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SR ATL Flight Loads?

Mon Nov 13, 2000 1:06 pm

does anyone know how the loads are on the Swissair MD11 ZRH-ATL now that the Atlantic Excelence alliance is mere history?
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RE: SR ATL Flight Loads?

Mon Nov 13, 2000 1:28 pm

We have had a discussion here about that topic a while, ago, and there were some conflicting information.

From my information, I can tell that, ever since the code-sharing with DL stopped back in august, the loads of the SR120/121 flights ZRH-ATL-ZRH have sharply dropped, which was to be expected as this flight is now for O/D purposes only.

This, however, doesn't mean that SR isn't making money on the flight anymore.

Nevertheless, I think SR will at least reduce the capacity, and put and A330 on the route (if this is possible, of course, regarding crew rest space etc.), or even drop ATL as a destination, and deploy the a/c on another route where it can report more benefit to the company.

Remember, SN has also closed its ATL and CVG flights following the break up with DL.

Putting an A330 would give the advantage of about the asme number of high yield seats (F and C-class), whereas the number of Y-seats would reduce by about 25%. The flight would still be able to make money.

ORD, meanwhile, still a very important and interesting AA hub for Transatlantic passengers, and currently receives only one flight out of ZRH. I therefore expect a second flight to be added very soon. It is unclear though, whether this flight will be operated by SR or AA. Both would be possible within the airlines' current operations. A SR operated flight would more then likely take of in SR's afternoon USA hub around 4 pm, whereas an AA operated ORD-flight would be scheduled to leave ZRH around 2 pm, right in SR's Japan/China hub, so for both flights feeder service would be available.

Also, future expansion to DFW and MIA is possible, but I give ORD the absolute priority given its more interesting location. DFW is quite far out of the way, and can only serve as a hub for more western and southern US destinations.
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RE: SR ATL Flight Loads?

Mon Nov 13, 2000 4:53 pm

Could you give a short description, as to why a flight operated by AA or SR to ORD would fly on different times?

And, what about a second daily flight to MIA? IIRC, MIA is also a hub for AA, isn't it?

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RE: SR ATL Flight Loads?

Mon Nov 13, 2000 8:01 pm

Actually, according to staff at ATL, the loads have picked up and they are having good loads. However the traffic mix has drastically changed - there are now considerably more local embarking passengers, which has necessitated the increase from 3 to 5 checkincounters in the South Terminal.
And of course, more local passengers means higher revenue, so I think we safely can say that SR121 lives well.
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RE: SR ATL Flight Loads?

Mon Nov 13, 2000 9:02 pm

I have twice flown it since the the end of the Atlantic Excellence and it is still full as ever.
During the Atlantic Excellence years SR has built up a good customer base in the South.

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RE: SR ATL Flight Loads?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 9:23 am

I am sure with the SR hub in ZRH, and the fact that ATL is one of the largest airports in the world, this flight is very profitable. BTW, I love that ZRH airport cam. What a treat it is to see the operations of a large European airport up close on a daily basis !!
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Tue Nov 14, 2000 9:50 am

Of course the ATL-staff will tell you that their flight is doing just great... What else could they possibly tell you?!

I know those guys and girls there very well, and I remember only few months ago, the former stationmanager assured me that he would stay there and that they wouldn't loose any of the flights they had at that time, being a SR to ZRH, a SN to BRU and an OS to VIE.

Only a couple of months later, we see the station left with only one flight, and that particular stationmanager having found himself with a much safer position as DFW stationmanager, leaving his position to an American.

Only the lack of a Swiss or Belgian stationmanager, shows a lot about the future importance of that particular station for the Qualiflyer Group.

Now about the profitability... As I told you the flight is for sure still profitable. If not, it would have been closed already by now. However, and this information comes from a very reliable source within the AMP management, there are more important priorities as to where to deploy the limited number of MD11s available, as they cannot use the A330 for each and every route in the network, due to operational restrictions.

So, again, at least an aircraft change towards A330 is in the pipeline for the ATL-flights, and, personally, I expect the airline to drop the route sooner or later, as it is conflicting with the hub and spoke principle adopted by the Group, and they could for sure make much more revenue deploying the aircraft somewhere else.

