Thursday, January 17, 2008

Jet Airways

Jet Airways of India has placed an order for 7 additional Boeing 777-300ERs last week thus increasing its commitment from 13 to 20 of this popular aircraft model. Three of these planes would be delivered to the airline by Winter 2009 as the carrier looks to embark on an ambitious international expansion before its main rivals i.e. Air India and Kingfisher gain a stronger hold in UK and North America.

Analysis :

What will be interesting to see is whether or not all 20 B 773ERs ordered by 9W will see a fancy 3 class layout or will some have a 2 class configuration as many people don't see the need for all of its EU/North America flights warranting a first class cabin.

Lets examine how the B 773ERs could be used :

2 used for daily EWR2 used for daily JFK
2 used for double daily BOM-LHR1 used for daily DEL-LHR
2 used for future daily BLR-BRU-LAX (summer 08)
2 used for future daily BOM-PVG-SFO (summer 08)

That makes 11 B 773ERs designated for current and future routes which have been mentioned many times in media outlets worldwide. This means there are 9 B 773ERs to play around with. They can be used in the following manner :

2 used for daily IAH...i.e. 4 weekly DEL-BRU-IAH + 3 weekly BOM-BRU-IAH
2 used for daily HYD-BRU-IAD

The main reason why IAH should be divided between DEL & BOM is because these 2 markets need extra service from 9W as the demand is there especially in the peak summer season (June-Sept) and winter (Nov-Jan). In order for 9W to increase and at the same time protect its market share from its 2 main Indian gatway cities i.e. BOM & DEL, it must increase capacity to meet growing demand to USA from these 2 market segments otherwise it will steadily lose out. Already AI offers triple daily BOM-NYC + double daily DEL-NYC flights + BA too flies double daily to both cities and soon Kingfisher will become a key player in this competitive segment.

2 used for daily same plane service LHR-BLR-SIN because the B 773ER has a larger number of high yielding premium class seats compared to its A 332s. 9W can easily make money on the LHR-BLR route (in all 3 cabin classes) which is currently dominated by BA who make a hefty profit flying it. 9W should consider using 2 aircraft for daily same plane SIN-BLR-LHR as SIN-BLR is a "premium route" capable of seeing high J class loads and a little bit of F here and there. The flight schedule can be as follows if LHR slots can be obtained :

Dep LHR 1500 Arr BLR 0600+1
Dep BLR 1000 Arr SIN 1630...i.e. 4 hr transit at BLRDep SIN 2230 Arr BLR 0200+1..plane gets parked in SIN for 6 hours which is ok.
Dep BLR 0600+1 Arr LHR 1200+1...i.e. 4 hr transit at BLR

The remaining 3 B 773ERs should be configured in a 2 class layout seating 370 passengers approximately as the Middle East routes forecasted for them below do not warrant having a first class cabin on board. Currently, 9Ws B 773ERs seat 312 pax in a 3 class configuration.

1 aircraft for double daily forsees this happening in the near future (subject to DXB-India bilateral liberalizing). 9W has a better in-flight premium cabin product than EK does on its A 332s / B 772s which fly BOM-DXB-BOM and therefore stands to gain a good chunk of the premium traffic on this lucrative route.

Flight schedule can be as follows :

9W 600 Dep BOM 1100 Arr DXB 1230
9W 601 Dep DXB 1400 Arr BOM 1815

same aircraft can then be used for the night flight BOM-DXB-BOM which will arrive into BOM early morning next day thus providing excellent connections through 9Ws domestic India network i.e.

