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speedbird52
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Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:44 am

Time and time again we see airlines choosing smaller planes over larger planes, for the simple reason that smaller planes allow airlines to fly routes with less demand more efficiently, and allow airlines to do multiple flights to popular destinations. The question is: How long can this be sustained? The fact of the matter is whilst air travel will continue to grow forever, airports can only get so crowded. We don't have a limit on the number of passengers, but we do have a limit on the number of flights. How long is it before we reach that limit? My bet is by the 2030s, we might see airlines go back to VLAs and hub-hub flights.
 
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DarkSnowyNight
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:05 am

VLAs already aren't going anywhere between now and the 30s. 779s and 35Ks will likely sustain decent production rates, so there's that. The only thing downsized there is the blade count.

As for frequency, that's the number one thing I and most other business travelers look at. It's even becoming more important for VFR travel as well (if I can tack on an extra six hours in a weekend to go see the kiddos, why would I fly somone who doesn't give me that option?).

The world isn't full of 737s because we like having our knees squished. There's real, tangible value to having lots of options.
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Aptivaboy
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:47 am

Even if the larger airports get filled to capacity, there will still likely be nearby options to serve the same market. Is LAX topped out? Then fly to John Wayne, Ontario, Burbank or Long Beach. Is San Fran at capacity? Well, there are always Oakland and San Jose. That might not be true at a number of destinations, but it is at most large urban areas. Look at the number of airports surrounding New York, for example. Flying smaller birds like a full 737 or A320 allows the airlines to get into those smaller airports without flying in an A380 or 777 full of mostly empty seats.
 
jplatts
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:13 am

Aptivaboy wrote:
Even if the larger airports get filled to capacity, there will still likely be nearby options to serve the same market. Is LAX topped out? Then fly to John Wayne, Ontario, Burbank or Long Beach.


SNA and LGB both have slot restrictions, and SNA also has a cap on the total number of passengers traveling to and from SNA per year on regularly scheduled commercial flights.

On the other hand, Delta and Southwest could both further expand at ONT as the DOT Domestic Airline Consumer Airfare Report is actually showing significant demand to and from ONT from many markets that do not have any nonstop service to ONT, including ATL, BWI, BOI, DTW, HOU, IAH, MCI, MSP, BNA, PHL, STL, GEG, and DCA. I could see Southwest possibly adding nonstop service from ONT to BWI, HOU, MCI, BNA, and STL and Delta possibly adding nonstop service from ONT to ATL, DTW, and MSP. The DOT Domestic Airline Consumer Airfare Report is actually showing a lot of passengers who travel between ONT and destinations that do not have nonstop service to ONT through connecting flights, and there is an average of over 3,000 passengers per day who travel to or from ONT from markets that do not have any nonstop service to ONT according to the DOT Domestic Consumer Airfare Report.
 
PDX88
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:51 am

If capacity maxes out, then price will rise before aircraft size. The US3 efficiently utilizes their widebody fleet to meet their international needs, and won't order more due to domestic growth. There are a few domestic widebody flights due to fleet repositions, but that's the most we'll ever see.
 
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:00 am

PDX88 wrote:
If capacity maxes out, then price will rise before aircraft size. The US3 efficiently utilizes their widebody fleet to meet their international needs, and won't order more due to domestic growth. There are a few domestic widebody flights due to fleet repositions, but that's the most we'll ever see.


United has a dedicated fleet of domestic 777's....
 
DaufuskieGuy
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:17 am

PDX88 wrote:
If capacity maxes out, then price will rise before aircraft size. The US3 efficiently utilizes their widebody fleet to meet their international needs, and won't order more due to domestic growth. There are a few domestic widebody flights due to fleet repositions, but that's the most we'll ever see.


if Boeing launches MOM you will see it on hub to hub and transcon routes, much like 15-25 years ago the 767 dc10 and l10 were used domestically.
 
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OA940
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:28 am

Why would it? It's a better system. It offers pax more options. The only reason I could see airlines using larger planes is for slot restrictions or fleet number limitations.
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:51 am

Only in places where there's a capacity shortage airlines are forced to reduce their frequency and use larger aircraft on their remaining flights in order to keep the capacity up. You start to see this happening at Amsterdam for example. Amsterdam is full, there's no room for more aircraft movements. The only growth possibility is to grow on those existing flights, make them bigger. In Brussels on the other hand there's still unused capacity left, so you can grow in terms of frequency.
 
