SRB wants Virgin Atlantic to launch nonstop UK-OZ flights.

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  AMcWhirter 4 Nov 2018
at 12:01
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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)

  • rferguson
    Participant

    SRB was interviewed on a program called ‘Your Money Australia’ and was quoted by the host as saying that he wants VS to launch non-stop flights to Australia….and soon.

    Rumor: Virgin Wants Non-Stop London To Australia Flights…

    I guess with Virgin Australia being a large airline domestically in OZ this could make sense.

    But when I think about it more, i just can’t see how it is feasible.

    Firstly, VS cancelled LHR-HKG-SYD not so long ago due to the immense competition on the route and fairly low yields. They then continued to cancel routes eastwards to focus on their US operations once Delta essentially took over.

    Secondly, only back in March the VS CEO announced that VS would return to Australia – via a codeshare deal with Virgin Australia via HKG or LAX. It’s quite a big step going from a sensible codeshare with a same brand airline to launching non stop flights.

    https://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/929904/Virgin-Atlantic-Australia-return-aviation-flights-after-four-year-hiatus-Sydney-Melbourne

    And finally….I don’t think they have a suitable aircraft to do it. OK, we know an airline can fly non stop London to the West Coast of Australia. Qantas flies non stop with a 787 to PER and many would give that an example of what VS could do. But what people often fail to notice is that the QF LHR-PER flight is actually the LHR-MEL flight (via PER). Perhaps VS would want to try something similar – LHR-SYD or MEL via PER with a plane change. But….does that make sense over LHR-SYD via HKG or SIN or LAX or…..? Not really. If VS was serious about flying non-stop to Australia they would need one of the A350ULR aircraft like SQ use on the SIN-NYC haul.

    So…more hot air? Or would the bearded one be onto something?

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    So…more hot air? Or would the bearded one be onto something?

    VS ought to have done this years ago when SIA was a major shareholder. VS could simply have operated LHR-SIN-PER and code-shared with SIA. Maybe at that time VS did talk to the Singaporeans behind the scenes … ?

    3 users thanked author for this post.

    SimonS1
    Participant

    SRB will say anything to gain popularity.

    How are his starting grids coming along, or the planes running on chip fat?


    MarkivJ
    Participant

    More hot air!


    Flightlevel
    Participant

    VS B787 the obvious way and maybe different configuration to compete with QF ‘though they say they have high L/F in both J and Y+ classes?
    Only possible alternative is to Cairns (or Darwin?) A359ULR and involves Russia overfly charge of $100 each way.
    Including hotel overnight in CNS before onward flight would be an idea ‘though too costly, maybe just wishful thinking?

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Olneyflyer
    Participant

    I cannot think that Delta would approve such a route. Australia would be a long route with potentially quite a few aircraft tied up plying it to make the needed frequency work. I suspect that Mr Branson may have lost a lot of influence on the strategy of Virgin Atlantic now he is a minor shareholder.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    I cannot think that Delta would approve such a route.

    Delta now holds the purse strings at VS. And as we have seen in recent times, VS has since axed services from a number of routes.

    Little Red ceasing its domestic feeders must have been a disappointment to regional travellers who must now depend on BE’s small turbo-props for their LHR connections.

    I read that SRB has quit from being chairman of Virgin Hyperloop One.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-branson-virgin-hyperloop/branson-steps-down-from-role-as-chairman-of-virgin-hyperloop-idUSKCN1MW2B6

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    Flightlevel
    Participant

    On reflection – and checking the Airbus site A359ULR may make it to SYD or MEL ‘though agree with comments above.
    Too costly, too many aircraft, not in owners plans? Maybe F or J may work if there’s a market.
    Three flights per week and 3 aircraft may be profitable and traffic rights available if QF wants to do the same.


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    Too costly, too many aircraft, not in owners plans? Maybe F or J may work if there’s a market.
    Three flights per week and 3 aircraft may be profitable and traffic rights available if QF wants to do the same.

    I do believe QF installed normal economy and just gone for a two-class layout like SIA.

    But then I was told that QF’s B787s would also be operating to the US West Coast and QF didn’t just want to retain specially configured B787s for one route alone.

    Yes QF has plans for Sydney-Europe non-stop and is evaluating products from Airbus and Boeing.


    MarcusGB
    Participant

    Virgin did withdraw from the UK Sydney route, and even the BA 772 flight is not offering much, but appears to be kept as a loss leader for PR reasons for the Airline.

    However, it would be helpful to all of us, and Virgin Atlantic as well as Virgin Australia, to have a more clear cut definition of their partners. Not just codeshares, but officially join an Alliance, not just buy into one here and there for certain routes or Airlines.
    KLM/ Air France would be a good choice, and to merge into the Skyteam Network Alliance. They seem more suited, especially with Delta being a founding member, to Skyteam, and are partly linked, but only with a few Airlines, and on few routes.
    Many VS and clearly the V Australia routes would add a complimentary factor to Skyteam, poorly represented in the Pacific region, especially for Regional, trans Tasman flights for NZ and Australia. With Etihad having Codeshare and co-opertion with various Skyteam members they would also compliment each other.

