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Why So Little Int'l Flight Consolidation?  
User currently offlinesomething From United Kingdom, joined May 2011, 1633 posts, RR: 21
Posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 4120 times:

I track flights regularly and I am always surprised to see airplanes of partnering airlines flying the same routes at the same time. Now of course there is competition within alliances as well, and not all flights are revenue shared, but I am baffled as to why this hasn't been explored yet as a cost saving measure throughout the industry. AF/KL or BA/AA seem to do a fairly good job at it.

A few exemplatory routes where flights could - in theory - be consolidated:

UA119 and LH403 both arrive FRA around 07.00am from EWR. SA)">UA is a 752, LH a 744.
SQ025 and LH405 both arrive FRA around 11.00am from JFK. SQ is a 388, LH a 744.
UA122 and SK910 both arrive CPH around 07.20am from EWR. SA)">UA is a 752, SK a 343.
BA028 and CX251 both arrive LHR around 05.40am from HKG. CX is a 77W, BA a 777.
LH573 and SA260 both arrive FRA around 06.00am from JNB. LH is a 388, SA a 346.

Not only could this be extended ad infinitum (rhetorically), but there are also some really mind boggling examples.

BA12 (744), BA16 (744), QF9 (388), QF1 (388) all arrive LHR from SIN within a 90mins. time window from 5am to 6.30am.

Now of course airlines want to offer a consistent hard product to their customers, they want to have an extensive network, they need the planes to fly to airports beyond this point, airlines can theoretically earn more money if they don't have to revenue share.

But isn't that type of thinking just as much a thing of the past as free meals, free checked luggage and more than a three major airlines in the USA? The airline industry has to constantly re-invent itself and in times of high fuel prices, high labor cost, volatile and price sensitive markets, mass tourism, a threat from the Middle East, scarce slots, stringent safety regulations (savings through less maintenance on a downscaled fleet) etc. shouldn't this option at least be explored? Wouldn't it be much cheaper to run daily A388 between EWR and OSL, CPH, ARN, FRA etc. than multiple planes that fly at the exact same time? How much money could be saved putting two 744s into one A380-1000?


..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDLD9S From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 260 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 4088 times:

There is a difference between being in an alliance (like SQ and UA on NYC-FRA), and having antitrust immunity with rev sharing (like AA/BA/IB or UA/AC/LH). The revenue UA makes selling a seat on JFK-FRA on SQ is much less than if they sold it on their own metal or LH.


717 727 737 747 757 767 777 DC9 DC10 M80 M90 M11 L10 AB6 333 340 319 320 321 ARJ CRJ EM2 EMJ SF3 146 100 BE1...
User currently offlineairbazar From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 8387 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3965 times:

Quoting something (Thread starter):
A few exemplatory routes where flights could - in theory - be consolidated:

Consolidated into what? If the flights are operating it's because there is demand for all of those seats, at those times. How in the world do you consolidate an A388 and a 744, just to pick one example?


User currently offlinejumpjets From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2012, 830 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3955 times:

Quoting something (Thread starter):
BA12 (744), BA16 (744), QF9 (388), QF1 (388) all arrive LHR from SIN within a 90mins. time window from 5am to 6.30am.

On the assumption that these flights attract decent load factors I am wondering how you might consolidate 2x744 and 2x388 given that there is nothing bigger in the market. Also whilst they all end up at LHR from SIN you have to bear in mind that 2 come from SYD one from MEL and one originating in SIN.

In the past BA and QF had through services to/from Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane that disappeared. Now SIN is a QF/OW hub and so the LHR bound flights will undoubtedly also pick up traffic in SIN that has originated from the other Oz cities which no longer have direct flights - so in a sense the four flights referred to are already consolidators.


User currently offlineLX138 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2009, 396 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3913 times:

It's easy to forget that most of the airlines mentioned in your example still compete against each other - even if they are in the same alliance. That's what it comes down to - at the end of the day the number 1 priority for an airline is to get people buying tickets to fly on your own aircraft. Code-shares are more of a wider package offered to make an airline or pact of airlines more attractive to customers and frequent flyers (through connectivity, etc, etc,).

It's worth noting that as an example BA have very little in the way of long-haul code-shares as that is where they make most of the revenue, and clouding the brand by slapping code-shares on multiple partner carriers is not part of their strategy.



StarWorld Team - The ultimate airline alliance
User currently offlineslinky09 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2009, 840 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3900 times:

There are multiple reasons, on HKG-LHR for example there is a limited window of opportunity for flights that meet travellers requirements, for SIN-LHR there are different starting points, for others there may be slot restrictions for example. I agree that spacing out seems to make sense up front, rather than consolidating because doing the latter doesn't solve a demand issue however the former often has restrictions.

