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Arik Air - Kingfisher A340-500s  
User currently offlineCF-CPI From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 1083 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 13256 times:

The role of the A340-500 as a long haul niche aircraft paled a bit with the rise in fuel prices in the mid-2000s, leading to the 777LR's rise in prominence for this market.

My question is specifically directed at the 5 A340 airframes that Kingfisher intended to deploy on Mumbai - SFO nonstops circa 2007-2008. It seems that even within the A340-500 niche, these birds were special high gross weight ships equipped with the high-rated engines that are normally fitted to the A340-600.

My question is this: is this the only airframe/powerplant configuration capable of filling a US west coast - India market nonstop? If the 777LR can fill this role, why did Kingfisher select the less efficient A340-500 in the mid-2000s, after fuel costs had risen, and the -500 was really becoming marginal in terms of economics. Was it simply a case of an offer from Airbus they couldn't refuse?

I am happy to see these beautiful airframes serving some purpose with Arik Air, but at this time I am scratching my head wondering how they make money with them.

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePolot From United States of America, joined Jul 2011, 2259 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 13112 times:

Quoting CF-CPI (Thread starter):
My question is this: is this the only airframe/powerplant configuration capable of filling a US west coast - India market nonstop? If the 777LR can fill this role, why did Kingfisher select the less efficient A340-500 in the mid-2000s, after fuel costs had risen, and the -500 was really becoming marginal in terms of economics. Was it simply a case of an offer from Airbus they couldn't refuse?

The 777LR can fly the route if needed. As for why Kingfisher ordered the A345 instead, they are/were a loyal Airbus customer and probably got a great deal from Airbus, something I'm sure someone deep within Airbus kinda regrets now. Remember around the same time Kingfisher ordered 5 A330s (they eventually ordered more), 5 A350s, and 5 A380s in addition to the 5 A340s (opening them up to some ridicule here on A.net over the fact they were ordering 5 of basically everything Airbus had to offer).

This was at the height of Kingfisher/Indian Aviation mania, and many people thought they were going to become the next big thing.

[Edited 2012-07-29 09:35:08]

User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31110 posts, RR: 85
Reply 2, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 13061 times:
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Quoting CF-CPI (Thread starter):
My question is this: is this the only airframe/powerplant configuration capable of filling a US west coast - India market nonstop?

No. The 777-200LR and 747-400ER can both do the mission.



Quoting CF-CPI (Thread starter):
If the 777LR can fill this role, why did Kingfisher select the less efficient A340-500 in the mid-2000s, after fuel costs had risen, and the -500 was really becoming marginal in terms of economics.

As Polot noted, Kingfisher ordered the "Airbus Sampler Pack", which allows a customer to choose five frames from each of their widebody family (A330 / A340 / A350 / A380) offerings. So they took five A330-200s, five A340-500s, five A350-800s and five A380-800s.

Seriously, going all-Airbus for their long-haul fleet did offer advantages and I am sure Airbus did make them a solid offer for choosing frames from their entire catalog (they also operated the A319-100 and A320-200).


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25638 posts, RR: 22
Reply 3, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 12384 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 2):
Quoting CF-CPI (Thread starter):
My question is this: is this the only airframe/powerplant configuration capable of filling a US west coast - India market nonstop?

No. The 777-200LR and 747-400ER can both do the mission.

US west coast-India is shorter than many other longhaul nonstops. DEL is closer than BKK. A few examples (great circle):

SFO-DEL 6697 nm
SFO-BKK 6894 nm
SFO-DXB 7041 nm

When AC announced new nonstop service YVR-DEL (6026 nm) in 2001 they were planning on using the A340-300. The route was dropped before it started due to 9/11. YVR-DEL is shorter than YYZ-DEL (6297 nm) which they did operate for a while with the A343.


