Turkish Airlines has officially announced that it will be launching an additional 3rd daily nonstop flight to New York's JFK airport effective 28MAY 2012. The new service will be operated with an Airbus A 330-300 where as the remaining two are with a Boeing 777-300ER. The schedule of the 3 daily TK operated flights are as follows:
Dep IST 0725/1100/1715 Arr JFK 1120/1445/2100
Dep JFK 1250/1645/2300 Arr IST 0540/0925/1540
The 3rd daily frequency is the one that departs IST at 0725 and arrives back into IST at 0540 the next day. In addition, TK also confirmed that it shall be increasing capacity on its Istanbul-Seoul service effective 11MAY onwards from daily A343 service to 2 weekly B773ER + 5 weekly A343s.
PIA of Pakistan has officially revealed on the GDS system that they will be suspending all services to ORD-Chicago O Hare Airport effective 24MAR 2012. PK currently operates twice weekly services from Karachi via Lahore and Barcelona to ORD using a B 777-200ER. With Emirates launching new daily B777 services to BCN along with QR in turn further increasing BCN from daily to 10 weekly A330s, the writing is on the wall for PIA in Spain!
Gulf Air has officially announced that it has been awarded additional frequencies to Jeddah and Riyadh effective 01MAR 2012. The main highlights are as follows:
JED - frequencies increased from 10 to 14 weekly i.e. 10 weekly A332s + 4 weekly A320s
RUH - frequencies increased from 14 to 21 weekly i.e. 7 weekly A320s + 14 weekly A332s.
Etihad Airways and Air Berlin have officially announced a massive increase in services to UAE, Thailand and Germany from the on set of the IATA S12 season as the two carriers look to take maximum advantage of both market segments after EY purchased a 29% stake in AB. The main highlights are as follows:
AUH/BKK - frequencies increased by EY from double to triple daily flights using a B777-300ER for all services. EY's B777s seat 412 pax in a 2 class configuration
TXL (Berlin)/AUH/HKT (Phuket) - AB will launch new daily flights to Phuket from Berlin via Abu Dhabi with full 5th freedom rights using an A332. As a result TXL-AUH will be increased from the current 4 weekly to daily flights.
AUH/DUS - new daily nonstop frequencies operated by AB using an A332.
AUH/DUS - EY increases frequencies from 4 to daily flights using an A333. As a result, DUS-AUH is operated double daily by EY/AB !
In addition, EY too confirmed that it will be launching new 6 weekly nonstop flights to LOS-Lagos, Nigeria effective 01JUL 2012. An Airbus A 330-200 shall be used to operate this new service with a split schedule i.e. three flights departing AUH at 0200 and three at 0900.
Qatar Airways today has officially revealed another set of major capacity and frequency increases for the IATA S12 season of which the main highlights are as follows:
KUL – frequencies increased from 13 to 16 times per week nonstop operating with B773ERs.
JKT – frequencies increased from daily to 10 weekly nonstop flights using an A333.
MAD – capacity increased from daily A332 to daily B773ER.
ALG – frequencies increased from daily to 11 weekly nonstop operating with A332s.
LOS – capacity increased from daily A332 to daily A333.
CAI – frequencies increased from 9 to 12 weekly nonstop flights i.e. daily B773ER + 5 weekly A320.
GVA – capacity reduced from daily A332 to 4 weekly A319s + 3 weekly A332s.
DAR – capacity increased to double daily nonstop services using an A320 versus current flights routed 1 daily nonstop + 1 daily via NBO.
Emirates has officially announced that it will be operating a new 3rd daily nonstop flight to MXP-Milan effective 01JUN 2012. The new 3rd daily flight shall be operated with an A330-200 where as the other two are operated with B777-300s. The other 2 flights depart DXB at 0855 and 1550 respectively. It is expected that services to FCO-Rome will be increased from double to triple daily effective Sept 2012.
The flight scheduled for the new 3rd daily frequency is as follows:
EK 101 Dep DXB 0340 Arr MXP 0825
EK 102 Dep MXP 1110 Arr DXB 1920
Safi Airways of Afghanistan has officially announced that it shall be increasing its flights on its most popular route i.e. Kabul-Dubai from the on set of the IATA S12 season i.e. 26MAR 2012. Currently 4Q operates double daily nonstop flights on this sector using Airbus A320s, these shall now be increased to 18 weekly flights using the same aircraft type.
