08 March 2008

The Skyrocketing Cost of Slot Pairs at LHR $52 million each!

CO was revealed to be the purchaser of a recent set of slots at LHR.

A Continental Airlines filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission has revealed it paid $209m for four pairs of take-off and landing slots at Heathrow Airport.

The most recent price at LHR was pegged at $40 million last year. So clearly a nice fat increase even allowing for the fall of the dollar against the pound. And who did they pay that money to? We believe it was the parent company of GB Airways (then a BA Franchisee). After selling the airline to Easyjet – they retained 4 slot pairs at LHR. This is where they went. A nice tidy profit.

Pity poor BAA and its Spanish owners. I bet they were wishing they had been able to pocket that cash and use some of it to either pay down their debt or improve some services at LHR.

The electric chair… Literally on BA

One of my fellow bloggers is Tim Hughes who writes THE BOOT

Tim has been on a truly acerbic tear on what he thinks is a personal plot against him by Qantas. Well I am beginning to think the same from BA. As regular readers know – I am pretty vociferous about the way BA is being run and its various misfortunes. Well I am beginning to think its personal.

Disclosure – I am a Gold Card holder (sorry Delta this is where my extra flights went) So I really like the upstairs on a 744. This was a new version of the seats. (Much better by the way from the older ones). But as I sat there – as soon as I touched bear metal I kept getting shocked. So since BA knows I am a Gold holder (for the first time they are actually making an effort to ID me)I think it could be personal. Oh but wait it was ME who chose the seat. So it MUST be all seats…. Sure enough more than one seat has the problem. Not sure if this is due to this particular aircraft or others – but I seem to recall that I had felt it before and just ignored it.

Anyone else felt that electrifying feeling on BA?

Expedia's formula rolls into India

After nearly 2 years of dancing with different potential partners including the big 4 Indian Portals – (Makemytrip, Yatra, Cleartrip and TravelGuru) Expedia is now rolling out its own site developed in house.

Starting with Hotels, as it has done in all but the first few makets, and a bit of content might not seem to be a big deal in India where there are very few hotels to even book. However Expedia has one advantage over everyone else – it is already the largest booker of Hotels in India thanks to its worldwide clout.

Domestically Expedia will probably do OK as it connects to the local LCC airlines such as Kingfisher. And this is where it will start to get interesting. The LCCs fall in and out of love for the portals on a regular basis. So it is not uncommon for a carrier not to be present in the portal. This is both by design and by accident or problem.

No one is making much money out of the local LCCs. The yields are too low. Expedia has the advantage of better international reach so should have a better shot at the making money on the international flights as does Makemytrip. Much like the airlines themselves there will have to be a shakeout sooner or later. For now – welcome to the zoo that is India Expedia. Good luck. Good luck also figuring out the taxes on hotels….

Sorry was at ITB... back now will post more soon

Watch for blizzard of good stories