The Golden Age of Air Travel?

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October 29th, 2015 at 7:55:05 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
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I've been thinking a bit about catering in low cost airlines.

I have observed Interjet, as I've flown a great deal with them. The snack service offers three snack choices. In the morning this means two kinds of cookies and one kind of cereal bar, afternoons and evenings it's one of three types of salty snacks (potato chips, corn chips of different flavors). For drinks there's coffee, tea, milk, an assortment of PepsiCo soft drinks, an assortment of fruit juices, bottled water, and four or five types of alcohol (rum, whiskey, tequila, beer, no wine). All this is complimentary.

All this, also, takes up very little room in an A320 configured for 150 pax. Also rather little mass, all things considered. Now, when flying back from vegas, the snack and drink choices are the same. meaning the planes are loaded with them in Toluca and take no provisions in Vegas. This spares the airline a local catering contract or operation. And this isn't the only route where they do this. In Cd. del Carmen, no provisions are taken in either.

How big a savings this is, I've no idea. But it's certainly something that couldn't be done if a regular meal service, even for a fee, were offered on some flights. Even a simple two curse meal takes up more room and weight.

In larger planes, there are storage areas beneath the galleys. I don't think that's the case in smaller planes like the A320. I've seen the galleys on Interjet's planes, and I'm sure those, at the least, do not contain any additional storage (nor require any)

And I think this is the longest post I've ever written on a very small detail.
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October 29th, 2015 at 11:02:02 AM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 744
Posts: 8738
Quote: Nareed
Interjet might, if it can get the permissions or rights, offer a flight MEX-JFK-LHR, serving two cold sandwiches, one on each leg.


It is difficult to say. Although the specsheet of the current narrowbody aircraft from the A320 family says you can fly a distance as long as JFK to LHR, nobody even comes close to that distance. The "new engine options" add another 800-860 km to the maximum range, so they might do the distance (as well as the new B737max).

If they build the Long Range version of the A321 then it might be able to reach from Cancun to Gran Canary islands (but I doubt it).

Interjet's current fleet
Airbus A320-200 : 42 with 4 on order and 5 options
Airbus A320neo: 40 on order and 10 options
Airbus A321neo: 10 on order

3360 km Juarez Intl, Mexico City, MX (MEX) to John F Kennedy Intl, New York City, NY (JFK)
5540 km John F Kennedy Intl, New York City, NY (JFK) to Heathrow, London, GB (LHR)

4,828 km is maximum distance currently flown on an Airbus A320-200
4,617 km is maximum distance currently flown on an Airbus A321-200
6,100 km; maximum range of current Airbus 320 with Sharklets
5,900 km; maximum range of current Airbus 321 with Sharklets

6,900 km A320neo: theoretical maximum range of the aircraft
6,760 km A321neo: theoretical maximum range of the aircraft
7,400 km A321LR: a theoretical long range variant of the A321neo

7,180 km Cancun Aeropuerto Internacional, Cancun, MX (CUN) to Aeropuerto De Gran Canaria, Gran Canaria, ES (LPA)

===================
I doubt that anyone will be permitted to fly narrowbodies transatlantic to Heathrow. More likely to smaller airports in Ireland, or the minor airports in London. Possibly Manchester or Birmingham. Heathrow is a very crowded airport and will undoubtedly have large landing fees for smaller jets crossing the Atlantic.
October 29th, 2015 at 12:23:42 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 330
Posts: 11556
Quote: Pacomartin
Interjet's current fleet
[..]
Airbus A321neo: 10 on order


I wonder how firm that order is. the rationale behind the single model is to simplify pilot, cabin crew and ground crew training, as well as maintenance. Now, I'm sure there isn't much difference between the A320 and the A321. Maybe no retraining is needed at all and maintenance is overall the same.

But Interjet stuck to the A320 only for a decade. Adding the Superjet made sense for the thinner routes. But Volaris has been flying a mix of A319/320/321 for a decade. I have to wonder which routes of Interjet's are so packed they need the extra room, or where they plan to fly they need the longer range (Canada? South America past Colombia? Europe from JFK??))

