pressclub
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Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Tue Jul 30, 2002 7:29 pm

A newspaper (that SN 690 does not read unfortunately) had this morning the news that the Belgian chartercompany SOBELAIR will start a regular service between Brussels and Johannesburg. First flight will be around november 15 with the Q7 'line' code of SLR. A big other airline will codeshare this new link between Belgium and South Africa.

It will be a flight wiht a 2 class offer.

Not clear yet which aircraft type. As you know, SLR flies the 767-300 ER but this aircraft is handicapped due to weight and range restrictions (almost no cargo possible on the return after the take-off at the high level JHB airport)...

Pressclub

 
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apuneger
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Tue Jul 30, 2002 7:48 pm

Interesting news indeed. No news who will be the other big airline? SAA maybe? Just guessing, you know...

About the aircraft: Well, if they can't fly 767's to JHB, maybe they'll lease an A330 from VG or SN BA, who knows? Or they'll lease an A340.

But, I'd prefer to see a SLR 747 (-400) !!!

Thanks for the info, Pressclub. Too bad I also don't read this newspaper  Wink/being sarcastic

Ivan
Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
 
LJ
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Tue Jul 30, 2002 8:13 pm

It will probably be a B767 as the DCA contract will be expired by then and SLR won't fly for DCA after the expiration of the current contract (at least that's the latest rumour in AMS). As for weight restrictions, if they make a stop in NBO or another Middle African city they do it.

BTW you probably mean JNB not JHB.

Regards
Laurens
 
Established02
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Tue Jul 30, 2002 8:28 pm

> maybe they'll lease an A330

Does any airline fly the A330 to JNB?

> A big other airline will codeshare this new link
>> SAA maybe?

SAA teaming up with SLR?

With some imagination, I guess SNBA could also be considered as "a big airline"! I thought SNBA and SLR were previously considering some kind of cooperation, didn't they? SNBA could help feeding the JNB flights through their European network and offer other kinds of services.

 
Guest

RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Tue Jul 30, 2002 8:35 pm

Hmmmm, I wonder if the other airline could be Nationwide of South Africa? Not that I would describe them as a "big airline", though!

I'm still very seriously concerned about the viability of this route, though. Sabena couldn't make it pay ... what makes Sobelair think they can?
 
KENNY
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Tue Jul 30, 2002 9:00 pm

Hmmm, interesting news, although the previously related companies (DAT & SLR) are kind of competitors right now  Smile

Greetz,
Kenny
 
pressclub
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Tue Jul 30, 2002 11:07 pm

I think it will be 767-300 ER or the becoming more and more popular A 330-200...

 
SN-A330
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Tue Jul 30, 2002 11:11 pm


thanks for the news Pressclub !

Regards, SN-A330

I would rather be flying...
 
Established02
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Tue Jul 30, 2002 11:33 pm

Another newspaper (DS) mentions that SLR will fly three times a week between BRU & JNB. SLR thinks that a lot of tourists and business people will show interest in a direct flight. Furthermore, South-Africa is reported to have a large Belgian community.

 
Sabena 690
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Tue Jul 30, 2002 11:36 pm

Thanks for the news Pressclub!

And unfortunately, I don't read your newspaper  Crying If we would buy the one of you too, this would make 3 daily newspapers! Big grin

Regards,
Frederic
 
SN-A330
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Tue Jul 30, 2002 11:42 pm

a lot of tourists and business people will show interest in a direct flight

Who can confirm that the A330 is better suited than B767 for direct flights to fly BRU-JNB ? What I mean is: can SLR fly the route with B767 or is the A330 a big advantage ?

Regards, SN-A330

I would rather be flying...
 
A330
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Tue Jul 30, 2002 11:53 pm

The B767.300ER has the range, but will be severely payload restricted during SA Summer months. Remember that Johannesburgh is situated at a high altitude (will try to find the charts in my archive) and high temp. in summer. Hence a very high density altitude, so less performance... Performance limited TOM!
I can get more into detail, but then that should suit the technical forum more...

Thank you Pressclub for the info!
Shiek!
 
SN-A330
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Tue Jul 30, 2002 11:57 pm


Thanks A330 !

If you have any further info, please email it to me, if it's not to much work. My email is in my profile.

Regards, SN-A330

I would rather be flying...
 
Sabena 690
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Wed Jul 31, 2002 12:00 am

You may always email it to me too if you want.

Thanks,
Frederic
 
Leo
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Wed Jul 31, 2002 2:53 am

In the old SABENA days the BRU-JNB route was the lowest yield route between Europe and the RSA. The outbound day-light service never really paid off as volumes and yield remained very low.

SN managed to attract a lot of UK passengers from the UK regional airports through their DAT AVRO connecting services. In addition SN operated A321 from GVA and AMS to fill the JNB flights.

So where is Sobelair going to find the passengers .......?

They do not have the route or sales network.

Another....

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donder10
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Wed Jul 31, 2002 3:00 am

I would have thought the UK 'regiona'l traffic would be much lower yield than ex-London.
 
Guest

RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Wed Jul 31, 2002 4:23 am

Yields on JNB were extremely low, and SN common-rated all of its European destinations with BRU so effectively the connections were free, in an effort to attract connecting pax.

