Monday, 29 August 2011

Hurricane Irene: US Airlines Ground Stop in Dublin ©


The Hurricane Irene's move up the US East Coast at the weekend after making landfall in North Carolina lead to the closure of hubs in Boston and New York region throwing the operation of airlines out of sync, this lead to US Carriers operating normal east bound flights on Saturday morning.

The arrivals N547US Boeing 757-251 c/n 26494 Delta Airlines DAL164 from New York JFK N48127 N48127 Boeing 757-224 c/n 28968 Continental Airlines COA22, N57111 Boeing 757-224 c/n 27301 Continental Airlines COA126 both from Newark Liberty after passenger disembarked at Terminal 2 the aircraft where subsequently towed over to the West Apron parking area.

On Sunday morning Terminal 2 was airily quiet due to the cancellation of Aer Lingus Transatlantic flights to Boston and New York JFK and all US airlines arrivals from the East Coast where cancelled, with US Airways AWE722 N249AU Boeing 767-201ER c/n 23901 arrived from Philadelphia with the B767 joining the B757s parked on the west apron as the west bound was cancelled.

Aer Lingus used the opportunity to utilize the spare A330s, using EI-DUO A330-202 to operate the EIN164/5 to and from London Heathrow.

United Airlines and Continental Airlines are preparing to resume flight departures at noon at its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport, while Aer Lingus resumed normal flight schedule to the US. It will take a number of days for the hubs to resume normal operations as aircraft and crews are out of sync, before the full schedule can resume.

The Hurricane Irene demonstrates the effects of nature can have on the global transport system, with commerce now globalized, with the New York airports being an intergal part of the global aviation system, with Continental United Airlines (Newark Liberty) in the Star Alliance and Delta Airlines (New York JFK) in the Skyteam Alliance.

There was a total of 10,000 flights cancelled, with an economic cost to the airlines and their customers alike, and to the global supply chain, with New York airports being key hubs.

Irish Aviation Research Institute © 29th August 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Ryanair: Why the Cork and Kerry routes closed? ©

Ryanair announced on the 23rd of August that it is closing it’s two domestic routes from Cork and Kerry to Dublin, citing improvements on the Dublin to Cork Motorway M8 reducing journey times and the negative impact of the €3 Air Travel Tax and the Cork Airport charges, also the decision of the government to designate the Kerry route as an PSO route.  

The Cork Airport Authority was fast off the mark issuing a statement ‘Cork Airport has invested in co-operative advertising and marketing support with Ryanair in an effort to stimulate additional demand for this route and also separately funded targeted market research into consumer behavior relating to the route.’

The reality is there is factual evidence to back up this statement, as Ryanair announced on the 17th of November 2010 it was cutting a total of 48 flights from it’s Dublin Base from January 2010, citing the impact of air travel tax and high airport charges, with the loss of 380,000 passengers with the Cork route to be cut from two to one daily flight.

The effect of the cut announced in November on the Cork route became apparent when booking flights after the 17th of January 2011, as the flexibility with the schedule on the route was now effectively destroyed, with the Cork Based now departing Cork to Dublin before continuing to Liverpool and then back to the Cork Base, on a ‘W-Routing’.

The carrier later in the evening would operate the return sector in reverse via Liverpool, effecting allowing one of the Dublin and Liverpool based aircraft to be re-deployed to other sectors, while the carrier could earn higher ancillary revenue and yields with the Cork Based aircraft.

The carrier spilt the single return flight to Dublin into two single legs, with the early morning departure from Cork and evening departure from Dublin. 

The single carry-on bag rule adopted by the airline would been an disincentive to passengers, using the route to commute, as alternatives are non-baggage restricted.

The net effect of this revised schedule was the Cork-Dublin route increasingly became dependent on the Cork market segment from a market population of 518,000 people; effectively the carrier could not tap the market potential of 1.8 million in the Greater Dublin Region, effectively passengers could no longer do day return trips to Cork or Dublin, which where viable prior to the schedule change.

This would have no doubt have significantly impacted demand on the route, as the market which used the route to commute between the two cities, was now forced to switch to road or rail based transport, with the flexibility lost to connect to other flights at Dublin Airport including Ryanair itself.

