07 September 2011

Must Be Getting A Little Quiet In South Africa!

They are forming a commission to investigate airline prices

You JUST have to read this article and try hard not to fall about laughing too hard.

Let's have one of these in the EU or the USA and waste squillions of the tax payers money


06 September 2011

Shhhh Don't Tell ANYONE but OIL was down to around $83 today

The airlines complain a lot about the price of oil. Well its at some of its lowest rates in a long time. Ending the day (in NY) at just of $96 - it was hovering at $83 for a while.

This is good news for the airlines.

Will it last?


LSY opens New Data Centre Near London

This is not normally something I would cover, but it is interesting.

LH Systems has been on the block for a while. Every so often rumours come of their impending sale. The last story came about 4 weeks ago. It was mooted that LSY would be sold to either IBM or Tata.

But it would seem they are proceeding with business as usual and have this nice new data centre. It will be a Tier 3+ (that's pretty good) facility serving amongst others Thomas Cook's IT infrastructure.


Best BS PR Release of the week. TripFab


This week's Stupid Airline Tricks award - which we haven't awarded in a while - goes to a team outside of airlines (possibly - we cant be sure here at the Professor's secret skunk works lab).

Tripfab is stretching the limits of hyperbole... (that was not a misprint)

Please read this - its hilarious. In this article the team are claiming "change the way people travel". Is this the Travel Industry's equivalent of Ginger?

This is the release from PR.com

Call your broker now... SELL anything to do with Travel.


PS the image is from Cerrone a Disco Monarch's album from about 2002.

BA + IB = Devalued Points? Yup You Bet!

Oh Dear.

This doesnt seem to be my week. Those once great deals on BA - and such wonderful things like cheap single partner awards. They look like going and going fast. November to be exact.

While the announcement by BA of Avios as the merged name of its frequent flyer program - there was bound to be something of an "adjustment". Well get ready folks. Some are predicting that the change will be catastrophic. In one case the alignment takes BA from the nice and friendly 240,000 for a RT pacific 1st class to the astronomic 720,000 same level as Qantas has been charging.

And it doesn't stop there. BA will actually be increasing the somewhat less than acceptable charges that will have to be paid. In many cases BA has been charging higher fees (the infamous QR/YQ merged charges) which make its FF flights cost about $100-$200 more than a US airline for the same itineraries. Interestingly there is no evidence that BA actually pays more in fuel or taxes than these same airlines.

So to make you even more unhappy - read this links from different sites on the same topic

The Points Guy
Boarding Area

It is worthwhile to read these stories. Bah Humbug BA!!!


US Airways Completes Dismantling Of Vegas Hub

When America West was in its ascendancy - it created a second hum in Las Vegas a scant 287 miles apart from its primary hub in PHX. To boost traffic it created a low price night flight set taking advantage of McCarran's no curfew restrictions on flights.

With the realignment of the merged HP+US systems Pittsburgh got the ax first. Now we are seeing Vegas move to a simple flight pattern to the respective other hubs of US. Gone the PSA shuttle from California, Gone the hub, all that will be left will be 21 flights a day. About the same as Delta American and United. Also gone about 880 jobs mostly from Vegas, the Tempe based airline will close its pilot base there. All down from the mid 1990s when it was the largest airline there.

Story and Image from Las Vegas Sun.

The Saga Techcrunch - A$ The World Turns

It would be very easy to poke fun at the shenanigans going on at AOL owned Huffington Post led Techcrunch.

Techcrunch is generally a good read with a great degree of attitude. Perhaps it is a sign of the maturity of the web or just a small window into our web based corporate culture(s). Yes it looks like in this war - no matter who started it - the suits win again.

For clarity - I think of myself more as a contributor rather than a suit - but in reality I have to be a suit a lot of the time.

The web is supposed to be open, wild and free. That's the good news. The bad news is that these concepts don't necessarily sit well together.

The web based economy has effectively destroyed a significant part of the non-physical economy. From banking to personal relationships to our little world of travel. The resulting models are very different from what many of us (Boomers - sic) grew up with.