StudiodeKadent
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:16 am

speedbird52 wrote:
Time and time again we see airlines choosing smaller planes over larger planes, for the simple reason that smaller planes allow airlines to fly routes with less demand more efficiently, and allow airlines to do multiple flights to popular destinations. The question is: How long can this be sustained? The fact of the matter is whilst air travel will continue to grow forever, airports can only get so crowded. We don't have a limit on the number of passengers, but we do have a limit on the number of flights. How long is it before we reach that limit?


Your logic is exactly the same as the logic which led Airbus to proceed with the A380. Whilst the A380 is a very nice plane to fly in, many airlines haven't been able to work with it.

The short answer is that "slot-constrained megahubs where there can be no expansion of runways or construction of new airports" are quite rare. Even Heathrow is getting a new runway, and there are several different London airports and some of these may be able to be expanded as well. Hong Kong is getting a new runway too. Dubai is getting an entirely new airport, and Abu Dhabi is expanding too.

In addition, as engine technology improves, engines get quieter which eventually means airport curfews will become easier to repeal.

All the trends at the moment seem to be point-to-point oriented. Engines are getting quieter with lower fuel burn, smaller jets are getting longer ranges and lower operating costs, the highest-demand airports are expanding (at least for the most part... I doubt HND can expand), multiple airports can service regions, etc. Many places have developed (or are continuing to develop/improve) ground transportation networks too, which helps multiple airport operations.

Remember that the most successful A380 user is Emirates, and they created their own Megahub through offering low prices/high value to tourist traffic, whilst creating premium demand through making Dubai an attractive place to do international business. This is not what the A380 was originally intended for.
 
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:19 am

OA940 wrote:
Why would it? It's a better system. It offers pax more options. The only reason I could see airlines using larger planes is for slot restrictions or fleet number limitations.


US internal flying is hampered by how competition there works.
There is no (viable) transition path going from "5 and a pilot" to efficient A380 "bus" transport for major routes.

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Geoff1947
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:28 am

The opening premise is wrong, apart from the VLAs. In the single aisle and the twin jets widebodies the trend is to bigger planes.

Geoff
 
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AirlineCritic
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:35 am

Geoff1947 wrote:
The opening premise is wrong, apart from the VLAs. In the single aisle and the twin jets widebodies the trend is to bigger planes.


Right.

And somebody upper in the thread noted that price will rise before planes get larger. That seems wrong on the face of it. The equation is complex; customer have a preference function that values price and availability (e.g frequency) in some manner. Airlines will choose the option that will maximise fit to the preference function; upping the price may not be the right approach.
 
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:41 pm

The move to 'smaller' planes is well compensated for by those small planes getting bigger - a lot bigger.
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redroo
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:48 pm

Consider SYD MEL one of the busiest air corridors in the world. During peak period qantas has planes departing every 15 minutes. It then drops to 30 minutes off peak. Virgin are the same. Peak hour flights get the A330 (used to be the 767). The schedule has been the same for many years, just been tweaked with the larger planes.

Are we going to see every 15 mins on 737 throughout the day? Probably not. The morning and evening is definitely the peak period. Are we going to see more upguages? Probably. Will there be fragmentation when Sydney West airport open? Probably a little. Will the route be replaced by high speed rail? Probably not.
 
Rdh3e
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:56 pm

Also, point to point alleviates the congestion at large airports by skipping them altogether. If enough passengers go from A to C you can fly them non-stop instead of connecting, effectively stemming the need for more flights from A to B and from B to C.
 
32andBelow
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:10 pm

Why can't we increase airport capacity? Also, Europe runs super inefficiently with slot controls on airports that would be moderate at best traffic in the USA.
 
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:43 pm

Rdh3e wrote:
Also, point to point alleviates the congestion at large airports by skipping them altogether. If enough passengers go from A to C you can fly them non-stop instead of connecting, effectively stemming the need for more flights from A to B and from B to C.


And, to expand on your argument, if more and more passengers fly from A to C, you simply upguage the aircraft used between that city pair, say, to a larger twin. It would make little sense to start routing passengers through hub B under these conditions. -ir
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32andBelow
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:46 pm

IslandRob wrote:
Rdh3e wrote:
Also, point to point alleviates the congestion at large airports by skipping them altogether. If enough passengers go from A to C you can fly them non-stop instead of connecting, effectively stemming the need for more flights from A to B and from B to C.