The carrier had a total of five daily flights on the route at the peak of the Celtic Tiger in 2008, with four flights operated by a Cork based aircraft and one operated by a Dublin based aircraft, while the economic conditions changed and transport improved the carrier progressively reduced frequency to two daily flights, which was optimum for day trips from either city on the route.

The Cork Chamber of Commerce CEO Conor Healy stated “We believe that a Cork-Dublin air connection is necessary and an alternative carrier needs to be secured without delay. This carrier must be capable of providing more flexible capacity and a long-term solution on the route, appropriate to the changing needs of the market”.

The carrier has interesting background to the decision to close the Kerry to Dublin route from the 7th of November, with the carrier having initially established a base in Kerry in 2008 on being awarded the Kerry to Dublin PSO route, which was to be operated three times daily from the 22nd of July. This enabled the carrier to task the aircraft to operate Frankfurt Hahn and London Stansted sectors from the base, which the carrier quietly built through the hiring of cabin crew through Crewlink, which identified Kerry as a new base.

However in 2010 the carrier’s tensions with the Department of Transport increased over a combination of rising costs on the route due to the Air Travel Tax, DAA charges and IAA charges, with the carrier announcing in response it would cut frequency on the route from three to one daily flight, with effect from the 31st of October 2010.

This announcement effectively sealed the closure of  the Kerry base, which the carrier never officially announced as an base, but identified on its route network map on its website as an base. The Kerry based aircraft was now re-deployed to an unidentified EU base, with the operation of the Kerry flights transferred to a Frankfurt Hahn and London Stansted based aircraft.

These Frankfurt Hahn and London Stansted based aircraft again operated ‘W-Routings’ on alternative days of the week, leaving the Dublin with an 1215 arrival and 1545 departure to Kerry, effectively rendering the route unattractive to business and leisure traffic, where their would be demand for day return trips, flight connections from Dublin Airport.

The revised schedule from Kerry would have no value for the business traffic on the route with the timings, being totally unattractive to enable a full working day, thus no doubt would have impacted the market demand on the route.

The value of these domestic routes for the business and leisure market segments is vital for connectivity, the Department of Transport yesterday announced that Aer Arann has been awarded the Kerry PSO route to operate twice daily, with effect from the 3rd of November, while the Cork Authority is engaging with airlines with a view to re-launching the Dublin route in time for the winter schedule.

The Ryanair annoucement comes as no surprise as the carrier tatically deploys capacity to drive competitiors out of the market, as has been the case on these two routes, where Aer Arann had a significant presence.

In the peak Aer Arann operated 12 daily Dublin to Cork flights, which then progessively reduced as Ryanair launched services on the route, until the carrier pulled off the route in August 2010.

Ryanair's market power as demsonstrated with these two routes closures is a reminder that the government should countinue to apply the two airline policy with Aer Lingus and Ryanair, that the airline policy of the country should not be left in the hands of a single carrier.

After widespread media focus on the route closures the carrier did a U-Turn stating it would reinstate the routes subject to getting low airport costs. Ryanair had originally filed the void on the Cork route after Aer Lingus axed the route in 2001, funny how it has now come full circle, the question now to be asked, is who will fill the void of Ryanair???

One of the most famous attractions in Cork City The English Market

Irish Aviation Research Institute © 25th August 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Dublin Airport: A Winter Challenge ©

This winter the Dublin Airport Authority will face an extremely challenging winter as it's customer base  become increasingly focused on demand-lead capacity management as they battle violate demand and fuel costs. At the height of the Celtic Tiger in 2008, Dublin Airport handled 23.5 million, now in 2011 the airport will handle 18 million passengers.

The DAA will have the challenge of operating two terminals for the first time this winter, since Terminal 2 became operational in January this year, with both terminals operating well below their optimum levels of capacity and efficiency, thus the unit cost per passenger will be reflect this, with T1 passengers continuing to cross subsidize T2 passengers.

The December Budget will no doubt have an impact on air travel demand, through the air travel tax or increased taxes, reducing disposable income for leisure travel, accordingly capacity will have to be managed to match the expected levels of demand.