User currently offlineaeroblogger From India, joined Dec 2011, 1363 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3788 times:

On BKK-ICN, TG operates 2 flights within 30 minutes of each other.


Airports 2012: IXE HYD DEL BLR BOM CCU KNU KTM BKK SIN ICN LAX BUR SFO PHX IAH ORD EWR PHL PVD BOS FRA MUC IST
User currently offlineVV701 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 7545 posts, RR: 17
Reply 7, posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3746 times:

Quoting something (Thread starter):
BA028 and CX251 both arrive LHR around 05.40am from HKG. CX is a 77W, BA a 777

Often there are very good reasons for these parallel operations. These include time differences and night curfews. To BA026 (arriving LHR at 05.25 am) and CX251 you could have added BA026 that arrives at LHR from HKG half an hour earlier at 04.55 am.

Looking in detail at BA026, it departs HKG pretty late at 11.15 pm and could not be timed to arrive at LHR any earlier than 04.55 am because of the night curfew. Then BA028 follows it still later having departed from HKG at 11.45 pm.


User currently offlinejumpjets From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2012, 830 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3697 times:

Quoting VV701 (Reply 7):
To BA026 (arriving LHR at 05.25 am) and CX251 you could have added BA026 that arrives at LHR from HKG half an hour earlier at 04.55 am.

..and dont forget VS201 [A340-600] at 23.35 and CX 255 [B744] at 00.35.


User currently offlineqf002 From Australia, joined Jul 2011, 2987 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 3665 times:

I've often wondered the same thing, especially with respect to the massive QF/BA clumping between SIN and LHR. But with SQ adding another late departure, it would appear that this is simply the time of day that customers are demanding services.

You also have to remember that different carriers offer very different products. A Hong Kong native who speaks limited English is unlikely to be keen on flying on a consolidated BA A380 flight HKG-LHR, so might defect to the HX or another local airline. Overall that's bad for OW. Different airlines in the same alliance cater for different parts of the market, and that diversified offering can be critical in the alliance dominating the route (such as in the HKG-LHR example).


User currently offlinesomething From United Kingdom, joined May 2011, 1633 posts, RR: 21
Reply 10, posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 3585 times:

Quoting DLD9S (Reply 1):
There is a difference between being in an alliance (like SQ and UA on NYC-FRA), and having antitrust immunity with rev sharing (like AA/BA/IB or UA/AC/LH). The revenue UA makes selling a seat on JFK-FRA on SQ is much less than if they sold it on their own metal or LH.

Antitrust is something airline cooperations could work towards.

Quoting airbazar (Reply 2):
Consolidated into what? If the flights are operating it's because there is demand for all of those seats, at those times. How in the world do you consolidate an A388 and a 744, just to pick one example?

An A380-1000 for example. They don't build it because there is no market for it. And I ask how long will airlines be able to afford maintaining the status quo?

Quoting jumpjets (Reply 3):
On the assumption that these flights attract decent load factors I am wondering how you might consolidate 2x744 and 2x388 given that there is nothing bigger in the market. Also whilst they all end up at LHR from SIN you have to bear in mind that 2 come from SYD one from MEL and one originating in SIN.

Obviously airlines would have to restructure their operations. QF could fly people to SIN, BA would take them from there. Of course this would mean a quasi-merger of these airlines but it could potentially save a lot of money.

Quoting qf002 (Reply 9):
You also have to remember that different carriers offer very different products. A Hong Kong native who speaks limited English is unlikely to be keen on flying on a consolidated BA A380 flight HKG-LHR, so might defect to the HX or another local airline. Overall that's bad for OW. Different airlines in the same alliance cater for different parts of the market, and that diversified offering can be critical in the alliance dominating the route (such as in the HKG-LHR example).

Shouldn't a level of quality consistency be an entry requirement to join any alliance? And besides.. foreign airlines employ ''foreign'' cabin crew even today. If you fly United between Germany and the USA, you will have German speakers on board. Cathay cabin crew speak both Mandarin and English.

I am not saying a transition into such a close cooperation would be easy and problem free. But that all should be well offset by the saving potential especially since it wouldn't change anything from a customer point of view. The same frequencies, the same product, the same service levels could all be retained.



..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
User currently offlineairbazar From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 8387 posts, RR: 10
Reply 11, posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 3287 times:

Quoting something (Reply 10):
An A380-1000 for example. They don't build it because there is no market for it. And I ask how long will airlines be able to afford maintaining the status quo?

For as long as passengers keep paying more to depart at 20:00 and arrive at 06:00. Those are the times passengers want to travel, so the airlines provide that service. Not the other way around. Just look at the daylight eastbound TATL routes as an extreme example. They operate with lower fares than th eevening departures. There is also the issue of slots and curfews as others have pointed out. There are also connection banks to fit into.


