Re: Long-distance direct flights

Date:         31 Mar 2001 16:43:18 
From:         robinjohnson@bigfoot.com (Robin Johnson)
Organization: North Antarctica
References:   1
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On 27 Mar 2001 16:05:24 , "matt weber" <mattheww@Qwest.net> told us:

>Actually I think reltaively few actually go through Singapore or Bahrain,
>both are relatively costly for charter operators, and if all you are doing
>is hauling people, cost is what counts..  I know the last one I actually
>tracked (a Britannia 767-300 was leaving just before I was from MEL for
>LGW) was routing through some regional airport in Indonesia (it took me a
>while to figure out where it actually was, because it was a code I had
>never seen before)..., and Abu Dhabi. The attraction of both places was
>very low fuel and ground handling costs.

>I think there is already clear evidence of that from other sources. The
>Mission requirement from SQ for the SIN-LAX run is 200 pax.
>However, if you look, there are about dozen routes and carriers that can
>get you from SIN to LAX by stopping at various points like Seoul, Hong
>Kong, Osaka, Manilla,Narita.  On a daily basis, the 200 seats SQ plans for
>on the non-stop is very small portion of the available lift between these
>points.  The 200 pax operation is going to have horrible ASM costs, so the
>load will have to heavily loaded toward the premium cabins, the question is
>can enough people justify the difference in fares between a SIN-NRT-LAX
>versus say a SIN-LAX non-stop routing to justify a fare that is enough
>higher to cover the costs?

>NRT is essentiallly on the SIN-LAX great circle, so in theory a stop in NRT
>might add as little as 2 hours to the total travel time, and unless the
>A340-500 performs considerable faster then the A340-200/300, a good part of
>that 2 hours may be lost due to the 747-400's higher cruise speeds and
>ability to fly at more attractive altitudes...

It's interesting that Singapore Airlines, who are trading in some of
their earlier-model A340s, for reasons that are believed to include
slower climb-to-altitude than competing long-range aircraft, as well
as slower cruise speeds, have gone for the new A340-500s.

They probably needed a lot of persuading, which makes me assume that
the equivalent data for the new model will be an improvement.  The
engine thrust to AUW ratio is quite a bit better: I would bet that the
configuration will be optimised for mostly premium passengers, as are
the 747s used by United on their longest hops.

Of course, you have to have premium bums in the premium seats.  If
most of the occupants are low-fare frequent flyers on upgrades, it
doesn't work out so well, except for public relations.   Perhaps this
is why United is abandoning LAX-MEL nonstops.

-Robin Johnson