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Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?  
User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9210 posts, RR: 15
Posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1134 times:

In the past we saw Cathay Pacific (4X), British Airways (3X), Virgin Atlantic (2X), Qantas (1X), Air New Zealand (1X) flying this route. We even have Oasis Hong Kong Airlines doing HKG-LGW.

But now QF has pulled out and NZ is pulling out. All we have is CX, BA and VS doing this route.

Is this route declining? Why is this happening? If not will NZ/QF be back again some day?

44 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineIndianicWorld From Australia, joined Jun 2001, 3034 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1149 times:

There are many other options in Asia these days, along with the Gulf hubs.

The demand is still strong for Hong Kong - London though, but as the other options are now in play, it has seen a change in the route over time.


User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 26168 posts, RR: 50
Reply 2, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1150 times:

According to the CAA its certainly not a growing market. Seems to have peaked in 2007.

Annual enplanements between UK and HK:

2011 - 1,412,826
2010 - 1,386,779
2009 - 1,528,886
2008 - 1,553,833
2007 - 1,659,892
2006 - 1,538,933
2005 - 1,459,093
2004 - 1,275,396
2003 - 1,200,339
2002 - 1,113,072

=



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlinekaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 12597 posts, RR: 34
Reply 3, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1147 times:

That's interesting; a lot would be due to the fact that increasing pax are flying via DXB/DOH and other places in between. It is noticeable that there has been a decline in capacity, both due to the use of smaller capacity acft (777s instead of 744s, for example) and the reconfiguration of those acft, which has also reduced seat numbers.

User currently offlineAsiaflyer From Singapore, joined May 2007, 1164 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1143 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
According to the CAA its certainly not a growing market. Seems to have peaked in 2007.


Thanks for the statistics. HK was also a traditional hub for doing business into mainland China, but its importance as such has declined with the rise of direct business activities in China itself.



SQ,MI,MH,CX,KA,CA,CZ,MU,KE,OZ,QF,NZ,FD,JQ,3K,5J,IT,AI,IC,QR,SK,LF,KL,AF,LH,LX,OS,SR,BA,SN,FR,WF,1I,5T,VZ,VX,AC,NW,UA,US,
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 26168 posts, RR: 50
Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1147 times:

Quoting Asiaflyer (Reply 4):
Thanks for the statistics. HK was also a traditional hub for doing business into mainland China, but its importance as such has declined with the rise of direct business activities in China itself.

  

Indeed.

Here are the PRC numbers for same period. Quite healthy growth over the last decade.

2011 - 662,900
2010 - 606,814
2009 - 536,244
2008 - 571,459
2007 - 630,888
2006 - 585,064
2005 - 486,652
2004 - 347,974
2003 - 247,262
2002 - 211,254

=



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineseansasLCY From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2007, 903 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1146 times:

I usually travel to HKG at least once a year, the first couple of years 05,6,7 I flew CX or VS. Now its just not worth the premium. I've travelled with EK and Jet Airways recently.

The stopover doesn't bother me and quite a few people on the Jet flight from HKG to BOM connected onto LHR.


User currently offlineAirbusA6 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 2038 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1145 times:

Quoting Asiaflyer (Reply 4):

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
According to the CAA its certainly not a growing market. Seems to have peaked in 2007.


Thanks for the statistics. HK was also a traditional hub for doing business into mainland China, but its importance as such has declined with the rise of direct business activities in China itself.

CZ fly directly from LHR to CAN, this must be removing the need to fly via HKG for visitors to Shenzen etc



it's the bus to stansted (now renamed national express a4 to ruin my username)
User currently offlinejasewgtn From New Zealand, joined Mar 2000, 823 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1145 times:

Perhaps it has something to do with Hong Kong being handed back from the United Kingdom to China?

User currently offlineual777uk From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2005, 3356 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 1145 times:

Quoting jasewgtn (Reply 8):
Perhaps it has something to do with Hong Kong being handed back from the United Kingdom to China?

I very much doubt thats the reason, there is still a large amount of business going on between London and Hong Kong, i dont think the hand over in the 90s has had an effect, perhaps maybe a little in the down turn but that can be said for everywhere.

I think the market just got saturated and what with the main players BA, CX and to a degree VS started being squeezed by EK, QR etc, something had to give.........that something was QF and NZ who rea;ise they can make more money sending their metal elsewhere.


User currently offlineAF185 From Hong Kong, joined Sep 2012, 262 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 1145 times:

Quoting jasewgtn (Reply 8):
Perhaps it has something to do with Hong Kong being handed back from the United Kingdom to China?

This is not the reason. UK and HK still have a lot of interchanges: business/finance, students, expat communities in both countries, cultural and sports events..etc

QF and NZ both pulled out of the route mostly because of the growing competition from the Gulf and Chinese carriers. As for Oasis and the struggling Hong Kong Airlines, the reason is more related to their lack of network and connection possibilities which are definitely a disadvantage compared CX/KA.


