SAS of Scandinavia has officially announced that as part of its fleet rationalization and long term cost cutting exercise, it has placed an order with Airbus for 8 A350-900s (plus 6 options) + four additional A333IGWs as the carrier looks to gradually retire its A340-300s as soon as possible. Currently, SK has in its fleet 7 A343s + 4 A333s for its long haul flights to Asia and North America. The A359s will be delivered from 2018 onwards where as the additional A333s from 2015. According to information available, SK's A359s will seat 308 pax in a 3 class configuration i.e. 36 business + 32 premium economy + 240 economy class.
It is expected in the future that the 6 options on the A359s shall be firmed up so that SK's wide body fleet will be further standardized to revolve entirely around the A359 exclusively which is a sensible option no doubt !
Jet Airways of India has filed for slots with Amsterdam airport authorities requesting permission to launch double daily flights from India into the airport from the on set of the IATA W13 season. In effect, this means the end of 9W's Brussels scissors hub as well as possible total suspension of the destination itself. According to AMS slot filing documents, 9W has requested for a daily DEL-AMS-YYZ using an A333 + a daily nonstop terminator BOM-AMS flight using an A333 as well. The schedules are as follows:
9W 224 Dep DEL 0540 Arr AMS 0940 // 9W 224 Dep AMS 1210 Arr YYZ 1420
9W 223 Dep YYZ 2025 Arr AMS 0940+1 // 9W 223 Dep AMS 1210 Arr DEL 0025+1
9W 231 Dep BOM 0420 Arr AMS 0940
9W 232 Dep AMS 1210 Arr BOM 0145+1
With regards to 9W's EWR service, that is expected to be re-routed as Mumbai-Abu Dhabi-Newark using a B777-300ER in code share with Etihad.
There has been an enormous amount of investment put into BRU both as a hub and destination by 9W over the past 6 years. It would be an absolute waste if they decided to suspend operations in its entirety as over the past year the BRU-India market size was over 140,000 pax with nearly 50,000 bound to BOM alone! 9W should seriously look at maintaining at least a daily BOM-BRU flight using an A332 as there is fair enough premium traffic on this sector + via its BOM hub it can easily connect to other points in India + SE Asia.
If 9W does indeed suspend all of its BRU flights, this provides a mega opportunity for both EY and QR to grab the left over traffic + gives an excellent chance for Emirates to seriously consider launching its own DXB-BRU services using a B777. With regards to EY, its current 8 weekly BRU flights could easily be increased to 12 and via AUH it can connect the whole of India with its partner 9W. As far as QR is concerned, it should look at initially making its Flt # 193/194 a daily service hence in turn making BRU-DOH increase from the current daily to a 10 weekly operation from W13 season. The reason why QR 193/194 should be increased is because this flight number rotation offers the most connections via DOH in both directions to QR's network versus QR 195/196.
EVA Air's CEO has officially revealed the carrier's 5 year fleet and long haul route network expansion plan as it enters the Star Alliance membership club. As far as the fleet plan is concerned, it will be as follows:
i. A total of 35 Boeing 777-300ERs the carrier envisions having by the end of the decade. Currently it has 15 in service + 7 more on order hence a further order for 13 aircraft is to be made which will be mix of 10 Boeing 777-200LR freighters (replacing B744Fs) + 3 B773ERs.
ii. Regional high density and medium density long haul flights to be exclusively operated with Boeing 787-100Xs. The B781s will replace 11 A332s + 3 A333s once delivered.
iii. Narrow bodied fleet to revolve exclusively around the 14 A321-200s it has on order.
With regards to route expansion plans, BR will be adding Houston and Chicago in 2014-15 with nonstop service out of Taipei using a B7777-300ER. Frequencies to LAX and SFO are also planned to be increased as both are major STAR hubs of fellow partner UNITED. New services to ORD and IAH shall be operated by BR in code share with UA too.
