Sabena 690
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Virgin To Go Long Haul From Brussels?!

Wed Jul 02, 2003 3:14 am

Hi all,

Please check this thread on the aviation forum of http://www.luchtzak.be:

http://www.luchtzak.be/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=629

Is Branson considering long haul flights from BRU to Asia and America? This would be excellent news...

Maybe a bit off topic, but I wanted to ask this already for some time: VS codeshares on the BRU-LHR run with BD. But BRU is not listed in the list of destinations on the Virgin Atlantic website. Why are Belgian people not allowed to fly to for example NRT via LHR on VS, with the first and last leg done by BD?

PS: will those long haul flights be low cost, or full service like Virgin Atlantic? I'm hoping for the second...

Regards
Frederic
 
kaitak
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RE: Virgin To Go Long Haul From Brussels?!

Wed Jul 02, 2003 3:31 am

It wouldn't surprise me; the new bilateral between the EU and US would allow any airline from any EU country to operate from any point in the EU to any point in the US, so ownership restrictions would be lifted. This would allow VS to set up in Brussels and I think they'd do pretty well; there's big potential for intercontinental routes from Brussels, not just to the US, but elsewhere as well.

340s would be ideal, possibly even 332s.

It would be a full VS service, not a low cost operation, if it went ahead.
 
Sabena 690
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RE: Virgin To Go Long Haul From Brussels?!

Wed Jul 02, 2003 4:17 am

I doubt if Branson would be able to fill it's planes with point to point traffic, it sounds impossible.

What he can do, (and will do if it is true), is using VEX as a feeder, so that pax can fly for example MAD-BRU-?NRT?...
 
airplanetire
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RE: Virgin To Go Long Haul From Brussels?!

Wed Jul 02, 2003 9:59 am

How long is it projected to take for us to see this bilateral agreement materialize (or fall apart?)?

-Airplanetire
 
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apuneger
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RE: Virgin To Go Long Haul From Brussels?!

Wed Jul 02, 2003 11:03 am

Well, it sure would be quite interesting to see some new long haul pax traffic at BRU. The more the merrier I'd say! However, although he appeared to have said 'from BRU', isn't it possible he really did mean 'from BRU to LHR and from there on'? Let's hope he's really thinking of starting up new routes direct from BRU. That would be great.

As Sabena 690 already mentioned, I think it would be best for them to use Virgin Express as a feeder for this new service they want to offer. However, if they should want to fly long haul in a full service configuration, how do they want to combine this with Virgin Express, which is, after all, a 'low fare' operator (not a pure low cost operator according to them...). For instance, I can hardly imagine a business man from MAD would like to fly 'low fare' to BRU and then 'full service' business class to NRT. Maybe they have plans to upgrade VEX to a full service airline as well?

Ivan
Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
 
MAH4546
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RE: Virgin To Go Long Haul From Brussels?!

Wed Jul 02, 2003 12:11 pm

I doubt if Branson would be able to fill it's planes with point to point traffic, it sounds impossible.

New York City, Boston, Miami, and Los Angeles from Brussels would fill with point-to-point traffic with ease. Yields, however, would be another issue, though Virgin's cost structure is well known for creating good yields out of leisure travelers.
a.
 
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RE: Virgin To Go Long Haul From Brussels?!

Wed Jul 02, 2003 5:40 pm

MAH4546: for example NYC: more than 50% of the Sabena pax on this flight were connecting passengers, also a big part of the people flying ex-BRU on CO/DL/UA are connecting passengers.

The home market here is way too small to fill an A330/A340 to the States with point to point traffic, you only have to look at the loads VG Airlines/later Delsey Airlines had on it's American flights.

The only flight with a load factor of more than 50% was LAX. Why? Because Armenian Airlines took the biggest part of the seats, and pax flew Yerevan-Brussels-Los Angeles.

Regards
Frederic
 
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RE: Virgin To Go Long Haul From Brussels?!

Wed Jul 02, 2003 9:08 pm

I really don't think that looking at the loads of VG, a poorly advertised and poorly ran airline, are the right way of looking at it. How about CityBird, which filled Miami-Brussels flights daily, year-round, on point-to-point traffic? And they filled Los Angeles-Brussels flights pretty easily too.
a.
 