And, to expand on your argument, if more and more passengers fly from A to C, you simply upguage the aircraft used between that city pair, say, to a larger twin. It would make little sense to start routing passengers through hub B under these conditions. -ir

But in most cases if the route can suppose direct service it has it. Many/Most city pairs just can't support it consistently.
 
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:00 pm

In Asia, most very busy routes are flown by wide-bodies. Take for example HKG - TPE, it isn't flown every 30 mins by a 738 or A320, but every 2 - 3 hrs by CX, BR & CI mostly by wide-bodied planes. So why if this works in Asia doesn't it work elsewhere ? Surely it helps with traffic flows, slot restrictions and runway capacity.
 
32andBelow
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:02 pm

TC957 wrote:
In Asia, most very busy routes are flown by wide-bodies. Take for example HKG - TPE, it isn't flown every 30 mins by a 738 or A320, but every 2 - 3 hrs by CX, BR & CI mostly by wide-bodied planes. So why if this works in Asia doesn't it work elsewhere ? Surely it helps with traffic flows, slot restrictions and runway capacity.

What do you mean. It's the same high frequency model. It just supports bigger equipment due to traffic demand.
 
speedbird52
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:17 pm

Rdh3e wrote:
Also, point to point alleviates the congestion at large airports by skipping them altogether. If enough passengers go from A to C you can fly them non-stop instead of connecting, effectively stemming the need for more flights from A to B and from B to C.

The problem with that logic is that there are practically no long haul flights in the world that work like this. It's all hub-spoke.
 
speedbird52
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:18 pm

32andBelow wrote:
Why can't we increase airport capacity? Also, Europe runs super inefficiently with slot controls on airports that would be moderate at best traffic in the USA.

Increasing airport size decreases living space, and growing cities cannot afford that.
 
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kjeld0d
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:34 pm

speedbird52 wrote:
Time and time again we see airlines choosing smaller planes over larger planes, for the simple reason that smaller planes allow airlines to fly routes with less demand more efficiently, and allow airlines to do multiple flights to popular destinations. The question is: How long can this be sustained? The fact of the matter is whilst air travel will continue to grow forever, airports can only get so crowded. We don't have a limit on the number of passengers, but we do have a limit on the number of flights. How long is it before we reach that limit? My bet is by the 2030s, we might see airlines go back to VLAs and hub-hub flights.


That is such a sweeping generalization...consider that there are almost 200 countries with vastly different states of infrastructure, individual purchasing power, regulatory schemes.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:38 pm

speedbird52 wrote:
32andBelow wrote:
Why can't we increase airport capacity? Also, Europe runs super inefficiently with slot controls on airports that would be moderate at best traffic in the USA.

Increasing airport size decreases living space, and growing cities cannot afford that.


Also there's noise and environment issues that make it hard to increase capacity even if it's technically possible. The number of movements is being reduced on purpose because of the people living in the area. I know this may sound silly to some people, but it's the way it works over here. The allowed number of flights is always a compromise between the airport (who wants more) and the people living in the polluted areas (who want less).
 
zakuivcustom
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:58 pm

TC957 wrote:
In Asia, most very busy routes are flown by wide-bodies. Take for example HKG - TPE, it isn't flown every 30 mins by a 738 or A320, but every 2 - 3 hrs by CX, BR & CI mostly by wide-bodied planes. So why if this works in Asia doesn't it work elsewhere ? Surely it helps with traffic flows, slot restrictions and runway capacity.


Umm...have you checked the HKG-TPE schedule correctly? CX alone has near hourly 333/772/773 between the two. CI and BR is less frequent relatively, but they still have ~10 flights each per day. With 40+ daily flights between the two, I don't see how this is not "high frequency route" (In fact, frequency-wise it's still the busiest routes from HKG
 
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:56 am

zakuivcustom wrote:
TC957 wrote:
In Asia, most very busy routes are flown by wide-bodies. Take for example HKG - TPE, it isn't flown every 30 mins by a 738 or A320, but every 2 - 3 hrs by CX, BR & CI mostly by wide-bodied planes. So why if this works in Asia doesn't it work elsewhere ? Surely it helps with traffic flows, slot restrictions and runway capacity.


