Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Air India

According to Newkerala.com, Air India will be launching daily nonstop service between Delhi and New York JFK effective February 2008. This flight will be flown using a Boeing 777-300ER. It will be the airline's second ultra long haul route flown nonstop from India in addition to its heavily loss making BOM-JFK flight operated by the Boeing 777-200LR.

Analysis :

One fails to understand the fixation that not only Air India has but also other North American carriers too have with the NYC-India market. There is no need what so ever for AI to fly DEL-JFK nonstop as it will lose a lot of money on this route which is evident with its new BOM-JFK flights which are losing heaps load of $$$ every time they are flown. Currently, AI fly triple daily to NYC i.e. daily to EWR from BOM + daily to JFK from DEL via LHR + daily nonstop BOM-JFK. Hence, by adding a 4th daily flight, it serves no purpose as there is enough capacity serving this market segment which also includes CO's and DL's daily EWR/JFK-India bound flights.

An idea for Air India :

By joining Star Alliance, the logical step would be to fly nonstop from DEL to a Star Alliance hub airport in USA which is ORD or IAD. Since ORD already sees a daily flight from India flown by AA & AI each respectively, why not use the B 773ER to launch new flights to IAD from DEL and code share with United Airlines. It will give AI a monopoly position on this "niche market" route as no other airline flies it nonstop plus from IAD, its Star Alliance partner; United Airlines would provide value able feeder traffic obtained from Florida, ATL, BOS, PHL, CLT, PHX and Texas which are densely populated with immigrant Indians.

As far as AI's choice of an EU hub goes, it currently has flights from FRA to ORD & LAX and according to people who work in their BOM HQ, future flights to SFO & IAH are planned to be routed via FRA. However, AI should look into making Manchester, UK (MAN) its hub for onward flights to USA as it will get good O&D loads on its MAN-India-MAN bound flights + have a monopoly position on many MAN-USA nonstop routes if launched such as MAN -SFO, MAN- LAX, MAN-IAH etc. Take into account that Manchester and its surrounding areas have a huge Indian/Sikh population and currently lacks nonstop flights to India. If AI want to take the initiative here, the MAN market is ready for them to exploit.

Kuwait Airways

Kuwait Airways has officially confirmed that it will be launching 3 weekly nonstop flights on Tues/Thu/Sat from KWI to Hyderabad (HYD), India using an Airbus A 300-600R (AB6). KU's AB6's seat 235 pax in a 2 class configuration (J + Y). The new HYD flight timings are as follows :

KU 371 Dep KWI 2235 Arr HYD 0605+1
KU 372 Dep HYD 0715 Arr KWI 0940

In addition, KU has announced other major capacity upgrades across its network for Winter 2007-08 :

CDG - capacity increased to 2 weekly A 343s + 2 weekly AB6s

AMD - increased from 3 to 5 weekly A 320s.

BOM - capacity increased to 2 weekly B 772s + 5 weekly A 343s.

TRV & COK - both cities to receive 4 weekly AB6s.

Analysis :

This a good move by KU to launch HYD as that market has good potential to offer. It's pleasing to see that KU are using the AB6 for this new route as the extra revenue generated from the cargo side (8 tons) per flight will come in handy big time. However, if one carefully analyzes their return flight timings from HYD to KWI, it doesn't connect with any of its JFK bound flights which is sad as from NYC, KU can get decent feeder traffic bound for HYD. Its also unfortunate that KU no longer flies to ORD as from there lies probably the biggest HYD bound market from North America.

To enable JFK to be connected conveniently in both directions with HYD, KU must re-time their KWI-HYD-KWI flights in the following manner :

KU 371 Dep KWI 2105 Arr HYD 0435+1
KU 372 Dep HYD 0545 Arr KWI 0810

This will enable a 3-5 hour connection on the outbound sector in KWI and a 90 minute connection inbound from HYD via KWI.
Lastly, its nice to see AMD get upgraded to 5 weekly flights as that route desperately needed it. One reckons that the next 12 months for KU in AMD will be crucial as its flights now compete against EK's 6 weekly B 777s/A 332s + QRs daily A 320s.

Out of the 3, EK offers the superior in-flight product on this route as well the ability to carry on cargo. In order to maintain a hold on its market share in AMD, KU needs to seriously consider upgrading these flights to A 310s (if spare aircraft are available).

