Monday, November 30, 2015

Cathay Pacific reveals Airbus A350 strategy

Cathay Pacific has officially revealed details on how it is configuring its upcoming Airbus A350-900s as well as on what routes it will be operating to and lastly what purpose it brings to the airline in terms of long haul expansion. 

To begin with, the cabin configuration will be in a 3 class layout seating 280 pax in total i.e. 38 business + 28 premium economy + 214 economy. CX has on order a total of 22 A359s + 26 A351s. 

The A359 will be used to boost its presence in mainland Europe through frequency increases to Milan, Manchester, Zurich, Madrid, Dusseldorf and Amsterdam as well as launch potential new markets such as Barcelona, Copenhagen and Geneva (these 3 destinations are of my opinion only which have sufficient demand to warrant a CX flight 4 times per week). 

In addition to cater for growth, the A359 will be used to gradually replace CX's oldest B777-200As and A330-300s whilst the larger A350-1000s are geared to increase the carrier's footprint in Australia + North America along side replacing its entire A343 + B773A fleet (used on ASEAN routes). 

RAM announces Rio De Janerio and Washington DC

Royal Air Maroc (RAM) has officially announced that it will be launching 2 new long haul destinations from the Summer 2016 season onwards as the carrier looks to position its CMN-Casablanca hub as the gateway to North Africa and Southwestern Europe. 

The new routes are Washington DC and Rio De Janerio. The former will be flown 3 times per week nonstop using a B787-800 effective 08SEP. The latter will be operated in conjunction with GRU (Sao Paulo) as a triangular service 3 times per week using a Boeing 767-300ER effective 02MAY.

Air India considering Washington DC

Air India has been cited by the Indian media to be seriously studying the prospect of launching a new nonstop service to IAD-Washington DC from its primary Delhi hub base. The carrier's new SFO-DEL nonstop service has received a very strong response from the traveling public as a result of it is looking at new opportunities in USA where Star Alliance partner United has a strong presence. 


If launched, it will be maximum a three weekly service operated using the same schedule as DEL-JFK-DEL and the aircraft shall be a B777-300ER only as AI's B788s would struggle to operate the route with a full payload nonstop.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Air Canada plans out aggressive long haul expansion next summer

Air Canada has officially announced a major round of aggressive capacity upgrades and additional frequencies to its European and Asian network as the carrier looks to ward off any potential threat from Air Transat, Westjet as well as capitalize on its strong following versus Air France-Alitalia on certain key market segments. 

The main highlights are as follows:

YYZ/AMS - capacity increased from daily B763ER to daily A333

YYZ/MXP - capacity increased from daily B763ER to daily A333

YVR/PVG - capacity increased from daily B788 to daily B77W

YYC/NRT - capacity increased from daily B763ER to daily B788 

YUL/CDG - capacity upgraded to double daily B77Ws (high density)

YYZ/FCO - capacity upgraded from daily A333 to daily B77W

YYZ/MAD - capacity increased from daily B763ER to daily B788

YYZ/ZRH - capacity increased from daily B788 to daily B789

YYZ/TLV - capacity increased from daily B788 to daily B789 

YUL/FCO - capacity upgraded from daily B763ER to daily A333

YVR/DUB - new 3 weekly nonstop flights using a B763ER effective 10JUN

YVR/LHR - frequencies increased to double daily i.e. daily B77W + daily B789 

YYZ/IST - capacity increased from daily B763ER to daily B789

Turkish increases Kuala Lumpur

Turkish Airlines has officially announced that it will be significantly increasing its presence in the Kuala Lumpur marketplace effective 01JUN16 as the carrier looks to take full advantage of Malaysia Airlines heavily weakened position in Europe. 

Frequencies shall be upgraded from 10 weekly to double daily nonstop operated by the Airbus A330-300 exclusively.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Austrian announces Isfahan (Iran)

Austrian Airlines has officially announced that it will be launching a new service to one of Iran's largest cities i.e. Isfahan 

OS will operate 4 times per week nonstop from its Vienna hub using an Airbus A319 with the below mentioned schedule:

OS 875 Dep VIE 2045 Arr IFN 0355+1
OS 876 Dep IFN 0550 Arr VIE 0815

This flight will be largely catering towards a niche market in Europe i.e. Iranian emigrants who reside in Western Europe since the 1979 revolution and want a direct flight into IFN rather than transiting via Tehran (IKA) airport !


Oman Air expands India operations

The state of Oman and India have agreed on an expanded bilateral that allows Oman Air to significantly increase its operations effective December 2015 in the below mentioned manner:

BLR - frequencies increased from daily to double daily

COK - frequencies increased from daily to double daily

LKO - frequencies increased from daily to 11 weekly

JAI - frequencies increased from daily to 10 weekly
GOI - frequencies increased from 6 weekly to daily effective 01DEC

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Australia-UAE bilateral further liberalized

The Australian Government has officially announced that it has signed an enhanced bilateral accord with UAE further facilitating growth for airlines based out of each others territories.