The customer base of the DAA will decline this winter with Air Baltic to cease the Riga route on the 1st of September (Schedule to resume in March 2012), and Air Southwest on the 26th of September, with the airline ceasing operations to due to financial difficulties.

American Airlines will cease the Chicago route on the 30th of October, having reversed an earlier decision to operate all year round, Cimber Sterling is to terminate the Billund route on the 30th of October (Schedule to resume in March 2012), while Luxair is to cease the Luxembourg route on the 6th of November due to heavy losses sustained on the route. Air Canada will cease its service for the winter at the end of September.

The loss of capacity will benefit Aer Lingus and Ryanair on the Riga route, and Aer Lingus on the Chicago route, while Ryanair will benefit on the Frankfurt Hahn route, as Luxembourg in the catchment area of Hahn. These capacity reductions by non-based carriers will give the home based carriers better yield control on the routes.

The US Carriers will seasonally adjust capacity for the winter schedule with United Continental Airlines reducing from double daily to an daily Boeing 757-200.

It will be interesting to see how capacity is managed on the Dublin route in March 2012, when the merger integration is completed, this has seen the carrier re-deploy capacity between Continental Airlines (B757s) and United Airlines (B767-300s) out of it's Washington Dulles base for summer 2011.

Delta Airlines is reducing the Atlanta route, from daily with the A330-300, to five times weekly with Boeing 767-300ER's effective from the 30th of October, while it keep the Boeing 757-200 on the New York JFK route reversing an earlier plan to operate an Boeing 767-300ER on the route.

The Delta Airlines Atlanta capacity reduction reflects the shift in demand out of Ireland, with the carrier having operated an daily service for many years, with the carrier now protecting the yield on the route, by taking out excess capacity out of the system.

US Airways will terminate the Charlotte route for the winter, on the positive it will operate an Boeing 767-200 to Philadelphia in the winter schedule.

A significant structural shift in domestic traffic will take full effect with the winter schedule, with the termination of the four PSO routes from Dublin to Derry, Ireland West Knock, Galway and Sligo , as a result of improved road and rail infrastructure reducing journey times to Dublin, and Ryanair having terminated its daily services to Cork and Kerry airports citing an combination of factors.

This market segment delivered record growth during the Celtic Tiger, with over 100,000 passengers using the Aer Arann service to Galway at it‘s peak, and Ryanair operated five daily services to Cork, and three times to Kerry, prior to a dispute over the PSO contract costs, and Shannon twice daily, now this market segment will now effectively disappear because of the collapse.

The IT Market has collapsed from its peak in 2007/8 at 450,000 seats to 150,000 seats in 2011 due to a shift in consumer behaviour to using schedule services of Aer Lingus and Ryanair, which are now operating schedule services on traditional IT routes, and the collapse of an number IT operators due to industry consolidation and the effects of the financial crisis of 2008.

The pace of European consolidation is far from the end game with an number of carriers serving Dublin, still in play for strategic partners, and in the interim are re-structuring their business, to become demand-lead to restore profitability, as austerity spreads to key EU markets in France, Italy and Spain.

The Aer Lingus strategic decision in due course to join an global alliance or retain existing airline partnerships, will impact significantly on the future development of Dublin Airport.

Aer Lingus is progressively reducing average seat size, to focus on yield, rather than volume, with the expansion of Aer Lingus Regional ATR72 fleet, the introduction of the Airbus A319 for Summer 2012 schedule, and the carrier plans to use a new fleet of regional jets as a feeder network in the next three years.

The carrier is returning to the charter market leveraging the cost base savings from Project Greenfield, by the end of the year, it’s cost base will be equal to that of Easyjet, making it highly competitive relative to other European carriers.

A Stronger Aer Lingus in the charter market will put increasing pressure on the Dublin Airport Authority, as it will erode the third party business revenue from the charter carriers, therefore Aer Lingus market share will continue to grow at Dublin, at the expense of other carriers.

A key turning point in the history of Ryanair at it’s Dublin Base will occur this winter when the carrier reduces the base fleet from 16 to 11 Boeing 737-800s, therefore Dublin will become a smaller base than Brussels South Charleroi (Launched 2001) and Barcelona Base (Launched 2010), for the first time. The reduction reinforces the Ryanair policy of operating routes where it can earn the highest rate of return at the lowest cost.

