United Airline
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Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 4:43 am

In the past we saw Cathay Pacific (4X), British Airways (3X), Virgin Atlantic (2X), Qantas (1X), Air New Zealand (1X) flying this route. We even have Oasis Hong Kong Airlines doing HKG-LGW.

But now QF has pulled out and NZ is pulling out. All we have is CX, BA and VS doing this route.

Is this route declining? Why is this happening? If not will NZ/QF be back again some day?
 
IndianicWorld
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:27 am

There are many other options in Asia these days, along with the Gulf hubs.

The demand is still strong for Hong Kong - London though, but as the other options are now in play, it has seen a change in the route over time.
 
LAXintl
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:21 am

According to the CAA its certainly not a growing market. Seems to have peaked in 2007.

Annual enplanements between UK and HK:

2011 - 1,412,826
2010 - 1,386,779
2009 - 1,528,886
2008 - 1,553,833
2007 - 1,659,892
2006 - 1,538,933
2005 - 1,459,093
2004 - 1,275,396
2003 - 1,200,339
2002 - 1,113,072

=
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kaitak
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:30 am

That's interesting; a lot would be due to the fact that increasing pax are flying via DXB/DOH and other places in between. It is noticeable that there has been a decline in capacity, both due to the use of smaller capacity acft (777s instead of 744s, for example) and the reconfiguration of those acft, which has also reduced seat numbers.
 
Asiaflyer
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:46 am

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
According to the CAA its certainly not a growing market. Seems to have peaked in 2007.


Thanks for the statistics. HK was also a traditional hub for doing business into mainland China, but its importance as such has declined with the rise of direct business activities in China itself.
SQ,MI,MH,CX,KA,CA,CZ,MU,KE,OZ,QF,NZ,FD,JQ,3K,5J,IT,AI,IC,QR,SK,LF,KL,AF,LH,LX,OS,SR,BA,SN,FR,WF,1I,5T,VZ,VX,AC,NW,UA,US,
 
LAXintl
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:02 am

Quoting Asiaflyer (Reply 4):
Thanks for the statistics. HK was also a traditional hub for doing business into mainland China, but its importance as such has declined with the rise of direct business activities in China itself.

  

Indeed.

Here are the PRC numbers for same period. Quite healthy growth over the last decade.

2011 - 662,900
2010 - 606,814
2009 - 536,244
2008 - 571,459
2007 - 630,888
2006 - 585,064
2005 - 486,652
2004 - 347,974
2003 - 247,262
2002 - 211,254

=
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
seansasLCY
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:34 am

I usually travel to HKG at least once a year, the first couple of years 05,6,7 I flew CX or VS. Now its just not worth the premium. I've travelled with EK and Jet Airways recently.

The stopover doesn't bother me and quite a few people on the Jet flight from HKG to BOM connected onto LHR.
 
AirbusA6
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:41 am

Quoting Asiaflyer (Reply 4):

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
According to the CAA its certainly not a growing market. Seems to have peaked in 2007.


Thanks for the statistics. HK was also a traditional hub for doing business into mainland China, but its importance as such has declined with the rise of direct business activities in China itself.

CZ fly directly from LHR to CAN, this must be removing the need to fly via HKG for visitors to Shenzen etc
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jasewgtn
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:17 am

Perhaps it has something to do with Hong Kong being handed back from the United Kingdom to China?
 
UAL777UK
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:26 am

Quoting jasewgtn (Reply 8):
Perhaps it has something to do with Hong Kong being handed back from the United Kingdom to China?

I very much doubt thats the reason, there is still a large amount of business going on between London and Hong Kong, i dont think the hand over in the 90s has had an effect, perhaps maybe a little in the down turn but that can be said for everywhere.

I think the market just got saturated and what with the main players BA, CX and to a degree VS started being squeezed by EK, QR etc, something had to give.........that something was QF and NZ who rea;ise they can make more money sending their metal elsewhere.
 
AF185
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:47 am

Quoting jasewgtn (Reply 8):
Perhaps it has something to do with Hong Kong being handed back from the United Kingdom to China?

