Friday, August 15, 2014

14AUG edition

Finnair has officially revealed details of its Airbus A350-900 configuration and initial routes that it plans to deploy the aircraft on upon delivery in summer 2015. AY has ordered 11 units of the A350-900 along with 9 options. The main highlights are as follows:

i.                     Will seat 297 passengers with 46 in business class + 43 in premium economy + 208 economy class
ii.                   First three routes for the aircraft are BKK, PVG and PEK followed by HKG and SIN in 2016

Alitalia has officially announced that it has secured an investment of US$ 751 million from Etihad Airways for a 49% stake in the airline. The main highlights of the massive investment are as follows:

·         Focus to be on developing long haul routes and trimming the short haul EU network
·         Seven new wide body jets will be added to the AZ fleet along with 10 new long haul destinations by 2017
·         Short haul fleet to be scaled down by 13 units
·         AZ will operate additional new flights to AUH from Venice and Bologna
·         AZ will increase its current FCO-AUH flight from W14 season to a daily A332 operated service
·         Both MXP and FCO will be core focus long haul hubs
·         1600 jobs to be cut from AZ’s payroll
·         Revival of AZ’s dedicated cargo freighter business with airframe units added and the base to be MXP airport for this division
·         $150 million investment to be made by EY to purchase 75% of AZ’s frequent flier program
·         $70 million paid for 5 pair of London Heathrow slots by EY which would then be leased back to AZ
·         Long haul focus is primarily revolving around Italy-SE Asia + Italy-North America


One new route that EY and AZ can coordinate their current schedules around is for AZ to extend its daily FCO-AUH service to CAN-Guangzhou, China which can be scheduled as follows:

AZ 852 Dep FCO 2245 Arr AUH 0635+1
AZ 852 Dep AUH 0830 Arr CAN 2030
AZ 853 Dep CAN 0200 Arr AUH 0615
AZ  853 Dep AUH 0815 Arr FCO 1245

The above mentioned schedule of AUH-CAN-AUH connects very well with EY’s entire GCC + EU + MENA + certain African markets which would in turn see an increase in S/F with the addition of CAN to the EY route network. CAN has also overtaken PVG as the #2 Chinese market for the GCC region. This schedule also allows AZ in turn to more or less maintain its current timings on FCO-AUH-FCO. CAN is also a fellow Sky Team hub of China Southern so the latter would also in turn be code sharing on the route thus offering additional feeder opportunities.  

With regards to its long haul fleet, I would suggest that in order to offer cost savings and to better streamline various efficiencies, AZ should try to gradually sell off its entire A332 (12 units) + B772ER (10 units) fleet of aircraft and revolve its future wide body aircraft around the Boeing 787-900 only. AZ still has 6 purchase options  for the B777s so these should in turn be converted to the B789 as this aircraft type can operate nonstop to any long haul destination from Italy without payload problems. It can seat 292 passengers in a 2 class configuration of 30J (flat beds 2-2-2) + 262Y (3-3-3 layout) thus offering the same capacity as their current B772ER aircraft but at an operating cost at least 15% lower ! For its freighter fleet though, with AZ already having captains trained on the B772s, it can either purchase new B772LRFs or convince Boeing (along with other airlines) to launch the B777 Pax to freighter conversion program so that it can save on capital acquisition costs by converting its current 10 B777s into freighters. For Asia, the cargo flights should be routed via AUH so that it can also be fed by EY in turn generating increasing revenue feeding opportunities.

Azerbaijan Airlines based out of Baku has disclosed that it will be launching a new nonstop flight to JFK-New York effective 24SEP14. J2 will be operating the service twice a week nonstop using a 237 seater A340-500 with the ex-Kingfisher Airlines configuration i.e. 36J + 201Y. The schedule is as follows:

Days – WED/SAT

J2 101 Dep GYD 0600 Arr JFK 0930
J2 102 Dep JFK 1130 Arr GYD 0800+1

Etihad Airways has unveiled a massive expansion plan of its medium and long haul route network in 2015 with many new destinations + capacity increases announced across the board. The main highlights are as follows:

MAD – new daily nonstop services effective 29MAR using an A332

HKG – new 4 weekly nonstop services effective 15JUN using an A332

ALG – new 3 weekly nonstop services effective 17JUN using an A333

CCU – new daily nonstop A320 services effective 15FEB using an A320 with a 11am departure out of AUH

EBB - new daily nonstop A320 services effective 01MAY using an A320

EDI - new daily nonstop services effective 08JUN using an A332

BNE – capacity increased with daily nonstop flights to be operated using a B789 effective 01JUN

DME – capacity increased to daily B789 + daily A320 effective 01JUN

CDG – capacity increased to daily B773ER + daily A346 effective 01MAR

SFO – new daily nonstop flights to be launched using a B773ER effective 18NOV14 with below mentioned schedule:

EY 183 Dep AUH 0215 Arr SFO 0630
EY 184 Dep SFO 0830 Arr AUH 1240+1

ALA – frequencies increased to 5 weekly using an A320 effective 05SEP14 using an A320

LHR – capacity increased with second daily A380 service effective 01MAR15 on EY 17/18.


It shall be interesting to see how ALG survives without two way connections via AUH to China + how the local SFO market responds to an 0830am departure as that would be the earliest departure which means no connecting passengers flying into SFO from other U.S. West Coast cities can connect + the locals who live in the SFO area would have to reach the airport by 6am latest. It would be better if the SFO departure was at 1430 i.e. 6 hours later so that it would arrive into AUH at 1840 which is almost the same time as all the other USA-AUH EY flight arrivals.  