The carrier has yet to offical announce the Dublin Base reduction but signalled the reduction at a press conference a number of weeks ago.

The carrier has been progessively reducing the Dublin base since at its peak in 2008, when it had 24 Boeing 737-800s based in Dublin. The loss of the five aircraft from Dublin this winter will see 155 direct job loss (Cabin Crew, Engineers, Pilots) Source (Nasdaq 2O-F Filing 31 crew per a/c). ACI data states for every 1 million passengers through an airport creates 1,000 jobs in the wider economy.  

The business case for Runway 28R no longer exists as Aer Lingus as the anchor tenant for T2, clearly stated it see no demand for the runway for at least 10 to 15 years, and is shifting focus to smaller average size aircraft, together with the airline industry shifting to global alliances and consolidation will see the market pie get smaller, being dominated by a smaller number of global players.

The Dublin Authority should now prudently withdraw the business plan for the second runway, instead focus on delivering efficiencies from the existing runway operation, by extending the runway in due course, as the Irish Aviation Authority is to re-structure Dublin airspace in 2012, which will further enhance the efficiency of operations.

The DAA needs to review the value of the designation as a coordinated airport under the EU slot regulation, as the need for the coordination in the present environment will only apply to early morning departures and late evening arrivals for the Dublin based aircraft.

This should now be frozen in off-peak hours together with reduced off-peak pricing to stimulate demand, as ample terminal capacity is available to utilize the assets in the wider interest of the economy.

The new DAA route incentive scheme should now be immediately scrapped, with the available cost savings from the scheme should be used to reduce existing landing charges to existing customers, as to protect existing routes in terms of capacity and frequency.  

The Dublin Airport Authority must grasp the industry is heading towards a tipping point with radical structural change, being driven by external factors, it must become responsive to customers, driven by global alliances and strategic partners, in terms of operations and pricing policy.

The DAA should be actively developing it's ancillary revenue streams by developing its cargo facilities as exports from Ireland continue to grow strongly, it should develop viewing facilities within the airport complex and the perimeter road in association with Fingal County Council following the trend of other European and UK airports, and the establishment of an FBO to cater for executive jet traffic.

The DAA must begin to collaborate with customers and stakeholders alike to keep Dublin Airport on the radar of airlines, it will require the Department of Transport and the DAA to become more creative and innovative to arrest the continuing decline in Dublin Airport's traffic.

Irish Aviation Research Institute © 24th August 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Aer Lingus; No Business Case for US West Coast Route ©

Aer Lingus yesterday quashed speculation of the carrier resuming a route from Dublin to the US West Coast after completing an analysis, stating it would result in significant losses, in the present environment the business case for opening the route does not simply exist, therefore it was a prudent management decision.

The market dynamics for resuming a route from Dublin to the US West Coast have changed significantly since the carrier axed the San Francisco route in 2009, firstly the average cost of oil continues to increase, now will be a higher percentage of total costs on long-haul sectors.

The Irish and US economies have gone into recession as a result of the global financial crisis, which began in 2008, both countries plan to reduce spending and Ireland will have further tax increases as part of the EU/IMF Bail out programme, which will have an impact on the population, reducing disposable income for leisure travel, with high unemployment in the economies, this will further erode demand for air travel.

Aer Lingus too has evolved having entered into code-share and interline agreements with JetBlue Airways and United Airlines, enabling the carrier to offer connections across the USA through their US East Coast hubs in Boston, Chicago, New York JFK. Aer Lingus have stated on average 90 passengers per day connect to the US West Coast, through their US partners.

The carrier is currently engaged in a strategic review of key issues, firstly the evaluation of Project Greenfield, to see if it will be necessary to further reduce unit costs beyond those in the current Greenfield, secondly the carrier is weighing the business case to join one of the three Global Alliances versus developing its current partnerships.

The impacts of these two business cases , could have an impact on the future shape and size of its route network and future growth, therefore until these strategic reviews are completed, the analysis not to proceed with re-launching a US West Coast route is justified.

