelevant to Saudia's purpose. It's cancellation of the YYZ flight over a political spat with Canada is similar.

There are certainly a lot of airlines that exist but shouldn't, more as pet projects to presidents than profitable machines. Several semi-operational African carriers would fall into this category.

Can we call China a dictatorship? Quite possibly. There you can see the dedication not to profitability, necessarily, but to a large degree of control in the marketplace (such as strict controls on how many airlines can fly the same route). China, similarly, uses control over access to its market to exert pressure on companies (and countries) to refer to contested regions by its terms.

I think the end result is this: It's not consistent. In some dictatorships, airlines will be rational and seek profit or, at least, something like it (Qatar, EK, perhaps TK), others act as statements of wealth or opulence (EY), others as symbols of political relationships (SV). The challenge is that the behaviour is based on the person in charge, so ultimately the only consistent thing is the inconsistency.


Ah ok that makes sense, using airlines as political symbols
 
embraer420
Topic Author
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:51 pm

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:26 am

DocLightning wrote:
So there are a few different models. For example, China could be considered a dictatorship. They have multiple airlines and technically they are state-owned. There is heavy regulation and yet there is room for entrepreneurship.

Then there was the Soviet Aeroflot. Every non-military aircraft in the USSR belonged to Aeroflot. Air Koryo is probably more similar to the Soviet Aeroflot.

Then there are the ME3. Neither Qatar nor the UAE have democratic governments. They are monarchical dictatorships. I believe EK, QR, and EY are all government-owned.


Yeah actually I never thought of the ME3 as being in dictatorships. I suppose they are though.
 
TG788
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:10 pm

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:27 am

embraer420 wrote:
but ASB-BHX I just don't understand


This thread my shed a bit of light on this route :)
 
embraer420
Topic Author
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:51 pm

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:33 am

TG788 wrote:
embraer420 wrote:
but ASB-BHX I just don't understand


This thread my shed a bit of light on this route :)


Thanks :checkmark:

So it's all connections to India. Interesting.....

So I guess in this case Turkmenistan Airlines are genuinely operating as a business, not as a political tool.
 
User avatar
Melbourne
Posts: 169
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2007 10:17 am

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:48 am

EChid wrote:
Depends what you classify as a dictatorship. North Korea is a particularly exaggerated example, but just have a look at Saudia. There, the carrier is seen as part of the political body. Their routes regularly exist as a symbolic statement of relations between Saudi Arabia and another county. I believe the Riyadh - New York route was quite a loss for the company itself, but that was irrelevant to Saudia's purpose. It's cancellation of the YYZ flight over a political spat with Canada is similar.

There are certainly a lot of airlines that exist but shouldn't, more as pet projects to presidents than profitable machines. Several semi-operational African carriers would fall into this category.

Can we call China a dictatorship? Quite possibly. There you can see the dedication not to profitability, necessarily, but to a large degree of control in the marketplace (such as strict controls on how many airlines can fly the same route). China, similarly, uses control over access to its market to exert pressure on companies (and countries) to refer to contested regions by its terms.

I think the end result is this: It's not consistent. In some dictatorships, airlines will be rational and seek profit or, at least, something like it (Qatar, EK, perhaps TK), others act as statements of wealth or opulence (EY), others as symbols of political relationships (SV). The challenge is that the behaviour is based on the person in charge, so ultimately the only consistent thing is the inconsistency.


RUH-JFK running at a loss? I don't think so.
 
aviationaware
Posts: 2858
Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 12:02 pm

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:08 am

EChid wrote:
In some dictatorships, airlines will be rational and seek profit or, at least, something like it (Qatar, EK, perhaps TK),


Turkey is not an active dictatorship (yet), and if Qatar is profitable I'll have delicious meals of crow for the rest of my life.
 
EChid
Posts: 567
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:00 am

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:56 am

Melbourne wrote:
RUH-JFK running at a loss? I don't think so.


Yeah, bad example. I may have been thinking about a similar route on PIA instead...I think SV has been fairly focused on profits of late (and recently returned to profitability) - but they are still used as a very obvious political statement of the government's intents nonetheless.
 
EChid
Posts: 567
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:00 am

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:01 am

aviationaware wrote:
EChid wrote:
In some dictatorships, airlines will be rational and seek profit or, at least, something like it (Qatar, EK, perhaps TK),


Turkey is not an active dictatorship (yet), and if Qatar is profitable I'll have delicious meals of crow for the rest of my life.