And we have folks like Arrington to thank for some of the good and the bad of what has happened. We need people like him and we need independent organs (I struggle with the term blog or journal) to act as the fourth estate of the web.

However it plays out - as a soap opera I suspect, this will have the effect of changing the psyche of the web based economy. While the world will carry on without Arrington at the helm of Techcrunch - the likelihood is that it will have lost some of the veneer of adolescence. Yes the web is growing up. I guess we have to now as well...


05 September 2011

Scoot - New Singapore Long Haul LCC?

There are rumours flying around the web that Singapore's new Low Cost Long Haul Airline will be called Scoot.

Changi Airport is becoming quite a hotbed of LCC activity. The recent numbers show that LCCs are powering much of the airport's growth. Although competition from the GCC based carriers who over fly the Lion City or the explosive growth of KUL an hour's flight away has creamed off some of the lustre. Qantas's new premium airline is supposed to be based in either KUL or SIN. Chances are pretty slim that it will choose KUL in my view - that it will be based in the Malaysian Capital. Since Qantas announced its plan - a long in the works deal was announced showing Malaysian Airlines and Air Asia had agreed to broad cooperation and rationalization. Tony Fernandez will be joining the MH board as a result. Besides Jetstar already has a base in SIN.

Earlier this year - Singapore Airlines announced that it would be starting a long haul LCC using 777-200s - presumably to compete with the likes of Air Asia X which uses wide body Airbus products A330/340 and has A350s on order.

The new airline's proposed name has inadvertently leaked and it has the name Scoot. While I doubt that this would be the name according to Aviation Week quoting Ipos this is the registered brand name.

Doing the usual thing I looked up the term. I personally use the word a little differently but that's just me.Here are the usual definitions one website went into more details on the naming.

But I think the most urgent issue is to assess whether or not the name is a good one. In my view Scoot would have been better for the short haul than the long haul.Tiger would make a better long haul name. (Too bad Tiger somewhat blotted its copy book in Oz).

There are several examples of airlines that have had their names ridiculed. It is a popular past time. Just look at my name for example. SABENA was translated often into the acronym rather than the Belgian airline (formally Société Autonyme Belge d'Exploitation de la Navigation Aérienne) but to "Such A Bloody Experience Never Again"

So a little more on the choice of aircraft. The 777 is wider in the cabin than the Airbus. 19ft 3 inches vs 18 ft 6 inches. Having flown the airbus - I can tell you that 10 abreast seating on these planes is pretty tight. Scoot is supposed to also have 10 abreast. 4 inches on either side of the cabin wall will make the window seats tolerable.

So here is a request. SQ please don't name your airline Scoot. Choose something a little easier and less likely to be ridiculed.


Is Airline Boarding Rocket Science?

I have written before about Jason Steffen's attempts to get rationality into airline boarding. Much to be applauded.

The Economist published an article on how his theories have progressed.

However I believe that in the real world - there are different ways to address this.

Randomized allocation of boarding groups is one simple way (as AA is doing now). Southwest's funnel method - feeds traffic into the jetway fast. Ryanair's staged boarding - seems to work the fastest from my observation.

The basic issue remains that the hydraulics of the flow into an airline cabin will never become efficient unless there is a way to address the basic human interaction and the physical size of the passengers. For example domestic Mexico and intra Asian flights with less portly Americans can actually process faster because smaller nimbler people can share the same physical space.

End of the day. Random wins. But take away a major component such as TRUE limits on bags on board as exists in Europe and boarding works way better. Perhaps Spirit has it right for charging for overhead bin usage.


04 September 2011

Great Buffet Quote: "Give me a good management team in a very difficult industry, and the industry always wins,"

The airline industry and indeed Travel as a whole is very difficult.I have been in and around it for all of my professional career now spanning more than 38 years. Holy crap has it been that long!!!!

Here is a great story that should give you a great sense of warmth. The end of Ansett is finally here. The last check has been paid and the staff got 96 cents on the dollar.

The lesson should be heeded over at Virgin Australia and also Air Australia (formerly Strategic).