Quote:
I doubt that anyone will be permitted to fly narrowbodies transatlantic to Heathrow. More likely to smaller airports in Ireland, or the minor airports in London. Possibly Manchester or Birmingham. Heathrow is a very crowded airport and will undoubtedly have large landing fees for smaller jets crossing the Atlantic.


I use LHR as shorthand for "London" sometimes...

I've no idea what the market is. I know AM and BA fly non-stop MEX-London. AM and AF fly MEX-Paris non stop. And Iberia and AM fly MEX-Madrid also non-stop. All such flights are on wide bodies, ranging from perhaps left-over 767s, to 787s, to A340s and 747s.

Interjet could do some of those flights cheaper, in all-economy, with a stop at JFK, and get away with their lack of catering. I cited NYC-London because that's one of the shortest popular transatlantic crossings. But there would be a bigger market for Madrid.

Whether it would be a good bet for Interjet, I don't know. Let's say each trip takes a minimum of 13 hours, stops included. Then you'd need two planes to service one flight, if you want a daily option. All the while, those two planes could be flitting about Mexico in shorter routes, perhaps earning more money per hour of operation.

I'm not proposing this seriously. But I find it a useful intellectual exercise on how low cost airlines could handle long haul flights without long haul aircraft.
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October 29th, 2015 at 2:29:11 PM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 744
Posts: 8738
Quote: Nareed

I wonder how firm that order is. the rationale behind the single model is to simplify pilot, cabin crew and ground crew training, as well as maintenance. Now, I'm sure there isn't much difference between the A320 and the A321. Maybe no retraining is needed at all and maintenance is overall the same.

Airbus says that "the A320neo (new engine option) versions will have over 95 per cent airframe commonality with the A320ceo (current engine option) versions". Most of the maintenance But it delivers more range, much more fuel efficiency, and more seats. Also the price jumps by over $30 million.

I don't know what kind of additional pilot training is required (if any).


Quote: Nareed

But Interjet stuck to the A320 only for a decade. Adding the Superjet made sense for the thinner routes. But Volaris has been flying a mix of A319/320/321 for a decade. I have to wonder which routes of Interjet's are so packed they need the extra room, or where they plan to fly they need the longer range (Canada? South America past Colombia? Europe from JFK??))

Volaris is not trying to fly different models for different markets. They are phasing out all of the A319s and most of their A320s. Perhaps eventually they will phase them all out. Volaris says the bigger planes will reduce their cost per revenue seat mile.

Bigger planes look better on paper, but you have to fill them.


Quote: Nareed

I've no idea what the market is. I know AM and BA fly non-stop MEX-London. AM and AF fly MEX-Paris non stop. And Iberia and AM fly MEX-Madrid also non-stop. All such flights are on wide bodies, ranging from perhaps left-over 767s, to 787s, to A340s and 747s.

Interjet could do some of those flights cheaper, in all-economy, with a stop at JFK, and get away with their lack of catering. I cited NYC-London because that's one of the shortest popular transatlantic crossings. But there would be a bigger market for Madrid.

Whether it would be a good bet for Interjet, I don't know. Let's say each trip takes a minimum of 13 hours, stops included. Then you'd need two planes to service one flight, if you want a daily option. All the while, those two planes could be flitting about Mexico in shorter routes, perhaps earning more money per hour of operation.

I'm not proposing this seriously. But I find it a useful intellectual exercise on how low cost airlines could handle long haul flights without long haul aircraft.


The "Freedom of the Skies" agreement was signed after WWII. For an example it was agreed that Emirates can fly a plane from Dubai to Rio de Janeiro and then on to Sao Paulo and disembark customers at both places. In the return they could embark customers from both cities. But they cannot sell tickets on just the Rio to S.P. portion. But if the two cities are in different countries then the airline can use it's "5th freedom" to sell tickets on just a portion of the journey. So Emirates flies one plane from Dubai to Sao Paulo and a second plane from Dubai to Rio and on to Buenos Aires. I think there are close to 100 fifth freedom flights around the world. Delta has quite a number through Tokyo.