Finally, about the check in in the South Terminal. Of course they had to opern extra counters. You might know that, in the past, only about 10% of the pax on the flight were local boardings. As the situation changed, with now around 10% connecting traffic only (due to the lack of interline agreement with DL), there will be of course more local boardings and extra c/i capacity needed. Rememer, they have to fill up 12F, 49C and 180Y seats daily!

Btw, more local boardings doesn't always mean more revenue. One should ask himself, why there are so many more local boardings now, compared to the past... For sure more agressive marketing and discounting plays an important role...
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RE: Gerardo

Tue Nov 14, 2000 10:03 am

Ok, here's my operational theory: main points are

-the flights have to depart and arrive into a local hub;
-an airline wants its aircraft on the ground as short as possible, for sure the ground time abroad should be minimized;

So, here are my 2 scenario's:

1-If the extra ORD flight were to be operated by AA, the operational sequence would start in ORD, where AA has 2 main international hubs, namely around 4.30-5pm and around 8.15-8.45pm.

Given the departure time of the SR flight at 4.15pm, the second flight would have to start at the later hub, and arrive in ZRH somewhere around 11.30am the next day, right in front of the 12 o'clock SR European hub, which would make sense. (Btw the AA operated ORD-BRU flight has the same structure).

Minimizing the ground time in ZRH to about 2 hours, the flight could leave again around 1.30pm, and given SR has a Japan/China hub around 2pm, the flight would most likely leave at that time, as around 1.15pm an inbound European bank of flights, providing ample feeder service is available.

The flight would then arrive around 5.15pm in ORD, in the middle of AA's second internartional arrival wave, with a connecting hub about 90 minutes later.

2-If the would would be SR operated, the airline would like to leave as late as possible, but still in time to catch the last main hub at ORD, giving pax the opportunity to reach any destination in the US the same day.

They would leave also late for their own operational purposes, creating more flexibilty to perform a/c changes and so on.

The flight would then depart probably in SR's late afternoon US hub, where there's also the SFO, EWR and 2nd BOS flight, as well as the JED flight, and for which feeder service is available at the 3 o'clock inbound european hub.

The flight would then arrive in ORD around 7 pm, still in time to catch the last main AA hub, and leave again for ZRH around 9-10 pm, just after an inbound domestic AA hub, arriving in ZRH around 12.30pm or so, together with the late JFK arrival, in time to catch the 2pm european hub.

You think this makes sense?
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RE: SR ATL Flight Loads?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 12:21 pm

I think there are some excellent analysis on this thread about the SR ATL-ZRH flight that represent just what
makes a lot of this forum so informative.

In my opinion, SR will drop Atlanta altogther. The loss
of Delta's connecting prowess and the fact that Delta
continues to operate ATL-ZRH services of its own will
surely mean that SR will redeploy the capacity some-
where else. For the moment, there are no new mkts
in the USA for Swissair to tap through its American
Airlines code-share (DFW, ORD, JFK, MIA) are all now
covered. SR has profitable ops to LAX, SFO, BOS,
and EWR.

It is just a matter of time.

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Tue Nov 14, 2000 6:16 pm

WOW-that was good but you forgot your little   symbol.
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Bad Loads.

Tue Nov 14, 2000 8:18 pm

Just wanted to say that I went on that flight in the middle of the summer on a Friday afternoon, and the flight wasnt very full. There were a couple people in first, about a third of business class filled up, and only about a third filled up in coach. Makes me wonder how profitable the route is.
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RE: Bad Loads.

Tue Nov 14, 2000 8:31 pm

Profitability of a flight is of course not determined by the fact that on some illustrous friday afternoon the flight was only filled up for about a third...

Again, the flight is still making money, if not, SR would have abandoned ATL already now. However, more money can probably be made by deploying the a/c elsewhere.

