Sunday, December 23, 2007

India-Hong Kong bilateral

India and Hong Kong signed today a new air bilateral treaty opening up flights between the two territories which the latter had been lobbying for nearly a decade. The main highlights of the new treaty are as follows:

i. 27 new weekly flights between the two territories.

ii. HKG based carriers can operate 10 additional flights to DEL, 6 additional to BOM and 11 new flights combined to BLR/CCU/MAA.

iii. Designated airlines of India can fly 14 times a week maximum combined between HKG and the U.S. West Coast with full 5th freedom traffic rights.

iv. HKG based carriers can fly to Europe (except UK) via India with full 5th freedom rights up to 14 times a week only.

Analysis :

If there was ever an award to given for the most patient airline, then Cathay Pacific would be a strong contender for that award. Since 2000, CX has been lobbying extensively to the Indian Govt to let them increase their presence in India with more online flights but it all fell to deaf ears. Midway, a break through was achieved and 4 weekly flights to DEL were allowed but CX wanted access to BLR, MAA and daily flights to BOM. Fearing that their market share would further erode, AI was not too keen to allow CX more penetration into the country. Now that CX is allowed to fly to India in a more liberal, wide spread manner, expect the following to take place by 2009 :

BOM - increased to 10 weekly i.e. 4 weekly HKG-BKK-BOM-DXB + 6 weekly nonstop flights to HKG. To compete aggressively against ANA and AI for high yielding business class traffic, CX should seriously contemplate launching a 6 weekly SAME PLANE SERVICE using a 2 class A 333 on the NRT-HKG-BOM-HKG-NRT route which has the new business class seat features on board.

This can be made possible in the following manner :

CX 521 Dep NRT 1700 Arr HKG 2050 A333
CX 000 Dep HKG 2230 Arr BOM 0200+1 A333

CX 000 Dep BOM 0530 Arr HKG 1430 A333
CX 508 Dep HKG 1610 Arr NRT 2125 A333

***These above mentioned flight timings allow excellent 2 hour connections in both directions with CX's YVR, LAX & SFO bound flights from HKG thus providing useful feeder traffic.

DEL - increased from 4 to daily initially and then possibly to 10 14 allowed.

BLR - daily flights will be launched with an A 333 / B 772 initially as CX is fully aware what form of high yielding feeder traffic BLR can supply via HKG to Japan, China, SFO & LAX.

MAA - 4 weekly nonstop flights max.

As far as the Indian side is concerned, one fully expects 9W and KF to use 7 frequencies each respectively to launch daily flights from BOM nonstop to HKG in the future using an A 332. However, one does not for see any Indian carrier utilizing the 5th freedom options available to them via HKG to SFO/LAX in the short term UNLESS 9W re-routes its proposed daily B 773ER flight from BOM-PVG-SFO to BOM-HKG-SFO!

9W & KF should also look at the possibility of flying nonstop daily from BLR to HKG using an A 332 because if either one can sign a SPA with CX out of HKG for onward flights to China, Japan, MNL, SGN and ICN, the route does have money making potential for it to exploit. As it is 9W has a small scale hub in BLR with flights to MAA, HYD, CCU, COK & TRV which can provide value able feeder traffic to HKG and beyond. If 9W does indeed opt to fly BOM-HKG-SFO and BLR-HKG nonstop, then it can send pax from SFO via HKG to both BLR & BOM!


Emirates has confirmed that its first long haul route with the Airbus A 380 will be to JFK Airport in New York City. EK will use the A 380 on this sector from October 1st 2008 and will replace the B 773ER currently being used for EK 201/202. This new development possibly ends all speculation as to why EK suspended its 3rd daily JFK flight via HAM as EK's 3 class A 380 which will be used to JFK seats 489 pax in a 3 class configuration i.e. nearly double the capacity of its A 345. The 2 A 345s used for DXB-HAM-JFK will be re-directed for Perth which will see double daily A 345s flying to the city from March 30th 2008.

In other EK related news, the airline has been granted additional traffic rights to Italy from Summer 2008. As a result, capacity and frequencies will be increased to both FCO-Rome and MXP-Milan by the airline. From July 2008, EK will fly a daily nonstop 3 class A 332 to MXP and FCO will see a daily 3 class B 773A. From Rome however, 3 of those daily B 773s continue onwards to NCE-Nice.

As far as its Australian expansion plans are concerned for 2008, the main highlights are as follows :

BNE - double daily flights to start from Oct 26th 2008 i.e. new daily nonstop service using an A 345.

EK 434 DXB 0305 - 2320 BNE
EK 435 BNE 0225 - 1125 DXB

PER - from Oct 26th, capacity will be increased from double daily A 345s to daily A 345 + daily B 773ER.

