Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Kingfisher Airlines

Kingfisher Airlines through its affiliate Deccan Aviation aka Air Deccan, has applied to the U.S. DOT for permission to operate service to USA from April 2008, and also requested to place Kingfisher's "IT" code on its flight. Kingfisher will dry-lease their A 340-500 and other long-haul aircraft to Deccan. In 2008, Kingfisher will add 10 long-haul planes, i.e. two A 345s + 8 A 332s, intended for non-stop flights to the US, Far East, JNB & Europe.

The first international flight is planned to start between BLR & SFO by April, followed by BLR-JFK nonstop in June-July. This is likely to be followed by flights between Mumbai, New Delhi and London Heathrow using the A 332s.

In other news, Kingfisher has formally informed the Indian Government of its wish list of international routes that it wants to launch from 2008 onwards. The main highlights are as follows :

DEL-YYZ : nonstop daily using an A 345
DEL-YVR : nonstop daily using an A 345
DEL-GVA : nonstop using an A 332 (market for a daily flight doesn't exist)
DEL-KWI : nonstop daily using an A 321 / A 332
DEL-DXB : nonstop daily using an A 332
DEL-PEK : nonstop daily using an A 332
DEL-KTM : nonstop daily using an A 320 / A 321
DEL-CAN : nonstop using an A 332 (massive cargo potential here)
DEL-BKK : nonstop daily using an A 321 / A 332
DEL-KUL : nonstop daily using an A 321 / A 332

BLR-JFK : nonstop daily using an A 345
BLR-SFO : nonstop daily using an A 345
BLR-LHR : daily nonstop using an A 332
BLR-DXB : daily nonstop using an A 321
BLR-CMB : daily nonstop using an A 320
BLR-BKK : daily nonstop using an A 321 / A 332
BLR-KUL : daily nonstop using an A 321 / A 332

BOM-JFK : nonstop daily using an A 345
BOM-LHR : daily nonstop using an A 332
BOM-DUS : nonstop using an A 332 (does a market for this route exist?)
BOM-HKG : daily nonstop using an A 332
BOM-PVG : daily nonstop using an A 332
BOM-ZRH : daily nonstop using an A 332
BOM-JNB : daily nonstop using an A 332
BOM-DXB : daily nonstop using an A 321 / A 332
BOM-BKK : daily nonstop using an A 321 / A 332
BOM-KUL : daily nonstop using an A 321 / A 332
BOM-SYD : daily nonstop using an A 332
BOM-BAH/DOH/MCT : each city to beserved daily nonstop using an A 320 / A 321

MAA-DXB : nonstop daily using an A 321 / A 332
MAA-CMB : nonstop daily using an A 320 / A 321
MAA-BAH : nonstop daily using an A 321
MAA-KUL : nonstop daily using an A 321 / A 332
MAA-BKK : nonstop daily using an A 321 / A 332

ATQ-DXB : nonstop daily using an A 321ATQ-SHJ : nonstop daily using an A 320

HYD-KUL/DXB/SHJ : each city to be served daily nonstop using an A 320 / A 321
TRV-SHJ/MCT/BAH : each city to be served daily nonstop using an A 320 / A 321
COK-BAH/DXB/MCT : each city to be served daily nonstop using an A 320 / A 321

Analysis :

From the looks of it, Kingfisher's wish list especially for Europe makes it out to seem that it is positioning itself to be a "cosmopolitan airline" flying to exotic destinations nonstop from India not explored before by its competitors such as GVA & DUS. It is very pleasing to see that BLR-LHR nonstop with the A 332 is being seriously considered as someone needs to make BA sweat it out on this profitable route which KF has the potential to do so due to its excellent on board product and brand name recognition in BLR and in the NRI community residing in the UK.

There are rumors floating around that the Spanish Government is very eager in wanting to make MAD or BCN a "scissors hub" for KF just like BRU is for 9W as Spain lacks nonstop connectivity to many key U.S . cities. However, KF's business strategy for North America is to fly nonstop from India's premium markets and not copy AI & 9W's one stop model which is fine. Most of its wish list routes are viable ones except for DEL-GVA & BOM-DUS as a size able O&D market segment doesn't exist for these routes to even warrant a 4 times weekly nonstop flight using an A 332!