The UAE based airlines i.e. Etihad + Emirates can operate an additional 14 flights per week to SYD/BNE/PER/MEL and in return Qantas + Virgin Australia can do the same for DXB/AUH. 


Eva Air announces expansion strategy

Eva Air's CEO officially unveiled the carrier's 5 year expansion strategy that focused on long haul growth and fleet rationalization. The main highlights of the plan are as follows:
  • 24 B787-100s + 2 B777-300ERs ordered
  • Frequencies to North America to be boosted i.e. SFO increased from double to triple daily, JFK increased from daily to double daily
  • New long haul services to Chicago and Washington DC to be launched in 2016 with B777-300ERs
  • Two new European destinations likely to be launched in 2016 i.e. Milan and Bareclona

MXP-TPE demand in 2014 was 27,000 pax versus FCO-TPE being 36,000 (CI operates this route via DEL three times per week using an A333). Maximum required is a 3 weekly nonstop service on a B789 sized aircraft. BCN-TPE on the other hand was 15,000 pax and the same held true for MAD-TPE last year. I dont see the viability of Spain being added to BR's network. MXP has a bit of merit as it can also provide useful onward feed to SE Asia.

Instead of BCN, I would strongly suggest BR consider ZRH-TPE which had 28,000 pax point to point in 2014 with much higher yields good cargo potential major Star hub hence can provide incremental S/F with support from LX !

For USA-TPE 2014, demand was as follows:

NYC - 150K
LAX - 379K
SFO - 268K
IAH - 22K
SEA - 51K
ORD - 25K
IAD - 21K
YYZ - 35K
YVR - 91K

Lufthansa suspends Munich-Dubai flights

Lufthansa has officially announced that due to heavy losses, it will be suspending its daily service between Munich and Dubai effective 09APR16. Currently, the route is operated by an A340-600 with a night time departure out of MUC airport. 

This announcement comes on the heels of Emirates confirming that it will be significantly increasing its own MUC services from 01FEB by adding a new 3rd daily service as well as upgrading its current double daily service to A380s. In 2014, 315,000 passengers flew MUC-DXB-MUC (point to point only) !

Friday, November 6, 2015

Qatar Airways increases Algeria

Qatar Airways has revealed that due to its continued success in serving ALG-Algiers, Algeria it will be boosting its presence on this route effective 02FEB16. 

Current daily nonstop flights are operated using the high density configured A340-600. These shall be increased to 10 weekly nonstop with the new 3 weekly flights flown with the A330-200. China provides vital feed to QR's ALG flights due to its increased investments in the oil rich North African country.

Turkish Airlines increases Jo'Burg and Washington DC

Turkish Airlines has officially announced that it will be increasing its presence on Washington DC and Johannesburg routes from July 2016 onwards as the carrier looks to boost its market share on these two popular routes.

Both IAD and JNB will be increased from the current daily A333 operated services to ten weekly each using the same aircraft type exclusively. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Malaysia Airlines new A330-300 cabin configuration

Malaysia Airlines has officially unveiled its new business class cabin product to be exclusively rolled out on its Airbus A330-300 fleet exclusively effective April 2016 onwards.The new seats will be a full flat bed one versus the sloping angled seat currently in use for the past decade. It will be flown on routes to Australia and North Asia (Seoul, China and Japan) only. 

The new cabin configuration of the A333s will see 290 pax on board i.e. 27 business class + 263 economy


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Etihad upgrades Mumbai capacity

Etihad Airways has officially announced that Mumbai will be its next Airbus A380 destination effective 01MAY16. Its current triple daily flights are operated using a B777 (double daily) + A320 (daily).

From 01MAY16, the afternoon departure from AUH and evening out of BOM i.e. 

EY 204 Dep AUH 1410 Arr BOM 1920
EY 203 Dep BOM 2135 Arr AUH 2325

It will be a daily same plane service (A380) to JFK via AUH in both directions.

Medview Nigeria announces London Gatwick

Medview Airlines of Nigeria has officially announced that it will be launching new nonstop services into LGW-London Gatwick airport effective 20NOV15. Flights shall be operated 4 times per week using a Boeing 767-300ER with plans to make it daily within a few months time. 

The schedule is as follows:

Days - 1/3/5/7

VL 209 Dep LOS 1115 Arr LGW 1710
VL 210 Dep LGW 2210 Arr LOS 0410+1

VL will be competing against daily flights operated by VS (A346) + BA (B744) + W3 (A332). The demand between LHR and LOS (round trip 2014) was 490,000 passengers just point to point!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Air Canada expands Seoul and London services

Air Canada has officially announced that it is expanding its long haul foot print in Asia and UK from June 2016 as the carrier looks to fully capitalize on the major benefits the Boeing 787 fleet is bringing to the bottom line. 

