PSU.DTW.SCE wrote:Clearly DL sees some merit in keeping their brand/metal in MNL.
While there are some merits to the a.net myths that SIN & HKG "mint money" and MNL is a "dumpster fire", people tend to broad-brush those comments and ignore the network and competitive factors that influence each of those markets. The transitive property doesn't always apply. SIN and HKG currently don't work for DL based on their hub markets and they aren't as mature in their coastal gateways where they face significant competition.
There may be some factors at play, that potentially ICN-MNL is a stop-gap until they feel they can fly something from the US mainland and they don't want to risk losing their employees and brand presence in the market.
I could see DL eventually launching a SEA-MNL nonstop whenever the IAF at SEA is fully open, and they could be operating from ICN temporarily until that time. Or, they could genuinely see potential in the ICN-MNL market. Either way, I'm sure DL has gone over the numbers and looked at the highest volume and highest fare connecting markets they've been serving ex MNL, and are accommodating those flows.
DL's conundrum with HKG and SIN is just what you said - their best hubs for either market based on high value O&D traffic are JFK and/or LAX, but those are their most competitive hubs, all those flights are really long and tie up a lot of aircraft time, and DL needs to rely almost entirely on O&D traffic on the Asia side. AA's flights to HKG connect with partner flights on CX, UA's flights to HKG are from some of the largest O&D markets in the U.S. (SFO, NYC, CHI), and UA's flights to SIN could theoretically connect with onward flights on SQ, although I'm not sure how much the two codeshare on that end.