User currently offlineCF-CPI From Canada, joined Nov 2000, 1083 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 12223 times:

Thanks for all the responses. I see the routes to India are all less than 7000nm, which by today's standards, is a proverbial piece of cake. By all accounts, Kingfisher's owner should have stuck to beer, and let a real professional do the fleet planning.

User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12158 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 11955 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 2):
Quoting CF-CPI (Thread starter):My question is this: is this the only airframe/powerplant configuration capable of filling a US west coast - India market nonstop?
No. The 777-200LR and 747-400ER can both do the mission.

As can the B-747-8I and A-380. The GC distance BOM-SFO is 8400 nm.

As far as Ultra Long Ranged airplanes go, the A-340-500IGW has a range of 9000 nm, the B-777-200LR a range of 9400 nm.

The A-350-500IGW has a MTOW 840,000 lbs but needs 59,000 USG of fuel (including reserves) to fly to its maximum range. The B-777-200LR has a MTOW of 766,000 lbs on less than 48,000 USG of fuel to fly to its maximum range. The B-77L also carries more pax in a 2 class configueration, 400 compared to 360 on the A-345. In a 3 class configueration the A-345 has a slight advantage of 313 compared to the B-77L at 301 pax.

The B-77L is slightly faster with a typical cruise airspeed of .85M and a max airspeed of .89M, the A-345 typical cruise is .83M and max airspeed of .86M.


User currently offlinespink From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 318 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 11949 times:

Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 4):
Thanks for all the responses. I see the routes to India are all less than 7000nm, which by today's standards, is a proverbial piece of cake. By all accounts, Kingfisher's owner should have stuck to beer, and let a real professional do the fleet planning.

IIRC, the 345s were originally planned to do SFO-BLR runs non-stop which are at 7560 nmi via GC. SFO-BOM is also at 7300 nmi. SFO-BLR GC routes goes directly over the highest mountain range in the world, and I remember there were some additional concerns back when people were discussing the order that had to be taken into account. Both the 346 and 77W don't have much margin for the for the flight. And there is certainly enough traffic flowing SFO-BLR to justify a plane, esp at the time with the traffic into BLR more than doubling every year and cheapest economy tickets from SFO approaching 3K.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25638 posts, RR: 22
Reply 7, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 11843 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
The GC distance BOM-SFO is 8400 nm.

BOM-SFO is only 7305 nm. (8400 is statute miles).


User currently offlinespink From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 318 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 11783 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 2):
No. The 777-200LR and 747-400ER can both do the mission.
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 3):
US west coast-India is shorter than many other longhaul nonstops. DEL is closer than BKK. A few examples (great circle):

The interesting routes from the west coast are LAX-BOM and SFO-BLR both of which are ~7500 nmi and both of which cross the himalayas. both are roughly the same range as LAX-SIN which can't really be done without a 345 or 77L. Pretty sure the 744ER doesn't have the range.


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31110 posts, RR: 85
Reply 9, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 11682 times:
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Quoting spink (Reply 8):
Pretty sure the 744ER doesn't have the range.

Using the OEM ACAPS for a 7500nm mission, payload would be about 93,000 pounds compared to 141,000 for a 777-200LR and 99,000 pounds for an A340-500.


User currently offlineoutbackair From Australia, joined Jul 2005, 32 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 10720 times:
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FYI, The A340s retained their Kingfisher interiors. Lay flat beds in business, stand up bar. All for the long flight from India's Silicon Valley to US Silicon Valley, originally. Go to the Arik Air website for info.

BTW, the crew bunks are at the back, below the main deck.
Just Planes Videos have released a DVD including cockpit and cabin on this aircraft and their fleet. There is a YouTube video too.


User currently offlinephxa340 From United States of America, joined Mar 2012, 891 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 10658 times:

Quoting CF-CPI (Thread starter):
I am happy to see these beautiful airframes serving some purpose with Arik Air

Aren't the A345s operated by Hi-Fly ? Or is it an Arik Air aircraft with Hi-Fly crews ?


