Singapore Airlines will commemorate the retirement of the legendary Boeing 747-400 from its fleet by running a special flight on the 6th of April 2012 from Singapore to Hong Kong and back. One can go ahead and make a request for booking SIN-HKG and HKG-SIN flights, I’m sure seats on the flight will be taken up very very fast so you really need ASAP.
The Packages offered for the Ex-SIN flight as mentioned on the website are:
And the ex-HKG packages as mentioned on the website are
I’m personally looking forward to be on atleast one of these flights and am sure with all the aviation enthusiasts on board it’s really going to be one hell of a ride.
Singapore Airlines has created a special website to show the journey of the 747 in its fleet right from the time of its induction in service,it’s a wonderful timeline taking you through the various phases and how it changed things for Singapore Air itself. The same can be accessed here.
Malaysian long haul carrier Air Asia X has planned to scrap its unprofitable routes to Europe and India. The carrier that is planning to list itself in the near future independently from its low cost pioneer parent Air Asia, is ceasing operations to Mumbai from January 2012, while services to New Delhi, London and Paris will cease in March 2012.
The airline is citing weak European economy/reduced demand, continued high fuel prices and high airport and government taxes including 1 Jan 2012 carbon tax as the reasons for discontinuation of its services.
London and Paris were the only European destinations that the low carrier was flying and this effectively puts an end to its ambitions to fly to those sectors unless the current European crisis subsides or a decision is taken with regards to the EU carbon tax.
The airline plans to focus back on its core strengths in Australasia,China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea and also introduce new routes in these sectors to build up on its strength with taking on current long haul services from Jetstar and soon to be launched Singapore Airlines subsidiary Scoot.
With regards to India, the airlines strategy was flawed right from the start, In markets like India where low-cost carriers also use agents and travel sites to sell their capacity, Air Asia tried to go solo and bombed big time with poor load factors. The airline tried to tackle the market with its usual strategy but forgot that the Indian markets are not the usual low cost markets with the typical low cost facilities and hence suffered from high airport costs and fuel charges.
The airline plans to continue operating its remaining routes in India but with Indian airlines also moving in these sectors it remains to be seen how does it plan to tackle them.
Finally the talk of the town has become a reality, Singapore Airlines unveiled its Long Haul Low Cost Carrier “Scoot”. Singapore Airlines plans to tackle the recent onslaught of Low Cost Carriers eating up its market pie with its new offering upto 40% cheaper fares than full service carriers.
Scoot plans to begin operations in mid-2012 with 4 Boeing 777-200 purchased from parent Singapore Airlines for operating to various destinations in the booming markets of Australia and China, It aims to have about 50 pilots and 250 cabin crew by the end of next year all of whom will be hired from outside and plans to operate 14 aircraft by the middle of this decade. The airline will operate from Changi Airport’s terminal 2, offering two cabins and will eventually expand operations to India, Europe, Africa and Middle East. The airline which has a capital of S$283 million ($224 million), will spend as much as S$60 million ($47.61 million) in the run-up to the start of its flights.
Singapore Air also owns regional carrier SilkAir and has agreed to increase its stake in short-haul budget carrier Tiger Airways Holdings Ltd. to about 49 percent. So where does this new piece fits in? Well given that the airline plans to operate out of the Changi terminal 2 instead of the usual budget terminal for the Low Cost Carriers (LCC) and will be flying to long haul destinations in Australasia and China, it’s clear sign that the Singapore Airline plans to counter the growing LCC market with this offering which will then feed traffic into its full service network. In one way thats a good news that the passengers will be able to avail features like through check-in and baggage handling on the airline network and will surely be great pull for people who want to travel with a reputed brand but on a smaller budget.
But the bad news as per my understanding would be highly dense seating configurations on the planes, given that the current Singapore Airlines B777-200ERs accommodate 285 passengers, the expected config in the Scoot layout is likely to carry around 370 passengers with a 10 across (3-4-3) layout. While this kind of layout may suit well for short haul flights but for a long haul carrier, this could really turn into a deal breaker.
Scoot has setup a Facebook page and launched its website to allow people to register for updates and generate interest. What would be critical would be to see how the airline manages to live upto the reputation of its parent and what game changer strategy it employs to lure flyers.
