Re: Long-distance direct flights

Date:         27 Mar 2001 16:05:23 
From:         Roger Chung-Wee <roger@chung-wee.com>
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On 23 Mar 2001 17:40:12 , robinjohnson@bigfoot.com (Robin Johnson)
wrote:

>Holiday charters have now started from Britain (Gatwick, Luton and
>Manchester) to Australia and New Zealand.  These flights (in 767-300s
>at the moment) usually make two en-route stops (e.g. Bahrain and
>Singapore) and operate to several Australian airports, some of which
>have to provide Customs/Immigration clearance not otherwise required
>(Coolangatta, Hamilton Island, Alice Springs) on a low-frequency
>basis.  They do not carry mail or cargo.

Note that the charters from the UK to Australia and New Zealand by
Airtours and Britannia have been axed. It seems as if scheduled
competition was the main reason.

>I'd suggest to those people who think non-stop flights between any
>city pair on the globe are coming that the charter flights, which by
>definition give a good measure of demand, are a good indication that
>this will not happen.  If there is enough traffic, there will
>eventually be flights - but factoring into the equation are problems
>like the time passengers will sit in the one seat, aircrew duty hours,
>duplication of government facilities, and the economic payload/range
>characteristics of various aircraft types as they become available.
>The longest flight stages at present operated by scheduled airlines
>run about 15 hours, at which range payload is limited.  Where
>practicable, aircraft configurations biased towards premium fares are
>used.  This will probably still be true when 18-hour stages start, if
>they do, in a few years.  London-Perth might be one such, or New
>York-Singapore.  Aircrew rest positions away from the main deck are
>being on the drawing boards - they already exist on some 747-400s.

The evidence is that people are not really keen on charter flights
lasting more than about nine hours. The main long-haul markets are
from western Europe, particularly Germany and the UK, to holiday
destinations, especially the Caribbean and Florida, where there is
plenty of sunshine and other attractions, so why fly further to the
Far East or Hawaii.

I think that the long-haul charter market is now mature and, due to
cost reasons, will not expand much. Airtours, for instance, finds it
more profitable to fly from the UK to Palma de Mallorca than Barbados.
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