This is not the reason. UK and HK still have a lot of interchanges: business/finance, students, expat communities in both countries, cultural and sports events..etc

QF and NZ both pulled out of the route mostly because of the growing competition from the Gulf and Chinese carriers. As for Oasis and the struggling Hong Kong Airlines, the reason is more related to their lack of network and connection possibilities which are definitely a disadvantage compared CX/KA.
 
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qfvhoqa
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:16 am

QF and NZ probably picked up little HKG-LHR traffic compared to their AU/NZ-HKG traffic. A seat taken AU/NZ-HKG was not always filled by HKG-LHR pax.
CX/BA have the connections on one end so can funnel more passengers onto their flights. Anecdotal evidence on BA28 HKG-LHR recently had many connecting pax from AU/NZ.
 
koruman
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:30 am

Air New Zealand is pulling out because of its own lack of vision and forward planning.

Auckland-Hong Kong was originally extended to London so that through AKL-LHR (and vv) passengers didn't clog up space on the AKL-LAX-LHR flight, because the airline wanted to sell as many AKL-LAX and LHR-LAX tickets as possible, as each sold for around 80% of the cost of a through ticket.

But at the same time Air NZ made demand for LHR-LAX fall by around 20% overnight when they discontinued through services to Fiji and Tahiti, which decimated traffic from France, Germany and Italy on NZ1/2.

And HKG-LHR made the most sense as part of a scissor-hub from multiple Australian and New Zealand destinations to several UK and Europe ones. But the failure to open that hub left HKG-LHR as an orphaned route.

And worse, the departure from Hong Kong to London was so eye-poppingly early in the morning that it wiped out Macau traffic and encouraged vast numbers of Kiwis and Poms planning a stopover to route via LAX after all.
 
BlueShamu330s
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:45 am

Come on ANZ; MAN-HKG-AKL, slap on a CX code share, everyone happy !

Rgds
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koruman
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:02 pm

Quoting BlueShamu330s (Reply 13):
Come on ANZ; MAN-HKG-AKL, slap on a CX code share, everyone happy !

I know, I know.

The problem is that the powers that be at NZ are ignorant about the difference between Cantonese and Mandarin-speaking China and of Manchester's enduring links with Hong Kong - and London's relative lack of them.
 
jfk777
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:19 pm

Hong Kong to LHR has to be one of the biggest European links to Asia if not the biggest. How many Asian Airlines have 4 flights daily to a European city ? None from Japan, no Euro city has 4 flights daily by one airline to Tokyo, some barely have 4 at all by all airlines flying the route. Sinagpore Airlines has A380 tripple daily to LHR, a close second to Cathay to LHR. When it comes to frequency LHR is king in Europe, some airlines like LH and AF do fly to more of Asia then BA.
 
Asiaflyer
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:08 pm

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 15):
Sinagpore Airlines has A380 tripple daily to LHR,

SQ has 4 daily SIN-LHR, 3 A380 + 1 77W.
SQ,MI,MH,CX,KA,CA,CZ,MU,KE,OZ,QF,NZ,FD,JQ,3K,5J,IT,AI,IC,QR,SK,LF,KL,AF,LH,LX,OS,SR,BA,SN,FR,WF,1I,5T,VZ,VX,AC,NW,UA,US,
 
johnclipper
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:27 pm

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 7):
CZ fly directly from LHR to CAN, this must be removing the need to fly via HKG for visitors to Shenzen etc

it's easier to get from HKG to SZX then from CAN to SZX...There are ferries from HKIA direct to SZX.
"Flown every aircraft since the Wright Flyer" (guys, if you take this literally, then you need to get a life...)
 
ORDJOE
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:24 pm

I suppose now if you a star alliance FF you are totally out of options if one wants N/S to London

Quoting JohnClipper (Reply 17):
There are ferries from HKIA direct to SZX.

Agreed, there is so little long haul to CAN that for work we just use the ferries, they are pretty reliable.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:30 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 2):
ccording to the CAA its certainly not a growing market. Seems to have peaked in 2007.