Sources for new routes :


Air India

Air India has tentatively chosen Munich (MUC), Germany as its EU "scissors hub" airport along the same line as to how Brussels (BRU) functions for Jet Airways (9W). MUC airport has also confirmed that it has for the time being given AI two pairs of early morning slots for its DEL-JFK and BOM-ORD bound flights. AI in return has informed MUC that BOM-MUC-ORD would be flown daily by a B 744 where as DEL-MUC-JFK would be flown using a B 773ER. The two EU airports that were in contention for AI's business were VIE & MUC.

Slot timings given to AI for ORD & JFK flights via MUC are as follows :

Arr from BOM - 0630 a.m. Dep MUC 0820 a.m. - ORD operated by B 744 Arr from ORD - 0640 a.m. Dep MUC 0830 a.m. - BOM operated by B 744

Arr from DEL - 0645 a.m. Dep MUC 0820 a.m. - JFK operated by B 773 Arr from JFK - 0715 a.m. Dep MUC 0835 a.m. - DEL operated by B 773

Analysis :

It is interesting to note that MUC is now a serious contender to become AI's primary hub in Europe for North America bound flights, a concept that has some pros but more cons attached to it. On the positive side, MUC is a huge Star Alliance hub airport in EU which is useful for AI as it will be joining this airline group shortly. From MUC, AI can get feeder traffic from LH & OS's EU network bound for USA which shall prove to be useful especially in the low season. However, when an airline creates an intermediate hub, it is made with the forecast that there is a fair amount of O&D + 5th freedom traffic available on the entire route that is created to be flown via that hub + the 5th freedom route that the airline hopes to fly on sees little or no competition on it (such as ET's DEL-PEK route, DL's DKR-NBO/JNB route, 9W's future BRU-LAX, PVG-SFO routes etc). This is why QF's & NW's hubs in SIN & NRT respectively work because from their home market, there is decent O&D to SIN/NRT + onward traffic originating from their respective home markets & the intermediate hub bound for the final destination.

After examining the points above, none of this holds true for MUC as the O&D demand between India and MUC is minimal to say the least and on the trans-atlantic 5th freedom routes that AI hopes to fly out of MUC i.e. to JFK, ORD & LAX/SFO/IAD/IAH in the future, UAL & LH already offer daily nonstop flights on all of these routes except IAH. Therefore, one fails to see what AI hopes to extract by making MUC its biggest hub airport outside of India!

It is more feasible for Air India & Star Alliance to push for a new niche market segment to tap such as my last week's suggestion of making Manchester, UK (MAN) its intermediate hub for USA/Canada bound flights from India. From BOM, DEL & AMD, there is high O&D demand bound for Manchester + a smaller amount from HYD/MAA/BLR/CCU. From MAN, no airline flies to India nonstop + no airline flies nonstop to IAD, LAX, SFO & IAH from MAN thus providing Air India with an unique advantage of having a monopoly position on both India-MAN + MAN-North America flights.

Flights via MAN could be routed in the following manner :

BOM-MAN-ORD : daily B 744

DEL-MAN-JFK : daily B 773ER

AMD-MAN-IAH : daily B 773ER

HYD-MAN-LAX : daily B 772ER

BLR-MAN-SFO : daily B 773ER

MAA-MAN-IAD : daily B 773ER

Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways has announced that it will be launching new 4 weekly flights to Beijing, China from February 25th 2008 nonstop from its AUH hub using an Airbus A 330-200. The flight timings are as follows :

Days : MON / WED /FRI / SUN

Dep AUH 2225 Arr PEK 1005+1
Dep PEK 1750 Arr AUH 2320

Cathay Pacific

According to HKG Airport Authorities, Cathay Pacific has officially informed them that it is upgrading capacity on its Toronto bound flights from December 1st 2007. This upgrade will be carried out in stages which are as follows :

a) From Dec 1st onwards, CX will fly 3 times a week (Wed, Fri, Sun) nonstop HKG-YYZ-HKG flights using an Airbus A 340-600 with new flight numbers i.e. CX 826/827 where as 4 weekly A 343 operated HKG-ANC-YYZ flights remain on other days of the week.

b) From January 1st 2008, all YYZ bound flights will be numbered CX 826/27 and be flown nonstop daily with an A 346.

c) From Feb 1st 2008, a further capacity increase will take place with 3 weekly flights being flown by the Boeing 777-300ER nonstop + 4 weekly A 346s. B 773ERs will operate CX 826/27 on Tue/Thu/Sat.

d) From March 30th 2008, all HKG-YYZ flights will become permament daily nonstops flown by the Boeing 777-300ER.