User currently offlinezkojq From New Zealand, joined Sep 2011, 1266 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10207 times:

Quoting CF-CPI (Thread starter):
My question is this: is this the only airframe/powerplant configuration capable of filling a US west coast - India market nonstop? If the 777LR can fill this role, why did Kingfisher select the less efficient A340-500 in the mid-2000s, after fuel costs had risen, and the -500 was really becoming marginal in terms of economics. Was it simply a case of an offer from Airbus they couldn't refuse?

Probably because of the commonality with the Airbus A330s they had ordered. Additionally, they likely got a large discount from Airbus since they also ordered A330s and A380s at the same time.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 2):
Seriously, going all-Airbus for their long-haul fleet did offer advantages and I am sure Airbus did make them a solid offer for choosing frames from their entire catalog (they also operated the A319-100 and A320-200).

  

Quoting phxa340 (Reply 11):
Aren't the A345s operated by Hi-Fly ? Or is it an Arik Air aircraft with Hi-Fly crews ?

Owned by HIFly, wet leased to Arik Air. Both aircraft have Portuguese registrations (CS-).



Air New Zealand; first to fly the Boeing 787-9. ZK-NZE, NZ103 AKL-SYD, 2014/08/09. I was 83rd to board.
User currently offlinespink From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 318 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 10081 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 9):

Using the OEM ACAPS for a 7500nm mission, payload would be about 93,000 pounds compared to 141,000 for a 777-200LR and 99,000 pounds for an A340-500.

Part of the issue is that the 744er is ~100nm from max range on both lax-bom and sfo-blr with a gc route which means even minor diversions from GC would make it require a technical stop. Then you have to factor in the flight path corrections to basically go around the worst parts of the Himalayas. A plane realistically is going to need north of 8K nmi in order to do those routes.


User currently offlinetjcab From Canada, joined exactly 10 years ago today! , 334 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9938 times:

some interesting info here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGtLbCyoI4I&feature=player_detailpage#t=224s

User currently offlineCricket From India, joined Aug 2005, 2971 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 9304 times:

Quoting outbackair (Reply 10):
FYI, The A340s retained their Kingfisher interiors. Lay flat beds in business, stand up bar. All for the long flight from India's Silicon Valley to US Silicon Valley, originally.

Yup, the initial plan was a BLR-SFO flight - 8700 nm - then a few months before delivery there was talk of BLR-DXB-SFO - the DXB stop to pick up 'cheap' fuel was Kingfisher's spin - even though Aviation Fuel foe International flights is duty free in India and comparable to most other major airports - that was Kingfisher trying to find an excuse.

BLR never worked out for IT - the first ever long-haul international route BLR-LHR on IT001 was canned a few months into service (no onward connectivity, something OW could have solved but they also saw the light - rather CX saw the light), the flight shifting to DEL which is a much larger O&D market.



A300B2/B4/6R, A313, A319/320/321, A333, A343, A388, 737-2/3/4/7/8/9, 747-3/4, 772/2E/2L/3, E170/190, F70, CR2/7, 146-3,
User currently offlineJerseyFlyer From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 642 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 9232 times:

I think Kingfisher even confirmed options on a second batch of 5 x A345, but these were not built but delivered as 330s.

User currently offlinesturmovik From India, joined May 2007, 511 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 8928 times:

Quoting Cricket (Reply 15):
Yup, the initial plan was a BLR-SFO flight - 8700 nm - then a few months before delivery there was talk of BLR-DXB-SFO - the DXB stop to pick up 'cheap' fuel was Kingfisher's spin - even though Aviation Fuel foe International flights is duty free in India and comparable to most other major airports - that was Kingfisher trying to find an excuse.

In this context, in the months approaching delivery for the A345s, I heard from an IT A330 Captain that the first class seats installed on the A345s turned out to be a bit heavier than expected, shortening range by 'a coupla hundred nautical miles' according to him. He said the DXB talk was partly because of this shortfall. I realize that pilots may not be the best source for rumours. Anyone else heard anything of this sort?

