Friday, October 13, 2017

Austrian studying wide body replacement

The CEO of Austrian Airlines has officially announced that the carrier has begun studying placing a large order for wide body aircraft to fully replace its aging fleet of 6 B767-300ERs + Boeing 777-200ERs from 2019 onwards. The carrier needs newer, more efficient aircraft to offer a more competitive product offering as well as operational cost savings in the long run.



By the end of Q1 2018, OS shall have 12 wide body aircraft in its fleet i.e. 6 B772ERs + 6 B763ERs. Their B777s have 48J + 264Y seating 312 pax in total whilst the B763s have 225 (26J + 199Y). It is too small of a fleet to have 2 different variant types and from a commercial standpoint, the B787 family is the ideal logical replacement.

Please note that even though new aircraft are expensive, this is a long term (20 year) investment that OS shall be doing with these aircraft hence buying 7-10 year old A330s and B777s isn't the right thing to do. To cater for future growth, OS needs to order 15 WB aircraft i.e. B787s as follows:

5 B788s + 7 B789s + 3 options

If demand for certain routes sees a big upswing in the mid 2020s, then the 3 options should be converted to the larger B787-10. If not then the options should be for the B789 variant. The B788 would seat 30J + 198Y comfortably so 228 seats in total whilst the B789 would seat 291 i.e. 30J + 261Y. Do note that EL AL went for the exact same above fleet plan strategy for the 2020-2030 period i.e. replacing their B767s/B777s and B744s with all 3 B787 variant types. 

One also does not see the need for 17 E95s in their fleet. These planes should be gotten rid off by 2021 along with their 7 A319s. In turn 25 Bombardier C300s should be ordered to replace both types as the long term savings incurred by operating the CS3 versus these 2 types with 25 aircraft is massive. The NB fleet part i.e. 23 A320s + 6 A321s should all be replaced with 30 A321NEOs.

Therefore, the future fleet in an ideal commercial scenario for the 2020-2030 period for OS should look like this:

i. 15 B787s for WB seating between 220-290 pax
ii. 30 A321NEO for high density intra-EU flying seating 200 pax
iii. 25 C300 for medium demand destinations seating 135 pax and operating within a 5.5 hour flying time radius
iv. 18 Q400s (they already operate 18 of the type) seating 76 pax and operating with 1-2 hours flying time radius 

Total fleet size 88 aircraft

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ethiopian increases Toronto flights

Ethiopian Airlines has officially announced that it has been awarded additional bilateral access to Canada and as a result of which will boost its services to YYZ-Toronto effective 02DEC17.

From 02DEC17 onwards, ET will increase its ADD-YYZ flights from the current 3 to 5 weekly using a B787 for all services.

Friday, October 6, 2017

PIA suspends New York JFK flights

PIA has officially announced via filing across major GDS systems, that will be sending all of its New York JFK bound flights effective 01NOV17 due to continued high losses amidst lower yields and increasing competition from the Middle East carriers. 

Currently, in S17 season, PIA flew 3 weekly KHI-LHE-MAN-JFK flights using a B777-200ER and demand from JFK to PAK in 2016 was as follows:

*Round trip pax*

LHE 101,000
KHI 62,000
ISB 43,000

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Emirates increases Stockholm services

Emirates has officially announced that due to increasing demand for both passenger and cargo, it shall be boosting its services to ARN-Stockholm effective 08DEC17.

Current daily nonstop flights will be increased to 10 weekly using a B777-300ER with the 3 new services departing DXB at 1500 on Fri/Sat/Sun. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Air Arabia reduces Bangladesh flights

Air Arabia has officially announced that it will be reducing its presence in Bangladesh from the on set of the IATA W17 season as follows:

DAC - frequencies reduced from 25 weekly to triple daily nonstop using an A320

CGP - frequencies reduced from 13 to 10 weekly nonstop flights using an A320

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Oman Air suspends Chittagong flights

Oman Air has officially announced via publishing on major GDS systems that it shall be exiting the Bangladeshi market totally effective 31OCT17.

This is as a result of their lone surviving Bangladeshi route i.e. Chittagong (CGP) being suspended from the above mentioned date. Currently, WY operates 5 weekly B738s nonstop from MCT to CGP. WY had already suspended DAC-MCT flights since May 2017.

The GCC carriers now remaining in CGP are Fly Dubai who fly a daily DXB-CGP service + 10 weekly Air Arabia who operate from SHJ. G9 actually is reducing CGP from 13 weekly to 10 weekly effective 01NOV. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

China Airlines announces Ontario-Taipei nonstop

Taiwan's national carrier i.e. China Airlines based out of Taipei airport officially announced that will be officially launching new nonstop flights to Ontario, California (ONT) which is a suburb of Los Angeles effective April 2018. 

CI will be operating the new nonstop TPE-ONT flights 4 times per week using a B777-300ER after an intensive lobbying campaign by local Ontario officials desperate for a trans-pacific long haul link to cater for the huge Asian community residing in this part of the greater Los Angeles area. 

