|Quoting Qazar (Reply 12):|
Seattle would surprise me.... They already fly to Portland and Vancouver and Seattle seems too close a market to both these destinations - especially Vancouver. I'd say we'd me more likely to see LH fly a second daily rotation from MUC to Vancouver or even Portland before they consider Seattle. Besides, Seattle is presently served by Star alliance partner SAS. I presume SAS wouldn't be very happy if LH became a competition on the route.
As SAS and LH
have full anti trust immunity, I am certain that LH
would discuss the route with SAS before entering the market. The SAS flight to Copenhagen has an 85+% load factor year round and well over 100% in the summer. Also, since they have the late flight (7pm departure), if LH
departs early afternoon, it gives more choices for Star Alliance passengers to use either carrier to their European gateway, then beyond. In fact, I believe revenue sharing is part of the agreement between the two carriers. If LH
were to start flying, I am sure that SK
would receive some revenue sharing based on the reciprocal code sharing that would occur.
From a competitive perspective, Star Alliance is in trouble here. With AF
's entrance into the market, SkyTeam has the upper hand right now in terms of SEA
's international flying (NW-AMS
starting July 4, all nonstop), and with AS
's strategic relationship with both DL
/CO/NW and a new agreement with AF
feeds their flights very well at Seattle. In fact, even BA
benefits from AS
's marketing agreement with AA
. The addition of LH
here would strengthen UAs domestic position, which has been getting continually weaker as AS
has expanded eastward with their own service and reciprocal code sharing on flights operated by CO
With the Olympics coming in 2010, Seattle will be a very significant alternative to Vancouver. Someone on this thread mentioned the border crossing being miserable (I have done it twice in the past two months and it frankly sucks at peak times (up to 2 hour waits)...although on the Canadian side, they are building a new facility which will double the capacity of vehicle processing at the border and the US FIS facility is only using half its existing resources. There is an additional crossing 1 mile east, the "Pacific Border Crossing" which has a very large US FIS facility (we crossed back from Canada on Memorial Day...the wait was five minutes) and the Canadians are expanding their facility there as well.
After the rush of the 2010 Olympics, it will be far easier to cross between Canada and the US, which makes Seattle a very viable alternative to Vancouver (not that Vancouver isn't attractive). The fares both to Asia and Europe are lower here than ex YVR
(even on AC
), so if you add the Canadian traffic to the mix, Seattle becomes an even larger potential market...very underserved compared to YVR
(especially to Asia).
As to the future, I am confident additional carriers will come to Seattle, not just LH
. Who knows, BA
has total exclusivity on the LHR
route right now and with the new open skies agreement, it is a perfect add on market for VS
...especially given Virgin America's anticipated August start up. The Port of Seattle has been doing a full court press to get carriers to come here, especially with the 2010 Olympics just around the corner. The third runway will be finished by then (I hope).
With all of Boeing's Commercial operation here in Seattle and their backlog of orders for airplanes, carriers will be sending their crews and support personnel here for some time to come...to pick up their airplanes. That traffic alone gives reason to believe that there is a lot of room for growth here. For us locals, growth means choice, choice means more nonstop service and we here in the northwest are very finicky about wanting international nonstop service. So LH
, bring it on. You will be most welcome.
David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998