Annual enplanements between UK and HK:

Do your numbers only include passengers on direct flights between the UK and HK? If so they must be very incomplete considering the number of passengers that connect via hubs in the Gulf (plus BKK/SIN/KUL and points in Europe).

For example, do the numbers include a passenger that flies HKG-AMS-LHR on KLM, or HKG-DXB-LHR on EK?
 
hz747300
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:23 am

Other than price, I am not sure why someone would fly via the Gulf to Europe. In terms of connections, Finnair via Helsinki can reach most places and it is typically a faster connection too. We can argue service differences, sure. Finnair's coach price typically is close the price of EK. I don't know anyone who flies on QR to get to Europe. Several do fly EK though, including native Brits. At Christmas time, my friend is flying EK via Dubai in business class with him and his partner. The reason they chose it is because the cost of the business class tickets for two is just a smidge above the cost of one on a direct flight.

Having just flown this route this past week on CX, the flight to London was probably 85-90% full, and flight back was 99% full. My guess was many were on the Kangaroo route, and quite a few were connecting to China on Dragonair, and another good size block were connecting to the Philippines. As CX planes are landing in Hong Kong, a screen pops up and lists the connecting flights for passengers on the plane. The list is limited, so we know it's restricted to those connections for the group of passengers and not just generic.

By the way, given my experience, the only ones I know connect via SIN or BKK, are Star Alliance loyalists, and typically not HK based. I have many co-workers who buzz through here, and you can tell their loyalty based on their routing. Skyteam loyalists seem to fly via Korea.
Keep on truckin'...
 
Carpethead
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:28 am

Same with NRT-LHR. BA and JL used to have double daily 744s but now down to a single 77W each. Both are in oneworld which most would think one or both would add flights considering its a hub at each end. I suppose its the sign of the times for both struggling carriers.
 
qf002
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:56 am

QF and NZ never belonged in the market in the first place, so it's not surprising to see them go.

Quoting Asiaflyer (Reply 16):
SQ has 4 daily SIN-LHR, 3 A380 + 1 77W.

And SIN has recently been the far larger route by capacity, with 8 daily (5 A380s, 2 744s and a 77W) compared to the 7 daily 744s and 77Ws from HKG.

That said, it's going the same way as HKG. Next year SIN-LHR will drop to only 6 daily (3 A380's, 1 744 and 2 77Ws)

Quoting carpethead (Reply 21):
Same with NRT-LHR. BA and JL used to have double daily 744s but now down to a single 77W each.

To be fair, BA now also flies to HND.
 
United Airline
Topic Author
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:53 am

HKG-LHR was bigger than SN-LHR just not long ago.

When the economy improves will NZ and QF return? Will BA's 3rd daily return?
 
IndianicWorld
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:43 am

Quoting United Airline (Reply 23):
When the economy improves will NZ and QF return?

Simple answer, No.

Both QF and NZ will likely rely on their partners to do this type of flying in future.

Quoting United Airline (Reply 23):
Will BA's 3rd daily return?

Always possible.
 
qf002
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:56 am

Quoting IndianicWorld (Reply 24):
Always possible.

Unlikely for the next little while though, given that future growth will likely be using the A380.
 
GCT64
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:02 am

Quoting ordjoe (Reply 18):
Quoting JohnClipper (Reply 17):There are ferries from HKIA direct to SZX.
Agreed, there is so little long haul to CAN that for work we just use the ferries, they are pretty reliable.

I agree, I would never dream of flying to CAN to go to visit customers/suppliers in Shenzhen or even Dongguan. Always go via HKG as it is simple and slick.
Flown in: A30B,A306,A310,A319,A320,A321,A332,A333,A343,A346,A359,A388,BA11,BU31,B190,(..54 more types..),VC10,WESX
 
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SKAirbus
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:40 am

BA can obviously see growth to HKG as it will likely be one of the first routes its A380 operate on...
Next Flights: LHR-OSL (738), OSL-CPH (320), CPH-LHR (321), LHR-HEL (359), HEL-LHR (359)
 
musang
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:41 am

Quoting SKAirbus (Reply 27):

BA can obviously see growth to HKG as it will likely be one of the first routes its A380 operate on...

