abrown532
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Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:36 pm

With Aer Lingus moving everything from BFS to BHD in October could this be seen as a last ditch attempt to hold onto a share of Northern Irish air traffic?

Surely BHD has much more limitations than BFS and I cannot see how this can end well for EI.

Could it be possible for EI to just up sticks and move down to Dublin which, realistically, is only 1H 30M down the road?
 
flyingcello
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:43 pm

The loads on any EI flights I have been on from BFS to LHR (including two flights today) are always good, so that route should be making money. I think the move to BHD is simply about airport charges, nothing more. BHD seem to be willing to buy business in a way that BFS are not. Add in that BHD suits the business community, and moving the LHR flights there makes some sense.

The bit that doesn't seem to work so well for EI is the other flights they have added to the mix. They seem to want to compete with EZY on some of the holiday routes, which isn't their strength. EI should be opening up new business routes instead. We could do with a Berlin or Dusseldorf for the German market...or a Milan or Rome. What about a Scandinavian route? That for me is where EI have missed an opportunity.

But I don't think they intend to pull out...they have been well received in NI, and the potential is there, if they can find the right route mix.
 
GSTBA
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:19 am

Quoting flyingcello (Reply 1):
The loads on any EI flights I have been on from BFS to LHR (including two flights today) are always good, so that route should be making money.

A flight may be full or nearly full but that doesn't mean it is making money. The agreement between BA has resulted in EI carrying on each flight carrying what has been a high and ever increasing number of transfer passenger to and from BA's and there OW partners flights. This agreement has served both carriers well over the years but now BA and EI are in direct competition and that last thing BA will be wanting to do is send anymore business EI's way

This winter a 4 airlines will operate a total of 190 flights each week between Belfast and London. I understand it is a busy route but is there really a demand for so many seats. Below is a list of the airports, carriers and the weekly flights they will operate.


LGW - 71 weekly flights (BE = 26 weekly, EZY = 24 weekly, EI = 21 weekly)

LTN - 19 EZY flights weekly

LHR - 61 weekly flights (BA = 40 weekly, EI = 21 weekly)

SEN - 13 EZY flights weekly

STN - 26 EZY flights weekly

I think the next 6 to 9 months will be crucial for EI and it's LHR-BHD route.

[Edited 2012-09-11 17:43:57]
 
skipness1E
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:23 am

Quoting flyingcello (Reply 1):
The loads on any EI flights I have been on from BFS to LHR (including two flights today) are always good, so that route should be making money. I think the move to BHD is simply about airport charges, nothing more.

They said BFS was profitable but it may not have been making enough. It's not simply about charges as BHD has some runway and performance limitations that mean sun routes will be limited. Also the strategy is to focus on "business" type routes with the launch of yet another London service, into LGW. Once the introductory freebies run out, they will have to pay a market rate. The one thing they didn't count on, was BA staying on BHD-LHR.
btw I flew LHR-BFS-LHR last week and both legs were ~ 50% load factors.
 
GSTBA
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:46 am

If EI did drop there own flights from BHD then maybe they should approach SRB to see if he wants to buy the slots. Branson has announced he intends to open flights to MAN starting late March using a yet to be sourced A319 aircraft. He has also stated that he wants to open domestic services to ABZ and EDI in competition with BA.

So sll might not be lost if they did close BHD.

I have a idea... a base closure would mean EI would have a surplus of crew and capacity. One way that EI could make the surplus work for them and in turn generate revenue would be to enter a agreement with VS similar to the one between BE and SN.

Under the agreement 3 to 4 EI A320's along with there crew could be leased to VS (the aircraft would be painted in VS colours and the crew wear VS uniforms) to set up domestic operations. EI could also supply ground handling by using the same companies that they use to handle there flights at ABZ, EDI, GLA, LHR & MAN. This could save VS a lot of hassle.

Also having EI at T1 handling them would be perfect since domestic flights can currently only operate from T1 or T5 at LHR
 
keegd76
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:08 am

The reasons given by EI for their move to BHD never made sense. BHD is the smaller airport of the two so less capacity (the runway issue is never going to be sorted) and fewer flights. According to the BHD website there will be only two dedicated services starting in October: LHR and LGW. Any others will be 'seasonal'.

Even the head of BFS admitted he couldn't understand EI's reasons for moving. Some quarters have suggested that EI were given a back-hander to move sites. I'm no expert but if the London routes don't pan out then EI have left themselves in a hole.

Would BFS take them back?
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dstc47
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:19 am

Quoting flyingcello (Reply 1):
What about a Scandinavian route?

EI have had difficulty with operating such routes out of the much larger DUB market, with more stopping and restarting services over the years than anyone can recall, so any Belfast route is most unlikely.
 
mainMAN
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:20 am

Was competition from EZY at BFS too much? By moving to BHD, EI may have seen an opportunity to be the sole carrier to markets such as AGP and FAO (and others like ALC and BCN they may return to).
 
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Jambost
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:17 am

In my own opinion; [I maybe wrong but it make sense to me]

Quoting flyingcello (Reply 1):
EI should be opening up new business routes instead. We could do with a Berlin or Dusseldorf for the German market

I believe there is potential for a German route but for a regional jet operator. LH had success operating Düsseldorf to Ireland West Knock, so who knows what other plans they have brewing. I find it strange that Flybe have no interest in expanding to Europe, an indirect flight to Paris was the closest BHD got. Is the runway too short to handle a fully loaded E195 to central europe?