Australian national carrier Qantas has cancelled ALL its flights until further notice. This kind of reaction to a union strike is unprecedented and has effectively led to grounding of the entire fleet. The airline advises its customers that “customers booked on Qantas flights should not go to the airport until further notice and should contact their local Qantas office for further assistance”. Qantas Link and Jetstar flights would continue to operate as normal.
This brings the Qantas management head-on with the striking unions which have been striking in demand for better wages. With this the battle is now out in open and it can be expected that the Government of Australia may step in soon to mediate between the workers and the management and will definitely cause huge losses both monetary and reputation wise for the airline which has been in talks with the unions for the last 15 months.
In the meanwhile the airline is offering a full refund to any passenger who chooses to cancel their flight because it has been directly affected by the grounding of the fleet or avail Full re-booking flexibility for those who wish to defer their travel but given the current scenario where the suspensions are indefinite i really doubt how the re-booking would work. Also the airline will be providing assistance with accommodation and alternative flights, as well as other support to passengers who are mid-journey.
Meanwhile another Australian carrier Virgin Australia has started offering “Stranded Passenger” fare for Qantas travelers which can be availed by passengers “currently at a port away from home and hold a Qantas ticket to return home initially within the next 5 days” More details are awaited about this fare and the airline intends to keep updating the same on its website http://www.virginaustralia.com/
Virgin Australia is in talks with its alliance partners which include Etihad, Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines to find out if they can help add extra flights “as soon as possible”.
Qantas seems to be really having a tough days ahead of it and it really needs to work its way through all this to get back in action and win its customers back.
China Eastern Airlines has announced that it would be cancelling its order for 24 Boeing 787s and instead order 45 Boeing 737 variants, the airline has cited extended delivery delays for the cancellation. In addition the carrier plans to order 15 Airbus A330 aircraft which will be delivered between 2013 and 2015, it also intends to sell its 5 Airbus A340-300s back to Airbus in 2012.
China Eastern’s Boeing 787 order book for the 787-8 variant consisted of 15 orders for the parent carrier, and 9 orders for China Eastern’s subsidiary Shanghai Airlines. The airline’s 737 order is valued at $3.3 billion at list prices.The new aircraft are expected to be delivered to the airline starting 2014 and until 2016.
Given that China Eastern’s latest growth strategy focuses on building up its network in the regional international market, it makes much more sense for them to go for the 737′s and A330′s as they have proven to be more fuel efficient for such routes and also as it is known that early-build 787s may miss their weight and fuel burn targets by significant margins, which will potentially hurt the economic viability of pricier 787s. China Eastern’s decision seems to be based on hard facts and financially driven. With this, the order cancellations have caused the Boeing’s 787 backlog to drop below 800 frames with Boeing indicating further cancellations may be forthcoming.It needs to be seen how well does Boeing manages this negative backlash for their new technology and China Eastern’s strategy play given that the market they are targeting is going to see some fierce competition in the coming years with many big players like Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Cathay Pacific and other Chinese carriers bringing in either their focused subsidiaries or directly launching flights on their own network to cater from Low Cost to Premium customers.
As reported by Businessweek earlier, Virgin Atlantic CEO, Steve Ridgway said that the airline is actively looking to combine with bmi British Midland International, this news comes in the wake of bmi slot sale to British Airways and Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz indicating that the ailing airline maybe on the block.
Should this combine become a reality, it would provide Virgin Atlantic with a much needed domestic reach in the European markets which would help it feed its International operations which would be much a needed booster shot for the airline that is also reviewing its plans to look for potential investors after the 49% stake holder Singapore Airlines sending feelers in the market about its stake sale in Virgin Atlantic itself. In the past Virgin Atlantic has tried twice to acquire bmi stake once in 1999 when Lufthansa acquired bmi and then again in December 2008 and November 2009 but the talks never seem to have materialised.
Also this deal would result in strengthening Virgin Atlantic’s position at Heathrow airport and step up competition for British Airways which itself maybe interested in bmi but knows that regulatory approvals for the same may be hard to come by. Given Virgin Atlantic’s history in terms of takeover and mergers i highly doubt that this deal may even happen, but tough times call for some tough actions and if they do not act fast they lose big time to the stepped up competitions from other airlines and alliances.