    So whilst they throw the idea of non stop services, how about integrating what you have first, gaining an Alliance, and feed through from many other Airlines within Skyteam alliances? Etihad would also benefit from the same, in the this way?

    I have heard discussions about this for years, almost pending statement, but they really would compliment each Airline more, within The Skyteam Alliance. There embedded loyalty, and option to choose would then truly benefit their rather limited profile of VA, and open up many routes and options, domestic and Regional for VS in Oceania. It would gain a new passenger flow for connecting flights in Oceania, or continued trips around once there.

    Virgin, Please put More energy into consolidating, using what you have, before creating and leaving much unclear, is surely a better Business decision?

    I would not personally want to take a Dreamliner for such a long non stop flight with a rather dense Cabin arrangement, needed to make it profitable. The Dreamliner 8.9.10’s, are rather small aircraft, not much space to move around, unlike A380’s the 747, A345’s. I really do not think that a 2 hr change en route to Oceania from Europe adds much inconvenience, with these non stop flights unhealthy to the body in a dense tube for such greater periods of time.
    They are safer, and not in danger of more medical incidents on board these ultra long haul flights.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    canucklad
    Participant

    I would not personally want to take a Dreamliner for such a long non stop flight with a rather dense Cabin arrangement, needed to make it profitable

    100 % agree ……….
    Having travelled to Oz in many different ways, I can definitely say, the one way I wouldn’t do it is non-stop.
    Your right about SkyTeam to an extent, yet at a quick glance it seems they have good coverage in SE Asia , but delve a bit deeper and it seems a bit of a fractured alliance.
    If I was VS, I’d hop into bed with Garuda, but doing a split codeshare focussing on Denpasar (Bali) rather than Djakarta . With the caveat that passengers are allowed to break their journey en-route to/from Sydney as part of their fare. This would make a reduced rota more cost effective.
    And to be totally bold they could woo the Vietnamese with the same proposition?


    rferguson
    Participant

    Hey Marcus. The BA flight to SYD is operated by a 777-300 not a 777-200. And loooooong gone are the days that BA will operate a route for PR reasons. If it doesn’t turn a profit it will generally be downgauged to a smaller aircraft type. If still no joy, it gets the chop.

    I don’t believe the SYD route is up there with the top performers and it may have a dip now that QF has once again started flying from Sydney to London via SIN (it’s said BA picked up a lot of QF passengers that didn’t want to fly via DXB).

    But the flights are consistently full – I’d never bother trying to use staff standby on the Syd route. But as we know a full plane doesn’t always equate a profitable one. Yields are not great but as BA focuses on selling more tickets in the Australian market to uk/Europe than vice versa (favourable exchange rates and a market prepared to pay more) I hope the route will remain profitable and on the BA route map. Thankfully for BA the ME3 (well EY and EK anyway) have started scaling back their oz operations a little. Reducing some frequencies and substituting some larger aircraft for smaller ones.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    EUFlyer
    Participant

    Branson hates monopolies and QF have one of the non-stop LHR to Perth – and they seem to be getting decent load factors on the route. Virgin Atlantic, as the only other UK based full service long haul carrier – would be the natural competitor given the traffic between the 2 countries.

    There is no reason why VS couldn’t codeshare with VA via HKG and also operate the direct to Perth alone. The question is whether the market for non stop is big enough for both carriers to make it work. There would probably be a price war which would squeeze yields so depends how much cash Branson and Delta wants to lose.


    paulkaz
    Participant

    EU Flyer I dont think Branson influences VS much since the Delta buy out. PER only has 2.2 million people with a stagnant economy since the mining downturn. QF fills its non stop by starting in MEL and filling empty seats with FFlyer redemptions if the A380 via SIN is full.Can’t see room for VS on top of EK,QR,MH,TG,CX and SQ 1 stops.In addition some of these airlines fly to UK regions avoiding an LHR transfer that VS would require.
    Canucklad GA suffers awful political influence that VS would best avoid.DPS is a massive Australian tourist destination. VA serve it from most cities so VS could connect to those flights. Doubt Aus or Indo would allow 5 th freedom flights for VS to fly on to SYD.
    As rferguson notes we pay at least 50% more outbound which underscore QF’s profits ( despite weak A$) and tempts all the Asian(including all the Chinese first and second order airlines) and ME3 carriers. This crowded out VS via HKG in the past with the inefficent A340. Now VA’s adoptive parent Hainan Airlines would object to a re do.
    I still think a LHR HNL Aus flight has propects. VS and VA could easily do that with DL s political help if needed.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    With higher oil prices it’s surprising any airline would want to think of adding any more ULH flights which, as we all know, are fuel efficient.

    Today’s financial report from Air Canada shows just how the oil price can impact an airline’s profitability.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/air-canada-results/air-canada-profit-slumps-63-percent-idUSL3N1XB4KG

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