Turkey may as well be. Yes, elections occurred, but they were highly questionable and the result was also a product of years of arresting any potential challengers.

Qatar is *obviously* not profitable but it does, at the very least, try to act in a profitable way. It's sending rationally-sized planes to rational places, and placing fairly logical orders (i.e., not EY-sized orders). It's highly constrained by a significant set of political theatrics happening. Yes, it's clearly funded be the government and permitted to be a loss by them, but they aren't behaving in the same spend-free way that EY has.
 
aviationaware
Posts: 2858
Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 12:02 pm

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:14 am

EChid wrote:
Qatar is *obviously* not profitable but it does, at the very least, try to act in a profitable way. It's sending rationally-sized planes to rational places, and placing fairly logical orders (i.e., not EY-sized orders). It's highly constrained by a significant set of political theatrics happening. Yes, it's clearly funded be the government and permitted to be a loss by them, but they aren't behaving in the same spend-free way that EY has.


Well, contrary to Abu Dhabi or the UAE in general, the government of Qatar has to manage resources - after all, they have a whole bunch of terrorist organizations to support and Hamas leaders to lodge.
 
AWACSooner
Posts: 2559
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:35 am

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:57 am

BELAVIA?
Lukashenko definitely qualifies as a dictator.
 
User avatar
aemoreira1981
Posts: 3640
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:17 am

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:00 am

aviationaware wrote:
EChid wrote:
In some dictatorships, airlines will be rational and seek profit or, at least, something like it (Qatar, EK, perhaps TK),


Turkey is not an active dictatorship (yet), and if Qatar is profitable I'll have delicious meals of crow for the rest of my life.


Concentrating just on Turkey---while TK (along with AnadoluJet and SunExpress) is dominant, at least there is major private competition in Pegasus. In addition, the airline is a public-private partnership, and also does right-sizing, although it seems to have a desire to serve almost every country on the globe (although many flights are sub-daily and/or on triangular routes. Their major constraint right now is that their bases are bursting at the seams, forcing greater reliance on wide-body planes than they'd probably desire, although (minus the four fully amortized A343s), it's all twins.

If the situation around the region ever gets resolved, I could see QR becoming profitable, although it should somehow find a way to dispose of those oddball A388s since its future widebody plans are likely based on the 359 and 351.
 
User avatar
Midwestindy
Posts: 5435
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:56 am

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:10 am

Depending on your view of Cuba, Cubana could be considered one
Status for 2019/2020: AAdvantage Platinum, Delta Gold, Southwest A-List
 
User avatar
gunsontheroof
Posts: 3665
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 8:30 am

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:39 am

It kind of depends on who's passing out the dictator cards. An airline like JS has limited options on expansion because North Korea is pretty much unanimously considered an international pariah outside of China and Russia, but countries with governments that could certainly be considered dictatorships don't always have problems expanding their network. HY has flown to JFK, LHR, FRA, MXP, CDG and other western destinations for years with no issues and I think anyone would be hard-pressed to argue that Islam Karimov was anything but a dictator in Uzbekistan (his successor seems more moderate). Same goes for T5, who (as pointed out above) fly to a number of western European destinations. You can also look at IR, who have flights to some European destinations but have been cut off from the U.S. since 1979. They could certainly make IKA-JFK/LAX work, but it's not in the cards with the state of U.S.-Iran relations showing no signs of improvement.
Picked a hell of a week to quit sniffing glue.
 
User avatar
flyingclrs727
Posts: 2650
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:44 am

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:55 am

AWACSooner wrote:
BELAVIA?
Lukashenko definitely qualifies as a dictator.


So how does the airline rate?
 
User avatar
Channex757
Posts: 2416
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:07 am

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:10 am

flyingclrs727 wrote:
AWACSooner wrote:
BELAVIA?
Lukashenko definitely qualifies as a dictator.


So how does the airline rate?

Sorry....OT I know but those Tu-154M were a thing of beauty and Belavia was one of the last operators into the UK. They always looked well-maintained, as did the 735s that replaced them.

They now have some smart looking Embraers in the fleet too.
 
dafami
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:40 pm

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:25 am

Syrian Air uses its one remaining A320-200 to ferry militants from Tehran (IKA) to Damascus (DAM).
The fighters are also allowed to carry their guns with them on-board. All this on their regularly scheduled service, mind you. Militants and civilians are seated side by side.

It’s also used its A320s to carry weapons from Russia in the past.
 