Umm...have you checked the HKG-TPE schedule correctly? CX alone has near hourly 333/772/773 between the two. CI and BR is less frequent relatively, but they still have ~10 flights each per day. With 40+ daily flights between the two, I don't see how this is not "high frequency route" (In fact, frequency-wise it's still the busiest routes from HKG

Sounds like they can charge low(er) fares and depend on high volume passenger wise to make money. And people will fly when airfares are very reasonably priced.
Why endure the nightmare and congestion of LAX when BUR, LGB, ONT & SNA is so much easier to fly in and out of. Same with OAK & SJC when it comes to SFO.
 
PPVRA
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:25 am

We will continue to see frequency and point to point, but with larger aircraft. This is why the 737NG is larger than the 737 Classics. Same with A320s. Heck, the A319s aren't even that popular anymore.

Frequency abuse can be regulated by market forces if airports were allowed to determine landing fees differently. Today, even in privatized airports in Europe, there are economic restrictions that limit how landing fees are determined--primarily, airports are forced to charge by weight, which makes no sense in this day in age. Airlines don't look at their cost and decide they will charge you that much--they look at what that ticket price is worth for that market and price accordingly, which is a very different thing than merely basing it on how the flight costs are accounted for. Airports have to do the same.

If major hubs in Europe and the USA were allowed to charge market rates for landing fees, Airbus' A380 headaches might just go away. Same with Boeing and the 747-8I.
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raylee67
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:43 am

TC957 wrote:
In Asia, most very busy routes are flown by wide-bodies. Take for example HKG - TPE, it isn't flown every 30 mins by a 738 or A320, but every 2 - 3 hrs by CX, BR & CI mostly by wide-bodied planes. So why if this works in Asia doesn't it work elsewhere ? Surely it helps with traffic flows, slot restrictions and runway capacity.

It works in Asia because there are no other means to travel between most city-pairs. You cannot take a train or drive from Hong Kong to Taipei. Most cities in Asia are on isolated "islands", even if they are not really on islands geographically. In US, you can choose to drive from NY to Florida, and many families do that for their vacation. In Europe, you can take a high speed train from Paris to Zurich. In Asia, there is no efficient road or rail connection between major cities, except for those inside China, Japan and Korea. You want to travel from Seoul to Beijing? You can only fly. From Singapore to Bangkok? You can only fly. From Manila to Taipei, from Hong Kong to Hanoi, from Osaka to Busan, from Kuala Lumpur to Ho Chi Minh. Every city pair you choose, you can practically only fly because of missing land-based travel infrastructure between them, either because the cities are on an island, or there is no freeway across the jungle in Laos and Myanmar, or you probably do not want to cross North Korea.

And there is the distance. Geographically, Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia is 7hrs flight apart. You don't have that distance in Europe, and not even in US, except the longest trans-Con flights. Taking a 4-hr intra-Asia flight is the norm. Once the distance is this large, driving and taking the train (even if it's high speed train) takes too long, so you can only fly.

Finally, you got the population. Even if you take China completely out of the picture, you have more than 900 million people within ASEAN + HK + Taiwan + Korea + Japan. And many of them can afford to fly now, at least in short distance within the region using LCC. You throw China in, and that's over 2 billion people. Even if only 25% people can afford to fly, you have a market of 500 million. That's almost double the entire population of US.

Adding these together, the market for air travel is huge in comparison to US or Europe. Hence the "regional" carriers such as Cathay Dragon, Silkair or Mandarin Airlines are flying A321 or 737-800 to "regional" destinations. And the majors would be using 773 or even A380 on trunk routes.
319/20/21 332/33 342/43/45 359/51 388 707 717 732/36/3G/38/39 74R/42/43/44/4E/48 757 762/63 772/7L/73/7W 788/89 D10 M80 135/40/45 175/90 DH1/4 CRJ/R7 L10
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Aptivaboy
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:59 am

SNA and LGB both have slot restrictions, and SNA also has a cap on the total number of passengers traveling to and from SNA per year on regularly scheduled commercial flights.


Friend, it was meant as an example or illustration. No need to be pedantic.
 