9W 602 Dep BOM 2100 Arr DXB 2230
9W 603 Dep DXB 0030+1 Arr BOM 0445+1

1 aircraft can be used for a daily DXB-DEL-DXB + daily DXB-BLR-DXB (subject to DXB-India bilateral liberalizing)

Dep DXB 0300 Arr DEL 0730
Dep DEL 1030 Arr DXB 1215

Dep DXB 1400 Arr BLR 1930
Dep BLR 2100 Arr DXB 2330

1 B 773ER can be used for daily MAA-DXB-MAA + daily HYD-DXB-HYD (subject to DXB-India bilateral liberalizing)

Dep DXB 0330 Arr MAA 0900
Dep MAA 1200 Arr DXB 1430

Dep DXB 1630 Arr HYD 2130
Dep HYD 2330 Arr DXB 0130+1

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sri Lankan Airlines

Emirates has decided that it will not be renewing its management contract with Sri Lankan Airlines which had been in place for the past 8 years. The DXB based airline also holds a 44% stake in the company. The main reason for the dispute has to do with the denied boarding of the current Sri Lankan President's entourage on a flight from Heathrow to Colombo in December. As a result, the Govt felt that as the majority share holder of the airline, its demands should have been met for which the airline refused to bow down to.

Source :

Analysis :

After the massive turn around that UL has achieved over the last decade under the guidance of EK, one would hope that sensible heads prevail and that whom ever takes charge from April 1st doesn't ruin all the positives that EK brought to this airline. Definitely, UL has more to lose than gain from EK abandoning its management contract renewal which many believe has a lot to do with Mr Peter Hill being thrown out of the country by the current Sri Lankan President. For one, UL's cash reserves and cash flow wont have the backing that EK could have provided it with nor can it now turn to EK to help get from Airbus or Boeing substantial discounts on future plane orders to especially replace its A 343s which are now over 13 years old.The ceasefire abandonment by the Colombo Govt with the Tamil Tigers would also make matters worse as this can have deadly consequences for the airline and the country's tourism industry which is the main target market for UL especially on European and Far East Asia flights. The only positive thing that one sees happening out of all of this is the fact that now UL does not have to be dictated to as to where they can fly and where they shouldn't. UL had been wanting to fly nonstop to MAN and return to Australia for many years but EK's management didn't wantlol that to happen. UL was also interested in launching one stop flights to NYC via Europe/UK with its A 343 but ended up code sharing with EK instead. To be frank, even though SYD / MEL/NYC/YYZ have large Sinhalese/Tamil Communities residing within their city limits ( YYZ alone has approximately 200,000), the passenger data base for CMB from these areas is usually low yielding therefore even though UL may see decent loads on flights bound for the above mentioned 4 cities, they will most likely end up losing money flying to these places due to the extremely high operating costs involved flying a 280 seater A 343 on these routes + strong competition from QR/KU/EK.

It would be best for the time being for UL to stick with what they have got and build up its marketing presence in key markets where they have a strong presence such as LON, UAE & India because the political situation in Sri Lanka right now is very fragile with the ceasefire agreement with the Tamil Tigers being cancelled. UL's management team for 2008 should therefore adopt a "wait and see" approach to view how the political situation unfolds in Sri Lanka before committing any large scale investment of network expansion or fleet expansion in the short term future as the airline's flight loads heavily depend on there being political peace and harmony on the island.

Gulf Air

Gulf Air has finally revealed many changes to its Summer 2008 schedule which will see its entire fleet of aging Boeing 767-300ERs being retired in favour of dry leased Airbus A 321-200s and B 737-800s. In addition, many destinations witness capacity and frequency changes. The main highlights are as follows :

SYZ - increased from 3 weekly A 320s to daily effective June 16th.

MHD - increased from 3 weekly A 320s to daily effective June 16th.

PEW - capacity reduced from 2 weekly B 763ERs to 2 weekly A 321s.

BOM - capacity increased from June 16th to 12 weekly A 321s + daily A 332 + 2 weekly A 343.

LHR - 3 daily A 332s

DXB - from June 16th, daily A 332 + daily A 321 + triple daily B 738 + triple daily A 320.

TRV - capacity reduced from daily B 763ER to daily A 321.

KUL - daily flights between June-Sept only flown by A 343s to cater for summer season peak traffic.

ATH - reduced from 5 weekly B 763ERs to 3 weekly A 320s.