Now what has changed in the last three years is that airlines are using 5th freedom rights not just as supplemental revenue, but the intermediate portion could be more valuable than the passengers who just continue on to the final destination. Emirates in particular flying to Milan and then on to JFK (even though they have non stops to JFK). But there are other links. Qatar Airways flies to LHR and on to JFK even though it has nonstops to JFK. Singapore Air flies to Tokyo and on to LAX. They also fly to Frankfurt and on to JFK.

It is quite possible that with the A320neo that Interjet could have the range to fly Mexico to JFK and then on to Madrid.
3360 km Juarez Intl, Mexico City, MX (MEX) to John F Kennedy Intl, New York City, NY (JFK)
5760 km John F Kennedy Intl, New York City, NY (JFK) to Barajas Arpt, Madrid, ES (MAD)
9120 km total

9060 km Juarez Intl, Mexico City, MX (MEX) to Barajas Arpt, Madrid, ES (MAD)

Now total distance with the JFK layover would exceed the nonstop by a mere 60 km. The values I use are great circle, so the actual path of the nonstop from MEX to MAD may come very close to JFK.

So now the question is how does one class on Interjet compete in comfort and price with both (1) the "premium economy" and "business class" on Iberia, and (2) how much money would the customer have to save to take a layover. I think people are less concerned with if they are on a narrow body or a wide body, but they are greatly concerned

Air Europa, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Iberia all fly the JFK Madrid route. JFK is the second most popular international destination from Madrid (behind Buenos Aires). Obviously they don't want another competitor, but the question is what can they do about it? I think there is going to be some serious litigation that will resolve this question.

Even besides the airline competition question, there is also the question about the airport. If enough small jets overtax the runways (especially if the smaller jets are owned by foreign companies) the airport authority may take action. Airports in the USA are very limited legally about refusing landing rights to anyone. To the best of my knowledge only Washington National and La Guardia NYC have serious limitations. But their argument is both overtaxed urban airports and national security. However, airports can alter landing fees to make smaller jets much more expensive to operate.
October 29th, 2015 at 3:28:00 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 330
Posts: 11556
Quote: Pacomartin
Volaris is not trying to fly different models for different markets. They are phasing out all of the A319s and most of their A320s. Perhaps eventually they will phase them all out. Volaris says the bigger planes will reduce their cost per revenue seat mile.


Yeah, I was surprised the second time I flew Volaris and found it an A320 rather than an A319. I thought they'd go with the same model in their whole fleet.

Quote:
Now what has changed in the last three years is that airlines are using 5th freedom rights not just as supplemental revenue, but the intermediate portion could be more valuable than the passengers who just continue on to the final destination.


Good.

There was a time when Mexican and Aeromexico controlled virtually 100% of the domestic market, and they were owned by the same government entity (Cintra, a holding company). Domestic rates were awfully high. International rates were much lower. If you wanted to go to Tijuana, it was less costly to fly to LA, rent a car and drive it to San Diego, than to fly straight to Tijuana (there were no flights to San Diego, not non stop). There was much talk about allowing foreign airlines in as competition in the domestic market.

Eventually the government gave up the monopoly and sold both companies. Fares came down. They came down further when Interjet and Volaris entered the market.


Quote:
Now total distance with the JFK layover would exceed the nonstop by a mere 60 km. The values I use are great circle, so the actual path of the nonstop from MEX to MAD may come very close to JFK.


But those 60 km also add a few hours for refueling and red tape...

Quote:
So now the question is how does one class on Interjet compete in comfort and price with both (1) the "premium economy" and "business class" on Iberia,


I think Interjet's single class is about as good as premium economy on many other airlines, as far as leg room goes. On the downside there is no meal service, no inflight entertainment and no WiFi.

Quote:
and (2) how much money would the customer have to save to take a layover.


That's the question. On regular domestic flights on the more common routes (ie MEX-MTY or GDL or Carmen), on average I'd say Interjet is between 500 and 750 pesos cheaper than Aeromexico. That's roughly 30 to 45 USD. But Interjet has better seats and better snacks. You also get a bigger luggage allowance included in the ticket. That's not important on business trips, but it might be on a pleasure trip. On a flight to Europe it would be a good selling point. Mexican tourists bring back a lot of stuff from each trip abroad.

