Like the US - SW
Pacific, the Europe - SW
Pacific is a difficult market. It is long, it is thin, expensive to operate compared to say the N Atlantic, and has strong competing airlines.
Looking at each of these factors in turn:
Long: To be competive from LHR
, at least it has to be one stop for preimum traffic. This means a B744, A340 or B777. Range is not as critical as on the Pacific, but still important. Not too many airlines have these aircraft spare and if the did they could probably use them more profitably in less difficult markets.
Thin: There are only about 30 million people in the total SW
Pacific area, or less than the combined population of the LA
Basin and the SF
Bay Area, but spread out over several million square miles.
Expensive to Operate: It takes a minimum of 3 aircraft to provide daily service. Overheads are relatively high because frequencies are low, 1, 2 or max 3 daily.
Strong Competing Airlines: Qantas & BA
are of course very well established on the route, having operated it since 1934. As well you have extremely strong competing airlines from Asian airlines, being based between Europe & Oz their home hubs are well placed to handle the traffic without additional expenditure. The area also contains some of the world best airlines, SQ
etc so it is a very competative market. And to top that off you now have Middle Eastern airlines such as EK
entering the market. EK
in particular, in a big way.
This market is extremely important to QF
and they will fight ANYBODY in this market to the death! It less important to BA
, but still very important. It is less important to any other European airline, so their movation to fight for the route is consequently much less. As for the Asian airlines it is a much less difficult route as they are connecting via their hub it is really two shorter routes for them.
So in these days of deregulated airline markets, the route was just too hard to make profitable for KLM, even with the Dutch/Indonesia traffic. The MH
code share is just so much more profitable. It was a very sad day when the last KLM aircraft left SYD
as they were the very first foregin airline to serve Australia, services commencing in 1934 also.