Jet Airways

Jet Airways of India has confirmed that it will be launching new flights to San Francisco, USA from Mumbai via Shanghai from February 2008 onwards. The flight will be flown daily using a Boeing 777-300ER and will be allowed to carry lucurative 5th freedom traffic on the PVG-SFO-PVG trans-pacific sector.

In addition to this, 9W is expected to launch daily AMD-BRU-ORD flights from April 2008 as well as daily BLR-BRU-LAX flights in 2008. ORD flights are confirmed to be operated with the A 330-200 where as LAX is still undecided on whether a B 773ER will be used or an A 332.

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific has announced that it will be increasing capacity to JFK this December onwards by putting the Boeing 777-300ER on 3 out of 7 flights operated currently by the A 340-600. This refers to CX 830/831.

Thus the airline's 21 weekly JFK flights will be flown using a B 744 seven times a week (via YVR with full 5th freedom rights) + 10 times a week B 773ERs + 4 times a week an A 346.

As far as Canada is concerned, a local travel magazine i.e. Travel Courier has mentioned that CX will be using the B 773ER on YYZ & YVR flights from mid 2008 onwards.

UAE -Spain open skies

UAE and Spain have signed an open skies agreement over the weekend which includes 5th freedom rights beyond Spain to the Americas for UAE based airlines. The designated airlines of both countries will be able to operate unlimited weekly passenger frequencies and capacity in each direction with any type of aircraft, as well as operate all cargo services.

Analysis :

For many months prior to this agreement being signed, EK was conducting a feasibility study on launching new DXB-BCN nonstop flights as well as future flights to Mexico City which would be routed via Spain as UAE too has an open skies agreement in place with Mexico. This became more serious in the summer when EK was conducting negotiations with few upscale Barcelona hotels for its cabin crew to stay in as well as for the EK Holidays division. With the open skies treaty being signed between UAE & Spain now, all options are available on the table for EK to pursue.

Currently QR only fly to Spain (Madrid) nonstop from the GCC and according to many, their flights are doing pretty ok. In Spain, MAD is the higher yielding market than BCN as its the political and financial capital of Spain hence there exists a bigger J & F class sized market segment here than in BCN. In Barcelona, the cargo potential for EK is huge as the city has a huge manufacturing and services industry which are booming.

In both Spanish cities, the main target market for EK would be transit traffic bound for the Far East (BKK/KUL/SIN), China, Japan, Australia and India. In the summer months, it shall definitely see high volume & high yielding traffic consisting of rich Arab families visiting their mansions on the Spanish peninsula.

Transaero Russia

Transaero Airlines of Russia has officially released details of its Winter 2007-08 timetable for its medium/long haul routes. The main highlights are as follows :

BKK - daily B 742 from DME + 2 weekly B 762ERs from St Petersburg.

HKT - 3 weekly B 742s from DME

ATQ - 3 weekly TU 204s from DME

GOI - 3 weekly B 742s from DME

SIN/DPS - capacity increased from 2 weekly B 762ERs to 2 weekly B 742s from January 08.

MLE - new twice weekly flights to start with B 767s.

The airline's management board has also revealed its wish list for routes to start in Summer 2008. They include DME-HKG-SYD with a B 742 + DME-LAX nonstop + DME-MIA nonstop and DME-JNB-MRU.

Malev Hungarian

Malev Hungarian Airlines is to suspend all of its trans-atlantic flights for the upcoming winter season as part of a large cost cutting initiative currently being undertaken by the airline. Malev's trans-atlantic operations consist of flights to Toronto and New York only. Both cities are flown by Boeing 767s.

As a result, one B 767 will be wet leased out and another will be used to upgrade Bangkok from a B 762ER to a B 763ER.

Source: http://www.malev.hu/BP/ENG/I_NEWS_ENG/2007-1029-1551-07PGDK.asp

Monday, October 29, 2007

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways has confirmed that it has asked Airbus to delay delivery of its Airbus A 380s by two years from 2010 to 2012. The reason provided by QR's CEO is that it needs more time to move into Doha's new international airport as well build up its passenger numbers to allow it to properly fill up its A 380 operated flights.


Lufthansa will launch 6 times a week service from Dusseldorf to Miami effective October 26th 2008 using an Airbus A 340-300.

This move is seen by many as a direct challenge to its main rival i.e. Air Berlin/LTU who has many trans-atlantic flights from its DUS hub.