Why do EU carriers park at JNB for 10-12 hours?Back to Forum
This is me posting out of curiosity – looking at the airline timetables, several EU carriers seem to land in the morning (7a-9a window) and depart after 8pm. So that’s a good 10-12 hours at the JNB tarmac. And most fly 777, 747s or A380s. Couldn’t they have the normal 2 hour turnaround and land back in EU by 10/11p and stay within the curfew hours? Or is there another reason why they’re parked for so long? BA for instance flies 747s and a380s during peak periods – I’m thinking, couldn’t that plane have been used for another flight had it returned to LHR the same day/night?3 Nov 2017
It’s the same situation at SYD. BA’s flight remains on the ground from 0650 until 1630.
Combination of factors. Here are just two namely a) the curfew, scheduling flights for optimum connex at both end of the route.
Yes you are right in that BA’s flight could land back in LHR before the curfew. But how many onward connex would be available at that time ? And what if the flight is delayed ?
In previous years Emirates had problems with the curfew at SYD.3 Nov 2017
It is all down to the onward connections. Swiss for example would not be profitable without transit pax and while they could put them up in hotels at ZRH this can be problematic if visas are needed, besides which most people just want to complete their journey. The night flight down also means most passengers can take a late flight after their working day and connect onwards to arrive early morning. In essence, if you have a European and South African office (Glencore comes to mind here) you don’t actually need to lose a days work.
KLM do have a day flight down to both JNB and CPT and then return two hours later to land back in AMS in the morning. Edelweiss also used to have a day flight back from CPT but there aircraft are mainly filled with Swiss resident originating pax.
Further the 340’s of Swiss are rotated so Whilst on the ground they get a thorough clean from top to bottom, as well as some minor maintenance. Same with LH, AF and others.
Below is a picture Mrs. LP took today of a Swiss 340 being towed from the maintenance hangar to its gate. (First picture I’ve managed to post so hope it worked?)
You must be logged in to access attached files.3 Nov 2017
Another thing is that on the ZA routes most people prefer the overnight flights and dislike the day flight. I’m the opposite, love the day flight.
Edelweiss are starting the northbound day flight on one service a week out of CPT later this month, 0830 1855. I’m on it in a couple of weeks.3 Nov 2017
I agree that most people prefer overnight flights for long-haul. I think British Airways tried to operate a day-flight back to London from JHB some years back, but this did not last very long (the British chaps can confirm).
Given that most of the major cities in Europe only have a 1-2 hrs time-zone difference with JHB and the European airports have curfews, there is no way around the long ground time in JHB.
The US airlines operate long haul planes on domestic routes during the day before the overnight fights to Europe, Asia and Latin America, so their planes are constantly on the move. I think SAA does the same with their A330/340s – the planes operate domestic and regional flights during the day before the long-hauls overnight, but the European carriers do not have this option.4 Nov 2017
You raised a good point about onward connex! i’d forgotten about that!
Its also available slots at either airport and timing ofcourse.
BA(2) to HKG arrive afternoon and have to depart much later because of the curfew at LHR.
QF have similar problems and their A380s parked for much of the day at LHR ‘though recent DXB schedule may have reduced parking they’ve returned to SIN routing so park at LHR again!4 Nov 2017
Thanks for the heads up on the Edelweiss day flight Capetonian. Like you I also prefer day flights and in the good old days of IATA I’d break my flights to the East so each sector was, wherever possible, a day flight. BA also have a morning departure ex New York.
A couple of times now leaving JNB on a very hot summer evening, our flight has been delayed as they offloaded some freight due to weight making them too heavy for the hot and high take off. Luckily it was done quickly and despite a 30 minute delay we still landed on time.5 Nov 2017
bluemooner – Well spotted. The reason is that although Paris CDG has a curfew it isn’t as strict as at Europe’s other main hubs.
The situation at JNB also shows the advantages that the Gulf carriers enjoy. With no Gulf curfews they can spread their JNB services throughout the day and as the flight distance (JNB-Gulf) is shorter they aren’t affected by “hot and high” weight limitations.5 Nov 2017
The LX 288 from ZRH- JNB has twice been cancelled this week and instead flew down in the morning returning same evening. Must cost Swiss a small fortune with compensation plus accomodation for 200+ passengers.11 Nov 2017
Also not everybody will claim compensation.
Some don’t know they can, some don’t care, some feel that if the airline handled and explained the delay properly they won’t claim, which has been my approach a few times, and so on. Also we don’t know the reason for the delay, it might be ‘exceptional and unavoidable’ circumstances.11 Nov 2017
Usually when one of their aircraft scheduled to BKk or SIN goes tech they substitute it with the JNB plane. They know they can get the plane to come back on schedule if it leaves in the morning and it goes a few hours after the other 340’s get back. I think the other routes are more prestigious and probably more profitable.12 Nov 2017