Re: Fracturing the Pacific

Date:         27 Aug 97 03:57:53 
From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
References:   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
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>> That article says "the Russians charge an estimated $1,800 a flight
>> for the limited flights they allow in an effort to get hard currency"
>> plus extra "royalties."

>Let's not confuse enroute fees, which are standard world-wide now
>proposed in the US and defray ATC operating and upgrade costs with fees
>to create and maintain "brick and mortar" airport facilities

Fair enough.

>And, for this to be a viable commercial alternate, we are talking more
>than ILS and pavement:  all the various governmental (FIS equivalent)
>and airport ground services and logistics/hotel services that carriers
>would rely on.

Maybe.  If they keep everyone on the plane, or shepherd them to
another one, they're just transit passengers and no FIS is needed.
Since the issue is an ETOPS alternate, not an emergency airport,
one could perhaps argue that hotels aren't need either -- just keep
everyone on the aircraft until a replacement is ferried in.  Not a
good way to keep everyone happy, but it's not unprecedented.

I'm told that Polynesian acquired some 767s a few years ago and
started flying Apia-LAX.  To do so, they paid for an atoll airstrip
to be spiffed up enough for them to use it as an ETOPS alternate.  I
doubt they built hotels and whatnot, and I'd bet there wasn't a lot
of existing capacity.

> Again, and with all due respect to your in-the-money routing comments,
> reinforced by today's WSJ article, given the low utilization of these
> facilties I still can't see thge viability of such an investment.

Once again, if they're already in use for military operations, the
investment might not be all that much.

> Further, I can't see any carrier agreeing to a precedent of regional
> aviation authorities charging enroute fees for ground services; the "me
> too" stampede to charge such fees would be audible over the jet blast of
> carriers fleeing the sectors where the fees are charged.

True enough if you have viable alternatives.  Before the Russians
allowed any overflights of their airspace by western carriers, it
was easy enough to fly US-Japan while avoiding Russian airspace.
(Not quite so easy for Anchorage-Korea, at least for KAL 007.)  At
the moment, US carriers aren't allowed to fly over Iran, so they
take a little detour on LHR-DEL flights.  Again, no big deal.

But now we're talking about a route that naturally goes directly
over the heart of Russia.  It's a big country -- imagine trying to
fly Toronto to Mexico City without overflying the United States,
only Russia is bigger yet.

> Instead of the estimated 18 minute breakeven shorter flying time,
> we're talking a multiple of this required savings.

I'm told that JFK-SIN is a fairly thin route (<200 pax/day) but
potentially high yield for the seats you can sell.  With no enroute
alternates, you need an aircraft with three or more engines.  None
are available with sufficient range, though either a hypothetical
747-400IGW or A340-500"IGW" could to it, though they would be too
big.  A 777-200X or perhaps an improved A330-200 would be the right
size and *much* more economical due to having only two engines, but
without the use of Dikson or some other nearby Russian alternate,
you need a detour of a number of hours.

United gripes about the overflight fees, but they still pay 'em
because their only alternative with ORD-HKG is not to fly it.  If
the Russians demand some extra cash to provide an alternate so
twins can fly routes like JFK-SIN, the airlines will cough it up.

Karl Swartz	|Home
Moderator of sci.aeronautics.airliners -- Unix/network work pays the bills