To begin with, AC will be launching new daily nonstop services from YYZ-Toronto to ICN-Seoul effective 17JUN16 using a B788. The schedule is as follows:

AC 061 Dep YYZ 1335 Arr ICN 1620+1
AC 062 Dep ICN 1500 Arr YYZ 1450 

FYI in 2014, the demand (round trip) between YVR-ICN was 135,000 pax versus 105,000 for YYZ, 19,000 for YYC and 10,000 for YUL. 

With regards to the UK, AC revealed the following adjustments for S16 season:

YYC/LHR - frequencies reduced from 11 weekly to daily nonstop using an A333

YEG/LHR - all 3 weekly flights suspended 

YVR/LHR - frequencies increased from daily to double daily i.e. daily B773ER + daily B788


Adding a second daily YVR-LHR is a smart move in retaliation to the BA daily A380 product that is coming to YVR in S16 as passengers especially the higher yielding corporates prefer schedule flexibility majority of the time. 

For Seoul, AC continues to operate a daily service out of YVR-Vancouver too using a B788 with also a 1620 arrival into ICN and departure back at 1800. The above mentioned schedule to/from YYZ means that the aircraft sits in ICN for almost 24 hours which seems to be strange of a high value asset. One suggestion here is for AC to look at extending its YYZ-ICN flight into SIN as it should have 5th freedom traffic rights on this sector (considering SQ operated SIN-ICN-YVR in the past). 

There are other potential contenders too such as SGN but the main difference is that even though SGN and SIN have the same market size demand to/from YYZ+YVR combined in 2014 (i.e. 50,000 passengers), the pax yield of Canada-SIN is 40% higher!

The schedule for ICN-SIN-ICN would look like this:

AC 061 Dep ICN 1800 Arr SIN 2120 
AC 062 Dep SIN 0600 Arr ICN 1330

With this schedule to/from ICN, it allows a scissors hub to be created as both YVR and YYZ will be connected via ICN on a daily basis by AC in both directions.


EL AL confirms Boeing 787 order

EL AL of Israel has officially revealed the break down of its mega order for the Boeing 787 family which was originally disclosed in mid August to the public. The confirmation press release highlights the following:

  • 8 B787-8s + 9 B787-9s to be initially inducted
  • 7 B787-10s 
  • All 3 B787 family versions ordered as previously the largest B781 member was not part of the plan. 
  • The total order is for 26 aircraft

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Los Angeles increased by Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines has officially announced that it will be increasing its services into LAX-Los Angeles, USA effective 11JUL16 as the flights have proven to be very popular with its passengers. 

Currently, TK operates a daily nonstop service using a B777-300ER. However effective 11JUL16, these will be increased to 11 times per week using the same aircraft type. 

The schedule is as follows:

Days: 1/2/3/5/6/7

TK 009 Dep IST1420 Arr LAX 1815
TK 010 Dep LAX 2125 Arr IST 2030+1 

Days: 2/3/4/5/7

TK 013 Dep IST 0940 Arr LAX 1335
TK 014 Dep LAX 1655 Arr IST 1600+1

Monday, October 26, 2015

Birmingham announced by Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways has officially announced that it will be launching new nonstop services to Birmingham, UK effective 30MAR16 as the carrier looks to elevate its presence in all the major UK market segments. BHX was the vital missing link for it which is being largely welcomed by passengers heading to Amritsar, Dhaka, Colombo and North Pakistan in particular. 

QR will operate the flight using a split schedule 8 times per week with all services flown using the 254 seater Boeing 787-800. The flight schedule is as follows:

Days: 1/3/5/6

QR 035 Dep DOH 0125 Arr BHX 0645
QR 036 Dep BHX 0915 Arr DOH 1805

Days: 2/4/6/7 

QR 033 Dep DOH 0730 Arr BHX 1250
QR 034 Dep BHX 1500 Arr DOH 2350

The above mentioned schedule connects very well via DOH in both directions to MEL/SYD/Indian Subcontinent/GCC/KSA/SE Asia and East Africa.

Etihad upgrades Melbourne to A380

Etihad Airways has officially announced that it will be upgrading one of its two daily Abu Dhabi-Melbourne nonstop flights to an Airbus A380 effective 01JUN16. Currently, both flights are flown using a 3 class B777-300ER exclusively. 

The extra capacity comes on the heels of EY's renewed aggressive focus on the Kangaroo route as it seeks to poach away higher number of premium class passengers bound from EU/UK to MEL with their flagship A380 product.