Tan Flyr
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sun Dec 10, 2017 2:06 pm

An interesting discussion...one that has been kicked around on here in various form for years. The market keeps evolving on one hand, and on the other market and other forces remain the same. I have mentioned before, a parade of 737's/320s from ORD to LAX, as a general example, is convenient and what a segment of the traveling public wants. However, it does require more pilots, more gates and other staff to handle. I still subscribe also, that eventually, on many "trunk" or hub to hub, or specific "focus city" routes will have slightly less frequency with strategically scheduled larger aircraft. Perhaps a few more like UA's domestic 772? perhaps the eventual MOM Boeing offering? some thing that can offer capacity for pax, cargo (LD3's), ease/ faster boarding and boarding with entry behind a "premium Economy" section or such, and general coach to the rear.

One other consideration, is flight crews. 2 pilots can fly 250-275 or whatever from ORD-LAX/SFO or similar routes at minimal additional cost per hour. ( cost per pax goes down incrementally)

I'm going to guess other costs, such as landing fees, gate fees, etc, per pax, might also decrease incrementally also. ( data anyone??)

So, my bet is it a reasonable chance that the MOM or some other variation of widebody aircraft configuration /utilization will be seen on a number of routes that just 20 years ago saw decent amounts of 767/DC10/L1011 type (or going back farther, DC8-71/73s) aircraft. While things change, they also go in cycles..what was once old, will be new again, someday!
 
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MoKa777
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:25 pm

I think something else also should to be mentioned and taken into account: congestion in the skies above us.

Ground- based congestion is one reality. Air space/ airway congestion is another.
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drgmobile
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:38 pm

speedbird52 wrote:
Time and time again we see airlines choosing smaller planes over larger planes, for the simple reason that smaller planes allow airlines to fly routes with less demand more efficiently, and allow airlines to do multiple flights to popular destinations. The question is: How long can this be sustained? The fact of the matter is whilst air travel will continue to grow forever, airports can only get so crowded. We don't have a limit on the number of passengers, but we do have a limit on the number of flights. How long is it before we reach that limit? My bet is by the 2030s, we might see airlines go back to VLAs and hub-hub flights.



Not sure I agree with the premise. In North America at least, average aircraft size has been creeping up. As 50-seat and smaller aircraft have been taken out of the fleets and airlines operate out of increasingly congested hubs, the direction has been toward larger aircraft.
 
speedbird52
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:34 pm

drgmobile wrote:
speedbird52 wrote:
Time and time again we see airlines choosing smaller planes over larger planes, for the simple reason that smaller planes allow airlines to fly routes with less demand more efficiently, and allow airlines to do multiple flights to popular destinations. The question is: How long can this be sustained? The fact of the matter is whilst air travel will continue to grow forever, airports can only get so crowded. We don't have a limit on the number of passengers, but we do have a limit on the number of flights. How long is it before we reach that limit? My bet is by the 2030s, we might see airlines go back to VLAs and hub-hub flights.



Not sure I agree with the premise. In North America at least, average aircraft size has been creeping up. As 50-seat and smaller aircraft have been taken out of the fleets and airlines operate out of increasingly congested hubs, the direction has been toward larger aircraft.

Forgive me, for the most part you see this trend in long haul aircraft: 747s get replaced by 787s. A350-900s are chosen over A350-1000s.
 
AAvgeek744
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:16 am

32andBelow wrote:
Why can't we increase airport capacity? Also, Europe runs super inefficiently with slot controls on airports that would be moderate at best traffic in the USA.


The saga of adding a new runway at Heathrow should answer your question. Then there is the decades long issue in Sydney. Increasing airport size and thus capacity is complex, and likely will get more so as times passes.
 
Planesmart
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:30 am

Adoption of CORSIA will definitely dampen frequency. The time given to marginal and new routes routes to become viable will shorten.

As the base year is calendar year 2020, interesting to see what route growth occurs through to 2020, in order to give airlines the most wiggle room post-2020.

In addition to purchasing airlines for slots, routes and staff, acquisition for 2020 fuel / carbon emissions will also be a factor for airlines looking to grow.

US rhetoric for now is they will remain outside for internal flights, but to operate to participating countries (the majority), US-based airlines will likely need to participate by default.