Lufthansa-Air Canada

Lufthansa & Air Canada have officially announced a major Canadian expansion which will start in Summer 2008. The main highlights are as follows :

YYC - new nonstop daily flights by LH flights start on April 14th using a three class A 333 from FRA.

Flight timings are as follows :
LH 494 FRA 1110 - 1250 YYC
LH 495 YYC 1445 - 0755+1 FRA

YOW - new nonstop daily flights by AC to FRA start from June using a B 763ER.

Flight timings are as follows :
AC 838 YOW 1935 - 0855+1 FRA
AC 839 FRA 1415 - 1645 YOW

YUL - upgrade in capacity for the seasonal LH operated flights from MUC. Previously, an A 343 was being used for this route, but from next summer it will be an A 346.

In addition, other new long haul routes for Summer 2008 were also announced by LH.

SEA - new daily nonstop flights to Seattle, USA from March 30th 2008 using a 3 class A 333. Flight timings are as follows :

LH 490 FRA 1005 - 1120 SEA
LH 491 SEA 1430 - 0925+1 FRA

SIN - new 5 weekly nonstop flights from Munich using an A 343 from 8th June 2008.

Analysis :

This is a brilliant move by LH to launch YYC & SEA as both markets offer immense high yielding traffic potential in the premium cabin as YYC has the oil/energy market to exploit where as SEA has the IT/Software industry to tap into. LH have purposely timed their YYC flights to connect with their key oil markets in Africa and the Middle East as these type of pax are the highest yielding ones flying full fare F & J class & most of all they can obtain AEROPLAN points. From YYC, their main threat is BA who offers a superior F & J class product on board its B 777-200ERs but lacks the variety of connections that LH can offer via FRA across its network.

As far as AC's YOW-FRA route goes, off line carriers such as GF/QR/KU/EK/UL/MEA stand to benefit with AC's new YOW-FRA flight as it provides them a new nonstop EU gateway from the YOW market to extract passengers from. It has been mentioned before that AC's YOW-LHR flight is its most profitable trans-atlantic service.

Kuwait Airways

Kuwait Airways has announced further expansion for its India bound flights during the current winter season. The main highlights are as follows :

HYD - to be increased to 4 weekly flights with a Sunday flight being added from Jan 6th using an A 310-300.

COK - will get a 5th weekly flight effective Jan 4th...3 weekly AB6s + 2 weekly A 310-300s.


According to Air Cosmos magazine, there has been a further twist to Emirates's upcoming mega order announcement at this weekend's Dubai Airshow. The article states that EK will sign a LOI (Letter of Intent) for 50 Airbus A 350s (mixture of -900s and -1000 models) plus lease 30 Airbus A 330-300s which shall be used as a "capacity bridging aircraft" until the A 350s are delivered. The A 333s are expected to replace in due course EK's oldest B 772As & A 343s.

In other EK related news, its Toronto bound flights had one of its most successful inaugural launches ever as the first 3 flights recorded a 93% overall load factor. On the first flight, 305 passengers flew inbound and 330 outbound.


KLM has announced that it will launch a new daily nonstop service between AMS and Detroit (DTW) using an Airbus A 330-200 effective Summer 2008.
Thus, the AMS-DTW route will see 5 daily NWA flights along with this KLM one.

Korean Air

Korean Air has indicated that it will be upgrading capacity on its ICN-Moscow (SVO) bound flight by replacing the Airbus A 330-300 with the Boeing 777-200ER due to increased seasonal demand. The flight is flown 3 times a week nonstop.

Lan Chile

Lan Chile has officially confirmed its large order with Boeing for 32 Boeing 787s out of which 6 B 789s are to be leased from ILFC where as the remainder will be bought directly from Boeing itself.

In addition, the Chilean airline has also confirmed its order for 4 Boeing 777-200LR freighters.