Monday, December 3, 2007

Kingfisher Airlines

Kingfisher Airlines of India has become an official member of the elite "5 Star Airline" club which was made official by Sky Trax earlier on in the week. Along side, Kingfisher Airlines another airline also got a 5 Star ranking i.e. Asiana of South Korea.

This award for KF, makes it the first ever "domestic carrier" to achieve a ranking of 4 Stars or higher from the respected Sky Trax website.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways has announced that it is not happy with the performance economics of its fleet of 4 Airbus A 340-600s and has thus made the decision to not exercise options to get 6 more of these type of aircraft. Instead, it will lease out its A 346s within 5 years time to interested parties and focus its high density long haul flights around the Boeing 777-300ER of which it has ordered 14 models.

QR also mentioned that its A 332s will indeed be gradually replaced by the B 787-800s from 2012 onwards. Its A 330s and A 346s will be transfered to a leasing company that it is setting up called Oryx Leasing.

Analysis :

Apart from QR, other airlines that have found the B 777-200ER/-200LR/300ER family more superior to the A 343/A 345/A 346 series family are AC, CX, EK, AF, OS and SQ. Keeping this in mind, one cannot rule out Etihad Airways following suit!

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines has signed a MOU with Airbus for the purchase of 24 wide bodied jets which are to be delivered from 2012 onwards. The order comprises of 6 A 330-200s + 6 options + 6 Airbus A 350-800s + 6 options. These Airbus aircraft are intended to fully replace HA's fleet of 18 Boeing 767-300ERs.

The first A 332 will be delivered in 2012 where as the first A 358 in 2017. One of the main reasons why HA ordered the A 358 is because the airline is closely examining the possibility of launching nonstop flights to London from HNL. HA also announced that it will be launching new flights to Manila 4 times a week nonstop from March 2008 using a B 763ER.

Analysis :

What HA needs to do is to take advantage of HNL being an excellent strategic hub located between Far East Asia and USA/Canada because via HNL, HA can offer ONE STOP flights from Asia to YVR + key U.S. markets such as SFO, ORD, LAX, NYC, IAD and Texas which see high density travel demand year round from their respective areas to HKG, MNL, Korea, China and Japan.

However, HA must be careful as to choosing which cities in Asia are feasible for their current fleet of B 763ERs to operate as well as future operations with the A 358s and A 332s. Currently, the popular ex Hawaii-Asia routes are mainly MNL and Japan. The other markets that can benefit from HA service are HKG, PVG, ICN and PEK only. These cities have a small amount of O&D to HNL (largely leisure / honeymoon traffic) but a far greater amount of 6th freedom traffic bound for YVR and mainland USA which HA can transport via their HNL hub. Getting rights to PVG & PEK might be a problem for HA due to the flight allocation policy for China by the U.S. DOT.

Keeping that in mind, HKG & ICN are more easier to get flight approvals for. As far as Europe goes, obviously the A 358s would be used for those flights, but apart from LGW, one doesnt see the need for HA to even bother looking at any other city. Frankly speaking, even LGW would be a loss making route for HA. Is there really that much demand for HNL from UK or mainland Europe?


KLM has announced that it placed another order with Boeing for 2 more Boeing 777-300ERs + 2 options + 3 Boeing 737-700s + 2 options. The airline has six B 773ERs on order with Boeing and is scheduled to take delivery of its first of this model in the first quarter of 2008. KLM currently operates a fleet of 15 B 772ERs in a combination of leases and direct purchases.

It also announced an order with Airbus for 2 more Airbus A 330-200s. KLM also announced that along with Air France, it is expected to place an order for 100 wide bodied long haul aircraft next summer which will fully replace within 7-8 years time its combined fleet of A 343s, B 744 Combis, MD 11s etc.

Analysis :

Unfortunately for Boeing, the B 789 isn't the perfect replacement aircraft for the B 74E and MD 11. If Boeing want this order, they have to speed up developing the B 787-100X as that is a future replacement aircraft for the A 333, A 343, B 772ER, MD 11 and B 744 Combis. If they cant offer the B 781 by Farnborough 2008, then the A 359 will win the KLM order.

Air China

Air China has announced changes to its European network for Summer 2008 as it looks to focus on key markets which offer decent growth prospects. The main highlights are as follows :

- increases from 5 weekly to daily using a B 744 Combi.

- increases from 3 weekly flights to daily using an A 343.

PVG/CDG - suspended from April 2008, currently flown three times a week.

- to be increased from daily to double daily.

Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways is expected to announce a huge order for narrow and wide bodied aircraft next summer (most likely at the Farnborough Air Show). The new order is designed to secure delivery slots for planes between 2010-2020.

With regards to the VLA (very large aircraft) fleet, the A 380 is pitted against the B 747-800 where as in the medium density category, the A 350 family is pitted against a combination of B 777s and B 787s. In the narrow bodied field, the A 320 is likely to bag the order instead of the B 737-800.

Japan-Thailand open skies

Japan and Thailand have concluded signing an open skies deal between the two states paving the way for unlimited number of flights operated by multiple designated airlines to as many airports between the two countries except for Tokyo Narita. The latter can only be flown 21 times a week by any Thai carrier.


has announced that it is changing the equipment being used on its FRA-Tel Aviv route due to high demand for its business class cabin. As a result, from April 2008 , LH will fly double daily Airbus A 340-600s on this sector which is currently being operated by a daily B 744 + daily A 343.

Besides TLV, LH plans to upgrade capacity on its MUC-PEK flight by replacing the A 343 with the larger A 346 from Summer 2008 due to high demand for business class seats on this particular route.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

China Airlines

China Airlines of Taiwan has confirmed that it will be suspending its loss making flights to IAH-Houston from January 29th 2008. Currently, the flight is flown via SEA-Seattle five times a week using an A 343. SEA however, will continue to maintain 5 weekly terminator flights flown by the A 343.