News link:

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Turkish Airlines orders 40 Boeing 787-9s

Turkish Airlines has officially announced that it has placed a US$ 11 billion order with Boeing for 40 B787-9s after a long process studying the Airbus A350-900, Boeing 747-8 and Airbus A380 aircraft.
These B789s will be initially used to replace TK's aging A330-200 fleet from 2023 onwards as the oldest A332s were delivered between 2005-06. 
Though no configuration layout has been revealed, it is expected that TK's B789s would seat 291 passengers in a 2 class layout i.e. 30J + 261Y. With this cabin configuration, it is also the ideal replacement aircraft (size and range wise) for its A333 fleet between 2025-28. 
The B789 can fly all of TK's current routes nonstop with a full payload of pax + cargo but for it to launch nonstop services to SYD/MEL, it will need to either order the Boeing 777-8X or have a less dense B789 cabin configuration (with more J class seats similar to what QF is going to use on PER-LHR effective March 2018).


This is a very smart decision made by TK as:

1. The B789 would likely seat 291 pax in a dual class layout i.e. 30J + 261Y thus enabling it to be used to replace both its 250 seater A332s and 289 seater A333s between 2023-2030. 

2. The B789 can operate all of TK's current long haul routes nonstop without any payload issues

3. It is cheaper to purchase versus the A359

4. By placing an initial order for 40 units, it has smartly locked in favorable pricing conditions as this aircraft will appreciate in value over time hence once it gets delivered, TK can engage in a sale-leaseback transaction which would have a decent cash profit margin for the carrier. 

5. Hopefully this would mean that their future WB fleet would revolve around 2 types only i.e. B777 and B787 rather than 3 i.e. with the A359 included as there is now no real need to order the A359 for them. Fleet standardization is a must which will enable them to save big time in cost savings over the long run. 

6. I am quite sure TK would have options for the larger B781 incorporated into this order in case they feel the need to upgrade for some high demand medium range flights. The B781 would likely seat 329 pax i.e. 30J + 299Y in a 2 class layout for TK (if ordered) so about 38 more seats than the B789 overall approximately.

For sure this has gained the Turkish Govt major brownie points with the Trump Administration for which they will be suitably rewarded through other means!

American Airlines A350-900 order problem?

American Airlines
CEO has officially stated that the airline is closely examining the need to have an order of 22 Airbus A350-900s incorporated into its fleet which it inherited after merging with US Airways whom had a fleet of 24 A330s which the A359s were destined to directly replace.

With a large fleet of Boeing 777s and B787s already in service, AA feels having a small sub fleet of A350s puts extra pressure on the entire system especially rotating them across its different hubs in USA. 


In my view, there are two options here for AA to choose from:

1. Exchange 22 A359s for 44 A321NEOs 

2. Exchange 22 A359s for 25 A330-900NEOs

Both options mentioned above are good and have their own respective pros and cons. The safe bet would probably be option 1 as it can also opt for many A321neoLRs and base them out of MIA for medium demand LATAM routes where using a 763 isn't viable plus to fly PHL/BOS to U.K./Ireland year round and in the premium config boosting frequencies to LAX/SFO from these two markets along with MIA.

Option 1 allows mega cost savings over the long run as its wide body fleet would exclusively revolve around the B777 and B787 families. 

If Option 2 gets implemented, then AA should just base the aircraft out of MIA airport and use them on high demand flights year round to Europe and Latin America. 

United Airlines orders 45 Airbus A350-900s

United Airlines
has officially announced that it has re-negotiated its wide body order book with Airbus which originally stood at 35 Airbus A350-1000s. These aircraft were originally expected to replace their aging B747-400 fleet as well as compliment its Boeing 777-300ER on high demand long haul routes.

However, it has now decided to opt to exchange all 35 A351s for 45 Airbus A350-900s which in turn will be a direct replacement for a majority of its aging Boeing 777-200 fleet. Currently, UA operates 55 B772ERs + 19 B772As (used on high demand regional/domestic services only).  


Gulf Air increases Istanbul and Moscow

Gulf Air
has officially announced that it will be increasing its services to Moscow and Istanbul from the on set of the IATA W17 season due to increased demand being witnessed on both routes.

IST - frequencies increased from 6 weekly to daily nonstop flights using an A320

DME - frequencies increased from 4 weekly to daily nonstop flights using an A320

Philippine Airlines announces USA 2018 expansion plan

Philippine Airlines CEO has officially announced plans for the carrier's North American expansion in 2018. The main highlights are as follows:

YYZ - 4 weekly nonstop flights shall be launched from Dec 2016 using a B77W

JFK - daily nonstop flights to be operated from June 2018 using an A359

SEA - new 4 weekly nonstop flights to be launched from Nov 2018

ORD - new 4 weekly flights via YVR to be operated from Summer 2018 using a B77W

IAH - new 3 weekly flights via YVR to be operated from Summer 2018 using a B77W

In addition to the above, PAL announced that some of its newly Airbus A321NEOLRs will be used to launch new nonstop flights from MNL to Mumbai, Delhi and Sapporo as they get delivered to the airline in due course.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Malaysia Airlines orders 8 Boeing 787-9s

Malaysia Airlines has officially announced that it has placed a landmark order with Boeing for the purchase of eight Boeing 787-9s to revitalize its aging long haul fleet. MH cited the excellent flexibility of this aircraft type which can fly to Western Europe nonstop from KUL airport without suffering any payload restriction. It even acknowledged its capability of operating nonstop LAX/SFO like UA/SQ do out of SIN if the need arose. 