The Transatlantic market is evolving at a rapid pace being driven increasingly by Global Alliance Joint-Ventures, namely the Skyteam JV Alitalia/Air France/Delta Airlines and American Airlines/British Airways, Lufthansa Atlantic Plus (Austrian Airlines/BMI/Lufthansa/Swiss International), allowing the JV's have increasing economies of scale, leverage with suppliers and pricing power.

These Transatlantic JV's have major operational flexibility in terms of operating as an single entity, being able to match capacity to demand on their network, by pooling the resources of their fleets. The Air France/Delta Airlines JV has access to pool of  aircraft from both fleets including: Airbus A330-200/330/340/380's and Boeing 757-200/767-300/400ER's, Boeing 777-200/300ER's and Boeing 747-400's, thus enabling significant flexibility with their schedule planning and capacity/yield management.

The Transatlantic market is suffering overcapacity, with a number of carriers having flagged plans to reduce capacity Air France/Delta Airlines 10% reduction and the Air France Group has scaled back plans to grow long-haul capacity from 5.1% to 2.7%, the IAG Group will cut growth in Q4 from 7.6% to 6% and Lufthansa will cut capacity growth from 12% to 6% by examining its winter capacity in what it calls a 'new demand climate'.
The announcement will be disappointing for the lobby group established by John Hartnett, President and Founder of the Irish Technology Leaders Group (ITLG), which began a campaign last October, having established The Facebook group – “Direct flight - Ireland to Silicon Valley NON Stop!!” ).

This group sees a route vital for the growth of the Irish IT Driven Smart Economy sector, with a high concentration of US MNC's, the route would be valuable time saving resource, rather than travelling via other European and US Hubs.
In conclusion the business case for resuming a route to the US West Coast does not exist, a combination of factors make the selection of an potential route unviable, when the economic recovery begins to take hold on both sides of the Atlantic, maybe the business case could be revisited.

I enclose a link to an interesting article correlating the relationship between US Wealth destruction and airline capacity

 Airlines Risk Deeper Seat Cuts on Economy

Irish Aviation Research Institute © 16th August 2011 
All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Aer Lingus: Back to the Future ©

The airline industry which continues to evolve a rapid pace, being driven by a combination of factors including airline consolidation ,poor economic conditions and high fuel costs.

This environment has lead to airlines re-evaluating their business models, to ensure success in highly competitive market conditions, to deliver value for the customer and shareholders.

Aer Lingus too has evolved in the constantly changing market place, interestingly the changes taking place has seen the carrier literally going back to the future, by adopting elements of it’s past business models ,and combining them with the latest trends in the industry, particularly with demand management and information technology.

The airline under the leadership of Christoph Mueller ,the carrier has re-positioned itself as a ’Value Carrier’ adopt facets of the low-cost business and full-service business models, to differentiate itself in the market-place, dominated by low cost carriers.

The carrier began it’s journey back to the future by moving away from the Low-Cost Business model by re-focusing on the strength of it’s brand in customer service, re-connecting with its customers, rather than competing directly against Ryanair on price.

The carrier hast returned to the turboprop through its franchise agreement with Aer Arann to operate the Aer Lingus Regional using a fleet of five ATR72s from bases in Cork, Dublin and Shannon commencing operations on the 28th of March 2010.

The launch of Aer Lingus Regional was nine years after the last Aer Lingus Fokker F50 EI-FKE was retired service from service on the 22nd of April 2001, with the introduction of Aer Lingus Regional the carrier has come full circle. Aer Lingus Regional continues to go from strength to strength , with the carrier winning back market share from Ryanair, on the Dublin to Glasgow route.

The closure of SR Technics Ireland Ltd in 2009 saw Aer Lingus re-assume Hangar 6 which lead to the formation of a new company Aer Lingus Ireland Ltd being created to manage the line maintenance requirements of the parent company, in-sourcing work which was previously outsourced to SR Technics.

In addition to providing line maintenance functions , the hangar will later this year become the HQ for the carrier, when the Head Office Block (HOB) is vacated and handed-back to the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) by the end of the year This will yield further cost savings and efficiencies of the carrier.