User currently offlineQFVHOQA From Australia, joined Mar 2012, 504 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 1143 times:

QF and NZ probably picked up little HKG-LHR traffic compared to their AU/NZ-HKG traffic. A seat taken AU/NZ-HKG was not always filled by HKG-LHR pax.
CX/BA have the connections on one end so can funnel more passengers onto their flights. Anecdotal evidence on BA28 HKG-LHR recently had many connecting pax from AU/NZ.


User currently offlinekoruman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1142 times:

Air New Zealand is pulling out because of its own lack of vision and forward planning.

Auckland-Hong Kong was originally extended to London so that through AKL-LHR (and vv) passengers didn't clog up space on the AKL-LAX-LHR flight, because the airline wanted to sell as many AKL-LAX and LHR-LAX tickets as possible, as each sold for around 80% of the cost of a through ticket.

But at the same time Air NZ made demand for LHR-LAX fall by around 20% overnight when they discontinued through services to Fiji and Tahiti, which decimated traffic from France, Germany and Italy on NZ1/2.

And HKG-LHR made the most sense as part of a scissor-hub from multiple Australian and New Zealand destinations to several UK and Europe ones. But the failure to open that hub left HKG-LHR as an orphaned route.

And worse, the departure from Hong Kong to London was so eye-poppingly early in the morning that it wiped out Macau traffic and encouraged vast numbers of Kiwis and Poms planning a stopover to route via LAX after all.


User currently offlineBlueShamu330s From UK - England, joined Sep 2001, 3068 posts, RR: 23
Reply 13, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1146 times:

Come on ANZ; MAN-HKG-AKL, slap on a CX code share, everyone happy !

Rgds



So I drive a 4x4. So what?! Tax the a$$ off me for it...oh, you already have... :-(
User currently offlinekoruman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1142 times:

Quoting BlueShamu330s (Reply 13):
Come on ANZ; MAN-HKG-AKL, slap on a CX code share, everyone happy !

I know, I know.

The problem is that the powers that be at NZ are ignorant about the difference between Cantonese and Mandarin-speaking China and of Manchester's enduring links with Hong Kong - and London's relative lack of them.


User currently offlinejfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8513 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1142 times:
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Hong Kong to LHR has to be one of the biggest European links to Asia if not the biggest. How many Asian Airlines have 4 flights daily to a European city ? None from Japan, no Euro city has 4 flights daily by one airline to Tokyo, some barely have 4 at all by all airlines flying the route. Sinagpore Airlines has A380 tripple daily to LHR, a close second to Cathay to LHR. When it comes to frequency LHR is king in Europe, some airlines like LH and AF do fly to more of Asia then BA.

User currently offlineAsiaflyer From Singapore, joined May 2007, 1164 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1147 times:

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 15):
Sinagpore Airlines has A380 tripple daily to LHR,

SQ has 4 daily SIN-LHR, 3 A380 + 1 77W.



SQ,MI,MH,CX,KA,CA,CZ,MU,KE,OZ,QF,NZ,FD,JQ,3K,5J,IT,AI,IC,QR,SK,LF,KL,AF,LH,LX,OS,SR,BA,SN,FR,WF,1I,5T,VZ,VX,AC,NW,UA,US,
User currently offlineJohnClipper From Hong Kong, joined Aug 2005, 855 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 1145 times:

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 7):
CZ fly directly from LHR to CAN, this must be removing the need to fly via HKG for visitors to Shenzen etc

it's easier to get from HKG to SZX then from CAN to SZX...There are ferries from HKIA direct to SZX.


User currently offlineordjoe From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 750 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 1138 times:

I suppose now if you a star alliance FF you are totally out of options if one wants N/S to London

Quoting JohnClipper (Reply 17):
There are ferries from HKIA direct to SZX.

Agreed, there is so little long haul to CAN that for work we just use the ferries, they are pretty reliable.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 26021 posts, RR: 22
Reply 19, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1143 times:

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
ccording to the CAA its certainly not a growing market. Seems to have peaked in 2007.

Annual enplanements between UK and HK:

Do your numbers only include passengers on direct flights between the UK and HK? If so they must be very incomplete considering the number of passengers that connect via hubs in the Gulf (plus BKK/SIN/KUL and points in Europe).

For example, do the numbers include a passenger that flies HKG-AMS-LHR on KLM, or HKG-DXB-LHR on EK?


User currently offlinehz747300 From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2004, 1711 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1137 times:
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Other than price, I am not sure why someone would fly via the Gulf to Europe. In terms of connections, Finnair via Helsinki can reach most places and it is typically a faster connection too. We can argue service differences, sure. Finnair's coach price typically is close the price of EK. I don't know anyone who flies on QR to get to Europe. Several do fly EK though, including native Brits. At Christmas time, my friend is flying EK via Dubai in business class with him and his partner. The reason they chose it is because the cost of the business class tickets for two is just a smidge above the cost of one on a direct flight.