So...

Quoting United Airline (Reply 23):
Will BA's 3rd daily return?

Won't need to.

Regards - musang
 
AirbusA6
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:05 pm

Quoting GCT64 (Reply 26):
Quoting ordjoe (Reply 18):
Quoting JohnClipper (Reply 17):There are ferries from HKIA direct to SZX.
Agreed, there is so little long haul to CAN that for work we just use the ferries, they are pretty reliable.

I agree, I would never dream of flying to CAN to go to visit customers/suppliers in Shenzhen or even Dongguan. Always go via HKG as it is simple and slick.

Would it be easier from an immigration/Visa point of view to via mainland China, as HK and China are separate as far as immigration is concerned?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guangzhou_Baiyun_International_Airport

CAN isn't some minor little airport, it's mainland China's second busiest, the main hub of CZ and not that far behind HKG now. It's hard to believe that its growth isn't having some effect on HKG.
it's the bus to stansted (now renamed National Express a6 to ruin my username)
 
bennator
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:56 pm

I'm sure CAN does have some effect, but the advantage of the HKG ferries is that they skip HKG immigration, so flying to HKG and taking the ferry is as good as landing in the mainland itself (if the ferry takes you closer to where you want to go).

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 29):

Would it be easier from an immigration/Visa point of view to via mainland China, as HK and China are separate as far as immigration is concerned?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guangzhou_Baiyun_International_Airport

CAN isn't some minor little airport, it's mainland China's second busiest, the main hub of CZ and not that far behind HKG now. It's hard to believe that its growth isn't having some effect on HKG.
 
GCT64
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:13 pm

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 29):
Would it be easier from an immigration/Visa point of view to via mainland China, as HK and China are separate as far as immigration is concerned?

For Brits, and I think a lot of other countries, HK immigration is a "non-issue", very quick and simple. So there is little difference as the complex/expensive timely bit is getting the Chinese visa, and you need to do that whichever route you take to Shenzhen/Dongguan.
Flown in: A30B,A306,A310,A319,A320,A321,A332,A333,A343,A346,A359,A388,BA11,BU31,B190,(..54 more types..),VC10,WESX
 
migair54
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:14 pm

Quoting United Airline (Reply 23):
When the economy improves will NZ and QF return? Will BA's 3rd daily return?

Qatas will not return because now they will the Kangaroo route via Dubai mainly with the EK agreement, BA´s 3rd daily i´m not very sure, they will upgrade to A380, so to keep the yields hight they are not interested in flooding the route with seats and NZ maybe.
 
Candid76
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:14 pm

I think the question was "is HKG-LHR a declining route" and the CAA stats show that it is. "Is Hong Kong to London a declining market" is a different question as there are lots of indirect options. You can only fly to HKG directly from one UK airport, LHR, which isn't convenient for much of the country so much non-London traffic won't use LHR at all.

Hopefully once the new generation A350s arrive, direct flights from MAN will help the UK-HKG direct market grow again.
 
Aither
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:10 pm

CX & BA focusing on the high end of the market is a big part of the explanation.
Unfortunately is has allowed new routings to develop fast and these routings are increasingly carrying high yield pax as well.
This should be compared to SIA who is occupying more the market segments and doing so leaving little room for the competition to develop.
Never trust the obvious
 
mogandoCI
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:42 pm

Quoting carpethead (Reply 21):
Same with NRT-LHR. BA and JL used to have double daily 744s but now down to a single 77W each. Both are in oneworld which most would think one or both would add flights considering its a hub at each end. I suppose its the sign of the times for both struggling carriers.

It's oneworld hub-to-hub, but they're at the corners of each's continent, making nearly all connections to be inefficient backtracking except for something like Manchester to Sapporo
 
LondonCity
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 5:25 pm

Quoting hz747300 (Reply 20):
I don't know anyone who flies on QR to get to Europe.

See this recent Trip Report: "The 5 star way ! ARN-CPH-DOH-HKG

Part 1: Eastbound, The 5-star Way! ARN-CPH-DOH-HKG (by deltamartin Nov 5 2012 in Trip Reports)
 
cslusarc
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:47 pm

Quoting qf002 (Reply 22):
QF and NZ never belonged in the market in the first place, so it's not surprising to see them go.