Quote:
I think there is going to be some serious litigation that will resolve this question.


I draw the line at imagining the litigation involved. I like courtroom drama, but that's not what business litigation is.

Quote:
Even besides the airline competition question, there is also the question about the airport. If enough small jets overtax the runways (especially if the smaller jets are owned by foreign companies) the airport authority may take action. Airports in the USA are very limited legally about refusing landing rights to anyone.


There are several airports in the NYC area which can be used if JFK gets huffy.

For purposes of continuing on to Madrid or London, other eastern airports would suffice, too. Like Boston or even Washington DC. But there is much less demand for such destination from MEX as compared to NYC.
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October 29th, 2015 at 4:17:38 PM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 744
Posts: 8738
Quote: Nareed
There are several airports in the NYC area which can be used if JFK gets huffy.
For purposes of continuing on to Madrid or London, other eastern airports would suffice, too. Like Boston or even Washington DC. But there is much less demand for such destination from MEX as compared to NYC.


Looking at Washington DC, BWI, San Juan, Miami and Havana as potential refueling stops for Interjet next generation A320 family, it looks like only Washington DC or Baltimore Washington Internation (BWI) is the most feasible, but may only be possible if the A321 Long Range version is developed. Iberia just pulled out of Washington DC five months ago. United still flies to Madrid from Washington DC and from Newark Airport in NYC area.

3070 km Juarez Intl, Mexico City, MX (MEX) to Baltimore Washington Intl Arpt, Baltimore, MD (BWI)
6050 km Baltimore Washington Intl Arpt, Baltimore, MD (BWI) to Barajas Arpt, Madrid, ES (MAD)

3010 km Juarez Intl, Mexico City, MX (MEX) to Washington Dulles Intl, Washington, DC (IAD)
6120 km Washington Dulles Intl, Washington, DC (IAD) to Barajas Arpt, Madrid, ES (MAD)

3480 km Juarez Intl, Mexico City, MX (MEX) to Luiz Munoz Marin Intl, San Juan, PR (SJU)
6370 km Luiz Munoz Marin Intl, San Juan, PR (SJU) to Barajas Arpt, Madrid, ES (MAD)

2040 km Juarez Intl, Mexico City, MX (MEX) to Miami Intl, Miami, FL (MIA)
7100 km Miami Intl, Miami, FL (MIA) to Barajas Arpt, Madrid, ES (MAD)

1770 km Juarez Intl, Mexico City, MX (MEX) to Jose Marti Intl Arpt, Havana, CU (HAV)
7450 km Jose Marti Intl Arpt, Havana, CU (HAV) to Barajas Arpt, Madrid, ES (MAD)

Iberia destinations in USA
Washington, D.C. IAD KIAD Dulles Airport (terminated as of 23 May 2015)
Boston BOS KBOS Logan Airport
Chicago ORD KORD O'Hare Airport
Los Angeles LAX KLAX Los Angeles Airport
Miami MIA KMIA Miami International Airport
New York JFK KJFK John F. Kennedy Airport

-------------
It's interesting speculation, but it is still several years away until the longer range narrow bodies become commonplace. BWI already has two economical flights to Europe (but none to Madrid).
WOW Air Reykjavík–Keflavík
Condor: Seasonal: Frankfurt

All in all I think BWI would be the best option. There is no direct competition, so a Mexican airline might be welcome with open arms. It is only 70 km further than a nonstop from MEX to MAD, so budget travelers going the full distance may be willing to tolerate the layover to save money. Plus if Iberia just abandoned Washington DC with a widebody, it may mean that there is a residual market in Washington that can easily fill half a narrowbody.

