According to the last published list of U.S. Carrier Route Authorities (October 2004) by the US DOT, unused route authorities in the U.S.-Australia market include:
- AA to SYD from SFO, LAX, and HNL;
- NW to SYD from HNL; and
- CO to BNE from GUM and SPN, CNS from GUM, SYD from GUM and SPN, and points in Australia from HNL, LAX and PPG.
It's my understanding that it's the DOT's policy to let carriers hold onto vacant authorities seemingly forever, if they had been awarded prior to their new policy of automatic cancellation if left not utilized for 90 days, but another airline may apply to be awarded the dormant routes.
It seems that Skyteam is the only major alliance not in on the lucrative U.S.-Australia/New Zealand market, when there are either frequencies there for the taking, or they already have the right to fly Down Under, while other airlines are chomping at the bit to fly these profitable routes. Currently, I only see limited service (3x per week) on CO from GUM to CNS. I recall reading that LAX-SYD service on NW was lackluster at best, but they were selling a phenomenal amount of tickets to SYD on their former service ex-Japan, until it was stopped by the Japanese government for overselling their allowed capacity.
With the recently expanded partnership in this alliance, wouldn't it make sense for one of the Skyteam partners to reinitiate service to Australia and New Zealand to establish a beachhead on the route before another Star Alliance carrier, Singapore, moves in eventually (if SQ is awarded the routes, that is).
If there's something I'm overlooking in this opportunity, I'd appreciate your comments.