Udo
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Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Thu Dec 16, 2004 6:21 pm

I’ve checked the latest timetable developments starting in January and once again I noticed that British Airways doesn’t seem to involved in the aviation boom to and from China. For years their flights to China have remained unchanged.
Beijing is served four times weekly, with B777 – in former times it was a B744. Boom town Shanghai is not served at all. Hong Kong gets 17 weekly flights, but that’s not surprising due to its status as former colony.

What’s up with BA? Is it politics, cannot they get more landing rights? Most major European airlines have increased capacity into China over the past years.

- Air France has a daily B773ER service to PEK, daily B772ER service to PVG and even five times weekly nonstop service to CAN (Guangzhou) on A332
- Alitalia started flights to PVG, first three times weekly, more to come
- Austrian serves both PEK and PVG with a mix of A340 and A330 (seven weekly in total)
- Finnair goes China eight times a week (both PEK and PVG) and will increase soon)
- KLM goes daily to PEK (B744) and daily to PVG (5x B744/2x B777)
- Lufthansa sends daily B744 to each PEK and PVG from FRA, plus three weekly MUC-PEK (A343) and daily PVG-CAN on A346. CAN may go nonstop soon, PEK is expected to go up
- SAS sends A343 to both PEK (daily) and PVG (six weekly)

American, Arabic and most Asian carriers are booming in China as well.


Any ideas?



Regards
Udo
Me & You & a Plane Named Blue...
 
PVG
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Thu Dec 16, 2004 6:35 pm

Shanghai has only become a boom-town in the past 3 years. Prior to that, most business was in central government hands and Beijing was the place to go. So, I think that as a compromise with VS a long time ago, BA gave up Shanghai to them back when Shanghai was not as popular a destination for business travelers. Even QF stopped their flights here for a while and only started them again recently. I think that BA has been trying to expand their presence to start PVG flights and VS wants to start PEK, but politics seems to be getting in the way. Anyway, VS must be minting money on their PVG flights these days. I know alot of British expats here (country reps. for large corporations that spend buckeroos flying C & F class every year) who are long-time BA customers but take the VS flight to London to avoid having to connect in PEK or HKG for BA flights. BA would take alot of market share from VS if they ever started service to PVG.
 
ZK-NBT
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Thu Dec 16, 2004 6:44 pm

Don't think they are allowed to operate anymore flights at this stage.

They will increase HKG to Triple Daily in June 2005, all flights on 744's.
 
emrecan
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Thu Dec 16, 2004 6:46 pm

Also Turkish will fly daily to China in 1-2 months time.
 
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FlyCaledonian
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Thu Dec 16, 2004 6:52 pm

BA cannot serve PVG under the current bilateral. VS won those rights a few years ago, though they were very much wanted by BA too. As to why BA only offers the limited services it does it is partly due to limitations on where BA can fly. Another factor is that BA would have to rely very much on O&D traffic to support Chinese services, with the opportunities for transfer traffic limited by the location of LHR, i.e. one of the most Westerly located hubs in Europe, so any passengers connecting to the Continent have to fly over Continental Europe to LHR and back to their destination. AF at CDG, KL at AMS and particularly LH at FRA and MUC and AY at HEL are very much better located to have a good mix of O&D and transfer traffic. Add to that BA's policy of concentrating on premium traffic anyway and the reasons for avoiding China, like much of the Far East, become clearer. BA will increase HKG to three times daily next Summer, while PEK will become five times weekly. Apart from the twice daily services to NRT that is the extent of BA's own operations to China and Japan, Korea not even being served anymore.
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zvezda
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Thu Dec 16, 2004 6:53 pm

My understanding is that the problem is political. China has a somewhat dim view of the former colonialists. I expect this will be resolved only when China's desire for increased access to LHR exceeds their political desire.
 
JoFMO
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Thu Dec 16, 2004 6:57 pm

But it is wondering why UK doesn't negotiate for more landing rights. Germany recently announced a new bilateral with China which gives them 55 weekly flights.

Why is there so less progress between Britain and China?
 
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FlyCaledonian
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Thu Dec 16, 2004 6:58 pm

Zvezda, a new bilateral was agreed last February apparently allowing UK carriers more access to China. Whether its has not been formally implamented yet I don't know, but it is noticable that VS don't make much noise regarding China when route expansion is being discussed. I don't think for the UK, relying on O&D traffic, it is a huge market as yet. Yes, BA would love to get to PVG, but apart from that I don't VS or BA have much desire at present to be undertaking mass expansion into China. If there was money to be made VS would be sniffing around and making a lot of noise about getting route authorities, etc.
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roblondon70
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Thu Dec 16, 2004 7:30 pm

What are the exact terms of the new agreement signed last Feb??

