Home' Asian Aviation : AVV November 2017 Contents AsianAviation | November 2017 19
siderations aside. Asia’s biggest growth is coming from China with
1.3 billion people projected to have both the desire and means to
travel internationally by 2035 and they will start their journey from an
airport in China. Airbus Commercial Aircraft China CEO, Eric Chen,
says that Chinese airlines only capture around one-third of interna-
tional traffic to and from China so there is plenty of room for growth.
The central location of Asia combined with the advancements in
ultra-long haul aircraft by both Boeing and Airbus will allow direct
flights from Asia to almost any part of the globe. This growth in long-
haul non-stop flights by both legacy airlines and low-cost carriers
(LCCs) is disrupting hubs as a 2016 OAG report shows that between
2013 and 2015 there were 728 new routes launched using the B787
and of the top 10, eight were to or from Asian cities.
Airbus is developing a new narrowbody, the A321neoLR, with a
range of 4000nm and able to carry around 200 passengers with a
25 percent fuel savings over a B757. This will open new medium
and long-haul markets for LCCs that previously were the domain
of widebody aircraft.
Cathay Pacific Airways has expressed its confidence in the
A321neo by signing an agreement to order 32 for its regional af-
filiate Cathay Dragon. The CAPA Centre in Australia says this
order will allow Cathay Dragon to expand its network reaching
possible growth areas of Northeast China, Japan, Southeast
Asia and parts of India.
An example of where new aircraft technology is disrupting
markets is the decision by Qantas to quit its services to Dubai.
Adding the 787-9 into its fleet allows Qantas to bypass its Dubai
hub and fly non-stop Perth to London, starting March 2018.
CEO Alan Joyce said “ This is a game-changing route flown by
a game-changing aircraft. Australians have never had a direct
link to Europe before so the opportunities this opens are huge.”
In 2016 Qantas accounted for around 600,000 passengers on
the Australia to London route and the majority of these trans-
ited though Dubai. The dropping of Dubai as a hub by Qantas
means this transit traffic has gone and anyone who wants to
fly on a Qantas aircraft to Europe from Australia will either do it
non-stop or via Asia. It is also estimated more than 1.2 million
Qantas customers a year now transit Dubai on their way to
Europe with Emirates.
While the focus has been on the switch to non-stop London
flights, the move also highlights the airline’s strategy of expand-
ing its Asian footprint by reintroducing Singapore as a hub on its
Sydney-London A380. Joyce added the introduction of the 787
will free up capacity “for further expansion into an Asian port
that we will announce later.” He noted that 10 years ago Qantas
and Jetstar had around 30 percent of its capacity focused on
Asia whereas now it is more than 50 percent.
Qantas is certainly not the only airline looking to new technol-
ogy to break the shackles of hub models. Singapore Airlines is
reported to be looking at using the Airbus A350ULR to fly Singapore
to New York, Hong Kong Airlines is launching Hong Kong to Los
Angeles and other Asian carriers such as EVA, Korean, Juneyao and
Donghai are in the queue for long-haul Dreamliners.
The chairman of Donghai, Wong Cho-Bau said “under China’s One
Belt One Road initiative, we will accelerate our fleet expansion plan
to satisfy the rapidly growing air travel market and help build our
home base of Shenzhen as the transportation hub in southern China.”
In Taiwan, China Air is launching a Taipei to London service in
December to link with its existing flights from Australia, providing
another option on the Australia-Europe route. It will provide connec-
tions to five European cities from Australia with a one-stop service
through Taipei. This is the same type of connectivity supplied by the
Middle Eastern airlines and another competitive threat they will face
as the Asian carriers become more engaged in developing hubs.
Bloomberg reported that Indian LCC SpiceJet is evaluating both
the A350-1000 and 787-10 with a view to introducing long-haul
flights to Europe. SpiceJet’s chairman, Ajay Singh, said “India has
the potential to be a tremendous long-haul market if you can work
out the math and bring down the cost.” With India being the world’s
fastest-growing aviation market, growing at 20 percent annually, it
remains “incredibly price sensitive” he said.
◀ Qatar spent billions to build a new airport in the capital of Doha.
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