MH placed this order by converting purchase rights for 16 B738MAXs into 8 B789s.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Lufthansa suspends Doha services

Lufthansa has officially disclosed via filing on major GDS systems that it shall be suspending its daily Doha bound services effective 29OCT17.

Currently, LH operates a daily FRA-DOH-FRA service using an A330-300 via KWI in both directions thus making it effectively a non competitive one stop service versus QR's double daily FRA-DOH on an A359. 

P2P demand in 2016 on DOH-FRA-DOH was 34,000 passengers.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Air Canada announces Vancouver expansion plan

Air Canada has officially unveiled major long haul expansion plans for its route network from the on set of the IATA Summer 2018 season. The main highlights are as follows:

CDG - new 4 weekly flights using a B787

ZRH - new 3 weekly flights using a B787

DEL - frequencies increased from 3 to 5 weekly using a B789

MEL - becomes a year round service operated 3 times per week 

LHR - frequencies increased from daily to double daily using a B787


YVR-CDG/ZRH are well thought out new additions as in the summer season, the yields are high along with demand. In 2016, 85,000 P2P pax flew YVR-CDG v.v. and 44,000 flew YVR-ZRH v.v. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Cathay Pacific announces 3 new European routes

Cathay Pacific has officially announced that it will be embarking on a major European expansion from Summer 2018 onwards as the carrier looks to fly to niche markets where there is good P2P demand as well as feed to its Asian + Aussie network. It aims also to poach away market share from the Middle East and other Asian competitors especially for its HKG home market. 

The main highlights are as follows:

*All below flights to be exclusively operated by the A350-900 only

DUB - new 4 weekly flights from 27MAR

CPH - new 3 weekly flights from 02MAY

BRU - new 4 weekly flights from 02JUN

Qantas to suspend Dubai flights

Qantas has officially announced that it will be adjusting its long haul route network from the on set of the IATA S18 season as the carrier looks to streamline better its partnership with Emirates. The main highlights are as follows:

DXB - all flights to be suspended effective 28MAR

LHR - flights in S18 will be operated as daily B789 MEL-PER-LHR + daily SYD-SIN-LHR using an A380

SYD/SIN - frequencies increased to daily A380 + daily A330

MEL/SIN - frequencies increased from 10 weekly to daily A380 + daily A330

Monday, August 21, 2017

Cathay Pacific orders 32 Airbus A321NEOs

Cathay Pacific has officially announced that it has placed a new order with Airbus for 32 Airbus A321NEOs exclusively which are meant to replace its aging A320 family fleet at its subsidiary carrier Dragonair.

The latter currently operates 8 A321s + 15 A320s built in the late 1990s and is in need of replacement hence the placement of this order. 

The incremental order amount of 9 aircraft has been made to cater for growth into secondary cities in China, Thailand, India, Taiwan, Philippines and Vietnam where CX sees big opportunity to stimulate future demand as well as efficiently ward off threats stemming largely from mainland Chinese carriers.

Deliveries of the A321NEOs commence from 2020.  

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Delta announces Lagos-New York JFK nonstop

Delta Airlines has officially announced that it shall be expanding its presence in Africa by adjusting frequencies to Lagos, Nigeria effective 24MAR18.

DL revealed that it will be launching new 3 weekly nonstop flights from its secondary New York JFK hub to Lagos using an Airbus A330-200 with the below mentioned schedule:

Days - 1/3/5

DL 415 Dep JFK 2300 Arr LOS 1430+1
DL 416 Dep LOS 2330 Arr JFK 0530+1

As a result of the above, DL will be reducing its current daily ATL-LOS service to 4 times per week using an A332 too operated on Days 2/4/6/7. 


DL are using the A332 (decent on board product) on JFK-LOS-JFK as a B763ER cannot operate it nonstop unless it takes a big payload penalty. 

P2P demand between LOS and JFK has grown significantly for the past few years despite the economic crisis in Nigeria which mainly effected IAH corporate travel as JFK is more of a VFR market segment. 

Past 3 years travel demand between LOS-JFK-LOS (P2P only) was as follows:

2014 - 72,000 pax
2015 - 94,000 pax
2016 - 115,000 pax

Houston on the other hand was as follows:

2014 - 77,000
2015 - 65,000
2016 - 71,000

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Jet Airways announces Delhi-Riyadh

India’s Jet Airways has officially revealed that it shall be expanding its services to Saudi Arabia with a new nonstop flight from Delhi to Riyadh. 

The new route will be flown on a daily basis using a B737-800 effective 29OCT17 scheduled as follows:

9W 216 Dep DEL 2300 Arr RUH 0135+
9W 215 Dep RUH 0310 Arr DEL 0945

In 2016, the P2P demand between DEL and RUH was 268,000 passengers.