Even with all that, they couldn't make it work!
 
Sabena 690
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Wed Jul 31, 2002 4:28 am

You have to count in some other factors for the low yields:

- The MD11 that Sabena used

- The flights of SR/SA from ZRH to JHB

.....

Can this flight become profitable without these factors?

Rgds
Frederic

 
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Flying Belgian
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Wed Jul 31, 2002 7:44 pm

Well according to Le Soir newspaper, the JNB service is planned to begin by 15th november. They will stick to the 3 767-300 they already have (a former Balair has joined recently SLR). The likely partner would be South African Airways, which surprises me a bit as Vastapane is linked to Nationwide.

Vastapane would also like to launch regular flights to Cairo, Istanbul & Moscow and would therefore negociate possible code sharing with SNBA.
Those flights would be lauched by march 2003.

It seems now that the Belgium-SA market has a big potential for a Belgian Airline, now that SR has stopped stealing pax (of course Sabena doesn't exist anymore...) and that they sold their stake in SAA.

See you !!


FB.
Life is great at 41.000 feet...
 
pressclub
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Wed Jul 31, 2002 7:44 pm

You are right Sabena 690. Swissair was shareholder of Sabena but on the JHB route they were big competitors as Swissair joined forces with SAA and Sabena had to do it on their own.

Sabena had also a less interesting schedule and not an up to standard inflight product

Other handicap: the MD 11 with a leaserate twice the market standard and not that comfortable in C Class...

So what happened: SR took all the C Class pax (thanks to the AMP structure) and gave all Y Class to Sabena...









 
Leo
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Wed Jul 31, 2002 8:37 pm

Have BRU market conditions changed or did I miss something:

# SWISS operate a daily BRU-ZRH-JNB with the MD11 this winter.
# BA operate twice daily BRU-LHR-JNB with B747-400
# BA operate 10x weekly BRU-JNB-CPT with B747-400
# KLM operates 11x weekly BRU-AMS-JNB with B747-400
# LH operates 2x daily BRU-FRA-JNB with B747-400 (incl. SAA codeshare)
# LH operate 3x weekly BRU-MUC-JNB with A340
# SAA operate 2x daily BRU-FRA-JNB in codeshare with LH

not to forget the services of IB, TP, AZ, AF and others

Is the BRU-JNB market really underserved ?
 
LJ
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Wed Jul 31, 2002 8:51 pm

Does anyone really believe C-class passengers will travel with a charter airline like SLR who only has three weekly flights into JNB (wheras all the other competitors offer at least daily flights)??? However, good luck (they'll need it)!!!
 
myself
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Wed Jul 31, 2002 8:59 pm

Additional consideration :

The BRU-JNB-BRU rotation (> 24hrs) does not allow a 7/7 or even 5/7 service, hence the 3/7 schedule...but this does leave the aircraft grounded 4 days out of 7, unless an additional and suitable route can be served with this aircraft in its configuration.

Without any extra flights for this aircraft, I would also have a hard time believing they will ever operate this route profitably because leasing rate per hour would be very high.

Curious to see the study they made, maybe there is some feeding on the other end of the line, but will it be enough ?
 
Sabena 690
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Wed Jul 31, 2002 10:51 pm

You are right Sabena 690

Thanks! Well, I read a book named 'The crash of Sabena', and I learned a lot out of it. So from now on only objective point of views!! Big grin

Regards,
Frederic
 
Ivo
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RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Sun Aug 04, 2002 5:47 am

SAS23,

Look at "Flight International" issue 11-17 june.

"Nationwide to start long-haul services to Europe"

Southern African leisure carrier Nationwide Airlines plans to start long-haul
services later this year on routes from its JNB base to Europe.
The airline aims to serve Brussels with extensions to London Gatwick and
Munich. Nationwide's commercial executive Chris Hoare says the airline hopes
to launch services by the end of august using two Boeing 747-300 leased
from Boeing. The airline is targeting leisure, conference and incentive markets
in Benelux countries, Germany and the UK, and has set up a risk-sharing
partnership with a Belgium consortium, which will handle sales and administration in Europe.

Regards
Ivo
 
Guest

RE: Sobelair Starts BRU-JHB Service

Sun Aug 04, 2002 8:44 am

Ivo, I'm aware of that article. I also know Vernon Bricknell rather well, and I seriously doubt his ability to operate such a service. He has a habit of chopping and changing his plans on a frequent basis: this operation originally started as an MD11; in the Flight article it refers to two B747-300s; and now if the Sobelair tie-up is accurate, it's B767s. From the commercial and operational viewpoint, airlines select aircraft based on the routes they believe they can operate viably; not the other way round!  Big grin

As I said earlier, the major operators have the European routes sewn up: BA, SA, VS, LH etc. The reality is that the high yield business travellers want to fly on airlines that allow them to accumulate frequent flyer miles with one or more of the global alliances; if those are not available, fares have to be significantly lower (25 to 50%) than those of the major carriers in order to attract the pax. The market to Belgium isn't a considerable one, and SN relied on their extensive European network to feed pax using common rated fares.

The last independent South African airline that tried this was Gert de Klerk's Avia, which leased an SAA B747SP ... and only lasted a couple of months. It operated to LGW ... and it was a complete disaster.