A key element of Project Greenfield is to drive efficiency in the operation, which the move to Hangar 6 enables the company to centralize functions which where previously carried out in the Technical Building and Pier A offices.

Aer Lingus Ireland Ltd like its predecessor Team Aer Lingus, it has generated third party business notably providing hangarage for a British Airways Boeing 747-400 to de-ice the aircraft in the December snows, customers that have availed of the facility recently include: Air Transat (A330), Alitalia (B777), Cimber Sterling (CRJ200).

It will be interesting to see if Aer Lingus Ireland will develop a third party offering, in the context of high fuel costs, it could become a new ancillary revenue stream for the carrier, to cushion against ever rising violate oil prices.

In December 1998 Team Aer Lingus was sold to FLS Aerospace and later to SR Technics who subsequently closed the operation in 2009, thirteen years later the Aer Lingus logo has returned to Hangar 6 driven by multiple factors sparked by the global financial crisis of 2008, which subsequently caused a further round of re-structuring in the airline industry which continues today, causing the cycle to go full circle.

Aer Lingus had a strong heritage and global recognition of developing an industry skills base through its Maintenance and Engineering division and its pilot and technical training programmes up to the 1990s. This faded away in the 1990s driven by an industry which became increasingly focused on outsourcing and sale off of non-core functions, therefore losing what where previously core competencies.

However under the Leadership of Christoph Mueller he identified these core competencies as an necessary skills for the future of the airline, being an important capacity to be developed in tandem with the government policy of developing an knowledge based economy, by widening the skills base of the economy.

Aer Lingus announced the launch of a new Apprentice Aircraft Maintenance Engineers scheme in March to commence in the Autumn, for the first time in over 20 years, a clear indication that it is building an skills base for the future, and for the first time in many years it announced a new Cadet Pilot Training Programme, under which the airline would part-fund with the successful applicants.

Aer Lingus is clearly setting itself in the airline industry engaging with new employees to create loyalty into the future, by investing in their future, re-building the skills base, at a time of increasingly market pressure from Global Alliances, Low-Cost Carriers ,the Middle East ‘3’, the carrier is taking a long-term, rather than a shot-term view.

Interestingly in the 1980s/1990s Aer Lingus had a strong presence in the charter market when the fleet used to be extensively used at the weekends to fly to destinations in the Canary Islands and Med. The Aer Lingus business model changed to a Low-Cost Business model post 9/11, which saw the carrier launch schedule routes on pervious traditional charter routes.

The market has come full circle , using excess capacity and the opportunity to earn additional revenue, increase aircraft utilization, the carrier has re-entered the IT market segment, which it exited 10 years ago, with the carrier to operate three flights this winter, from Cork to Salzburg and Dublin to Salzburg and Toulouse for the Winter 2011 Ski Season on behalf of Direct Ski and Topflight.

In conclusion the industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace, with Aer Lingus going back to the future, to secure an competitive advantage, by developing its core competencies. The Aer Lingus investment is a positive development for the future to be welcomed.

I added an link to the Aer Lingus TV Ad run in the late 1980s ‘You're Home' in the era of the Boeing 737-200s and Boeing 747-100s to bring back some notasliga. This Advert was shown at the Aer Lingus 75th Birthday Celebrations held in Hangar 6 in May 2011.

Irish Aviation Research Institute © 14th August 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Irish Airlines Report July Traffic ©

Aer Lingus announced that it carried 1.027 million passengers up 0.7% with a load factor of 84.7% down 1.1%. The airline carried 96,000 long-haul passengers down 3%, with a loaf factor of 86.8% down 3% on a 0.5% reduction in capacity. On the short-haul it carried 931,000 passengers up 1.1%, with a load factor of 83.7% down 0.3%, on a 2.6% increase in capacity. These figures exclude passengers carried on the United Airlines Joint-Venture Washington Dulles to Madrid route.

The airline announced that Aer Lingus Regional carried 78,000 passengers in July up 47.2%, reflecting the expansion of services from the 27th of March including Cork to Jersey Dublin to Aberdeen six times weekly, Bristol three times daily and Rennes weekly also Shannon to Edinburgh.  