BA recently commenced 2x weekly freighter service to PVG and VS's Pax services to PVG are due to increase to 6x weekly next June.

What further short/medium-term expansion, from either side, is likely/possible/desirable?

Surely BA and VS would be keen to expand their services to the Pearl River Delta with direct flights to CAN?
 
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FlyCaledonian
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Thu Dec 16, 2004 7:40 pm

It just seems that China/Japan/Korea, like South America, isn't a focus area for BA (And VS) at present. AF, LH, KL are adding frequencies to South America while BA remains static (Even dropping BOG and CCS). Another factor could be OneWorld partners - IB through MAD can provide BA with a host of connections in South America, CX through HKG, though admittedly not much in the way of China. Demand, or at least high yieldibg demand, just doesn't seem to be there. Look at the other way too. I used the lack of interest by VS to indicate that for UK carriers it maybe isn't a high priority market. Likewise, the Chinese carriers aren't exactly beating the door down at LHR with only CA operating PEK-LHR. Not sure when MU are to start PVG-LHR and no hints, to my knowledge, of China Southern wanting access.
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roblondon70
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Thu Dec 16, 2004 7:54 pm

In fact, MU operate 4x weekly PVG - LHR.
 
FlySSC
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:16 pm

Udo,

Just for information, Air France will operate next summer to China :

Daily CDG-PEK-CDG B773ER
Daily CDG-CAN-CDG A343
Daily CDG-PVG-CDG B772ER
Daily CDG-HKG-CDG B772ER (B773ER Starting next October).

Add to this the codeshare on flights operated by MU on CDG-PVG-CDG, and by CZ on CDG-CAN-CDG.

Add also the KLM flights to/from AMS.

 Wink/being sarcastic
 
cedarjet
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:22 pm

I think it's cos Britain is missing the China boom. The British are still obsessed with kissing American arse (which the Brits call a "special relationship" - weird if you ask me), while France and Germany have realised where the future lies (1.3 BILLION people!!). Plenty of people on those Luftwaffe 747-400s are O&D, believe me. Air France even more so.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
Udo
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:29 pm

Luftwaffe B747-400s...  Big thumbs up Economy Class on these aircraft IS a deadly weapon...  Laugh out loud


Thanks for all input on the BA issue!


Regards
Me & You & a Plane Named Blue...
 
lh477
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Fri Dec 17, 2004 4:42 am

LH seems to have a much more forwarding looking view when it comes to China and India. They were one of the first to increase frequency and capacity to the two new giants.....
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Sydscott
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Fri Dec 17, 2004 6:50 am


Considering the large Indian population in Britain, it's hardly suprising that BA & VS would have more services there than in China.

"while France and Germany have realised where the future lies (1.3 BILLION people!!)"

In 20 odd years time India will have a larger population than China given current population growth. Also India is far easier for the Western world to understand, and do business with, especially Britain as most insitiutions there were modelled after British ones, (albeit with local modifications). Also London is very much a financial services city so there would be better premium traffic flow to India, along with O&D flow, than there would be to still 90% socialist China.
 
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FlyCaledonian
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Fri Dec 17, 2004 8:15 am

BA wants to increase capacity to India, but the new bilateral has only just been agreed. Even the outcome of route allocations is back in the air as BA, VS and BD have all appealed the decision of the CAA, meaning Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Transport, will have to rule in the New Year if the CAA decision stands.

I think the fact that you have three UK carriers competing to gain access to India while interest in China is minimal shows where the carriers think the money can be made. China might be booming, and yes LH might have a high level of O&D traffic on those flights, but it will also have a lot of transfer traffic too. Cedarjet is probably right that it is a British thing regarding China, not specifically BA. Trust me, if the opportunities to make money on the routes were there you'd have BA and VS slogging it out for the rights. As it is they've other eggs to fry.
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trintocan
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:44 am

Politics seems to be a major issue. Not too long ago I read an article in The Times which discussed the very same topic. China has designated 17 European countries (but not the UK) as "favoured", thus allowing its citizens greater freedom to travel to them. In response the airlines have increased services and the French Embassy in Beijing has expanded its visa section to handle the greatly increased numbers of Chinese visitors applying. Why the UK was not selected, I do not know - but the net effect is the static level of air service to China from the UK (apart from China Eastern's new services) compared to elsewhere in Europe.

TrintoCan.
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buckieboy
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Sat Dec 18, 2004 6:15 am

Sydscott,

"Also India is far easier for the Western world to understand, and do business with".

I completely disagree with you on this. Maybe my company's experience is unusual. We have sites in Santa Monica, Goa and Kunshan & Nantong in China. We find the Chinese intelligent, hard-working and open-minded. We find the Indians intelligent, hard-working, and well, to say politely they have the caste system where a job applicant is likelier to get a job based on his father's profession rather than his or hers own abilities. For fear of offending any Indians, I say nothing more on this matter.

