Is it economic to operate an A380 for a one hour flight?

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This topic contains 31 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by  AFlyingDutchman 9 Jul 2019
at 12:35
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  • TominScotland
    Participant

    Emirates have gone double daily between Dubai and Muscat with their A380. Those who know more about these things than I do may be able to comment whether this makes any sort of economic sense? I get the connecting traffic thing but I would not have thought that Muscat was that attractive as a source for premium passengers.

    https://www.emirates247.com/business/corporate/emirates-launches-two-daily-a380-flights-to-muscat-2019-07-02-1.686218

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AFlyingDutchman
    Participant

    I think it probably isnt too economical operating the A380 on such a short flight, but it is being flown between two of the richest countries in that region, so the likely premium uplift would be strong. I recently flew QR from Doha to MCT and the flight was completely full in Business, using a 777-300 with Q-suites, hardly anytime to enjoy the great service. The flight from DXB would be substantially shorter. I guess as you say, its likely for connecting traffic to ensure a consistent product.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    capetonianm
    Participant

    If the 380 is sitting on the tarmac earning nothing for a few hours, it may well make sense to operate it on revenue sectors, as long as the revenue exceeds the costs. An a/c on the tarmac is costing money, an a/c flying with pax is earning revenue.

    Without knowing more about the yields it’s only guesswork. It could also be seen as a ‘prestige’ operation, or use for crew training.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    first_class_please
    Participant

    You would think not, but at 45 minutes each way and 3 1/2 hours roundtrip from Dubai, maybe it is better use of the aircraft and maybe takes an older 777 out of service or frees the 777 for a longhaul route.
    With such a limited fleet of 777 and A380 both are probably too big for the sector, but it will be about the longhaul operations economics.


    EU_Flyer
    Participant

    Looks to be one of those cases where the time on ground, waiting to board / boarding / taxiing at either end / disembarking far exceed the actual flight time. I see these flights as quality lounge time with the plane transport bit thrown in as a bonus ;-P


    canucklad
    Participant

    if you factor into account the much lighter weight , you’ll probably find as a percentage of revenue v cost(fuel) the breakeven point might even be lower than say a rotation to London.
    I also expect that the mean price of a ticket per mile flown will be substantially higher than on a flight of over 8 hours.
    But like most on here I’m not a yield management guru, so it’s purely speculation.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    esselle
    Participant

    If it didn’t make commercial sense to do it, I doubt they would have launched the route. Something obviously made them think it would be worthwhile.

    Remains to be seen if it is permanent though.


    onajetplane
    Participant

    Since the “Qatar blockade”, Muscat has essentially become the transit point for people from between the UAE and Qatar. Before the blockade, there was shuttle flights for example between Dubai and Doha a few times per hour, and thus since all of these have cancelled, likely a big factor in the increase to the a380. Qatar have also significantly increased capacity between Doha and MCT since the blockade.

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    alainboy56
    Participant

    @onajetplane — I am also from UAE and use MCT to get on my 5* steed. Yes they use A351s, A359s and B773s and A332s on the DOH-MCT returns. And I find them mostly quite full. To correct you, before the let’s call it ‘brotherly disagreement’, QR had 17 flights daily on the DOH-DXB route, 8 on the AUH, maybe 4 on the SHJ, 3 on the DWC and 1 to RAK, thats over 30 flights daily from UAE taking pax out of the hands of EK and EY. Do you really think, considering now the economic situation in UAE (especially AUH), that this was nothing more than a financial matter? I surmised this at the time, knowing how much money EY has lost over 3 years now. (P.S. The ex CEO of EY, a certain Australian gentleman who made, how shall we call it, dubious and questionable investments in Alitalia etc etc is now a financial adviser – check the net and one will find him…………..).
    To the point of the matter, I believe there are runway works in DXB, so due to flight cutting, they are utilising a bigger aircraft – this maybe a factor.
    Just 10 days ago, I flew AUH to MCT with EY and I would say perhaps 80% of the pax were in transit, including a whole bunch of local ladies, one rather elderly mama I helped at AUH to order a coffee, as she didn’t speak English, when her daughter arrived rushing breathlessly, she couldn’t have been more grateful for my help, spoke excellent English and told me they were going to MCT and that we’ll chat at the gate, which we duly did. They came to find me and sit adjacently, The daughter told me that her husband is Qatari and that she and all her cousins, yes and her Qatari mother-in-law were there, and how they all find it rather difficult and troublesome to travel back and for to their respective home countries in the last 2 years.
    At MCT, when boarding QR, (an A321 btw) I had been one of the first to board and had already met/chatted/discussed/joked about available empty seating with the stewardess, and you should have seen her reaction when approx 8 local ladies boarded and on passing me greeted me using my name, some in english, some in arabic. The look on the face of the stewardess was priceless.


    BrotherJim
    Participant

    Not quite the same but Qatar fly a 777-300ER (soon to change to an A350-1000) between Sydney and Canberra and return which is a grand distance of 128nm or about 25 mins air time each way. I’ve never seen it more than 1/4 full.

    But they do it because it is the only way to get an extra service into Sydney from Doha (due to bilateral rights agreements), so it must be worth their while to fly that segment to get the access to Sydney, even though it isn’t economicaly viable on its own. As an aside BA code shares on it so you can fly BA LHR-SIN-SYD and then QR SYD-CBR, but Qantas doesn’t so you need to change to a domestic 717 or Q400.

    Back on topic I would gather these Muscat flights are similar in that the benifits that traffic brings to the rest of the Emirates network makes a sector that wouldn’t stand on its own worthwhile.


    Inquisitive
    Participant

    If properly planned, airplanes flying even short distances is much better than parked on ground.

    I see SQ uses large aircrafts for short distance in between Long haul flights. And those flights goes full, not necessarily in business class, a full economy class of a large plane could be very profitable. Plus it also attracts business class passengers from those countries.


    cwoodward
    Participant

    For many years CX has routinely used aircraft fitted predominantly for long haul routes for short inter Asia flights some of less than 2 hours.
    This has the dual benefit of maximising the aircraft daily usage (Cathay has one of the worlds highest) and giving passengers paying for the short haul product the’treat’of the extra comfort of the long haul product. As First is seldom sold on these short routes lucky pax often get the added luxury of a first class seat. A nice treat on the way home after a long day


    alainboy56
    Participant

    @cwoodward — I also remember back in the 90’s flying KUL-SIN on a S.I.A. B744 with a ‘chox to chox’ time of exactly 1 hr.
    I don’t fly or visit Asia much these days so I am not aware if they still use the ‘big beasts’ now and again on this route still. Perhaps other here can confirm.


    openfly
    Participant

    Errrr….BOAC 707 Saturday mornings LHR-MAN-PIK then NYC. The first sectors were sold for £2 standby, then back from GLA Renfrew on the off-peak BEA Vanguard for another £2. Such an exciting day. The largest aircraft flying.


    Inquisitive
    Participant

    Alainboy56, SIA retired its B747 for passenger service quite something ago, but they don’t use A380 for Sin-Kul sector.
    However they use A350, B787 routinely in short haul like Sin-Kul and Sin-Bkk using these newer aircrafts in between Long haul runs.

    SIA uses A380 to 4-5 hours flight like Sin-Del or Sin-Mumbai. These flights are run after/before a long haul from/to somewhere else to maximise the uses.

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