Quote: Pacomartin

6,900 km A320neo: theoretical maximum range of the aircraft
6,760 km A321neo: theoretical maximum range of the aircraft
7,400 km A321LR: a theoretical long range variant of the A321neo
October 29th, 2015 at 4:53:13 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 330
Posts: 11556
Quote: Pacomartin
All in all I think BWI would be the best option. There is no direct competition, so a Mexican airline might be welcome with open arms. It is only 70 km further than a nonstop from MEX to MAD, so budget travelers going the full distance may be willing to tolerate the layover to save money. Plus if Iberia just abandoned Washington DC with a widebody, it may mean that there is a residual market in Washington that can easily fill half a narrowbody.


All true.

But.

Part of the calculations in a flight making a stop is "how many people go from point A to the stop?" I don't think the market for flights from MEX to either Baltimore or Washington is big enough. I don't even know if there are flights from MEX to Washington DC. Unlike Mexico, the politically important cities in the US tend not to be very important commercially. In most Mexican states, the capital is also the commercial center for that state. There are exceptions, like Carmen in Campeche, Leon in Guanajuato and maybe a few others.

There is a market for MEX-NYC flights. at least AM, Interjet, Delta and United fly the route (United to Newark).
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
October 29th, 2015 at 6:33:08 PM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 744
Posts: 8738
United and Aeromexico fly Mexico City to Washington DC at Dulles Airport
United and Iberia flew Madrid to Washington DC at Dulles Airport until Iberia pulled out

The only 5th freedom flight at Dulles is
Washington DC -Dakar on South African Airways

These are the current 5th freedom flights at NYC
New York JFK Milan MXP Emirates
New York JFK Frankfurt Singapore Airlines
New York JFK London LHR Kuwait Airways
New York JFK London LHR Qatar Airways
New York JFK Osaka China Airlines
New York JFK Vancouver Cathay Pacific
New York EWR Brussels Jet Airways

I am not disputing that there is far more traffic at JFK than at BWI. But Iberia pulling out may have left an unfilled demand in Washington DC.

It is possible that more 5th freedom flights will be encouraged to increase competition. Right now the US airlines are looking at Emirates fleet of 136 B777s and 67 A380s which could easily grow to 140 A380s and over 300 B777s and they are shaking in their boots. Not to mention fast growing Norwegian airlines which plans to quadruple their Dreamliners.
October 30th, 2015 at 7:22:42 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 330
Posts: 11556
Quote: Pacomartin
United and Aeromexico fly Mexico City to Washington DC at Dulles Airport


I'm stunned.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
October 30th, 2015 at 8:32:35 AM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 744
Posts: 8738
Quote: Nareed
I'm stunned.

Well you have three major demographic groups (1) Business, (2) Tourists, (3) Friends and Family (F&F)

Aeromexico will end up duplicating most of the routes flown by US airlines to Mexico City, as they are often in search of same customers. Washington DC has F&F, but probably a lot of Business travelers. US airlines fly from some hub airports to MC,where Aeromexico formerly had flights but terminated. Charlotte functions purely as an American hub, so Aeromexico never tried to fly there.

Aeromexico flies to Vegas and Yosemite for Mexican tourists. Aeromexico flies to Boston, but none of the US airlines uses Boston as a hub.

Volaris is shooting for the F&F market in the USA, and is going to venture into the tourist market. Interjet has 5 USA destinations.


Foreign airlines in Mexico City
Northern American Airlines Destinations
Air Canada Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver Seasonal: Montréal-Trudeau
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, New York-JFK, Salt Lake City
American Airlines Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix
United Airlines Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Houston-Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Newark,
San Francisco, Washington-Dulles
United Express Houston-Intercontinental
JetBlue Airways Fort Lauderdale, Orlando
Southwest Airlines Houston–Hobby, Orange County, San Antonio
European Airlines Destinations
Air France Paris-Charles de Gaulle (A380 service begins 3X/week in January 2016)
British Airways London-Heathrow
Iberia Madrid
KLM Amsterdam
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich
Latin American Airlines Destinations
Avianca Bogotá
Avianca El Salvador San Salvador
Avianca Peru Lima
Copa Airlines Panama City
Copa Airlines Colombia Bogotá
Cubana de Aviación Havana
LAN Airlines Santiago de Chile
LAN Perú Lima
TAM Airlines São Paulo-Guarulhos
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