Phillipine Airlines announced that it will be reducing the number of selected domestic and international flights for a limited period as the flag carrier prepares for the transfer of its catering, ground handling and call center reservations units to third party service providers on October 1, 2011.
It has disclosed that the number of domestic flights would be temporarily reduced by about 30 percent while international flights would be cut provisionally by 12 percent. The international destinations to be affected by the flight frequency reduction are Hong Kong, Bangkok, New Delhi, Macau, Singapore, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Guam, Sydney, Melbourne and Incheon (from Cebu).
The airline plans to refund the money for people travelling on the affected flights by setting up special counters in Manila or through the respective Travel Agents. In my opinion this move is not going to go down well with the affected people, given that the airline is losing its market share to the Low Cost Carriers like Cebu Pacific and Qantas subsidiary Jetstar and to other full service rivals like Singapore Airlines, such moves will trigger further exodus of passengers.
No doubt that the outsourcing will help the troubled carrier cut down on costs but better planning and mangement for such a move would have really helped. The press release by the airline can be found here.
Singapore Airlines is offering 50% redemption discount on online redemptions for selected Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights in Business and Economy Class. The flights need to be booked between 26 September and 9 October 2011 and the travel needs to be completed between 1 October and 30 November 2011 to benefit from this promotion.
The available destinations for this offer are:
These discounts are available for both one-way and round-trip redemption but not for applicable for Upgrades.
For more details check out the link here
Overall I think is good promotion to grab seats one some really nice routes at a huge discount. So if you have any travel plans during the offer period or just want to experience the SQ luxury in the A380 and B777-300ER then this is your shot at it for half the price. But you will need to hurry as i doubt the seats will last for long.
As i had blogged earlier Singapore Air was taking off its A380 from the SIN-MEL route and replacing it with a Boeing 747-400, and from today’s announcement it seems the A380 will go to the SIN-FRA-JFK which was previously serviced using a Boeing 747-400.
This aircraft swap will result in a 25%capacity increase on the SIN-FRA-JFK route and the cabin product will be far superior than the dated Boeing 747 product and is the best in its class. This is a good news for Kris Flyer members as it will result in increased award redemption availability for them whereas on the flip-side other Star Alliance carriers will not be in such luck given the fact that Singapore Air is notorious for blocking First and Business class redemptions on the A380 product for them.
Overall its a well planned move by Singapore Air as the route is much more lucrative for them than the SIN-MEL route and also in order to command premium fares on this route, the product overhaul was long due. Overall it will definitely enhance the experience for the passengers on this long haul flight and can definitely termed as better value for money compared to the older product tha’ts currently in use.
The A380 begins its operation on this SIN-FRA-JFK route from January 15, 2012 onward. So hurry and start redeeming ASAP before the availability runs out.
As i had blogged earlier, Singapore airlines has been on a aircraft changing spree on many of it’s routes, now i hear that the new changes are going to happen on the Melbourne route. The exact reason behind these changes on this route are still unknown. I do find the change a little bit odd given that’s it’s one of the big revenue earning route for them but my suspicion is that it has got something to do with their recent changes to the Airbus A380 schedule on the Sydney route.
Starting 15 January 2012:
- SQ227 and SQ238 will lose the Airbus A380 to be replaced with the refurbished Boeing 777-300.
- SQ237 and SQ228 will be flown using the archaic Boeing 747 replacing the Boeing 777-300 currently being used to serve the same.
- SQ217 and SQ218 will continue to use Boeing 777-300ER which feature the same wide, fully flat beds similar to the ones in Airbus A380 business class.
In my opinion this is a big downgrade on this route given that the Airbus A380 flat bed business class is a far superior product in comparison to the ones being offered on the Boeing 777-300 and the Boeing 747 which feature the upgraded regional business class seats and the outdated business class seats respectively.
Anybody looking to book their travel for the next year on this route should plan accordingly and if convenient try to book your travel on the flights using the Boeing 777-300ER for the best experience and comfort.