A330DAT
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Virgin To Go Long Haul From Brussels?!

Wed Jul 02, 2003 10:30 pm

The fact that Virgin (Branson) wants to fly long haul out of Brussels is actually not really "Big" news. The idea had already been mentioned in the past.

However with all the troubles in the world such as the gulf war (Iraq) and the SARS epidemic, all plans (projects) have come to a stop.

Today things are beginning to improve (very slowly) The war is over and the SARS cases seem to be diminishing (or in any case the panic has passed). This clears the way for new investment and new growth.

There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Brussels airport is underutilized and has great potential for growth, especially since the disappearance of it's national airline Sabena but also because major European airports are becoming more and more overcrowded and airlines are going to be on the lookout for alternatives, Brussels being right in the middle with a huge infrastructure already in place.

Sabena_690 and MAH4546 - You are both right. Any airline that would like to start long haul services out of Brussels must have a feeder network. VG Airlines was indeed a poorly advertised and poorly run airline, especially when Tony Gram took over the airline (when it became Delsey Airlines). He thought it was wasted money to pay to be included in a worldwide CRS (Computer
Reservations System) and that proved to be one of the (if not the) most fatal mistake(s). CityBird on the other hand had a little more "guts". Very good advertising campaigns and excellent prices. People were coming from all over Europe (on their own) to get to Brussels. Even by train. Once again, even in this situation they would of been more successful had they had a European feeder system in place. This, I believe is so important that it makes the difference between success and failure.

Miami, I am sure, would be a success out of brussels. Not only for Florida but because it's a major gateway to the Caribbean and South America as well. Back in the good old days when Sabena was still around, Sabena wanted to fly daily to Miami but the project was blocked by Swissair because they feared that Sabena would take away their business. Once again it's clear that the
potential is there.

Apuneger - I don't think that the difference between the Virgin Express(VEX) and Virgin Atlantic product would stop them from working together. On the contrary. I think it would be perfectly possible for VEX to continue to offer the "No Frills" product on the European flights while Virgin Atlantic offers the improved service on Long Haul. The trend more and more these days is that
companies sending their people on business trips have the tendency to put their employees in economy class for the short trips, and are switching over to business class for the longer routes. They no longer find it worthwhile to pay for an improved service on such short trips but at the same time it remains important for their employees to get the needed rest on the long flights.

It's time for someone to see the real potential here in Brussels. Will it be Virgin? They've already got a European network (feeder system) in place. To make money you must have money. If Virgin (Branson) wants to invest in a Long Haul network out of Brussels, I say good for them!

 Smokin cool
 
Sabena 690
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RE: Virgin To Go Long Haul From Brussels?!

Wed Jul 02, 2003 11:04 pm

A330DAT - thanks again for your very valuable input, and I hope that the project evoluates like you describe above!

Sure BRU has a BIG potential, I hope Branson sees this, and maybe we can welcome the first VS A340 within a year?

People seem to like the VS product...

Regards
Frederic
 
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apuneger
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RE: Virgin To Go Long Haul From Brussels?!

Wed Jul 02, 2003 11:09 pm

A330DAT: Well, I didn't look at it that way. You could be right indeed. Time will tell I guess...

By the way, today I read in the newspaper that yesterday, VEX shares declined by ~14%, even after Branson visited BRU. Apparantly, investors don't seem to believe a word he's saying. Also, they are selling their shares because they believe that the shares might get taken off the market somewhere in the near future...

Ivan
Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
 
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RE: Virgin To Go Long Haul From Brussels?!

Wed Jul 02, 2003 11:30 pm

I don't think that the difference between the Virgin Express(VEX) and Virgin Atlantic product would stop them from working together

It's not really the difference of quality of service that might be the issue on linking a low cost as a feeder for a long haul conventional airline.
It's more the problem of connecting bags, waiting for transit passengers and all the obvious additional costs that would result.
Low cost philosophy has always been "we won't wait if you're late", would be interesting to see how it can work...
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apuneger
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RE: Virgin To Go Long Haul From Brussels?!

Thu Jul 03, 2003 9:35 am

VEX shares are again down 4% on Euronext Brussels...

Ivan
Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography