Korean Air has announced that it will be launching new nonstop flights to Saudi Arabia effective 09NOV 2012. Three weekly triangular routed flights shall be flown using an Airbus A330-200 as Seoul-Riyadh-Jeddah and is designed to link the two Sky Team hub airports with each other to enhance network connection options. In addition, due to the massive influx of Korean construction and engineering personnel flying back and forth between South Korea and Saudi Arabia. Over the past one year, passenger movement combined between RUH + JED to/from ICN was 37,000 passengers.
Turkish Airlines has officially revealed that it has signed a contract with Airbus to purchase 15 additional Airbus A330-300s that shall be delivered from 2014 onwards. These aircraft will be the A333IGW version which is capable of operating nonstop to Toronto, China, Hong Kong and Seoul from its Istanbul hub base. TK too is expected to announce another order for a dozen more Boeing 777-300ERs to further fuel its long haul expansion. With this additional order, TKs A330 fleet stands at 27 A 333s + 7 A332s.
Airblue of Pakistan has officially announced the launch date of the next phase of its growth strategy involving its newly acquired fleet of 2 A 340-300s obtained from Turkish Airlines. These aircraft have been reconfigured into an all economy class cabin seating about 330 passengers and its launch flight will be on 27NOV to Manchester operated nonstop from Islamabad. Airblue will be flying ISB-MAN four times per week effective 27NOV with the below mentioned schedule:
Days of Operations: TUE/WED/FRI/SUN
PA 220 Dep ISB 1400 Arr MAN 1900
PA 221 Dep MAN 2100 Arr ISB 1110+1
Emirates has officially disclosed that it will be significantly adding more capacity to its popular routes in Far East Asia from this winter onwards to cater for increasing demand arising from Europe and GCC region. The main highlights are as follows:
MNL - frequencies increased from double daily to triple daily nonstop with all flights being operated by a 2 class B773ER
CGK - frequencies increased from double daily to triple daily nonstop with all flights being operated by a 2 class B773ER
KUL - frequencies increased from triple daily to 26 weekly i.e. daily A380 + double daily B773ER + 5 weekly A332s
Aeromexico has officially announced that it will be launching new nonstop flights to London Heathrow airport effective 14DEC 2012 from its Mexico City hub airport. AM will be operating the route 3 times per week nonstop using its flag ship Boeing 767 aircraft. The flight schedule is as follows:
AM 007 Dep MEX 2225 Arr LHR 1500+1
AM 008 Dep LHR 1725 Arr MEX 0035+1
ONE WORLD has officially announced at its head quarters in New York City, that it has invited Qatar Airways to join the alliance which the mega Gulf carrier has willingly accepted. With this move, QR becomes the first amongst the Big 3 GCC carriers to join a major alliance. QR currently serves a majority of the key One World hub airports with a minimum daily frequency such as JFK (daily), LHR (5 daily), HKG (double daily), AMM (daily), CMB (triple daily), MEL (daily), NRT (daily) and soon ORD daily.
One World needs a solid Africa presence as well and unfortunately for them all the viable carriers are part of an alliance now from that continent. India too is a market that needs to be looked at again with Air India as a partner as they will gain massive political leverage in India if this comes through positively. In addition, they shall benefit as AI flies into all the major OW hubs such as HKG, LHR, JFK, ORD, NRT, DOH, CMB and soon SYD so a no brainer there.
AI-AA can code share on DEL-ORD and JFK-DEL/BOM.
AI-QF can code share on AI's soon to be launched B787 nonstop service to SYD/MEL and in turn AI can code share on QF via Australia to AKL/CHC + domestic Australia services to PER/ADL/BNE etc.
CX-AI can code share on all HKG-India flights + AI can code share on CX's trans-pacific services to LAX/SFO/YVR + via HKG to TPE/MNL
BA-AI can code share on UK-India + domestically within each country + AI can code share on trans-atlantic services via LHR to USA operated by AA/BA.
JL-AI can code share on all Japan-India flights + domestically within their own respective countries + AI can code share on trans-pacific routes via NRT on JAL.
With regards to QR-AI, QR can code share on domestic India where as the main benefit for AI with QR is to code share on DOH-Africa and DOH-Levant/Iraq/Iran services.