Having just flown this route this past week on CX, the flight to London was probably 85-90% full, and flight back was 99% full. My guess was many were on the Kangaroo route, and quite a few were connecting to China on Dragonair, and another good size block were connecting to the Philippines. As CX planes are landing in Hong Kong, a screen pops up and lists the connecting flights for passengers on the plane. The list is limited, so we know it's restricted to those connections for the group of passengers and not just generic.

By the way, given my experience, the only ones I know connect via SIN or BKK, are Star Alliance loyalists, and typically not HK based. I have many co-workers who buzz through here, and you can tell their loyalty based on their routing. Skyteam loyalists seem to fly via Korea.



Keep on truckin'...
User currently offlinecarpethead From Japan, joined Aug 2004, 2979 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 1135 times:

Same with NRT-LHR. BA and JL used to have double daily 744s but now down to a single 77W each. Both are in oneworld which most would think one or both would add flights considering its a hub at each end. I suppose its the sign of the times for both struggling carriers.

User currently offlineqf002 From Australia, joined Jul 2011, 3020 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 1137 times:

QF and NZ never belonged in the market in the first place, so it's not surprising to see them go.

Quoting Asiaflyer (Reply 16):
SQ has 4 daily SIN-LHR, 3 A380 + 1 77W.

And SIN has recently been the far larger route by capacity, with 8 daily (5 A380s, 2 744s and a 77W) compared to the 7 daily 744s and 77Ws from HKG.

That said, it's going the same way as HKG. Next year SIN-LHR will drop to only 6 daily (3 A380's, 1 744 and 2 77Ws)

Quoting carpethead (Reply 21):
Same with NRT-LHR. BA and JL used to have double daily 744s but now down to a single 77W each.

To be fair, BA now also flies to HND.


User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9210 posts, RR: 15
Reply 23, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1134 times:

HKG-LHR was bigger than SN-LHR just not long ago.

When the economy improves will NZ and QF return? Will BA's 3rd daily return?


User currently offlineIndianicWorld From Australia, joined Jun 2001, 3034 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 1134 times:

Quoting United Airline (Reply 23):
When the economy improves will NZ and QF return?

Simple answer, No.

Both QF and NZ will likely rely on their partners to do this type of flying in future.

Quoting United Airline (Reply 23):
Will BA's 3rd daily return?

Always possible.


25 qf002 : Unlikely for the next little while though, given that future growth will likely be using the A380.
26 GCT64 : I agree, I would never dream of flying to CAN to go to visit customers/suppliers in Shenzhen or even Dongguan. Always go via HKG as it is simple and
27 SKAirbus : BA can obviously see growth to HKG as it will likely be one of the first routes its A380 operate on...
28 musang : So... Won't need to. Regards - musang
29 Post contains links AirbusA6 : Would it be easier from an immigration/Visa point of view to via mainland China, as HK and China are separate as far as immigration is concerned? htt
30 bennator : I'm sure CAN does have some effect, but the advantage of the HKG ferries is that they skip HKG immigration, so flying to HKG and taking the ferry is a
31 GCT64 : For Brits, and I think a lot of other countries, HK immigration is a "non-issue", very quick and simple. So there is little difference as the complex
32 migair54 : Qatas will not return because now they will the Kangaroo route via Dubai mainly with the EK agreement, BA´s 3rd daily i´m not very sure, they will
33 Candid76 : I think the question was "is HKG-LHR a declining route" and the CAA stats show that it is. "Is Hong Kong to London a declining market" is a different
34 Aither : CX & BA focusing on the high end of the market is a big part of the explanation. Unfortunately is has allowed new routings to develop fast and the
35 mogandoCI : It's oneworld hub-to-hub, but they're at the corners of each's continent, making nearly all connections to be inefficient backtracking except for som
36 Post contains links LondonCity : See this recent Trip Report: "The 5 star way ! ARN-CPH-DOH-HKG Part 1: Eastbound, The 5-star Way! ARN-CPH-DOH-HKG (by deltamartin Nov 5 2012 in Trip
37 cslusarc : I agree with NZ but for QF, SYD - HKG - LHR is closer to the great circle than SYD - SIN/BKK - LHR if you can utilize overflight rights with China an
38 VV701 : True but somewhat deceptive. Many of the flights serving LHR and SIN either originate in or fly on to Australia. HKG is by far (32 per cent) the larg
39 RyanairGuru : HK immigration is so easy that the answer is no. A lot of nationalities don't need a visa for HK. For "major" non-HKSAR cities (Macau, Shenzhen) you
40 carpethead : Thanks totally forgot about that one.
41 qf002 : They still don't belong in the local HKG-LHR market, though. There are far better ways of serving the Australia-Europe market, currently through thei
42 VV701 : Sorry. I am not sure what you are saying. Agreed that flying between LHR and SYD through either DXB, HKG or SIN is pretty marginal in terms of distan
43 qf002 : Remember that I'm referring to QF specifically here. To make money flying to Europe, QF has needed to develop a strong hub at the mid-point to allow
44 VV701 : Thanks for your clarification.
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