Re: A340-500/600 and B777-200X/-300X

Date:         21 Dec 97 02:32:34 
From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
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In article <airliners.1997.2982@ohare.Chicago.COM>, Marc Schaeffer <> wrote:>A major key to the freezing of the 777X program was the high operating
>costs of such an a/c.
>- In the SQ config there were 200 seats, this is 92 seats less than for
>the normal three class config for the 772. Less seats means less income,
>and even if those remaining seats are more expensive you would have to
>increase tickets-pricing by 50% to compensate. If the seats are too
>expensive the loading factor would drop, giving you less income ...

What makes you think the average ticket price would only be 50% higher,
and that expensive seats would kill LF?  We don't have to talk about
hypothetical situations since United's ORD-HKG non-stop already offers
as an example.  I used United Connection via to try
some alternatives for a imaginary business trip for a meeting in Hong
Kong on July 9 and 10 next year.  Trying to get a (relatively) cheap
fare, I went via SFO, albeit using the direct flights to minimize time.

   Tue Jul  7 1998 UA  805 ORD  930a SFO     a   747-400
   Tue Jul  7 1998 UA  805 SFO  135p HKG  640p+1 747-400
   Sat Jul 11 1998 UA  806 HKG 1215p SFO  935a   747-400
   Sat Jul 11 1998 UA  806 SFO 1225p ORD  625p   A320

   fare: $2,341

No cheaper alternatives were offered, which United Connection often
does if it find them, so this was probably pretty good given the lack
of a Saturday night stay, or perhaps the just short stay.  This far
in advance, space is available on the non-stops at the same fare, but
I have time for a morning meeting in Chicago on Tuesday, plus a full
weekend back in Chicago if I can sleep on planes.  (Personally, I find
it hard to do so, but I'm not the hardened business traveller who would
even contemplate such a short trip to such a far-away place.)

   Tue Jul  7 1998 UA  895 ORD  125a HKG  615p+1 747-400
   Sat Jul 11 1998 UA  896 HKG  805a ORD  935a   747-400

   fare: $2,341

To get a better fare, I need to push the return out to Monday.

   Tue Jul  7 1998 UA  895 ORD  125a HKG  615p+1 747-400
   Mon Jul 13 1998 UA  896 HKG  805a ORD  935a   747-400

   fare: $1,468

These are all Y fares.  If instead I want to fly Connoisseur (business)
class, the fare is $4,285 for any of these itineraries.  That's 83% more
than the Y fare for the shortest trip, and a whopping 192% more than the
cheaper Y fare available if I'm willing to hang out in Hong Kong for a
couple of extra days.

Regardless of class and restrictions, the fares were the same whether I
took the non-stop or the direct flight, but I'm looking at a flight more
than six months in advance.  At some point, after more of the seats have
been sold, UA's yield management will decide not to sell any more of the
precious non-stop seats at the cheap fares.  (The ORD-HKG services uses
747-400s with only 301 seats, versus 418 on most UA 747-400s.)  Further
along, even the expensive Y seats may not be available.  If that Tuesday
morning meeting or Saturday (maybe the whole weekend) with your family
is important, you will pony up the $4,285 and fly the non-stops.  You
may have planned to buy that class anyway.  If money is more valuable
than your time, UA can still get you there, but you'll have to go via
SFO (or LAX or perhaps NRT).

UA has a powerful feed at ORD, and a decent customer base at HKG too, so
they can gain revenue by operating the high-yield non-stops even with
fewer available seats, while also operating connections which produce
lower unit costs for the lower-yield traffic.  SQ is in a similar

>- On such long trips you would need three crews. Lots of expensive meat
><g> not paying to be onboard but wanting to get payd ...

I'm not sure that ORD-HKG operates with significantly more crew than
SFO-HKG, adjusting for the different number of pax and class of service.
When you consider the crews for both ORD-SFO and SFO-HKG combined versus
ORD-HKG, I'm not convinced there's that much difference.

>- Are the passengers ready to stay that long in an a/c ?

The business travellers whose time is precious want to minimize the
amount of time spent in aircraft and at airports.  A non-stop like
ORD-HKG knocks 4:10 off their travel time -- easily worth spending it
all in one sitting.

Karl Swartz	|Home
"The average dog is a nicer person than the average person." - Andrew A. Rooney