Sri Lankan Airlines has revealed that it will be reducing its services to Bangkok, Shanghai and Beijing for the IATA W12 season as the carrier looks to re-engage its resources in a more profitable manner. The main highlights are as follows:
BKK - frequencies reduced from triple daily to 17 weekly
PVG - frequencies reduced from daily to 5 weekly
PEK - frequencies reduced from daily to 5 weekly
Alaskan Airlines has officially announced that it has placed its largest ever single aircraft order with Boeing earlier on this week for 50 Boeing 737s which shall in turn gradually replace its entire current fleet of B737-300/400 Classics as well its oldest B737NG models. The breakdown of the order was for 13 Boeing 737-900ERs + 20 Boeing 737-800Max's + 17 Boeing 737-900Max's.
Air India has officially announced that due to lack of bids from airlines desiring to dry and wet lease its fleet of 5 Boeing 777-200LRs, it will be putting up these aircraft for sale effective November 2012 as the carrier now has no use for them. Out of its fleet of 8 B77Ls, it will keep only 3 to be used exclusively on its popular BOM-EWR nonstop services. Airlines that currently operate the B77L today are EK, AC, DL, PK and QR only.
With regards to which airlines would be interested, one has to first look into the configuration of these airlines operating a fleet of B77Ls versus AI. The latter operates a 3 class B77L which out of the current operators only EK does whilst QR/AC/DL all operate 2 class versions. Now in an ideal world, due to its rapid growth strategy, QR would be the hands on favorite to purchase these 5 birds however knowing what a tough bargainer Mr Baker is, he would only purchase it if AI pays for the cabin reconfiguration as well as per his current B77L 2 class product standards. It would be very difficult for AI to sell these birds as a 3 class aircraft unless it reduces the price further to take into account the other airline's re-configuration cost !
Two other airlines which could be a dark horse contender and that too would probably take it in the current AI configuration are Saudia Airlines and Kuwait Airways. With regards to SV, they have officially announced that they are in 2013/14 going to be embarking on a major long haul expansion program hence these 5 B77Ls would be ideal to launch 3 weekly Toronto + increase JFK to a daily service and IAD to at least 4 times per week from JED/RUH.
As far as KU is concerned, one does not need to look any further to realize that this airline's fleet (except for the A320s) needs a total makeover due to the unfortunate mechanical aging state that it is in. KU can use the B77Ls to operate to JFK on a daily basis nonstop versus the current 3 weekly nonstop + 3 weekly via LHR combination which would take up 2.5 aircraft + use 1 dedicated for KWI-LHR daily + the other two on its FRA/CDG/FCO services replacing the AB6s! KU not only needs a fleet make over but also a major on board product face lift which as a stop gap measure these AI B77Ls will help provide.
Lufthansa has disclosed few significant capacity changes for its long haul route network for the IATA S13 season of which the main highlights are as follows:
ORD - capacity increased from daily A343 + daily B744 to double daily B744
PVG - capacity increased from daily A343 + daily B744 to daily B744 + daily A346
JFK - capacity reduced with no A380 operating; instead double daily B744 exclusively
RUH - capacity reduced from daily A346 to daily A333
DTW - capacity increased from daily A333 to daily A346
Garuda Indonesia and Etihad Airways have officially announced a major code sharing joint venture that will see the airlines feeding each other's hubs with connecting traffic marketed by both carriers alike. It will be valid effective 02DEC when GA transfers its existing 4 weekly CGK-DXB-AMS service to operate via AUH using an A330-200. In turn, EY will code share on GA's AUH-AMS service + GA will code share via AUH to all of EY's European, GCC, North America and MENA destinations. GA is part of Sky Team and with the recent EY-AF-KL 3 way deal being announced plus last month AZ-EY plus EY wanting Air Berlin to be aligned with Air France, one can easily make out the new focus of EY's alliance strategy.
Etihad Airways has disclosed on the GDS system that it will be increasing capacity on its AUH-SYD services as the carrier shuffles around its newly delivered 3 class configured Boeing 777-300ERs between its two flagship routes of London and Sydney respectively. Effective 31JAN, out of its current 11 weekly flights to SYD all operated with an A346, a total of 7 shall be flown using a B773ER (seats 38 pax more versus A346) and in turn, LHR capacity gets reduced from triple daily B773ER to double daily B773ER + daily A346.