02 October 2008

Bad Airport, Naughty Airport - go to your kennel!

Martin Broughton is BA's Chairman - also head of the CBI and various other entities, was waxing lyrically yesterday to e-tid on the launch of T5. Broughton says T5 fiasco lost BA passengers
and he "was ‘mortified’ at the debacle following the opening of Heathrow Terminal 5."

‘There is no question we lost passengers as a result. However, we have now had 9m passengers travelling through T5, and the vast majority have seen that it is a dramatically better terminal.’

I am not sure he ever really experienced the joys of the former deadbeat terminals 1,2, and 4 that BA occupied. T4 was a complete joke. T1 has wonderful moments on YouTube showing the awful state of the processing of people through the security and immigration lines.

But for now BA's chairman can chide the BAA since they have now become everyone's favorite whipping boy.

The interesting battle to follow pits David Cameron's "New" Conservatives against the Tories' long time backer BA. I can well remember the moment when Maggie Thatcher draped her scarf over Robert Ayeling's "theme" tails at the Tory Conference in Blackpool. The new battle is less prosaic than about the airline livery but about what to do with LHR. And I am firmly in the camp of developing a new airport rather than continuing to shoe horn traffic into LHR. While The Thames Estuary is a nice place and would make the best choice - we should make sure that they reconsider Gatwick.


01 October 2008

Fliers Rights Still Getting Trampled – Bad Airline Habits.

I like to think I am a passionate believer and hopefully advocate for the triple headed monster of Aviation, Travel and Tourism markets.

I also eat my own dog food by being on the road about half the year. So I can attest to what its like really to use and be abused by the "system". Last year’s terrible service record particularly on airlines was directly related to the amount of traffic. The system found it hard to cope with 90%+ load factors and 80%+ occupancy levels. So this week was my first road trip after the big cut. Is the situation better or worse than it was? I travelled to 2 separate locations returning to my home on the West coast over a 4 day period this week to experience first hand what its like out there.

Firstly its quiet – very quiet. So my friends there will be more cuts coming. I have already written that some airlines have not cut back deeply enough for the reduction in flights and aircraft – particularly United. I predict that there will a further round of cuts beginning in November and taking effect after the turn of the year – if not sooner. Check out this picture of the screens at CVG. In normal times all 12 screens would be populated.

Next the airlines have resorted to some interesting behavior – it’s just a bad habit – let’s hope it doesn’t stay that way. I will highlight two of them.

Trend #1 – Telling Porky Pies. The growth of systems that now feed off automatic tracking and published data in real or near real time means that there is a greater pressure to “appear” to be doing the right thing. While I don’t think (at least I hope not) we will see repeats of such behavior as the 15 foot push back. We have seen that airlines are not updating their FIDS (Flight Information Display Systems) data as often as they need to. I have observed several airlines by tracking their website and airport display information vs the data displayed by independent sources such as the FAA. On several flights I have been on – I have observed the inbound flight coming in long after the departure time of the outgoing flight. Yet the airline still was pronouncing to the world that their flight was “On Time”. Thus the published information out there was still showing incorrectly for the world to believe that the airline was doing a great job.


Trend #2 – Leaving Early. This is a really nasty habit. Airlines have started to leave early. I have actually been on a flight that left 15 minutes early. Of course the airlines are not revising their plans accordingly. But an ON TIME arrival allows for a flight to arrive less than 15 minutes past the schedule. With most airports around the USA at 30 minutes MCT (minimum connecting time) for online connections – this makes a connection impossible. Yet the airline will not show any problem in the reporting of its data. Case in point. I arrived within a scheduled arrival time (13 minutes late) and the departing aircraft was 2 terminals away at CVG. I arrived at the gate having sprinted with my bags in less than 10 minutes. Only to see that they had closed the door and refused to board me. I was actually there before departure. I was told that it was my fault that I had not arrived at the gate at the right time. So if this happens to you – now you know why.

Moral of this story is that the airlines have found yet another stupid pet trick up their sleeves. I was told that it was my fault that I had not arrived at the gate at the right time.

I find it somewhat disingenuous of the head of the ATA James C Mays in telling everyone in an Op-Ed piece in today’s (Oct 1) USA Today that things are doing so much better. http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2008/10/flying-experien.html



Corrections comments etc REGULARS PLEASE NOTE

Greetings good readers.

I was a little hasty this week and miswrote ITALY condemning that market when the bloodbath is likely to happen in India.