It will be interesting to see Aer Lingus Half Year Results which are to be released on the 24th of August, in the context of extremely difficult market conditions with particular reference to Air Travel Tax, Dublin Airport Charges, Update on Project Greenfield, as competitors reduce capacity or eliminate routes from Dublin this winter.  

Ryanair announced it carried 8.08 million passengers up 6% with a load factor of 88% up 1% and in the rolling 12 months to the end of July it carried 75.9 million passengers. The airline stated it became the first European carrier to carry in excess of 8 million passengers in a single, using the statement to take a swipe at Aer Lingus stating 8 million was the equivalent of the entire 2011 short-haul traffic, and the DAA and Government over passenger traffic collapse and the air travel tax remaining in place.

The metrics of efficiency of the Ryanair operation can be seen in the context with that of Southwest Airlines, with Ryanair carrying 8.01 million passengers with a fleet of 272 Boeing 737-800s, Southwest Airlines carried 12.6 million passengers with a fleet of 692 aircraft including Air Tran. Thus indicating the high level of efficiency and productivity of the Ryanair model.

Irish Aviation Research Institute © 8th August 2011 All Rights Reserved. 

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Air Canada Boeing 777-200LR's on Dublin route ©

Air Canada has been using the ultra-long range Boeing 777-200LR's into Dublin since last Tuesday 2nd of August covering maintenance on Boeing 767-300ER’s tasked to the route. The Air Canada B777-200LR normally operate routes to Asia/Australia including Beijing, Hong Kong , Shanghai and Sydney. It is a welcome change to see the Boeing 777 operating the route.

The last Boeing 777-233LR to visit Dublin was C-FIVK c/n 35245 operating ACA894/5 arriving at 0953 departing at 1218 on Sunday 7th August.

The Boeing 777 is an irregular visitor to Dublin Airport on scheduled passenger services. The type is a rare visitor to Dublin, being occasionally used by Air France on Rugby charter flights and Etihad Airways on very specific mission flights, with the carrier using a Boeing 777-300ER to clear the backlog post the Ash Cloud in May 2010 and on the 7th of July 2011 on a substitution for an A330-200 being tasked to Manchester, with A6-EYE in Manchester City Colours for an promotional visit.

The last regular Boeing 777 service to Dublin was in 1999/2000 when Delta Airlines was operating an Boeing 777-232LR on the Atlanta route, where it proved be very popular with passengers, many of whom, where using the Atlanta route to connect the Florida market. Since 2000 Delta Airlines embarked on Asian Growth strategy, with the aircraft being re-deployed from the Atlantic market.

Irish Aviation Research Institute © 7th August 2011 All Rights Reserved. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Cityjet Embraces Social Media to enhance customer service ©

In the era of customers increasingly seeking value for money and airline's looking for product differential Cityjet has embraced social media firstly by using its Facebook page to engage and interact with customer, through competitions and customer feedback.

It has now taken its social media strategy to the next level using Twitter to launch a new personalized Concierge service which will initially be run on a two hour trial basis from 1400 to 1600 hours Monday to Friday @cityjet to assist passengers with their travel related queries on their route network, it will enhance the customer experience with the Concierge facility to book hotel rooms, restaurant tables and taxi pick up, this will make the Cityjet travel experience a highly unique personalized service.

The launch of the Cityet #Concierge service is a further indication of the increasingly customer demand for product differential in the market, with the carrier having already introduced all-in pricing on the Dublin to London City route. At the height of the Celtic Tiger boom almost the carriers on the Dublin-London route where marketing as low fare carriers, since the advent of the recession of 2008 began to take hold, a number of carriers have returned to their roots with a focus on customer service.

Aer Lingus is embracing IT Technology to drive customer service enhancements mostly recently launching an APP allowing multiple functions including check-in and Flex fares to business passengers. BMI Airlines is re-introducing a hot food service on its short-haul routes in response to customer feedback, with the carrier having had a product differential in the 1990s with its famous Diamond Service.

The recession will no doubt continue to influence the development of customer service as airlines increasingly engage with customers through social media. in a bid to retain market share in an increasingly competitive market place.

Irish Aviation Research Institute © 3rd August 2011 All Rights Reserved.