What are the chances of VA actually using their HND slot by the expiry date in late March 2023? It’s only 4 months away and there seems to be no activity or preparation for it.
It'd be interesting to see... many people have floated the idea of operating CNS-HND using the MAX-8's once they come into service, but who really knows.
I think VA is stepping cautiously when it comes to expanding internationally. LAX seemed to be the only LH destination that worked for them, but everything else was loss-making.
Stranger things have happened... so time will tell
VA's previous ops to HND never really got a chance given COVID happened shortly after the flights started. If they're looking to target leisure travellers instead of corporates, Japan may be a better bet as the US is now becoming an expensive destination for Australians.
If they did decide on CNS-HND ops, it wouldn't be much of a difference from JQ's current Japan ops, plenty of people fly JQ to Japan via CNS or OOL.
Maybe I’m misremembering, but I thought VA BNE-HND never even launched?
I honestly can’t see CNS-HND happening on VA, it just doesn’t make sense financially. It would tie up an aircraft for the best part of an entire day (the best you could do would be BNE-CNS/CNS-HND and back within 24 hours) in which time the aircraft could operate 6-8 domestic flights. You’re targeting a decidedly leisure market, either Japan inbound tourism or people from BNE/SYD/MEL looking for a cheap flight. The latter in particular is highly price driven, you will struggle to attract a meaningful yield premium over Jetstar. Forget attracting any corporate traffic with a stop in Cairns, they’ll be flying ANA if they’re tied to Velocity. The onboard product in economy is only half a step above Jetstar, which is fine for most people SYD-MEL, but a different story long haul. Business Class on VA 737 and JQ 787 are very similar, both seats and service, so you can’t really charge a premium there either. Talking of Jetstar, they have 300+ pax 787s, which would be almost unbeatable on CASM, plus lower labour costs etc. They can easily afford to undercut VA.
In short, I don’t see why they would tie up an aircraft that could be very profitably deployed on the lucrativd domestic network, to engage in a fare war for price conscious passengers, with minimal strategic value in attracting corporate and high yield passengers to your broader network. Beyond keeping a HND slot of Qantas, what is the point?