I agree with what you say about being a long haul low cost carrier; it just doesn't work. It has been a concern to me that EI
hasn't raised the standard of its product; it's basically a good product, but has not received investment. As discussed earlier in the thread, this is partly because of the A330-300s not being able to take the extra weight without incurring serious capacity constraints and (as regards the 332) just penny-pinching. Sure, if they want to be that kind of airline, that's fine, but it's not going to get them very far, particularly in Asia.
needs to realise that when it's competing in Asia, which it will do at some stage, it's in a whole new ball game. Competing against US carriers, they only need to be nice to pax and they're ahead of most of them; in Asia, you're dealing with the big hitters - SIA, Malaysia, Thai, PAL, Cathay, JAL etc - all very fine airlines.
Look at it from another viewpoint; if I have GBP450 (approx $800), I'll go with a cheap carrier. I flew to Japan with Lufthansa - a very good airline, let me say, BUT if I had GBP600-700, I'd fly Cathay. They're good, so they can command a better price and therefore better yields; they're good because they invest.
If we're going to develop a route, it needs to be done right. If EI
don't do that, we'll get someone who will - EK
, for example.
Now to your others points; the numbers. There are about 60k Irish to Aussie alone, around 150-180k inbound from Australia and about 60k from other parts of Asia. That's without a direct link and without anyone having an incentive to market us in this hugely important region. A direct link incentivises a carrier to market and increasing the visibility of a new destination; that's why we need a big hitter. There's a correlation between airline quality and marketing power. If you're a second rater (or worse), who cares what destinations you market, but if you're SQ
, it makes a difference and that's why quality counts too.
I don't want to be disloyal to EI
; after all, I've fought for the ending of this crazy stopover for many years and I understand their need to go low cost on short haul, BUT if they are going to go into Asia, they'll damned well do it right or we'll get someone who will. The type of plane doesn't matter, if the will isn't there. How much fun are Air China's 777s to fly in? Better than CX
's A340s? Of course not. Thus, if EI
wants to be a respected airline and command high yields, it needs to invest and perhaps the best way of getting the latest IFE (a very important part of a flight if you're going long haul) is to get it fitted to the new aircraft. Maybe Boeing can be persuaded to do this.
As a final note, EI
's expansion on t/a routes is a challenge to the two big manufacturers to make sure they're seen as partners in EI
's growth and that may mean bending over backwards to provide the aircraft to help them grow.