Btw, Delta15, if those couple of passengers in First Class were revenue pax -it is Swissair's policy not to put non revs in F- than your particular flight would have been profitable without any doubt.
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RE: SR ATL Flight Loads?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 9:08 pm

I can only say that SR will surely not drop ATL. During the atlantic excellence years SR has built a good customer foundation in the South. I flew it on August 3 and October 22 both times ATL-ZRH and biz and coach were packed. First was one time full and the other time only 50%.

And you cant ignore the feed that SR provides from ZRH. I believe it will stay. Maybe they switch to an A330 but it will stay.

Delta15: You flew it before August 6 so it has no point. At that time the codeshare still existed.

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RE: SR ATL Flight Loads?

Wed Nov 15, 2000 12:20 am

To put a different spin on this, I think DL is actually struggling on its ZRH flights because it no longer has the feed in ZRH. (same with BRU) DL has had (and still does) have an intro double miles promo and cheap fares on its new JFK and not that old ATL flights to ZRH. Also, Escape Plan fares from ATL to ZRH and BRU seem to routintely appear since the end of the Atlantic Excellence alliance. This seems to indicate that SR is getting a lot of the O / D traffic.
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HB-IWC - Do I Know You?

Wed Nov 15, 2000 12:41 am

HB-IWC - good analysis and a lot of good points, but let me clear you up on a few:
The new station manager is locally employed, but that happens to be new policy within AMP. The new KS in IAD is also local (actually he came from ATL ..) and SFO was also planned with a local hire - but noone accepted to the conditions offered so they had to bring in another Swiss. Undoubtably more Swiss will be replaced with local KS's in the time to come.
It is obvious that discounting is helping to keep the flight going, but that was also done before Aug.5 - we had a lot of big groups and bulk tickets even then ..
However as they now to greater extent board locally, there is no prorating from DL-flights. Which means more revenue to SR121 ...
And don't forget the cargo either. ATL has a good cargo load, the flight is full at least 4-5 days a week. An A330 would be a disaster for Swisscargo ATL.
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Wed Nov 15, 2000 7:56 pm

Well, we'll just have to wait and see about who's gonna be right and who's gonna be wrong about this. But one thing is sure... Swissair won't wait a minut to reallocate the a/c if it is proven to be more economical elsewhere.

I am sure everybody in ATL are supporting all they can to keep to flight running, but, maybe unfortunately, there's such a huge distance between SR's ATL station office and SR's ZRH headoffice.

Btw, some of the informations I gave here came directly from an AMP Executive Vice President...
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RE: SR ATL Flight Loads?

Wed Nov 15, 2000 9:40 pm

You're right about the economics. Of course SR would reallocate the a/c if there is more money in sight. They are Swiss after all ....
So ATL just have to make sure that they're not worst in class in case a destination will have to be axed.

Regarding your earlier posting: The fact that Austrian joined Star Alliance would in anycase have ment that they would have separated from SR in ATL, as they have elsewhere. Even if Austrian had continued to operate, there is no way they would have continued to be supervised by SR. SABENA is of course another story..
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RE: SR ATL Flight Loads?

Wed Nov 15, 2000 11:27 pm

OS would indeed have withdrawn from ATL regardless of the break up between SR/SN and DL. Sabena, however, withdrew from ATL in favor of DFW.

At that time, I know the Group decided that at least one flight should remain in ATL, and again, this flight is for sure making money.

But at the same time, Chicago O'Hare is begging for a second flight, and also Dallas and Miami could do with some extra capacity (although I think extra frequencies to Miami are very unlikely).

So, given the fact that Swissair doesn't have any spare capacity and their fleet usage is amongst the highest in the industry (I will make a post about that soon), I guess some route(s) will have to be axed in order to give ORD that extra capacity, unless SR converts extra Airbus options into firm orders.

Now, the only possible routes I can see right now to be dropped are ATL and some African routes that could be transfered to SN.

Again, we'll see what'll happen, right...

Btw, to keep themselves busy, the SR-station at ATL is also working for SAA, as 'supervising agents' for their daily ATL-South Africa flight. This is a very strange situation, as SAA is code-sharing with DL, and DL is basicly doing all the handling. So SR-staff only take care of some administration.

Again, they have to keep busy now that they have only one flight left...

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