EK 420 DXB 0235 - 1820 PER

EK 421 PER 2330 - 0545+1 DXB

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines has announced that effective March 25th 2008, it will be launching new flights to Houston, Texas via Moscow-DME four times a week using a Boeing 777-300ER. SQ will also have 5th freedom rights on the DME-IAH-DME sector which will see it have a monopoly hold on this "oil/energy route" which no carrier flies nonstop. Flights will be flown on Tues, Thur, Sat & Sun.

In addition, SQ has filed an application with
Zurich-ZRH airport authorities to increase their flights to the city from daily B 773ERs nonstop to double daily B 773ERs nonstop effective Summer 2008. In its filing, SQ wants to arrive into ZRH at 1935 and depart back at 2100 using flight numbers SQ 343-344.

Analysis :

Quite an interesting move on behalf of SQ to fly to IAH via DME. Obviously, they must conducted a thorough review of this route and realized that there is quite a bit of demand in J & F class for this sector hence why not jump on to the band wagon before Continental does. With Russia's oil and energy industries currently experiencing a huge boom, linking two major "oil & energy capital" cities should witness a fair amount of high yielding J class passengers.

From IAH, SQ should also be able to attract high yielding business bound for SIN/KUL/JKT/BKK as the SQ brand name carries a lot of weight in Texas. SQ's cargo business too will see big business with this new flight.

Saudia Airlines

Saudia Airlines will be shortly releasing details of a major update concerning restructuring of its entire route network due to the retirement of its large fleet of B 741s, B 743s and MD 90s. The following cut backs are expected from early next year:

RUH/DMM/MNL - suspended

RUH/HKG/MNL - capacity reduced from 2 weekly B 743s to 2 weekly B 772ERs

JED/RUH/KUL/CGK - capacity reduced from 2 weekly B 743s to 1 weekly B 772A

JED/RUH/SIN/CGK - reduced from 2 weekly B 743s to 1 weekly B 772A.

JED/CMB - reduced from 2 weekly B 741s to a weekly B 772A.

- reduced to 1 weekly B 772A

- reduced to 1 weekly B 747

- reduced to 4 weekly B 772As

- reduced to 2 weekly B 772As.

- suspended

- reduced to a daily B 772.

- one weekly B 772A

- reduced to 2 weekly B 772As.

Biman Bangladesh

According to the Dhaka Daily Star, Biman Bangladesh has opted to go for an all Boeing wide bodied fleet to replace its aging DC 10-30s and Airbus A 310-300s. The major highlights of the upcoming order with Boeing is as follows :

* 4 Boeing 772ERs to be delivered from 2013, with options for two more.

* 4 Boeing 788s aircraft to be delivered from 2017, with options for two more.

* 4 used Boeing 772As on lease from 2009-2013 for Biman's interim capacity requirement.

* 4 B 788s to be on lease from 2011-2017 for Biman's interim capacity requirement.

* Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by January 15, 2008.

* Signing of the firm contract by February 15, 2008. * 1% of the order value to be paid upon order placement

Source: A very good article written by Imran Asif...for more click below

Jet Airways

Jet Airways of India has announced flight details of its new services to Dhaka, Bahrain, Kuwait and Doha from various points in India. Flights to all of these cities will be flown using a B 737-800. The major highlights are as follows :

DAC - daily flights from CCU and 4 weekly from DEL.

BAH - daily flights from BOM & COK each respectively.

KWI - daily flights from DEL & COK each respectively .

In addition, plans have been made to fly to DOH daily from BOM & CCJ each respectively.


Swiss has announced that it will be increasing capacity on its double daily flights to TLV-Tel Aviv, Israel from February 2008 onwards. From that month, LX will fly double daily A 343s from ZRH to TLV where as currently it operates a daily A 343 + daily A 320.


EVA Air has announced that it has secured 5th freedom rights to fly between KIX-Osaka and LAX-Los Angeles and will start flying this route from July 30th 2008 using a Boeing 777-300ER. Routing shall be TPE-KIX-LAX-KIX-TPE and will be flown 6 times a week only.

United Airlines

United Airlines has announced that it will be upgrading its Brussels flights from its IAD-Washington DC Dulles hub airport effective Feb 13th 2008. From this date onwards, UAL will send a daily B 772ER instead of the B 763ER to BRU to take advantage of its monopoly position on this route which sees a lot of premium travel year round.

Analysis :

Smart move by UAL to take advantage of its monopoly position on this key trans-atlantic route before 9W starts flights from the airport to IAD.

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines has officially announced that the first route for its new Boeing 777-200LR fleet will be to Mumbai, India. The launch date is 30th March 2008 and the aircraft will seat 276 passengers in a 2 class configuration i.e. 43 in business and 233 in economy.

DL 016 JFK 2055 - 2210+1 BOM

DL 017 BOM 0020 - 0640 JFK

Kingfisher Airlines

Kingfisher Airlines and Air Deccan have entered full scale talks of merging the two carriers as one airline of which Mr Mallaya will be the Chairman and the current Deccan Chairman will be made Vice Chairman of this merged entity. In the event of a merger, it will make KF the largest airline in India in terms of fleet strength.