Edited to add a/c type.

[Edited 2012-07-30 00:47:08]


'What's it doing now?'
User currently offlinespink From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 318 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 8887 times:

Quoting Cricket (Reply 15):
Yup, the initial plan was a BLR-SFO flight - 8700 nm - then a few months before delivery there was talk of BLR-DXB-SFO - the DXB stop to pick up 'cheap' fuel was Kingfisher's spin - even though Aviation Fuel foe International flights is duty free in India and comparable to most other major airports - that was Kingfisher trying to find an excuse.

BLR-SFO is 7600 nmi great circle. And honestly, if they ever got the BLR-SFO flight off the ground they would of likely made a decent amount of money on it, for the simple reasons that all the other fares on that routing had gotten so ridiculous and were so capacity constrained. I once needed to fly over there with 6 weeks notice and there literally weren't any seats available for over a 3 day window, had to end up flying out 4 (wed arrival vs preferred sat/sunday) days early in order to find a seat.

But yeah, Kingfisher kinda imploded. Though when they were actually flying they were a decent airline. I do wonder how much money Airbus ended up having to eat on those heavily customized 345s.


User currently offlineCricket From India, joined Aug 2005, 2971 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 7996 times:

Quoting sturmovik (Reply 17):
In this context, in the months approaching delivery for the A345s, I heard from an IT A330 Captain that the first class seats installed on the A345s turned out to be a bit heavier than expected, shortening range by 'a coupla hundred nautical miles' according to him.

Could be, BLR-SFO would have been on the edge of the aircraft's range, but the spin from Mallya's office was 'fuel'; I would trust a pilot over Mallya



A300B2/B4/6R, A313, A319/320/321, A333, A343, A388, 737-2/3/4/7/8/9, 747-3/4, 772/2E/2L/3, E170/190, F70, CR2/7, 146-3,
User currently offlineairbazar From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 8481 posts, RR: 10
Reply 20, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5630 times:

IIRC the biggest problem that Kingfisher faced was not being able to fly international routes. At the time India had a rule that airlines needed to operate domestically so so many years before being granted permission to fly international routes. Kingfisher was essentially created to be an international carrier much like Virgin Atlantic is to the UK and they were counting on being able to circumvent that rule. It didn't happen and they were stuck with a huge order of long haul planes that they couldn't fly anywhere.

User currently offlineImpacto From Canada, joined Mar 2007, 214 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 5448 times:

Quoting zkojq (Reply 12):
Owned by HIFly, wet leased to Arik Air. Both aircraft have Portuguese registrations (CS-).

In actual fact, the A340s were bought by and belong to Arik Air International, who dry leased them to Hi Fly and who in turn wet leased back to and operate them for Arik Air in order to operate flights to the US. Nigeria had not attained category 1 status at that time, meaning that Nigerian registered planes were not allowed to operate direct flights to the US.

http://www.arikair.com/ng/ABOUT-US/Arik-International.aspx

Both Aircraft to be re-registered 5N-JIA and 5N-JIB.

http://www.ch-aviation.ch/portal/aircraft.php?search=set&airline=AIK


User currently offline817Dreamliiner From Montserrat, joined Jul 2008, 2473 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (2 years 2 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 5046 times:

Quoting airbazar (Reply 20):
IIRC the biggest problem that Kingfisher faced was not being able to fly international routes. At the time India had a rule that airlines needed to operate domestically so so many years before being granted permission to fly international routes. Kingfisher was essentially created to be an international carrier much like Virgin Atlantic is to the UK and they were counting on being able to circumvent that rule. It didn't happen and they were stuck with a huge order of long haul planes that they couldn't fly anywhere.

If I remember correctly, they needed to fly domestically for 5 years before they could fly international. They began intl ops in 2008 when they acquired air deccan about 3 years after they began operations.



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