British Airways has officially announced that the first 2 long haul routes that it will be operating using its newly delivered fleet of Airbus A380s shall be Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Both routes will receive one daily A380 operated service each from 15OCT (LAX) and 15NOV (HKG) each respectively. BA's A380s seat a total of 469 passengers in a 3 class configuration with the premium cabin having 14 first class + 97 business class seats. In addition, BA too confirmed that due to on going high demand especially in the front end, it will be increasing its services to PVG-Shanghai, China effective 31MAR from 6 weekly to daily nonstop flights using a mixture of Boeing 777-300ERs (5 weekly) and Boeing 777-200ERs (twice a week).
Philippine Airlines has officially announced that it shall be making its return to the Middle East with a big bang effective October 2013 as the carrier looks to take back its share of the high volume labor traffic demand that currently all the GCC carriers (except Oman Air) reap benefits of on their Manila bound services. PAL confirmed that its first new Middle East route shall be Abu Dhabi operated nonstop on a daily basis from Manila effective 01OCT13 with the below mentioned schedule:
Days: Daily A333
PR 656 Dep MNL 1625 Arr AUH 2145
PR 657 Dep AUH 2315 Arr MNL 1320
Its second Middle East route which was announced by the Philippine's Ambassador to Qatar last week, shall be Manila-Doha nonstop using an A333 as well but operated 6 times per week only nonstop effective Oct 2013.
PAL's President Mr Ramon also confirmed saying that now that Manila airport as passed the ICAO audit and is going to get back its Category 1 status, planned services to ORD and JFK as well as upgrading its product on LAX from B744 to its new B773ERs shall be taking place once all the paper work is cleared.
PAL's entry into AUH will hurt the most CX's performance on this route which is already operating at a reduced frequency of 3 times per week as the carrier is heavily dependent on the feed it generates to MNL on its AUH bound flights. Their market share will suffer the most followed by QR and GF. With regards to market size potential, the AUH-MNL segment in 2012 saw 95,000 passengers being transported where as in comparison, DXB-MNL had 580,000!
PAL needs to get into the KWI market as soon as possible as direct competition on this route is far less versus the other GCC cities. KWI-MNL market size is approximately 130,000 passengers annually and no one currently offers nonstop flights as KU operates 6 times per week to MNL via BKK using an A343 hence the capacity of the airplane is split in half to support both routes.
Emirates has officially revealed that it will be increasing capacity on its popular Dubai-Sydney route by making both its double daily nonstop flights operate with a 517 seater Airbus A380 effective 01JUN13. Currently, EK operates a double daily B773ER service to SYD (one nonstop and one via BKK) + one daily A380. The flight receiving the upgrade is EK 414/415 which departs DXB at 0225 and departs SYD at 0600 respectively.
Air China has officially announced that it has placed a size able order with Boeing of which the break down is as follows:
8 Boeing 777-200LR Freighters
1 Boeing 777-300ER
2 additional Boeing 747-800s (passenger version...total order now stands at 7 for this type)
20 Boeing 737-800s
In exchange for this order, CA sold back to Boeing seven of its B744 converted freighters and also enforced in its purchase deal the option of converting 4 B737-800s for 1 Boeing 777-300ER in the future if the need arises.
Austrian Airlines has officially announced few changes to its long haul route network for the upcoming IATA S13
season of which the main highlights are as follows:
DXB - frequencies reduced from daily to 5 weekly
YYZ - frequencies reduced from daily to 6 weekly
DEL - frequencies reduced from 6 to 5 weekly
PEK - frequencies reduced from daily to 5 weekly
The state of Qatar has officially announced that it has signed with Pakistan a new bilateral giving it access to 24 more weekly flights to the country from the current 17 that it operates. In total, 41 weekly services can be operated by Qatar Airways to PAK from the on set of the IATA Summer 2013 season in the following manner:
KHI - can be increased from daily to double daily
LHE and ISB - can be increased from 4 weekly to daily each respectively
PEW - can be increased from 2 to 4 weekly
SKT and MUX - two new cities can be flown up to a maximum of 9 times per week combined
In addition, QR has announced major frequency cut backs across its entire long haul network which are published till end May but are likely to drag on till mid June at least due to the currently grounding of its Boeing 787 fleet. The main highlights are as follows:
ORD - frequencies reduced from daily to 3 weekly
SIN - frequencies reduced from double daily to daily
HKG - frequencies reduced from double daily to daily
KUL - frequencies reduced from triple daily to double daily
LHR - frequencies reduced from 5 to 4 daily
The additional North Pakistan flights of QR are expected to be the same as per current schedule however for the double daily KHI service if launched, the additional flight should depart DOH at 1700-1730 so that the carrier can diversify its passenger portfolio on its KHI route by also focusing on carrying KSA bound traffic which it doesnt do so currently. By having a 1700-1730 departure out of DOH and an arrival back by 2330, it would connect beautifully in both directions to all of QR's KSA destinations plus also be a popular departure time for high yielding premium passengers originating from KHI bound to Europe (0200-0300 hub wave) who currently like the EK 603 timings (2230 dep KHI)
China Eastern Airlines based out of PVG-Shanghai has officially announced that it will be further increasing capacity on its popular YVR-Vancouver bound services from July 2013 onwards. In Summer 2012, MU operated 11 times per week nonstop using an A332, however from 20JUL13 onwards, these shall be further increased to double daily nonstop using the same aircraft type (A332).
United Airlines has officially announced that due to it moving its entire Boeing 747-400 operations and maintenance base to SFO airport, its services from ORD-Chicago to Hong Kong currently operated nonstop daily using a B744 shall be downgraded from the on set of the IATA S13 season to daily Boeing 777-200ER. This represents a total of 216 seats on the ORD-HKG sector for UA on a daily round trip basis as its B744s seat 374 pax where as its B772ERs seat 266 in a 3 class layout.