Quoting mainMAN (Reply 7):

I completely agree, EI also had competition from Jet2, Thomas Cook, Thompson etc on the canary island markets. Reports of healthy loads to me says prices were good but in the end was it making a profit for EI? If money was made, was it a lot?

If WW were here today I do not believe EI would have made such a move. WW revealed potential on their deathbed which would have only suited EI or LS. LS with their cargo operations would have just been complicated so EI made a move sacrificing their safe house for a new venture into the city market.

Time will tell if they have made a huge mistake or a risky but successful move. For now EI have not pulled out of NI.. yet
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acelanzarote
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:03 am

Well the amount of people I meet in work who have flown EI from BFS (to ACE) and cannot understand why its moving/stopping is staggering. I don´t think they will all drive to DUB and even if they did I suspect the plane would not have enough seats for the demand...
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linco22
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:19 am

I'm sure they will come and go like all other carriers at BHD bar FlyBe and BMI/BA. Still, will be nice to see Aer Lingus aircraft there.

Colin
 
flynikiguy
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:09 pm

Well I'd say Aer Lingus' days in Northern Ireland will be numbered but who knows, BHD could be a complete success for them. Personally I can see the base closing within two years. Based on the fact Northern Ireland really struggles to maintain services to major european cities such as Milan and Berlin. There really is no room for EI to expand based on its current fleet, smaller jets might do the trick but even then, BE has not launched flights beyond the rest of the UK. I don't think there will ever be a tie up between EI and VS but again stranger things have happened. I would love to see those LHR slots given to NOC, SNN and ORK. The A319's moved to DUB and ORK to launch new routes. Leave NI to EZY and BA.
 
eicvd
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:58 pm

Quoting flynikiguy (Reply 11):
I would love to see those LHR slots given to NOC, SNN and ORK.

I think that will happen too if EI do close the BHD base. Id say DUB would get an extra flight too.
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richcandy
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:37 pm

Hi

I could be totally wrong but I think part of the reason that EI have moved to BHD is so they can offer LHR flights from the city.

BMA/BA's BHD-LHR service is the premium London route and therefor I would guess attracts lots of regular passengers paying higher fares than EI are currently getting at BFS. EI want part of that market.

The big question would be is there room for two carries on the BHD-LHR route? There was years ago from BFS-LHR with BA and BD, but times have changed and lots of business and leisure passengers now fly EZY.

With regards to Europe, again just personal view but EI were just too late to the party. Belfast and Northern Ireland is not a massive catchment area. The destinations in Europe that are going to work from Belfast are the beach destinations plus AMS and CDG. Easyjet and Jet2 have that market. EI most likely were doing ok to the Canaries but I guess it does not make economic sense to keep them operating from BFS and everything else at the city.

I hope they stay at BHD but they are now going to be going head to head with BA to LHR and with BE to LGW, I guess only time will tell.

Quoting flynikiguy (Reply 11):
BE has not launched flights beyond the rest of the UK


BE would be perfect for services to Europe from BHD with there size of aircraft. However yet again the most likely choices of destinations are being flown by someone else. However did BE not have a go at a non stop CDG service at one point and also I kind of remember a once a week summer only service to Brittany.

Alex
 
virgincrew
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:31 pm

Quoting GSTBA (Reply 4):
Under the agreement 3 to 4 EI A320's along with there crew could be leased to VS (the aircraft would be painted in VS colours and the crew wear VS uniforms) to set up domestic operations. EI could also supply ground handling by using the same companies that they use to handle there flights at ABZ, EDI, GLA, LHR & MAN. This could save VS a lot of hassle.

This is exactly what I expect to happen.... I also think that if VS get the LHR slots from the BA/BMI merger, they will get EI to operate the EDI & ABZ routes for them until a time that VS can prove a profitable route or after the 3 years will turn the slots into long haul routes.
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skipness1E
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:44 pm

Is this just guesswork or has anything official been announced? I understood that VS were going to be using a leased A319 initially.
 
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shamrock350
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:43 pm

The CEO of Aer Lingus announced a few months ago that they were interested in slots at LHR for domestic services to Scotland, nothing much has come of it since but it still seems a strange market for Aer Lingus to be chasing. In my view, this Belfast decision and the interest in LHR domestic operations is a little out of character for the current management as most of the big decisions in the last three years have been spot on and have helped successfully return the airline to profitability, I'm talking about long haul and the Regional franchise in particular.

The BHD move can possibly be explained by BA's decision to commit to the LHR route, I think EI were under the impression BA would leave the route and code share with them but things didn't quite play out that way. Unfortunately for EI it was too late to go running back to BFS, the move had been quite public with an official spokesperson for EI stating discussions were underway with both airports months before the move was announced, EI were publicly playing them off each other and BFS didn't like that, the tone of their response to the move makes that clear.

http://www.belfastairport.com/en/new...ternational-airport-statement.html

In the end Aer Lingus are left competing with a strong BA schedule to LHR and with BE to LGW, although EI recently increased the frequency on LGW for next summer to 4 daily.

The VS idea could be an interesting one and things may have fallen into place perfectly for it, Aer Lingus have two more A319's on the way early next year giving them a total of four in the fleet.
 
sam1987
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RE: Aer Lingus To Pull Out Of Northern Irish Market?

Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:08 pm

Quoting abrown532 (Thread starter):
Surely BHD has much more limitations than BFS

Will EI have to operate their new BHD to AGP and FAO services with a weight restriction? I know FR complained about the length of the runway, and gave that as their reason for not starting European services from there.
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