I agree with NZ but for QF, SYD - HKG - LHR is closer to the great circle than SYD - SIN/BKK - LHR if you can utilize overflight rights with China and Russia.
--cslusarc from YWG
 
vv701
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:23 pm

Quoting qf002 (Reply 22):
And SIN has recently been the far larger route by capacity, with 8 daily (5 A380s, 2 744s and a 77W) compared to the 7 daily 744s and 77Ws from HKG.

True but somewhat deceptive. Many of the flights serving LHR and SIN either originate in or fly on to Australia. HKG is by far (32 per cent) the larger route by passengers carried.

According to the UK CAA the number of passengers flying between LHR and HKG in 2011 was 1,412,749. The number of passengers flying between LHR and SIN was only 1,069,706.
 
RyanairGuru
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:57 pm

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 29):
Would it be easier from an immigration/Visa point of view to via mainland China, as HK and China are separate as far as immigration is concerned?

HK immigration is so easy that the answer is no. A lot of nationalities don't need a visa for HK.

For "major" non-HKSAR cities (Macau, Shenzhen) you can avoid HK immigration altogether and catch the ferry from HKG to your destination and go through Macau or China immigration there.

If you're heading to a "minor" city that isn't blessed with that luxury it still isn't hard to do. In July I was in Shunde (south of Guangzhou) and flew out of HKG. I was able to catch the ferry to China Ferry Terminal in Hong Kong, where it took 30 seconds to go through HK immigration and there was a bus at the curb to connect to the Kowloon Airport Express station. I was at HKG 40 minutes after getting off the ferry!
Worked Hard, Flew Right
 
Carpethead
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:10 am

Quoting qf002 (Reply 22):
Quoting carpethead (Reply 21):
Same with NRT-LHR. BA and JL used to have double daily 744s but now down to a single 77W each.

To be fair, BA now also flies to HND.

Thanks totally forgot about that one.
 
qf002
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:09 am

Quoting cslusarc (Reply 37):
I agree with NZ but for QF, SYD - HKG - LHR is closer to the great circle than SYD - SIN/BKK - LHR if you can utilize overflight rights with China and Russia.

They still don't belong in the local HKG-LHR market, though.

There are far better ways of serving the Australia-Europe market, currently through their much larger SIN hub and soon via DXB. Proximity to the great circle routing means virtually nothing when it comes to profitability in this market.
 
vv701
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:18 pm

Quoting qf002 (Reply 41):
There are far better ways of serving the Australia-Europe market, currently through their much larger SIN hub and soon via DXB. Proximity to the great circle routing means virtually nothing when it comes to profitability in this market.

Sorry. I am not sure what you are saying. Agreed that flying between LHR and SYD through either DXB, HKG or SIN is pretty marginal in terms of distance and therefore time and therefore fuel cost. The longest route (through DXB) is only 3.1 per cent longer than the shortest (through HKG) and the difference between the HKG routing and the SIN routing is so small as to be inconsequential.

What are the factors that lead you to conclude that routing through DXB or SIN would be more profitable than through HKG? Over-flight charges?
 
qf002
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:27 pm

Quoting VV701 (Reply 42):
What are the factors that lead you to conclude that routing through DXB or SIN would be more profitable than through HKG?

Remember that I'm referring to QF specifically here.

To make money flying to Europe, QF has needed to develop a strong hub at the mid-point to allow them to pool traffic from Australia and send it onto multiple flights to LHR and FRA. Their flights through HKG were unable to do that (partially because of their timings, but also because HKG has been a smaller city for QF than SIN with fewer destinations and frequencies).

All I'm trying to say is that I don't expect to see QF returning to the HKG-LHR market because it doesn't make sense for them to do so. There are more important factors for QF to consider in trying to serve Europe profitably than finding the shortest routing to LHR...
 
vv701
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RE: Is HKG-LHR A Declining Route?

Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:57 am

Quoting qf002 (Reply 43):

Thanks for your clarification.