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Why No Sked Service Between Canada And Portugal?

Sun May 22, 2005 2:04 pm

i am growing increasingly frustrated (along with many other Portuguese people) over the fact that there is NO scheduled service between Canada and Portugal. Air Transat, SATA, and Skyservice all offer charter service which is basically impossible to get any seats god forbid there is a emergency in which people have to go overseas...with TAP now in Star Alliance, there is no excuse! AC or TP with a codeshare should be offering service out of YYZ and YUL or both. I hate having to travel to LHR, FRA or AMS just to go to Portugal sked.

MP Ricardo
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RE: Why No Sked Service Between Canada And Portugal?

Sun May 22, 2005 3:17 pm

Both TAP, Air Canada and Canadian Airlines had problems with their Canada to Portugal flights. TAP gave up in the mid-90s after losing lots of money on its BOS, YUL and YYZ routes which were mostly made up of low-yield VFR traffic. EWR and JFK were kept because of New York's position as a business hub, but eventually JFK was cut in 2002 and EWR kept because not only is there a large Portuguese population in the area (also mostly from continental Portugal unlike Canada or New England), but it's close to Manhattan and offers good connections across North America. SATA International took over since most of the traffic was seasonal and going to the Azores. This means that SATA can fly charters to Oakland, Providence, Boston, Toronto, etc catering to large overseas Azorean communities during seasonal peaks.

1. The Portuguese communities in Toronto and Montreal are large, however with little business travel traffic between both countries, these are very low-yielding flights. Though they did have high load factors, they were notoriously unprofitable for TAP. I assume it must have been the case for CP and AC or else they wouldn't have axed Lisbon. This traffic is very unstable as it fluctuates with peaks during summer months and holidays making it perfect for charter carriers.

2. The majority of the Portuguese people living in Canada are from the Azores. This means that they have to take connecting flights from Lisbon anyway. Note no carrier flies scheduled flights from BOS to Portugal and New England has a larger Portuguese (mostly Azorean) population than Canada.

3. Lisbon does not offer the connecting possibilities that LHR, FRA, AMS, CDG or must hubs do in Europe. BA, LH, KL, AF, etc all have extensive networks from their hubs making connections to Eastern Europe, the Middle East, India, Africa all possible with one stop. This means these larger carriers are able to rely on more than O+D pax, something TAP cannot due since they do not fly anywhere in Asia or the Middle East. Air Canada too can only really connect pax from the rest of Canada and some cities in North America.

4. Lisbon suffers a great disadvantage geographically as a North American hub. Look at the great circle route, LHR, FRA and AMS make a perfect hub for flying to other destinations in Europe or Asia. LIS does not, however it does make a great hub for flying Europe to Brazil, hence TAP's building up of its Brazilian network.
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RE: Why No Sked Service Between Canada And Portugal?

Sun May 22, 2005 10:30 pm

Couldn't SATA adopt the same strategy as Icelandair and make PDL or TER a leasure stop (with a three-day free stopover each way) between North America and Europe? This strategy has done miracles to the Icelandic tourism industry, and the detour through PDL is only slightly larger than through KEF:

CDG-KEF-JFK 6419km
CDG-PDL-JFK 6702km

LHR-KEF-JFK 6071 km
LHR-PDL-JFK 6612 km

Just a thought. Or perhaps we shouldn't tell anybody about the Azores and keep them a beautiful secret, of course...
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RE: Why No Sked Service Between Canada And Portugal?

Sun May 22, 2005 11:04 pm

SATA YYZ-PDL, YYZ-TER, YYZ-LIS and YYZ-OPO are booked solid always, even during the dreary winter months, same goes for air transat, why cant AC then with all its metal offer even 2 or 3 flights a week, how could they possibly not make money??????

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RE: Why No Sked Service Between Canada And Portugal?

Sun May 22, 2005 11:07 pm

With TAP joining the Star Alliance, it'll be interesting how United, Air Canada, US Airways and it juggle their routes and schedules to benefit travelers to and from North America. TAP has a good network in Africa and that could be the niche to benefit North American business and leisure travelers. But I agree, merely serving people going home to visit grandma in Portugal won't make money for an airlines. They need cargo and high yield business travelers.
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RE: Why No Sked Service Between Canada And Portugal?

Mon May 23, 2005 12:31 am

Ricardo, this is a tough one to answer, because for the casual onlooker, you see ticket prices of about $1,000 in the summer time, which is extremely high for a charter flight when compared to what you could get to the UK, or elsewhere in Europe. But you also have to remember that a Skyservice 767 holds 318 people paying about $1,000 each, while an Air Canada 767 holds just above 200 seats. Companies like Air Canada have to compensate for the missing seats by selling J Class at much higher prices, and there simply isn't a market for that between Canada and Portugal. It may be frustrating, but that's just how things are in that market.
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