A flow on, some countries are already suggesting targetted carbon emission per passenger movement, based on the aircraft and load factor, with those above and below the target threshold being penalised / rewarded respectively (the aviation equivalent of a vehicle congestion tax?). This would likely lead to price increases, consolidation, lower frequencies, and even cancellations. The end to empty positioning flights?
 
cloudboy
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Mon Dec 11, 2017 1:51 am

I think one error is that air travel may NOT continue to grow. Personally I don't think we are going to see huge increases in air travel as airlines continue to target an ever increasingly specific market - the frequent, big spend business traveler. As in many cases air travel is something of an oligopoly, there really isn't enough market influence for the industry to chase after any one else nor grow the market.

What I think will happen will be a revolutionary switch for a few carriers to what you say - strict hub and spoke models. Limited flights to one mega hub, with very market specific aircraft. This will happen when a game changer comes in and recognizes that there is a big hole where price sensitive customers with flexible plans fit in. I expect the lcc's to try and make quick pivots - some succeeding and some failing - to address this market shift. Airbus may have been too early with the A380 to really take advantage of this, but at the same time it is the A380, and eventual used market for them, that will be one of the major driving forces for it.
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:45 pm

speedbird52 wrote:
drgmobile wrote:
speedbird52 wrote:
Time and time again we see airlines choosing smaller planes over larger planes, for the simple reason that smaller planes allow airlines to fly routes with less demand more efficiently, and allow airlines to do multiple flights to popular destinations. The question is: How long can this be sustained? The fact of the matter is whilst air travel will continue to grow forever, airports can only get so crowded. We don't have a limit on the number of passengers, but we do have a limit on the number of flights. How long is it before we reach that limit? My bet is by the 2030s, we might see airlines go back to VLAs and hub-hub flights.



Not sure I agree with the premise. In North America at least, average aircraft size has been creeping up. As 50-seat and smaller aircraft have been taken out of the fleets and airlines operate out of increasingly congested hubs, the direction has been toward larger aircraft.

Forgive me, for the most part you see this trend in long haul aircraft: 747s get replaced by 787s. A350-900s are chosen over A350-1000s.


No, the 747s are mostly being replaced by 77Ws, not 787s.

And I've already mentioned it before - it's NOT the capacity of 747 that matter for many long-hauls, it's the range. 747 was pretty much the only plane that can fly some routes, at least up until the like of A340 came around. By the time A340 came around, though, 777 also came around and eventually dominate the long-haul market.

As for A350s - what you didn't mentioned is that A358s is receiving only a handful of order. Same can be said for A338neo vs. A339neo (Pretty much all orders are A339neo). Same can be said for Boeing (789s instead of 788s. Yes, there are 78X, but it's more range limited), or even 777-9X vs. 777-8X.

cloudboy wrote:
I think one error is that air travel may NOT continue to grow. Personally I don't think we are going to see huge increases in air travel as airlines continue to target an ever increasingly specific market - the frequent, big spend business traveler. As in many cases air travel is something of an oligopoly, there really isn't enough market influence for the industry to chase after any one else nor grow the market.

What I think will happen will be a revolutionary switch for a few carriers to what you say - strict hub and spoke models. Limited flights to one mega hub, with very market specific aircraft. This will happen when a game changer comes in and recognizes that there is a big hole where price sensitive customers with flexible plans fit in. I expect the lcc's to try and make quick pivots - some succeeding and some failing - to address this market shift. Airbus may have been too early with the A380 to really take advantage of this, but at the same time it is the A380, and eventual used market for them, that will be one of the major driving forces for it.


The thing with A380 is that while it DOES have great CASM, you have to fill up all the seats to achieve the ideal number. It's simply too much plane with the exception for a few routes (i.e. Kangaroo route). Then you also run into the economy of scale. I just don't see any LCC having enough ultra high demand routes that can fill seats, AND operate a large A380 fleets to fly those routes.
 
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Re: Will the Idea of Point to Point and frequency over capacity collapse?

Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:31 am

The reality is that planes are getting bigger on most routes. 50-seat RJs are disappearing, and planes like the 319 and 737-700 are mostly getting replaced with the larger versions of their families. On top of that, various seating modifications have allowed additional seats to be squeezed into existing aircraft. This type of growth is very significant, even if it doesn't mean widebodies on domestic routes everywhere. As for VLAs, the high density seating has definitely not helped their uptake. Air Canada and others cram 450 seats into a 773. That's more than Korean has on an A380 (different class mix obviously). We used to consider seat counts like that to be in the VLA category, and it's plenty of capacity for most routes.

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