The 2013 Paris Air Show concluded last week with major orders placed for both Boeing, Embraer, Bombardier and Airbus aircraft by the following airlines + leasing companies:
Qatar Airways ordered 2 firm + 7 options for the B777-300ERs
United Airlines ordered 20 B787-100Xs + 35 A350-1000Xs
Air France/KLM ordered 25 A350-900s
Sri Lankan Airlines ordered 4 A350-900s + 6 A330-300IGWs
ILFC ordered 50 A320NEOs
Doric Air Leasing ordered 20 A380s
Easyjet ordered 135 A320NEOs
Korean Air ordered 5 B747-800s + 6 B777-300ERs
GECAS (leasing firm) ordered 10 B787-100Xs
Air Lease Corp ordered 3 B787-900s + 30 B787-100Xs
Ryanair ordered 175 B737-800NGs
British Airways ordered 12 Boeing 787-100Xs
Singapore Airlines ordered 30 Boeing 787-100Xs + 50 Airbus A350-900s
Arik Air ordered 4 Bombardier Dash 8Q400s + 3 CRJ1000s
Malaysia Airlines has officially announced that it will be relaunching its services to DXB-Dubai, UAE effective 05AUG13 as the carrier embarks upon a sustained expansion plan in line with its positive operating performance over the past year. Flights to DXB will be operated on a daily nonstop basis from its KUL hub using a B777-200ER with the below mentioned timings:
MH 162 Dep KUL 2330 Arr DXB 0220+1
MH 163 Dep DXB 0410 Arr KUL 1525
From the above mentioned schedule, connections via KUL in both directions are easily available to SIN, MNL and Indonesia mainly. However to Australia, the connection from Dubai involved a cumbersome long transit in KUL but its very good on the way back though !
Air India has officially announced that it will be launching new services to BHX-Birmingham, UK effective 01AUG13 as the carrier looks to utilize its fleet of Boeing 787-800s to expand on medium density long haul routes in a cost effective manner. Flights will be flown nonstop 4 times per week out of its DEL hub catering to the huge Sikh/Punjabi community residing in the UK Midlands region. All services will be operated using a 256 seater B788 configured to accommodate 18 in business + 238 in economy class. The flight schedule is as follows:
AI 113 Dep DEL 1330 Arr BHX 1800
AI 112 Dep BHX 2130 Arr DEL 1005+1
Qatar Airways has revealed that it has been awarded additional bilateral rights by the Egyptian Govt to increase its services to the capital Cairo effective 01JUL13. Currently, QR operates 16 times per week nonstop from its Doha hub to Cairo. These shall be increased to triple daily nonstop using an A330 double daily + an A321 daily effective 01JUL13. Recently, Etihad too announced that it won permission from the Egypt authorities as well to increase their own AUH-CAI services from double to triple daily which they already are now operating. In other QR related news, the carrier also announced that it will be significantly increasing its capacity to Manila for the entire IATA W13 season in the following manner:
CRK - capacity increased from daily A332 to daily A333
MNL - capacity increased from daily A332 + daily B773ER to double daily B773ER
FYI, the B773ER used by QR on MNL is the high density version seating 380 passengers i.e. 24J + 356Y therefore in total with this upgrade in W13, the added weekly capacity in terms of round trip seats is 2,338.
Gulf Air has officially announced that it has secured additional bilateral flying rights into JED-Jeddah, Saudi Arabia as the carrier looks to slowly expand on higher yielding regional routes using its fleet of 20 A320s. The new third daily service will be operated effective 09JUL13 using an A320 departing BAH at 0035 and arriving back by 0700.
Airblue of Pakistan has officially announced that it will be significantly expanding its services to Saudi Arabia effective 10JUL13 as the carrier looks to expand its presence on the high volume and high yielding PAK-KSA marketplace. PA will operate a 327 seater A343 four times per week from Lahore nonstop to JED plus 3 times per week nonstop from Karachi to Jeddah thereby giving it a daily presence on the PAK-JED sector.
Etihad Airways has officially announced that due to surging demand for its Kuala Lumpur bound service from AUH, it will be increasing services on this sector effective 15JUL13 by adding a second daily nonstop flight using an A332. The A332 used for this new service is leased from India's Jet Airways. The flight schedule for the new service enables EY to offer good connections in both directions to its European network which currently only connects nicely in one direction. The timings are as follows:
EY 416 Dep AUH 1105 Arr KUL 2240
EY 413 Dep KUL 0325 Arr AUH 0630
Fly Dubai has officially announced a major change of its business model as the carrier unveiled that it will install a proper business class cabin on board all of its Boeing 737-800s from the on set of the IATA W13 season. The new configuration will go from 189 seats in an all economy configuration to have 12 in business class + 138 in economy. The business class seat pitch shall be 42 inches offering 7 inches of recline and 21 inches of width.
For more information on this, click here http://www.flydubai.com/en/
Philippine Airlines has further revealed that its newly announced services to both Doha and Abu Dhabi will see a capacity uplift from the start. Originally all flights were to be operated using an A343 seating 260 passengers but now all 6 weekly Doha + 5 weekly Abu Dhabi services will be flown using a 414 seater A330-300IGW similar to how its KSA bound flights are also planned.