With regards to EY 17 being upgraded to the A380, the flight from AUH-LHR will be very light in the low season as it lacks immediate connections from Indian Subcontinent in particular as those pax prefer flying to LHR on EY 19 due to the shorter transit time in AUH. The return sector though i.e. EY 18 can support an A380 as it connects everywhere via AUH conveniently.

The 2014 Farnborough Air Show concluded a month ago with many companies placing significant orders for airplane units of which the main highlights were as follows:

i.                     Airbus launched the A330NEO which is the A338 (replacing the A332 as its NEO version) and A339 (replacing the A333 as its NEO version)
ii.                   Air Asia X ordered 50 A339s
iii.                  AerCap ordered 50 A320NEOs
iv.                 ALC ordered 25 A339s + 61 A321NEOs + 6 B773ERs + 20 B738MAXs
v.                   Air Mauritius ordered 6 A359s
vi.                 Avolon Leasing ordered 15 A339s + 5 B739MAXs + 6 B789s
vii.                 Qatar Airways ordered 50 B779s
viii.              Monarch UK ordered 30 B738MAXs
ix.                 Intrepid Aviation ordered 6 B773ERs
x.                   BOC Aviation ordered 43 A320s
xi.                 CIT Aerospace Leasing ordered 15 A338s + 5 A321s (current version) + 10 B789s
xii.                Transaero of Russia ordered 20 A338s
xiii.              Hainan Airlines ordered 50 B738MAXs
xiv.               An un-named African customer of Bombarider ordered 5 CS 300s
xv.               An “existing” Bombardier customer ordered 13 CS 300s

Emirates has announced that it will be launching a new nonstop flight to BUD-Budapest, Hungary effective 28OCT14. Services will be operated on a daily basis using an A332 with an 0820am departure from DXB with an arrival back at 2330 local time. Other capacity increases revealed by EK are as follows:

CMN – frequencies increased from daily to double daily i.e. daily B773ER + daily A345 effective 01SEP

FCO – capacity increased to double daily A380s effective 29AUG

Qatar Airways has announced many capacity increases to its medium haul network from SEP onwards of which the main highlights are as follows:

ISB – frequencies increased from daily to 9 weekly

MAD – frequencies increased from daily to 10 weekly nonstop flights; all operated with a B773ER

VIE – capacity increased from daily A320 to daily B787

MCT – frequencies increased from 4 to 5 times daily

IKA – frequencies increased from double daily to 18 weekly with the new 4 weekly flights offering direct connections from IAD/DFW/IAH/ORD to the Iranian capital.

NBO – frequencies increased to 19 times weekly effective 20NOV. This is expected to be further increased to triple daily from IATA S15 season onwards.

DPS – capacity reduced from daily A333 to daily B787

Turkish Airlines has officially announced that it shall be launching new daily nonstop flights to SFO-San Francisco, USA effective 13APR15. TK will be deploying a 349 seater Boeing 777-300ER on this new service offering good connections via IST in both directions to GCC, Central Asia, Africa, Indian Subcontinent and the MENA region. Other major capacity changes revealed by TK for the IATA S15 season are as follows:

ORD – capacity increased from a daily A332 to a daily B773ER

ICN – capacity increased from double daily A332 to daily B773ER + daily A333

SIN - capacity adjusted with daily nonstop terminator flights using an A332

CGK – capacity adjusted with daily nonstop terminator flights using an A343

Air France has announced many capacity changes for the upcoming IATA W14 season of which the main highlights are as follows:

SGN – frequencies reduced from 4 to 3 weekly nonstop flights using a B773ER

BLR – capacity increased from 6 weekly A332s to daily B772ERs

MIA – frequencies and capacity increased from 6 weekly B773ER to daily A380 effective 01DEC
PNR – frequencies increased from 5 to 6 weekly nonstop flights using an A332

BKK – frequencies increased from 5 weekly to daily nonstop using a B772ER

PTY – frequencies increased from 3 to 5 weekly nonstop flights using a B772ER

CAN – frequencies reduced from 5 to 4 weekly nonstop using a B772ER

ANA (All Nippon Airways) of Japan has placed a major order with Boeing for $13 billion worth of wide bodied aircraft consisting of 20 B779s + 14 B789s + 6 B773ERs. In addition, the carrier revealed the configuration of its B789s in both a domestic and long haul configuration which is as follows:

B789D – 395 seats i.e. 18J + 377Y
B789L – 215 seats i.e. 48J + 21Y+ + 146Y

The B789Ds will be replacing NH’s B772As on the domestic Japan routes.

Gulf Air has officially announced that it will be launching new flights to DME-Moscow, Russia effective 28OCT14 on a nonstop basis. Services will be flown 4 times per week using an A320ER with flat beds in business class. The schedule is as follows:


GF 14 Dep BAH 0905 Arr DME 1405
GF 15 Dep DME 1450 Arr BAH 1930

The above mentioned schedule offers good connections to GCC and India in both directions via BAH but not to BKK which is the biggest Asian market out of Moscow followed by Dubai. GF’s main competition from DME hails from EY triple daily + EK double daily A380s/B773s + QR double daily + TK six times daily.