User currently offlinejumpjets From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2012, 830 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 3 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 3063 times:

Quoting something (Reply 10):
Obviously airlines would have to restructure their operations. QF could fly people to SIN, BA would take them from there. Of course this would mean a quasi-merger of these airlines but it could potentially save a lot of money.

QF and BA have for many years had a joint business arrangement on the Kangaroo routes - so you might say for the purposes of those services they have already merged their business interests.

Also BA/QF have started restructuring their offerings on the SYD/MEL-HKG-LHR and SYD - BKK-LHR routes - there are no longer [or soon won't] be through services to LHR on either BA or QF through HKG and BKK. As I mentioned previously SIN acts as a funnel for passengers on QF and BA to LHR [and other places no doubt] from a variety of Ozzie cities.


User currently offlinebobloblaw From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 1725 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (2 years 3 months 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 2727 times:

Everyone has come up with good reasons why.

One more reason not mentioned. In the case of TG and SQ, some airlines, like people, are just jerks. No one allied with SQ or TG finds the relationship easy to coordinate.


User currently offlinebobnwa From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 6477 posts, RR: 9
Reply 14, posted (2 years 3 months 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2418 times:

Quoting something (Thread starter):
Wouldn't it be much cheaper to run daily A388 between EWR and OSL, CPH, ARN, FRA etc. than multiple planes that fly at the exact same time? How much money could be saved putting two 744s into one A380-1000?

In order to do what you suggest, ublees the were joint ventures involved, the airlines coordinating schedules or fares I believe would be in violation of anti trust laws


User currently offlinetommy767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 6584 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (2 years 3 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2343 times:

UA drops EWR-CPH in the fall -- leaving only SK in the market. That's consolidation!


"Folks that's the news and I'm outta here!" -- Dennis Miller
User currently offlinesomething From United Kingdom, joined May 2011, 1633 posts, RR: 21
Reply 16, posted (2 years 3 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2310 times:

Quoting airbazar (Reply 11):
Quoting something (Reply 10):
An A380-1000 for example. They don't build it because there is no market for it. And I ask how long will airlines be able to afford maintaining the status quo?

For as long as passengers keep paying more to depart at 20:00 and arrive at 06:00. Those are the times passengers want to travel, so the airlines provide that service. Not the other way around. Just look at the daylight eastbound TATL routes as an extreme example. They operate with lower fares than th eevening departures. There is also the issue of slots and curfews as others have pointed out. There are also connection banks to fit into.

Not to sound disrespectful, but have you even taken a look at the examples I listed? Many of these flights leave at the exact time, or 5 mins off of each other. The consolidating flights idea does not in the slightest affect schedules.

Quoting tommy767 (Reply 15):
UA drops EWR-CPH in the fall -- leaving only SK in the market. That's consolidation!

Drops, or suspends for the winter? By the way, this is one excellent example why smaller airplanes can be more profitable. You have more operational flexibility to react to market fluctuations; sometimes a smaller profit during peak season is cheaper to bear than a larger loss in the off seasons.
But there are markets like LHR-SIN or LHR-HKG with incredible volumes of traffic all year around...



..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
User currently offlineVC10DC10 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 1036 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (2 years 3 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 1961 times:

Quoting something (Reply 16):
this is one excellent example why smaller airplanes can be more profitable. You have more operational flexibility to react to market fluctuations; sometimes a smaller profit during peak season is cheaper to bear than a larger loss in the off seasons.
But there are markets like LHR-SIN or LHR-HKG with incredible volumes of traffic all year around

I feel like you've answered your own question in two different ways here.


User currently offlinetommy767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 6584 posts, RR: 9
Reply 18, posted (2 years 3 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 1927 times:

Quoting something (Reply 16):

EWR-CPH IIRC is dropped entirely.



"Folks that's the news and I'm outta here!" -- Dennis Miller
User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9652 posts, RR: 52
Reply 19, posted (2 years 3 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 1865 times:

One reason you often see matching flight arrival or departure times is because many airlines still use banked arrivals and departures. United is one of them. Since they use a bank system, all the flights need to arrive and depart together to allow for connections. For example UA and NH operate 3 SFO-NRT flights. They all leave within 2 hours of each other. On the return, the UA and NH flights leave at exactly the same time. The reason is connections in both NRT and SFO. While a morning and an afternoon departure or a morning and a red eye departure might make sense to offer flexibility to passengers, connections are more important. UA only has one main bank of SFO international departures and a secondary bank a couple hours later.

Another reason why you see multiple departures at the same time is capacity flexibility. In an ideal world, they could operate an A380 during peak season and a 777 during slow season, but that is too difficult for some airlines. The easier solution is adding a second flight during peak season rather than having the A380 fly around with low load factors during slow season.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
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