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

BEY - increased from 9 to 12 weekly A 320 / B 738 operated flights.

DAM - increased from 10 to 11 weekly A 320s.

AMM - increased from 10 to 12 weekly A 320s.

KRT - increased from 6 weekly A 320s to daily flights.

RUH - capacity reduced to daily A 343 + daily A 321.

DOH - capacity increased to 2 weekly A 332s + 2 daily B 738s + 19 weekly A 320s

Comments :

With SYD now suspended, GF needs to suspend its loss making route to ATH. In any case, the feeder traffic obtained by GF from SYD via BAH to ATH was low yielding! GF needs to seriously re-negiotiate its bilateral agreement with Pakistan in order to increase LHE & ISB flights respectively as their presence in these 2 cities have decreased by 50% due to Oman Air taking over MCT-PAK bound flights.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways will be launching new nonstop flights to CAN-Guangzhou, China from March 30th onwards. It will serve the city 5 times a week nonstop from its Doha hub using an A 332. Flight timings are as follows :

QR 874 Dep DOH 0100 Arr CAN 1405
QR 877 Dep CAN 2040 Arr DOH 0110+1

Analysis :

Its really pleasing to see QR taking the initiative to go after another niche market in Asia along the similar lines of its flights to CEB & DPS. This is a very good move by QR as it will have a lucrative monopoly for itself on this key route which has a lot of cargo potential as CAN is supposedly the manufacturing capital city of China. None of its Middle Eastern competitors fly to CAN nonstop from their hub airports thus giving QR a competitive edge in this market segment.

Its main competitors on this route are KQ & CZ who offer flights via DXB to CAN nonstop. Obviosuly QR will be targetting a hefty chunk of 6th freedom traffic obtained from UAE, Saudi Arabia, KWI, LHR & Europe to feed the CAN bound flight as its flights are perfectly timed to cater to these markets.


Emirates will be increasing its flights to IST-Istanbul, Turkey from daily to 11 times a week effective October 26th 2008. All 11 weekly flights will be flown using a 2 class B 773ER. The additional 4 weekly flights will be flown on Tues, Fri, Sat & Sun. In other EK related news, the third route for their A 380 is almost confirmed to be SYD-Sydney.

Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Airlines has announced that it will be operating summer seasonal flights to LGW-London Gatwick airport nonstop from its KUL hub between 22nd June and 18th Sept 08. MH will use a B 772ER for this route which will be flown twice a week only. Flights will operate on Thur & Sat only. Flight schedule details are as follows :

MH 7346 Dep KUL 0030 Arr LGW 0700
MH 7347 Dep LGW 1300 Arr KUL 0840+1

In addition, the airline has revealed few changes to its Summer 2008 schedule. The main highlights are as follows :

JED - capacity increased to 4 weekly B 744s between June 25th and end September to cater for the peak summer rush.

NRT - frequencies increased from 12 weekly to double daily B 772ERs.

ADL - frequencies reduced from 5 to 4 weekly B 772ERs.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines has confirmed that it will be flying 4 daily nonstop flights to SYD-Sydney from April 8th 2008. The new daily flight will be flown using a B 773ER where as the other 3 daily flights are flown by 2 B 744s + 1 A 380.

Flight timings are as follows :

SQ 233 Dep SIN 0700 Arr SYD 1620
SQ 234 Dep SYD 1735 Arr SIN 2350


EVA Air has confirmed that it will start operating flights between KIX-Osaka and LAX-Los Angeles effective 30th March 2008. However, initially it will be flown only 3 times a week (Tues, Fri & Sun) using a B 773ER and then later on increased to 6 times a week. Flight schedule details are as follows :

BR 168 Dep TPE 1030 Arr KIX 1400
BR 168 Dep KIX 1530 Arr LAX 0945

BR 167 Dep LAX 1210 Arr KIX 1605+1
BR 167 Dep KIX 1730+1 Arr TPE 1925+1