User avatar
flyingclrs727
Posts: 2650
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:44 am

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:30 am

Channex757 wrote:
flyingclrs727 wrote:
AWACSooner wrote:
BELAVIA?
Lukashenko definitely qualifies as a dictator.


So how does the airline rate?


Sorry....OT I know but those Tu-154M were a thing of beauty and Belavia was one of the last operators into the UK. They always looked well-maintained, as did the 735s that replaced them.

They now have some smart looking Embraers in the fleet too.


I've been searching for flights for my wife to take between ODS and KGD in order for her to visit her grandmother. It's complicated by the fact that neither Russian nor Ukrainian airlines can overly each other's territories. Belavia seems to have both the lowest prices and best scheduling.

The TU-154 might be a beautiful plane, but I'm not interested in putting my wife on any Soviet era airliners. Fortunately they now only fly on western built airliners. I'm glad to read that they maintain their planes well.
 
User avatar
gunsontheroof
Posts: 3665
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 8:30 am

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:58 am

dafami wrote:
Syrian Air uses its one remaining A320-200 to ferry militants from Tehran (IKA) to Damascus (DAM).
The fighters are also allowed to carry their guns with them on-board. All this on their regularly scheduled service, mind you. Militants and civilians are seated side by side.

It’s also used its A320s to carry weapons from Russia in the past.


Source?
Picked a hell of a week to quit sniffing glue.
 
aviationaware
Posts: 2858
Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 12:02 pm

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:04 am

Midwestindy wrote:
Depending on your view of Cuba, Cubana could be considered one


I don't think the status of the Cuban government is open to judgement. Unless you are Ms. Ocasio-Cortez of course.
 
User avatar
Slash787
Posts: 951
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:37 pm

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:41 am

Air India
 
FromCDGtoSYD
Posts: 397
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:29 am

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:29 am

TAAG Angola.
 
melpax
Posts: 2070
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2005 12:13 am

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:40 pm

There are quite a few Asian airlines in this situation

Garuda up to 1998. Aussies would happily fly them to Bali in the 70's 80's & 90's

Malyasia was generally considered a dictatorship in the 80's & 90's, yet MH had a good reputation until MH370.

And even Singapore can be considered a one-party dictatorship depending on who you talk to, but SQ is not a loss-maker....

Currently you have RB, VN, and TG among others.
Essendon - Whatever it takes......
 
jumpjets
Posts: 1473
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:17 pm

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:13 pm

I suppose during the era of ex-president mugabe you could say Zimbabwe was to all intents and purposes a dictator and his use of Air Zimbabwe as a personal airline was the stuff of legend [whether it is all true or not is something I can't comment on].
 
iadadd
Posts: 302
Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:16 pm

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:24 pm

Ethiopia is a de-facto One Party state, although things are somewhat changing. Ethiopian Airlines, a state owned carrier, has been allowed to run independent with very limited government intervention and is know renowned for for its profitability and growth. Government doesn't even manage the revenue, and all profits are re-invested into the airline as well. The only state related aspect of the operation is that the Chairman is a government appointee, and that's more or less a ceremonial role.

However, Ethiopian Airlines has an effective monopoly on domestic routes
 
PanHAM
Posts: 9719
Joined: Fri May 06, 2005 6:44 pm

Re: State Owned Airlines in Dictatorships

Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:26 pm

Very political. The majority of countries are far from being Democracies, far from being ruled by the law.

I would suggest to ask which Airlines are managed strictly by Commercial rules and Standards with the Goal of being really profitable. Singapore was mentioned as one Party state, but SQ would qualify by all means to be commercially run and successful.

The best African Airline, ET, would qualify, but I would have doubts about the ME3. EY is a wreck and a Money pit for the owners, similar QR, who knows what is behind the shining facade. EK may be an exception, not sure.

Same as TK,but will they survive the Transition from a quasi Democracy to a one man Family Business that is just going over the brink?

State run Airlines have been used for many things, especially in the old days of the cold war. Google for old route maps fo Aeroflot. They speak for themselves as forming a life line for all sorts of questionable agencies like the KGB. Or take Interflug, the Airline of former East German dictatorship. Their TU134 Monday servoe SXF to ZRH did not Need to carry passengers. The purpose was to carry last weeks receipts of "Valuta" ( Dollars, Deutsch Marks Gold etc etc. Sort of a commerrcial Enterprise but only sort of.
Was Erlauben Erdogan!!!

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos