Independence76
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AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:07 am

With the entry of Air Berlin into Oneworld effective March 20th, Lufthansa Group now has an alliance competitor in its very own country. The immediate increase in flights to Berlin-Brandenburg (BER/EDDB) upon opening on June 3, 2012, is a clear response to potential marketshare.

Here are some statistics:

Frankfurt/Main (FRA/EDDF)

Oneworld carriers: 11 (all members)
Star Alliance carriers: 24
Lufthansa destinations: 150+
Air Berlin destinations: 18


Berlin-Brandenburg (BER/EBBD) (From June 3, 2012)

Oneworld carriers: 5
Star Alliance carriers: 11
Lufthansa destinations: 38 (30 new, 8 being transferred from TXL before June 15th)
Air Berlin destinations: 70


Lufthansa Growth

With 30 new destinations being added in one single day, it's a clear attempt at getting their foot in the door before Air Berlin shuts it. Lufthansa Group tends to be excellent in terms of fleet and route organization, so with 30 new routes being added in a single day, their analysts have seen the potential of this airport beyond what most would normally assume. This is a brand-new airport with fresh slots and plenty of room for international expansion if Lufthansa ever wanted to further intimidate Air Berlin. If Air Berlin sees both financial and route growth, we may very well see a new major German carrier get a stronghold.


Connections & Oneworld

Connecting in BER will very likely be more convenient and streamlined than current services at FRA. My personal experience at FRA was a rather confusing system - many strange twists and turns, but the signs got me where I needed to go in the end. However, EU customs for connecting to long-haul flights was abnormally long, and I nearly missed my LH438 connection to DFW.

The alliance systems in both airports is clear - Star Alliance holds a dominating spot in FRA. Lufthansa, as the head of Star Alliance (as well as main offices in Frankfurt), assures the locale as a key part of growth and competition against foreign carriers. It's a fortress hub without question. If Oneworld carriers send one daily flight (or transfer all FRA flights) to BER for connecting purposes, Air Berlin and alliance partners may have a snatch on a market dominated by Lufthansa. This may also help fend off the assault on BER with 30 new flights (if the numbers play in Oneworld's favor).

Of course, switching all FRA ops to BER would be controversial in theory, but the real dealbreaker lies in route revenues as well as the number of connecting passengers flying into FRA on Oneworld carriers. While I cannot immediately get my hands on this information, I personally assume that the numbers are rather low. FRA, up until today, had little to no Oneworld connection possibilities that involve going eastward (besides Malev, which ceased all operations last month).


High-Speed Railway Competition

With Air Berlin, one can now connect from LAN, American, Cathay Pacific, or S7 for a short hop to from FRA to BER or TXL. However, this would be rather inconvenient for such a short hop for some. The transportation possibilities at FRA may endanger the Air Berlin connections.....from the ground. Rail transport at FRA contains the InterCity Express infrastructure and would allow passengers a more comfortable (although longer) journey than another whole flying hassle on a very long trip.

Direct flights into BER may eliminate this potential competition. If one wanted to get to Frankfurt instead, the new railway station at BER would still allow the InterCity Express & EuroCity train connections. If Oneworld carriers still have both BER and FRA flights, it would not be a problem either. The new S-Bahn would also allow immediate transfers into Berlin's downtown metro system from the same train station in the airport as the high-speed network.


The Transfer Gamble

The proposition of switching all Oneworld ops from FRA to BER (besides AB, HG, IB, BA, AY, and RJ) would almost certainly be a risky one (in my opinion). Some long-haul DUS flights on Air Berlin may still be left behind and would still require high-speed rail for easy connecting (and still utilizing these features would not be a problem with the new facilities).

A particular gamble would be AA's decision to do this. They've already cut both JFK-FRA and ORD-FRA before they hit bankruptcy and DFW-FRA is all that remains. For even the slightest city change in favor of a few connecting passengers per flight could be financially disastrous (if the DFW-FRA route is fragile already, but I have no information regarding this). LAN also appears to be doing fine with SCL-MAD-FRA, and once again I do not have information on route stability regarding that. CX is also a mystery regarding the matter.


Perhaps my fellow aviators can enlighten all of us on the profitability and stability of international Oneworld routes into FRA. The point of the discussion is to mainly question the advantages and disadvantages of attempting to create an alliance hub out of BER with Air Berlin to rival Lufthansa and FRA. The transfer may also not only eliminate the threat of Lufthansa, but allow them to further look into expanding long-haul horizons on lost Oneworld routes from FRA instead of focusing on BER long-haul.

What do you guys think?
 
qf002
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:34 am

That's a very big market for carriers like CX to effectively leave for LH. The existing flights to FRA are very much centered around local traffic (given the absence of connections available to OW carriers), so I think they'd be silly to hand LH these passengers.

The only carrier I can see moving operations any time soon is QF. Their flights seem to be driven by tourists with limited business passengers, most of whom are going further than FRA. AB would work well for QF (but they've stated that there are no plans as yet). QF has also been moving flights to OW hubs methodically over the past little while.

Perhaps CX could open up a daily flight to BER in addition to the FRA flight, to focus mostly on connecting pax (and they'd grab the entire local market at the same time).

AA is a hard one -- I'm not entirely sure what markets their flight cater for. I'd imagine mainly local traffic, given that it's far more efficient for them to route connections through LHR than for carriers coming in from the East. I don't see them doing something this risky at the present time.

The growth of AB and BER really depends a lot on the growth of Berlin as a city as well. AB needs to work hard to maintain a strong presence in the face of LH -- I'd guess that OW partners are waiting to see what happens before they commit themselves.
 
Independence76
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:59 am

Quoting qf002 (Reply 1):
Perhaps CX could open up a daily flight to BER in addition to the FRA flight, to focus mostly on connecting pax (and they'd grab the entire local market at the same time).

It would also be good considering that a whole Oneworld east-bound connection spot would be possible.

Quoting qf002 (Reply 1):
The growth of AB and BER really depends a lot on the growth of Berlin as a city as well. AB needs to work hard to maintain a strong presence in the face of LH -- I'd guess that OW partners are waiting to see what happens before they commit themselves.

Yes, but Berlin is also the largest city in Germany. The fact Lufthansa is starting 30 new flights all at once means that it may potentially skyrocket as the new central European hub - and they want a piece of it.
 
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:00 am

Quoting Independence76 (Thread starter):
Air Berlin destinations: 70

Does this include the AB routes being moved from MUC?

Or do we have an arbitrary day where LH is doing a 'step function' growth of 30 flights and AB will move flights over a period of time?

Either way, I see AB benefiting as once all Berlin flights are consolidated to a single airport, the connection opportunities will improve RASM (needed for AB, sadly) and allow for quicker growth due to that higher RASM.

Quoting Independence76 (Thread starter):
so with 30 new routes being added in a single day, their analysts have seen the potential of this airport beyond what most would normally assume.

That is a tremendous amount of equipment being shifted. Where is it coming from?

Lightsaber

Ps (late edit), I wonder what Etihad and AirBerlin will do with their 'strategic partnership.' I see BER being more of a feed for AUH than vice versa. Opinions?

[Edited 2012-03-20 21:03:05]
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Independence76
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:10 am

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 3):
Does this include the AB routes being moved from MUC?

Or do we have an arbitrary day where LH is doing a 'step function' growth of 30 flights and AB will move flights over a period of time?

No, the MUC flights are there to stay.

From what it sounds like, all airlines operating in and out of TXL and BER between June 2nd and 3rd will have their planes ferried to BER (much like Kai Tak to Chek Lap Kok (correct me if I'm wrong)). This may sound silly but I'm not entirely familiar with moving planes from one airport to another in close proximity, so forgive me.

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 3):
That is a tremendous amount of equipment being shifted. Where is it coming from?

Nothing is for certain on that - Lufthansa has claimed (and confirmed) 30 new destinations starting immediately effective June 3rd from BER. Nobody knows exactly where the planes are coming from as of yet.
 
mdavies06
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:27 am

Quoting Independence76 (Reply 4):

From what it sounds like, all airlines operating in and out of TXL and BER between June 2nd and 3rd will have their planes ferried to BER (much like Kai Tak to Chek Lap Kok (correct me if I'm wrong)). This may sound silly but I'm not entirely familiar with moving planes from one airport to another in close proximity, so forgive me.

From old HKG to new HKG the planes were ferried by flight, not road or ships. I would imagine it be the same with TXL to BER.

Quoting qf002 (Reply 1):
That's a very big market for carriers like CX to effectively leave for LH. The existing flights to FRA are very much centered around local traffic (given the absence of connections available to OW carriers), so I think they'd be silly to hand LH these passengers.

Thats right. I can't see an immediate shift from FRA to BER. More likely shifting around the frequency so they both co-exist. I can very well see the stronger of the OW carriers who do not serve TXL such as JL, LA, CX (and later AA) launching BER.
 
Independence76
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:35 am

Quoting mdavies06 (Reply 5):
From old HKG to new HKG the planes were ferried by flight, not road or ships. I would imagine it be the same with TXL to BER.

Certainly not by road or ships.

The main issue I see is noise and nighttime flying laws. Hong Kong didn't have those obstacles in the middle of the night and neither does Doha (for New Doha International Airport, opening 12/12/2012) or Quito (New Quito International Airport, proposed to be operational by October 2012).

The plan to get planes from TXL to BER would certainly be a challenging production.
 
crAAzy
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:12 am

Quoting qf002 (Reply 1):

AA is a hard one -- I'm not entirely sure what markets their flight cater for. I'd imagine mainly local traffic, given that it's far more efficient for them to route connections through LHR than for carriers coming in from the East. I don't see them doing something this risky at the present time.


With the demise of Malev I think AA to BER is a given.

With AB covering JFK, MIA, and LAX it's perfectly reasonable for AA to start DFW-BER and ORD-BER. Both locations have enough feed to funnel into AB's network at BER.

Given AA's conservative strategy I suspect they'll probably only start one route at a time. If they do, I suspect DFW might be first. Although one could argue that DFW has FRA for connections so ORD-BER would allow for a more complete network with less people having to fly South to go back North.
 
Independence76
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:38 am

Quoting crAAzy (Reply 7):
With AB covering JFK, MIA, and LAX it's perfectly reasonable for AA to start DFW-BER and ORD-BER. Both locations have enough feed to funnel into AB's network at BER.

Given AA's conservative strategy I suspect they'll probably only start one route at a time. If they do, I suspect DFW might be first. Although one could argue that DFW has FRA for connections so ORD-BER would allow for a more complete network with less people having to fly South to go back North.

Their recent strategy in bankruptcy has apparently been increasing strength in major hubs, so I see DFW-BER as the most likely possibility if JFK-BER isn't announced first.

Malev's demise makes this likely. Otherwise, I would never expect any such expansion.


If other Oneworld carriers decide to jump into BER internationally, I would only see it as successful if it was marketing properly on a large scale.
 
thegeek
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:05 am

Quoting qf002 (Reply 1):
The only carrier I can see moving operations any time soon is QF. Their flights seem to be driven by tourists with limited business passengers, most of whom are going further than FRA. AB would work well for QF (but they've stated that there are no plans as yet). QF has also been moving flights to OW hubs methodically over the past little while.

I don't see this happening at all. The FRA flight is profitable, and loads are good. Not sure how many of these passengers are O&D or transferring though. What I see is a flight being added to BER. SIN-BER is easily within range of an A332. The only issue with that is that there aren't many A332s reaching SIN on QF, but it could do an equipment swap in SIN rotating it occasionally through ADL or PER.

Is there a need to fly to BER daily in the first instance, or is a 3pw flight acceptable? If the latter, extending QF81 (SYD-ADL-SIN) to BER seems completely reasonable.
 
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:06 am

Quoting crAAzy (Reply 7):
Both locations have enough feed to funnel into AB's network at BER.

Surely the connections are just as easily satisfied via LHR and BA though?
 
Independence76
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:14 am

Quoting qf002 (Reply 10):
Surely the connections are just as easily satisfied via LHR and BA though?

Yes, but some passengers may have a connection east of LHR. To go westward then eastward only wastes time.

I can imagine why carriers coming into BER from the west wouldn't make sense, but Asian and Australian partners into BER would be a better fit for connections.
 
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MillwallSean
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:55 am

Quoting Independence76 (Reply 11):
Yes, but some passengers may have a connection east of LHR. To go westward then eastward only wastes time.

I can imagine why carriers coming into BER from the west wouldn't make sense, but Asian and Australian partners into BER would be a better fit for connections.

Air Berlin feeds eastwards longhaul to Etihad. Its new big owner. Not to QF or CX.
Air Berlin wont offer much to the other airlines in terms of connectivity or feed. look at their routemap...
A few gaps for any airline not transporting tourists to the med...
Air Berlin doesnt serve markets such as LHR, CDG or for that sake any Paris airport, AMS, BRU, Warsaw, Prague etc etc. Its great if a person is connecting to Palma Mallorca or Kefalonia however neither CX, BA or QF have built their business around such passengers.

BER Im sure will be a great airport eventually and berlin as a city will one day perhaps claim its old power and influence. but we are far from there just yet.
AB is one of the airlines bleeding the most in Europe. Its a hybrid between a lowcost and full service, an airline whose network is a mix of leisure destinations combined with a few business markets.

I might sounds negative, I am not. I like Air Berlin I hope they can become a viable competitor for LH in Germany. But at the moment they are miles from even trying to compete and the notion that AB is some sort of big bridgehead in Europe for oneworld is just a million miles from reality.
Air Berlin in oneworld wont at the moment be more substantial than malev was or when Royal Jordanian entered.
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PanHAM
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:22 am

For QF there is not only OW connex traffic at FRA, they interline, also with LH, The departing flight gets transit pax from MAN, BHX (at least while BA/BE was still operating those routes) and LHR, they interline with German Rail and FRA is, contrary to BER, centrally located.

The night bans are about equal, although i would not bet on it, the likelyness that QF stays at FRA is high. they rather give up Germany altogether, yielding to the Gulf carriers.
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qf340500
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:23 am

Air Berlin in oneworld wont at the moment be more substantial than malev was or when Royal Jordanian entered.
---> Millwallsean, i dont know if you can compare Air Berlin and Malev / Royal Jordanian... the size is quite different and the number of ports flown to as well, no???
 
qf002
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:26 am

Quoting thegeek (Reply 9):
I don't see this happening at all. The FRA flight is profitable, and loads are good. Not sure how many of these passengers are O&D or transferring though.

That's what most people said about EZE and SCL though. I do see your logic, but if it's true that this is just a backpacker express (as many would have us believe), then BER serves the market far better than FRA ever will. I don't see QF adding destinations overall though.

Quoting Independence76 (Reply 11):
Yes, but some passengers may have a connection east of LHR. To go westward then eastward only wastes time.

I can imagine why carriers coming into BER from the west wouldn't make sense, but Asian and Australian partners into BER would be a better fit for connections.

This is what I'm saying though. For passengers travelling on AA from North America, LHR makes the ideal connecting hub, being on the far Western edge of the continent. For passengers travelling on CX and QF from HKG/SIN, BER makes far more sense because it's closer to the middle of the continent.

So, with that statement, why would AA open up flights to BER when their connecting traffic is better suited to LHR?
 
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:53 am

Quoting Independence76 (Thread starter):
With Air Berlin, one can now connect from LAN, American, Cathay Pacific, or S7 for a short hop to from FRA to BER or TXL. However, this would be rather inconvenient for such a short hop for some. The transportation possibilities at FRA may endanger the Air Berlin connections.....from the ground. Rail transport at FRA contains the InterCity Express infrastructure and would allow passengers a more comfortable (although longer) journey than another whole flying hassle on a very long trip.

Don't overestimate the rail connection from FRA. Yes, FRA is in the center of Germany and dozens of ICEs go by every day, but the fact remains that connection to the East of Germany (and BER) is very poor via train. Flying is definitely an option, especially when train tickets are often twice as much as flights.

Quoting Independence76 (Reply 4):
Nothing is for certain on that - Lufthansa has claimed (and confirmed) 30 new destinations starting immediately effective June 3rd from BER. Nobody knows exactly where the planes are coming from as of yet.

LH Italia donated a couple of A319s, adding to the frames which are transferred from TXL.

Quoting mdavies06 (Reply 5):
From old HKG to new HKG the planes were ferried by flight, not road or ships. I would imagine it be the same with TXL to BER.

 
Quoting Independence76 (Reply 11):
Quoting qf002 (Reply 10):
Surely the connections are just as easily satisfied via LHR and BA though?

Yes, but some passengers may have a connection east of LHR. To go westward then eastward only wastes time.

Keep in mind also that LHR can be a pain transiting. BER has a brand-new airport which may favor transit pax. Let's hope it does.
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Burkhard
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:57 am

FRA is the business center of central Europe. No airline that has slots here will give them up easily - unless in a survival struggle.
AB has far too few flights out of FRA to be called connectivity, so the airlines will continue to interline with LH and Deutsche Bahn.
Some OW and * airlines might try direct flight into BER with AB/LH connections. Some of these may stay, some may not pay out.

All this provided Etihad is willing to continue to pump more money into AB. If I think of the current state of AB, I would say
- it makes money the summer in Mallorca
- it does not know if it is at home in Berlin, in Düsseldorf or in Munic
- it does not know if it is a tourist airline or a network carrier
- it joined an alliance without any concept of what it is worth for
- it let the first Sheik who is willing to do so pay the bills

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vfw614
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:58 am

Quoting Independence76 (Reply 2):

Yes, but Berlin is also the largest city in Germany. The fact Lufthansa is starting 30 new flights all at once means that it may potentially skyrocket as the new central European hub - and they want a piece of

Don't get too excited. Part of it is just the rebranded Germanwings operation currently operated at SXF.

Quoting Independence76 (Reply 4):
Nothing is for certain on that - Lufthansa has claimed (and confirmed) 30 new destinations starting immediately effective June 3rd from BER. Nobody knows exactly where the planes are coming from as of yet.

Lufthansa has already parked a number of A32X at SXF, some of them former Lufthansa Italia planes.

Quoting MillwallSean (Reply 12):
Air Berlin wont offer much to the other airlines in terms of connectivity or feed. look at their routemap... A few gaps for any airline not transporting tourists to the med...

Indeed. I fail to understand why people believe that airberlin's BER operation will be a proper hub soon. airberlin lacks the fleet, the route network and the frequencies for that - and the money to change shortcomings in all three departments. Serving a big number of destinations (many of which are leisure oriented) once or twice daily cannot sustain a large hub as you need to have feed and "de-feed" at least for late morning and early evening flights. Just think about how Lufthansa built up its MUC over years - they started with a large fleet of 50 seaters feeding the hub, then moved to 70 seaters and have now reached the 100 seat category. Do you guys really expect airberlin to do hub feed with its A320/737s - they do not have anything smaller with the exception of ten Q400s? Of course BER and AB will offer some more connections, but turning it into a oneworld hub is a wholly different story.
 
Independence76
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:11 am

Quoting vfw614 (Reply 18):
Indeed. I fail to understand why people believe that airberlin's BER operation will be a proper hub soon. airberlin lacks the fleet, the route network and the frequencies for that - and the money to change shortcomings in all three departments.

BER is a brand-new airport designed for increased capacity, long-haul operations, and future government, business, and expo models. The fact a company as reputable as Lufthansa Group is gambling big on BER from day one would tell the average analyst they LH did their homework and want a piece of the pie. BER, with the right operational practices (which AB needs to certainly improve with the low-cost/long-haul/leisure hybrid dilemma) can be an excellent money-maker for them and Star Alliance partners alike.
 
vfw614
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:57 am

Lufthansa is not gambling big at BER. As I said, after the transition from SXF to BER, Germanwings will only keep four domestic routes (some at the expense of Lufthansa frequencies, by the way) plus three low-frequency seasonal routes. The rest (mostly seasonal summer routes) has been shifted to Lufthansa, which pretty much operates BER as a stand-alone, low-cost operation. It has added, of course, more destinations, but I don't think you can call it spectacular. Pretty much like what they did at DUS a few years ago. It also remains to be seen if the market can absorb the additional capacity as a lot of these destinations are already served by low-cost airlines from SXF at the moment.


There is also no logic behind the argument that the opening of BER will generate spectacular growth. Has any airline been turned down in the past that wanted to serve the Berlin market? Or have passengers chosen not to fly to Berlin because of the dated, soemwhat crowded terminals at TXL and SXF? Or will the lack of high yield passengers change all of a sudden only because flights depart from BER instead of TXL? I don't think so, and I think much is over-hyped at the moment. It is just a new terminal for a market that is mainly point-to-point. Because of that, its capacity is not really designed for much growth. Lufthansa will have a decent operation there just to keep airberlin at bay - like at DUS - but that is pretty much it.

[Edited 2012-03-21 03:01:42]
 
PanHAM
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:18 am

Lufthansa is promoting BER this week with € 49,00 tickets on June 3rd. They will fill the seats with bargains like that.
Of course they do not leave the playgrounds to AB or others.

For business passengers, it will take longer to get tpo central berlin now total transit time might increase and depending from where people fly to BER, the train might be the better choice.
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vfw614
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:28 am

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 21):
Lufthansa is promoting BER this week with € 49,00 tickets on June 3rd.

Where? I could not find a single domestic flight for 49 EUR on June, 3rd on the official website.
 
PanHAM
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:32 am

came in by email about an hour ago. The price is one way of course. but with promotions, discounts for shopping, dining etc.. Just show the boarding card.
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vfw614
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:34 am

But where do you book those 49 EUR if the official LH website only shows flights north of 100 EUR one-way on June 3rd?
 
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:38 am

If the Qantas group did ever consider flying into Berlin then I think that they would send Jetstar rather than Qantas.
Unlike Frankfurt with its financial institutions, Berlin is a tourist market and is more suited the Jetstar model.

We could possibly see Qantas at LHR, FRA and CDG (if France ever agrees to it), and Jetstar at BER, FCO and ATH (although I'm not so sure about the latter anymore).

As for Berlin becoming a hub for oneworld, I cannot see this happening under AB's current route structure. As already stated many of the 70 destinations flown are 'bucket and spade' holiday destinations, aimed at the local market.

The timing of flights also needs to be adjusted to allow more opportunities for passengers to transfer. I presume that AB will be in a better position to do this once they start operating out of BER

Does anyone know if AB has plans to move away from holiday and leisure destinations now that they are a oneworld member? I can't see them being much of an asset to the alliance if they don't.
 
PanHAM
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:39 am

There's a link. If you get the price for the flight you eventually want is another story, but for those who are flexible....
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MillwallSean
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:43 am

Quoting QF340500 (Reply 14):
---> Millwallsean, i dont know if you can compare Air Berlin and Malev / Royal Jordanian... the size is quite different and the number of ports flown to as well, no???

Because I believe Air Berlins footprint for businesstravellers is smaller than those two carriers footprint were.
Look at a map. Look where Germany is and look at the neighbouring countries. Air Berlin serves Austria well but thats it. Thats right this European player doesnt serve England, France (Orly is served), Holland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Madrid etc from Berlin. And if we look east to Poland (a flight to Cracow every second day) while Romania, The baltics and Bulgaria arent served at all.
They do serve virtually every island in Greece and tourist destination in Spain though. In general Air Berlin is incredibly weak to all business destinations and offers a schedule that is made for leisure but not business. the 2 flights a week kind of schedule.
Not sure what oneworld airlines have to gain from that.

[Edited 2012-03-21 03:56:22]
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vfw614
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:45 am

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 26):
There's a link. If you get the price for the flight you eventually want is another story, but for those who are flexible....

I have reeived the mail now as well. It does not say that flights are sold for 49 EUR for June 3, 2012, but simply advertises that flights from BER start at 49 EUR. The link is to the general website where you have been able to book flights for 49 EUR for a couple of weeks - regrettably not for the opening day.
 
Quokkas
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:51 am

Quoting vfw614 (Reply 20):
Has any airline been turned down in the past that wanted to serve the Berlin market?

Yes and continues to be unless they give up somewhere else - guess who.

But to the topic, I can't see BER becoming a serious threat to FRA unless AB is able to offer something that transferring passengers can't get elsewhere.

While much of the discussion has focused on passengers transiting, another factor is freight. Is AB (with its OW partners) in any position to mount a challenge serious enough to persuade customers, shippers, etc to switch from FRA to BER? Will BER offer 24/7 operations that might be an attraction if a night ban remains at FRA? Are the various fees at BER sufficiently low to justify trucking freight there rather than maintaining present practices?
“Not to laugh, not to cry, not to hate, but understand.” Spinoza
 
BommerJan
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:45 am

Air Berlin or Air Berlin's ascension into oneworld will not have any significant impact on the future of FRA, and neither hwill BER's opening in June.

Air Berlin is in no position to challenge Lufthansa at the moment. Air Berlin is to a large degree an odd collection of failed airlines (among them Deutsche BA and LTU) with a precarious financial situation (at least until Etihad's investment), an awful CI and livery, and no clear identity. It is not Berlin's airline as it does not have more than a 50% market share there. I would think that, indeed, Air Berlin carries more passengers out of Palma de Mallorca (PMI) than any other of its destinations, so in essence could be called Air Palma.

The economic activity in Germany (still) takes place to large degree in the "economic banana", meaning Hamburg-Düsseldorf-Cologne-Frankfurt-Stuttgart-Munich, with Berlin being solely government. Not one of the DAX comanies is headquartered in Berlin. One of the current mayor of Berlin Wowereit's famous quotes is "Berlin is sexy - but poor". I think the unemployment rate in Berlin is at least double that of the average of the rest of Germany. I do not see how BER could take away from FRA.

If Air Berlin in its current position - or its oneworld partners - try to establish a hub there, I think the likelihood of them failing bitterly is very high.

Your thoughts?
 
Rara
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:53 am

Quoting MillwallSean (Reply 12):
Its a hybrid between a lowcost and full service

I keep reading that - but which lowcost aspects really remain for AB, except the lack of a short-haul business class? As far as I can see, the carrier is full service. FF programmes and status are all available, drinks and even snacks are complimentary on all flights, no fees for baggage, and they don't even sell low-cost tickets (round-trips start at 100€, same as LH).

Also, why do people say they don't have the route map for hub operations? They fly to most every important European airport from Berlin. Sure they have lots of holiday connections available, but their remaining European network really is quite dense.

Quoting vfw614 (Reply 18):

Lufthansa has already parked a number of A32X at SXF, some of them former Lufthansa Italia planes.

Ah.   That's what they are. I wondered. So the aircraft just sit there waiting for BER to open?

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 29):
Will BER offer 24/7 operations that might be an attraction if a night ban remains at FRA?

No. Freight will not be a factor at BER. The cargo hub of Leipzig is nearby, and Berlin doesn't really have much of a manufactoring industry.
Samson was a biblical tough guy, but his dad Samsonite was even more of a hard case.
 
PanHAM
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:07 pm

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 29):
another factor is freight. Is AB (with its OW partners) in any position to mount a challenge serious enough to persuade customers, shippers, etc to switch from FRA to BER? Will BER offer 24/7 operations that might be an attraction if a night ban re

AB sells cargo through a GSE, leisure Cargo, which is their own, inherited from LTU-. leisure Cargo itself is profitable , the broker other airlines as well. The acquisition of AB by Etihad has caused some uncertaincies, since Etihad sells their cargo capacity through another broker.

BER is castrated in operating hours as well, the location is odd and as Rara said, LEJ is down the road, even for UPS and FX it would make sense eventually to send a couple sprinter down to LEJ.

BER does not play a major role in air freight, even MUC does not when you look at the statistics.
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Quokkas
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:26 pm

Quoting Rara (Reply 31):
Quoting PanHAM (Reply 32):

Thank you both for the clarification.  
“Not to laugh, not to cry, not to hate, but understand.” Spinoza
 
AAIL86
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:27 pm

Quoting Independence76 (Thread starter):
(if the DFW-FRA route is fragile already, but I have no information regarding this)

I don't have any recent numbers on the profitability of DFW-FRA, but not to have AA in FRA at all would be a real disgrace. Granted, AA has contracted a previously unbelievable amount in Germany, but between US military traffic to Germany and the need to have Frankfurt on the map (for frequent flyer purposes and otherwise) I think DFW- FRA is here to stay. AA and AB also have to be looking to see what TATL flights will work with the opening of BER.
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vfw614
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:29 pm

Quoting Quokkas (Reply 29):
Yes and continues to be unless they give up somewhere else - guess who.

Which has nothing to do with the airport, but with traffic rights. You could even argue that Emirates' "problem" demonstrates that BER is not the mega airport many dream of as Emirates could, if I am not mistaken, easily give up one of its four German gateways and serve BER instead. Apparently BER, in Emirates analysis, will never be as lucrative as DUS, HAM, MUC or FRA, because otherwise they would move there after having failed to secure additional traffic rights again and again.
 
PanHAM
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:17 pm

Quoting AAIL86 (Reply 34):
think DFW- FRA is here to stay. AA and AB also have to be looking to see what TATL flights will work with the opening of BER.

Consiering that the European HQ US Army is moving to Wiesbaden, with about 20000 US soldiers and families living there, some 20 km from Rhein-Main, it would not be wise to give up centrally located FRA for a remote destination in the east. I guess that DFW and AA always served a lot of military traffic
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Burkhard
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:26 pm

I really do not get what is so special with BER.

Berlin was no center of aviation the last decade when they still had three airports. Closing one changed nothing. Now they close the second and only keep the one that is worst located, just brought to up to date standards of a regional airport. A regional center that is the seat of the govenment for historical reasons and as social benefit to an otherwise unemployed population has updated one bad regional airport to a good regional airport and closed the better one for that purpose. The main destination from BER will remain PMI - and Air Berlin better concentrates on what they can to survive.
 
Rara
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:28 pm

Quoting Burkhard (Reply 37):

You make it sound like BER is an upgraded SXF, which just isn't the case. BER is built from scratch, it's an entirely new and presumably modern airport. It just so happens to share one runway with SXF, but that is really the only connection.

Quoting Burkhard (Reply 37):
The main destination from BER will remain PMI

The main destination from BER is FRA, and that's for a reason.

Quoting Burkhard (Reply 37):
Air Berlin better concentrates on what they can to survive.

  
Samson was a biblical tough guy, but his dad Samsonite was even more of a hard case.
 
AAIL86
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 3:48 pm

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 36):
Consiering that the European HQ US Army is moving to Wiesbaden, with about 20000 US soldiers and families living there, some 20 km from Rhein-Main, it would not be wise to give up centrally located FRA for a remote destination in the east. I guess that DFW and AA always served a lot of military traffic

Correct. I don't see DFW-FRA going anywhere as there's a fair amount of Texas-Germany traffic.

It might amuse you to find out that there's some military traffic flowing the other direction, as well. The Luftwaffe operates a decent sized training base at Alamogordo, NM, and when I worked for AA I would often see Luftwaffe airmen in the terminal connecting from either LH or AA to AA DFW-ELP (no doubt they transit IAH as well).

[Edited 2012-03-21 08:51:21]
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PanHAM
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:08 pm

Quoting AAIL86 (Reply 39):
It might amuse you to find out that there's some military traffic flowing the other direction, as well. The Luftwaffe

I know that, I think the one at Ft. Bliss which has been there for decades is about to close down. Once on a visit to the Pima County Air Museum I saw a car in the parking lot with German military licence plates, didn't know they had special plates with the German flag on it. US military for security reasons has done away with that in Germany.

US Military traffic has a long time history especially in Germany but it is only a fraction of what it used to be. In the early 80s we had LH, AA and BN on the FRA-DFW route and I am just thinking hard if DL, when they still had a DFW hub wasn't no. 4.
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columba
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:47 pm

Quoting vfw614 (Reply 18):
they do not have anything smaller with the exception of ten Q400s?

AB has started to use Niki´s EJet on many of their own routes now.

Quoting MillwallSean (Reply 12):
Its great if a person is connecting to Palma Mallorca or Kefalonia however neither CX, BA or QF have built their business around such passengers.

It is not that bad as you make it seem, AB flies to a lot of larger cities as well not only holiday destinations.
It will forever be a McDonnell Douglas MD 80 , Boeing MD 80 sounds so wrong
 
vfw614
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:00 pm

While Berlin is Germany's largest city, its catchment area can contribute very little, so the airport pretty much is stuck with what Berlin itself can generate as traffic - locals, VFR, tourists, conventions, government travel and industry can contribute. As far as conventions and tourists are concerned, Berlin is very attractive, but government travel and particularly business travel is somewhat limited because of the non-existence of high-tech or heavy industry around Berlin and because of the federal system.

If you look at Metro regions, Berlin is dwarfed by RhineRuhr (served by DUS, DTM and CGN) and not bigger than Rhine/Main (FRA), Stuttgart (STR), Munich (MUC). Hamburg (HAM) and "CentralGermany" (DRS/LEJ). These all have a population of 4,5m to 5,5m, but all (with the exception of "CentralGermany") a much stronger local economy. So because of its tourism and conventions, Berlin will always have a solid passenger base, but real growth would require a large hub & spoke operation. The only candidate for that is oneworld - which has LHR for its North American business, Madrid for South America (and to some extent Africa). BER could focus on Asia (although there is also HEL for that), but the problem is of course that Etihad has no interest whatsoever that this happens.
 
TWA85
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:02 pm

An ideal scenario would be a split hub strategy with BER being used by AB for German and European originating traffic (I.e. CGN-BER-JFK) and FRA being used to feed non European Oneworld members (I.e. AA/AB DFW-FRA-MUC). This way Oneworld members that serve FRA can maintain there current FRA flights with additional feed and AB doesn't have to go head to head with LH. It would also make sense for AB to make DUS their FRA and BER their MUC.
 
vv701
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:10 pm

There are a some reasons which make me think it unlikely that we will see that many AA flights into BER.

First AA have ATI with BA which they do not have with AB. This would, I assume, make it economically beneficial to route AA passengers on a BA TATL flight.

Second is the timetable - particularly westbound on AA/BA LHR-JFK ATI flights. There are daily eastbound departures from LHR at:

0830 (BA117)
0955 (BA175
1045 (AA101)
1235 (AA139)
1300 (BA177)
1400 (AA105)
1450 (BA115)
1600 (BA113)
1700 (AA107)
1805 (BA179)
1900 (AA141)
2000 (BA183)

That means there is no destination in Europe, Africa, the Middle East or the Indian sub-continent served from LHR that will not have an alost ideally timed connection to JFK by AA/BA at LHR. The chances of many such destinations having even an equally convenient connection through BER would be relatively slim.

Third it is instructive to look at the code shares on the future LHR-BER flights. With their scheduled LHR departure times they are:

0700 BA981. (AA6593) (AB5001)
1105 BA991. (AA6393) (AB5009)
1220 BA983. (AA6595) (AB5003)
1430 BA993. (AA6371) (AB5011)
1645 BA985. (AB5005) (JL7714) (QF3606)
2005 BA987. (AB5007) (QF3608)

On average the return BER-LHR flights (excepting the over-night stopper) arrive back at LHR between 4 hrs 15 mins and 4 hrs 30 mins after departing LHR. The over-nihght stopper departs BER at 0700 and is scheduled at LHR at 0805. So most of the North American destinations served by AA/BA will have a not inconvenient LHR connecting flight from BER.

Also note that all six daily BA BER-LH flight, like the six LHR-BER flights, will all carry an AB code-share. With the UK sitting on the western periphery of Europe these code shares are only good for travellers terminating their journey in the UK or North America.
 
ckfred
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:49 pm

Quoting Independence76 (Reply 8):
Their recent strategy in bankruptcy has apparently been increasing strength in major hubs, so I see DFW-BER as the most likely possibility if JFK-BER isn't announced first.

Malev's demise makes this likely. Otherwise, I would never expect any such expansion.


If other Oneworld carriers decide to jump into BER internationally, I would only see it as successful if it was marketing properly on a large scale.

It may depend on how much traffic AA currently moves from the U.S. to eastern Germany and Eastern Europe. If there is more traffic to these areas of Europe from the upper Midwest, then ORD would be the better hub to start service to BER. If there is more traffic from Texas, the southern Great Plains, and the Southwest, the DFW is the better hub.

Obviously, manufacturing has moved to the Sun Belt over the past 30 to 40 years. But, there are plenty of Fortune 500 companies, as well as smaller companies in the upper Midwest who do business in Germany and Eastern Europe. Also, Chicago is the financial futures capital of the world.

If AA decides to start service to BER from a hub, it will be interesting to see which one.
 
columba
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:28 pm

According to the CEO of AA who was interviewed in Berlin AA is looking at flying to Berlin in the future:

Here is the interview:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfZxnZMWx9o&feature=player_embedded
It will forever be a McDonnell Douglas MD 80 , Boeing MD 80 sounds so wrong
 
Independence76
Topic Author
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:03 pm

Quoting Rara (Reply 31):
Also, why do people say they don't have the route map for hub operations? They fly to most every important European airport from Berlin. Sure they have lots of holiday connections available, but their remaining European network really is quite dense.

Air Berlin does have some routes to major airports, but another few are not in their network. LHR and CDG are missing - LHR obviously being the biggest loss. AB currently only flies into STN and LGW. BA is flying LHR-TXL (to become LHR-BER, June 3rd) and it codeshares with AB on those routes. I can honestly see money saved on Air Berlin's part if they sell off their STN and LGW slots in favor of LHR slots (preferably Terminal 3). Their subsidiary Niki only flies into EDI seasonally. For these to be Oneworld carriers completely overshooting LHR is really a bad idea. S7 follows the same path.

Quoting columba (Reply 46):
According to the CEO of AA who was interviewed in Berlin, AA is looking at flying to Berlin in the future:

Here is the interview:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfZxn...edded

I hope to see that happen in the future. I speculate that AA will seriously consider (or announce) BER with either 763 or 788 equipment in the next 3 years.
 
vfw614
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:43 pm

Quoting Rara (Reply 31):
Also, why do people say they don't have the route map for hub operations? They fly to most every important European airport from Berlin. Sure they have lots of holiday connections available, but their remaining European network really is quite dense.

For hub feed, it does not help to serve a destination at some frequency at some point of the day. You need multiple departures that are timed to offer connections. This timing is not too difficult if you have a short-haul hub, but gets very complicated if you do longhaul feed, given the different arrival and departure times for east-, west- and southbound longhauls.
 
boeing773er
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RE: AB + Oneworld: The Future Of FRA?

Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:59 pm

Quoting MillwallSean (Reply 27):

Honestly, what AB brings to OW is the leisure destinations that BA/IB/S7/AY doesn't serve.

Point blank.

Honestly oneWorld saw the potential for AB in the alliance, because they serve destinations in Europe that the rest of the four EU airlines don't serve. Yes AB isn't exactly up to the same standards of the rest of oneWorld, but neither are the destinations that they serve.

I believe AB brings large potential to OW because they serve many new destinations that the rest of OW didn't serve before. I did a quick look at AB's destinations in Africa according to wikipedia, and all of their African destinations are not served by OW year round, on mainline.

Essentially AB really does bring potential to OW, not as much as other airlines but they still bring potential to OW.
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