Maybe my company isn't typical.

Back on topic, I agree that Britain is missing the boat and I add my congratulations to LH in increasing capacity and they have always provided excellent service on their A340s whilst I have travelled. A minor point is the route from PVG through the Himalayas for the MUC service which in my opinion adds on about an hour versus a route taking a more northerly bearing N of Beijing, like I think the FRA one although I will know for sure within a month.

Cheers

CTA (Switzerland)">BB

[Edited 2004-12-17 22:22:20]
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JoFMO
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Sat Dec 18, 2004 6:37 am

BA has some big disadvantages against LH and AFKL to a lesser extend.

1) London is on the wrong side of the continent for serving Asia.

2) BA is not the only British long-haul carrier. They had a strong battle for new rights to India with VS and BM. LH, AF and KL are usually the only carrier from their country who is able and interested to use new long-haul routes.
 
rtfm
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Sat Dec 18, 2004 7:57 pm

JoFMO - spot on with regard to transfer traffic from China into Europe, added to which is the issue of CDG/FRA/AMS being better transfer hubs for AF/LH/KL respectively than LHR is for BA.

BA has also been focussing on making MONEY not just on filling planes. I recall Eddington saying a few years back that there were more important places for BA to focus on than Shanghai. I think the fact that BA is looking at starting BLR as soon as they can and not PVG clearly says something about where their preference is for putting the resources they have for the best return.

I am not sure what the current UK-China Air Services Agreement ssays but initially it was restricted to one UK carrier (which was VS). When it was re-negotiated in Mar/Apr 04 it added a Chinese carrier (which is whay MU have started PVG-LHR) and also more cargo rights (hence BA World Cargo's freighter operation which started in Sep I think). I am not sure if there is a provision for further pax flights by more carriers in the future... Again, if PVg was the gold mine that some seem to think, I would imagine that both VS and MU would be operating daily flights not the limited schedules they do.
 
FlySSC
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Sun Dec 19, 2004 3:19 am

Rtfm,

Do you think that there is any major in Europe, on the market today, who's just looking to "filling planes" ?

Those flights to China are a real "Cash machine" for AF and probably for LH and all the others ! It is not just by chance that AF is now sending the brand new B773ER Daily to PEK, and as I mentionned above, will also fly DAILY to PVG and CAN next year.

The fact is that BA focused on HKG for a (too) longtime, due to the historical reasons we all know...
 
LH423
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Sun Dec 19, 2004 3:28 am

The fact is that BA focused on HKG for a (too) longtime, due to the historical reasons we all know...

That and HKG is one of BAs most profitable routings. BA and Virgin's success on the route also has to do with the immense amount of business done between Hong Kong and Britain. BA are able to fill 17 weekly flights all on 747s. If it ain't broke, why fix it.

LH423
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roblondon70
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Sun Dec 19, 2004 9:34 pm

......and LHR - HKG on BA increases to 21x weekly on 1/6/05.
 
B2443
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Mon Dec 20, 2004 6:21 am

I believe BA is focusing on where the money is. LHR-HKG makes money and that's why it'll send 3x daily very soon.

When they realize LHR-PEK could make LOTS of money as well, they would n't waste another minute to add service on the route. Germany and France have realized to "diversify" by investing to China. UK might be a little "conservative" or just pure "arrogence" in play?

Another reason, Chinese citizens need visas to visit Europe. If they visit just the shengen states, they will only need one visa thus making transit at CDG, FRA or AMS much more sense, as opposed to using LHR then on to the other shengen states, which would require a additional UK transit visa as well. The new multi country western European ( except UK) tours have been a big attraction to Chinese.
 
avek00
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Mon Dec 20, 2004 6:27 am

The bottom line is that the lucrative premium traffic between the UK and mainland China is already taken care of by existing operations - adding many more flights would simply cater to lower-yield VFR traffic, which is not something that the nonstop players wish to do.
Live life to the fullest.
 
LJ
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Mon Dec 20, 2004 7:02 am

If they visit just the shengen states, they will only need one visa thus making transit at CDG, FRA or AMS much more sense

ome of the reasons why AF and LH are very succesful in the China market is that both the German and French embassy in China are very cooperative in supplying visas to Chinese people. The CEO of KLM complained recently about the fact that the Ducth Embassy doesn't ccoperate and thus slowed KLM's growth in China.
 
ba319-131
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RE: Is British Airways Missing China's Boom?

Mon Dec 20, 2004 7:42 am

There are some very valid comments above.

Give it a few more years and we will see an increase in the number for flights between China and the UK,but for now,BA & VS are following revenue potential in these difficult times rather than long term growth potential.
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