Jet Airways of India has officially announced that it shall be reducing services to the Middle East region from March 2012 onwards as the carrier redeploys capacity on more profitable services. The main highlights are as follows:
DEL/AUH - frequencies reduced from daily to 5 weekly using B737s.
DEL/DOH - frequencies reduced from daily to 5 weekly using B737s.
Biman Bangladesh has officially announced that it shall be increasing its services to HKG-Hong Kong, China from its Dhaka hub base effective 26MAR 2012. Currently, BG operates 2 weekly nonstop flights on the DAC-HKG route using a DC10, however these shall be increased to 3 weekly flights using the same aircraft type.
Korean Air has officially announced that it will be resuming flights to CAI-Cairo effective 24SEP 2012. KE will operating the service this time nonstop from its ICN-Seoul base using an Airbus A 330-200IGW on a twice weekly basis only. This service by an A332 will be one of the longest A332 operated flights worldwide along side its CZ's CAN-LHR, HX's HKG-LGW, KE's ICN-NBO and KE's LAS-ICN.
Cebu Pacific, a low cost airline based in the Philippines has officially announced that it will be launching a new long haul low cost services from Manila to the Middle East, Europe, Asia and North America with a fleet of 8 new all economy class configured Airbus A 330-300s. These all Y class A333s will be seating 387 passengers and can fly nonstop from Manila to UAE westwards and Hawaii eastwards. It claims that it will be offering fares 35% lower than the scheduled carriers on the high volume Middle east routes in particular and shall be operating to Europe with 5th freedom rights via the Middle East.
The state of Venezuela has officially announced that it has signed a deal to purchase 4 Airbus A 340-500 planes from UAE's Etihad Airways to be used by its own state owned airline i.e. Conviasa. These 4 jets were bought for US$60 million along with a side order being placed for 20 Embraer E90 to enhance its regional operations in Central America.
Air Astana of Kazakhstan has officially announced that it has placed an order with Boeing, Airbus and Embraer this week for a variety of jets to fully revitalize its fleet for the upcoming decade. The breakdown of the order is 3 Boeing 767-300ERs + 3 Boeing 787-800s + 2 Embraer E190s + 4 Airbus A 320-200s.
Norwegian Airlines has officially announced that it has placed on record Europe's largest ever order earlier on this week by announcing a deal to purchase 372 aircraft both from Boeing and Airbus. The breakdown of the order is as follows:
22 firm Boeing 737-800s + 100 firm Boeing 737-800MAX along with another 100 options
100 firm Airbus A320NEOs + 50 options
The airline's primary hub is at Oslo airport but also has large operations at Copenhagen and Stockholm airports respectively. It also has 6 Boeing 787-800s on order with Boeing of which the first is expected to be delivered in Q3 2012 and shall be configured in a 2 class configuration seating 291 passengers i.e. 36 premium economy and 255 economy. These aircraft will be used on new long haul services to New York, Bangkok and Beijing.
Just like the rest of the world, I too was quite shocked when I had initially read of this order placed on Wednesday as it made no commercial sense. To be frank, I personally do not think that this order placed by the airline is for itself to be deployed all across its network. One feels that this order has been placed more like an investment where by Norwegian Airlines by buying these jets in massive bulk has obviously managed to obtain a huge discount and hence will use that to its advantage in the future to either sell or lease out the aircraft upon delivery and make a good profit by doing so since the value of the MAX and NEO by the time they get delivered in 2017-18 would have appreciated considerably.
There is no way that an airline with Norway as a primary home market can even support 100 aircraft as part of its fleet, let alone have a huge network unless it has multiple hubs across Europe but that too the intense competition will not allow it to make healthy profits. It is also worth mentioning that no pure low cost carrier maintains two different types of narrow body aircraft as part of its fleet mix. Hence my earlier point stating that I feel this is more of an investment and we could see the airline creating a strong subsidiary leasing company that would handle lease/sale agreements of a majority of these aircraft upon delivery.
Emirates has officially announced that it will be embarking on a major expansion of its Spanish bound services as the carrier confirmed that it shall be launching new nonstop flights to BCN-Barcelona effective 03JUL 2012. EK will be launching the route aggressively with a daily service using a 354 seater Boeing 777-300ER. In addition, it shall also be increasing capacity to MAD-Madrid, Spain by adding a second daily nonstop service to the city with both flights being operated with a B 773ER as well. EK's aggressiveness in Spain is viewed by many to be directly aimed at Qatar Airways as well as to further irritate Lufthansa and its Star Alliance partners in Europe who shall see their market share from Spain to Far East Asia and Indian sub-continent further evaporate.
