GUNDU From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (15 years 5 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 3744 times:
BA has SIA on radar screen
British carrier is ready to defend home turf as pressure mounts for Britain to let SIA fly the transatlantic route
By NICHOLAS FANG
BRITISH Airways (BA) is game to take on Singapore Airlines (SIA) on the transatlantic route between London and New York, but emphasises that it does not intend to give up its home turf without a fight.
""We have never shied away from competition before, but we do recognise that Singapore Airlines is a fierce competitor,'' British Airways' regional sales and marketing manager for South-east Asia, Mr Rob Coldman, said in an interview yesterday.
""We have a very long history in London as our home market and we want to look after it.''
The current arrangement between the US and Britain restricts access to London's Heathrow Airport to BA and Virgin Atlantic from Britain, and American Airlines and United Airlines from the US.
But in the last three weeks, there have been calls from several quarters in Britain and Singapore to scrap this arrangement.
Lending its weight to the argument was a British parliamentary committee, which said in a report last month that the British government should consider giving SIA the right to operate services to the US from Britain ahead of any bilateral deal on services between Britain and the US.
""We can't comment on the current arrangement as it is a regulatory issue between the US and Britain,'' said Mr Coldman. ""It's the British government's call.''
When asked if he felt that the government had protected BA in its own backyard, he said that ""we have not been a nationalised airline since the 1980s and we have learnt to stand on our own feet''. SIA had requested transatlantic rights from Britain as far back as in 1989, but the government at the time had said it would consider the request when the number of Singapore-London services operated by SIA reached 21 a week.
Despite hitting this threshold some three years ago, SIA has not managed to gain a foothold in the much- sought-after transatlantic route.
This was because the British government had changed its conditions, saying that it would not consider SIA's request until it resolved its talks with the US.
SIA is requesting seven services a week from Heathrow, against the 189 weekly services operated by BA and 63 services by Virgin.
If permission is granted to SIA, it could mean greater pressure for BA, which struggled in the last financial year and reported its first-ever full-year loss of £21 million (S$52.8 million) for the year to March 31.
""The strength of the sterling and the huge increases in jet-fuel prices were the key reasons behind the difficult time we had last year,'' said Mr Coldman, but he believed that the carrier's core strategy will be the cornerstone of its recovery.
""We have been and always will be a customer-focused airline and we believe in responding to their demands.
""Currently, our passengers want greater flexibility in their choice of flights so we will provide greater frequency with smaller planes instead of increasing capacity.''
To that end, BA has focused on reducing its use of Boeing 747 airplanes and increasing its stock of the smaller B777 carrier.
""By 2002, nearly half our long-haul fleet will be B777s,'' said Mr Coldman.
BA has 35 B777s in its fleet of 139 long-haul aircraft, with 12 more on firm order and the option to buy a further 16.
Earlier this year, it announced a £600 million investment in new products that will be introduced over the next two years, including new facilities and more space in their cabins.
Finally,some competition on the trans-atlantic routes from the UK.
DesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7879 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (15 years 5 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3635 times:
This seems really odd that SQ should be allowed access to this market when native carriers to the UK (British Midland) and the US are being denied access. I'd rather see Delta or Continental or USAirways or any other US carrier be granted access b/c the economic impacts would be more localized to the UK and US. Those are my thoughts.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
Wingtip From Australia, joined Sep 2000, 52 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (15 years 5 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3635 times:
What would the reciprocal agreement be? Would the UK airlines get additional rights out of Singapore to other ports in Asia or Australia? As I understand it VS or BM already have the rights to fly to Australia via Singapore, if they chose to utilise them. LHR-JFK is a profitable route for BA so I can understand if it isn't too happy about SQ coming onto the route given that they are getting nothing in return. Even if it is only one B744 a day that would still be one less B744 load of passengers for the 4 airlines currently serving that route. And given SQ's excellent reputation for service they would quickly make a dent in the market.
I'm all for competition but I can also understand if BA weren't too happy about SQ coming onto the route. Given that SQ owns 49% of VS, they would probably welcome the move.
Jubilee777 From Singapore, joined May 1999, 528 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (15 years 5 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3559 times:
*The only reason BA flies via SIN is because the range is TOO long. They aren't flying SIN-Australia to attack SQ or because they want to make a large profit, they just need to get to Australia.*
SIA wants to fly via LHR is because the range between Singapore and the Eastern Coast of United States is TOO long.
And the Kangaroo Route is one of the most profitable for BA and QF, that's why other carriers are also trying to get into the picture..like MAS, Thai, Emirates and SIA. BA/QF doesn't fly SIN-LON 3 times a day if it wasn't profitable....nor will any other airline if no profit was to be made.
*Secondly, SQ doesn't really have much to back it up, as it already serves the US via other intermediate points.*
BA also serves Aussie from other points like Bangkok. SIA flies to Western US via the Pacific, not Atlantic.
The SIA stand is that it's request for 7 weekly flight will not pose much competition for BA's 160+ flight a week.
Anyway, the consumers will most likely to gain from extra competition. Look at Australia's domestic skies. Competition has made travelling a lot cheaper than anyone there had imagined possible. If BA cannot stand the competition, then it really is in big trouble.
Consumers will have more choice, airlines will try to improve their service standards and eventually consumers are happy.
They can choose NOT to fly SIA if they prefer/support BA. But i still cannot understand your definition of "cruel intentions". Unless perhaps you are working for BA...then it seems more "understandable".
SIA Fan From Indonesia, joined Aug 2000, 728 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (15 years 5 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3528 times:
What is BA afraid of anyway? They have hundreds of flights to and from the US! All SQ asking for is just 7 weekly flights. Plus they won't take up the whole load of the B744 as I am sure there will be many passengers from/to SIngapore.
BA has already flown to Australia for years via Singapore and they also fly to Australia via another intermediate point!
SQ has launched a campaign in UK called Transatlantic Choice for some time now, anyone's interested can see it on the SQ's UK website, www.singaporeair.com/uk