Sorry and thanks to Professor Bruce for that one.

Just a comment on what to do with comments and discussions. Our policy at T2 is that we will not edit the comments and will publish them as is provided they are not defamatory, just plain nasty, inappropriate or sales related. If you have a question please contact us directly. Comments should be germane otherwise it confuses me and presumably other readers as well. Thanks but keep writing!!!! Please email us. For editorial comments you can also speak to The Professor directly: TheProfessor@T2News.com

A public message then to the folks at Fortune Hotels - please no sales items - I will reject those types of messages. If you wish to promote something then fine but try not to use anonymous postings as a way to do it. If you have some point to make then send me the information and I will be happy to consider writing a story on the subject.

Thanks to you all


30 September 2008

Amadeus loses a big one - To one of its parents

Amadeus lost a major battle in court last week.

The story so far is that LH imposed a "fee" on all bookings made via a GDS. However in a strange quirk of the story - they have negotiated a deal whereby Travelport and Sabre will not have to pay the fee. That leaves Amadeus with 80%+ market share in Germany picking up the tab for the fee as it has chosen not to implement the fee yet.

Basically a court ruled that it is legal for Lufthansa to ask for the higher fares with separate fees via different channels. While this this verdict may be subject to an appeal, it will take quite some time. For now, Amadeus has to live with the ruling for now. They will have to go on subsidizing the segment fee. That is going to be expensive, so I think we will see a new round of negotiations between Lufthansa and its naughty child.

Local media is also saying that a similar line of argument filed by a complaint at the Cartel office has no chance for success.

Another nail in the GDS model coffin?

You be the judge


XL Recovery - final stats

The CAA (UK's regulator) gave up the statistics from the repatriations it conducted as a result of the XL collapse. The numbers are staggering:

222 repatriation flights from 40 destinations,
repatriating some 83,000 holidaymakers to the UK,
in the 17 days following XL’s 12 September collapse


Whose next?

According to Paddy's bets... it was Fly Globespan but they have taken the death list off the site.


29 September 2008

Maybe Monday's are better - News Roundup

I thought I liked Fridays. Well this Monday is full of stories. So I will condense for the assembled masses with some commentary along the way.

1. Thomas Cook pulls out of German consolidation talks. So along with the patent's decision (or rather indecision) on its future the formation of a 3rd force in Germany looks set for the round file for a while. This in turn gives Air Berlin some breathing space to get its house in order. I shall be flying long haul on AB in 2 weeks - I will let you know what its like.

2. India - $1.5 billion market loss predicted by IATA out of $5.2 billion loss globally predicted for 2008. Bisignani is predicting a bloodbath for India unless a new regulator steps in. He could well be right. Already the premium paid for fuel in India is approximately 50%. The market is now experiencing negative growth (down 7.5% for the second half). This will impact not just the airlines but also the 4 major Online players in the market.

3. Kelleher calls for development of cheap 110-125 seater. Exhorting his "children" - Herb was waxing lyrically on two major topics. One was the regulation of ATC and the development of better processes and control in Europe. The other was the development of a low cost single aisle aircraft. Neither Boeing nor Airbus are keen to do this at the moment. More on this later when I have thought about it.

4. Low Cost Congress in London. Lots of news going on there - I hope to do a recap by the end of this week.

5. On Airline Bankruptcies... ABTN was calling for the CAA to learn how to be an Undertaker after the ludicrous handling of the XL failure. BTW Paddy says FlyGlobespan is next to go. Easing odds on Alitalia who has a respite until October 15th. I believe the CAA should be reformed and some of its functions divested. However I do agree with Malcolm that there needs to be a better handling of processes with regards to addressing big failures. The UK has not seen such a failure since the Court Line crash in the 1970s.

6. Pilot Charged with Mooning. A TransStates/United Express pilot was charged with being drunk and indecent behavior after he mooned traffic. The pilot told police officers he had an early morning flight, and he hoped the officers were happy because "50 people's flight would be delayed because of (Officer Dustin Cook, the arresting officer)," according to the news report. Makes you think carefully about flying on an RJ.

7. One of the big losers in the Wamu failure of course was TPG who saw their $1.5 billion investment wiped out. Looks like TPG will have a much harder time in raising capital for any major project. That means they will be sitting out on the sidelines for the foreseeable future. The impact on the BA -IB match up is yet to be determined.

There is more... but for now digest this lot!