Thai Airways has officially announced that it shall be increasing frequencies to ARN-Stockholm, Sweden effective 28OCT 2012 i.e. on set of the IATA Winter 2012 season as the carrier looks to capitalize on the ever increasing popularity of Thailand as an affordable destination for Swedish nationals. Frequencies are to be increased from the current daily services using a B747-400 to 9 times per week with the same aircraft type. The additional two frequencies will be tagged on to HKT-Phuket. In addition, TG also announced that as a result of ARN being increased, its services to CPH-Copenhagen will decrease in turn from 10 to 9 weekly flights from BKK using a B747-400 as well.
Asiana Airlines of South Korea has officially announced that it will be significantly increasing its presence in the U.S. market from July 2012 as the carrier looks to further consolidate its presence in this key market segment as it gets more new A330s and B777s delivered. The main highlights are as follows:
ORD - frequencies increased from 4 weekly to daily nonstop flights using a B772ER.
SEA - frequencies increased from 5 to 6 weekly nonstop flights using an A333.
HNL - frequencies increased from 2 weekly to daily nonstop flights using an A333.
In a further sign of its growing concern of the intense competitive state of the Indian market, Air France has officially announced that it shall be reducing services to all 3 of its Indian gateway points for the entire IATA Summer 2012 season in the following manner:
DEL - frequencies reduced from daily to 6 weekly flights using an A343.
BOM - frequencies and capacity reduced from daily to 6 weekly flights using an A332.
BLR - frequencies reduced from daily to 6 weekly flights using an A332.
Biman Bangladesh has officially announced that it will be implementing major capacity adjustments across its medium and long haul network for the IATA Summer 2012 season of which the main highlights are as follows:
KWI – frequencies increased from 3 to 4 weekly flights using an A310.
MCT – frequencies increased from 3 to 4 weekly flights using a DC10.
LHR – frequencies reduced from 5 to 3 weekly nonstop flights using a B773ER.
KHI – frequencies increased from 2 to 3 weekly nonstop flights using a B738.
CCU – frequencies increased from daily to 10 weekly flights.
DXB – frequencies reduced from 10 to 6 weekly flights using a mixture of A310s/DC10s.
DEL – frequencies increased from 2 to 4 weekly nonstop flights using a B738.
Aeroflot has officially announced that it shall be increasing frequencies to Beijing, New York, Los Angeles and Havana from June 2012 onwards in the following manner:
PEK – frequencies increased from double daily to 16 weekly flights using a B763ER 9 weekly and an A333 daily.
LAX – frequencies increased from 4 to 5 times per week nonstop using an A332.JFK – frequencies increased from daily to double daily flights using an A333.
HAV – frequencies increased from 4 to 5 times per week nonstop using an A332.
Qatar Airways has officially announced that it will be reconfiguring few of its Boeing 777-300ERs in a high density 2 class configuration used exclusively all volume metric routes to Asia where there is minimal demand for business class travel. Currently, QR’s B773ERs seat 335 pax i.e. 42J + 293Y however the new configuration will see 24 business class and 356 economy class with the total seat count increasing to 380 passengers. The routes that these B77Ws will operate to are Manila, Bangkok, Hanoi and later on Jeddah + Islamabad. This is an extremely smart move by QR as it will help reduce its operating cost per seat unit down on these high demand sectors where price competitiveness is key to gaining volume.
RAK Airways of Ras Al Khaimeah, UAE has officially announced that it will be launching 2 new destinations shortly as the carrier continues to grow its medium haul network with its small fleet of Boeing 737-800s. The main highlights are as follows:
BKK – new 4 weekly nonstop flights to be launched using a B738 effective 01JUN.
KTM – new 3 weekly nonstop flights to be launched using a B738 effective 15FEB.
Virgin Atlantic has officially announced that it will be returning back to Airbus 4 out of its fleet of 19 Airbus A340-600s effective October 2012 as the carrier takes delivery of more Airbus A330-300s which shall be used to replace the A346s on trans-atlantic missions in particular. These 4 A346s are early models of the variant i.e. manufactured in 2002 and seat 309 passengers in a 3 class configuration i.e. 46J + 38P + 225Y. It will be interesting to see which airline decides to snap them up though I would place a bet being Aerolineas Argentina as they desperately need to replace their ageing fleet of 3 B747-400s asap.