Low cost cross-channel rail: tough competition with existing services
Groupe Eurotunnel (now the Getlink Group) has commissioned a feasibility study by the consultant Roland Berger to introduce 'low cost' rail operations between the UK and France. The study outlines an operating model similar to that of SNCF, (the French state rail operator) and Thalys (a joint high-speed rail venture between SNCF, SNCB [Belgium] and Deutsche Bahn [Germany] low cost rail services in Europe).
A reduction of between 25% and 30% on regular Eurostar ticket costs is expected, at the cost of travel time increasing from 2 hours 20 minutes to slightly more than three hours, according to the study.
This proposal will mean that passengers will need to make their own way to suburban stations to board a train that takes them by a circuitous route on older tracks to the outskirts of Paris, where they then have to board another train to complete their journey. And on multiple tickets. And with no UK provincial connections.
The fundamental difference with budget air travel is that it made it not only cheaper but often more convenient, flying directly from the local airport on one ticket to one at least close to the ultimate destination.
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Singapore Seletar Airport: new terminal offers niche alternative
At the end of 2018 Singapore is opening a new terminal at its secondary airport Seletar. The new terminal will be used for turboprop flights to destinations in Malaysia and potentially Indonesia.
Singapore Seletar-Kuala Lumpur Subang in particular has the potential to become a large route following Malaysia’s recent decision to shelve, or at least postpone, the construction of a high speed rail line between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia Airlines' subsidiary Firefly will move its current Singapore-Changi-Kuala Lumpur Subang service to Seletar and the Lion Group affiliate Malindo Air is expected to also serve the Seletar-Subang route.
Singapore is forcing turboprop operators to use Seletar instead of Changi as part of a new policy designed to free up capacity at Changi. Seletar has not had any scheduled commercial flights since 2010.
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Hawaiian and JAL JV: Hawaiian evolves its view of immunised tie-ups
Hawaiian Airlines, a vocal critic of joint ventures during the last few years, is now seeking an immunised JV with Japan Airlines (JAL) in order to bolster its position in one of its most important geographical markets.
One key point that Hawaiian and JAL make in their request for regulatory approval for their JV is that only the three large US global network airlines enjoy benefits of immunised cooperation, and the addition of another US airline in a JV would bolster the competitiveness of the US aviation industry.
It will be interesting to see if other airlines oppose the market strength Hawaiian and JAL will enjoy in the Honolulu-Japan market. Part of Hawaiian’s criticism of JVs in the past has been the concentration that those tie-ups would create.
But Hawaiian and JAL are arguing that ANA’s planned surge in the Hawaii-Japan market warrants an opportunity for a competitive combination to withstand ANA’s expansion and a newly minted JV between Delta and Korean.
To read on, visit Hawaiian and JAL JV: Hawaiian evolves its view of immunised tie-ups
Ethiopia, Eritrea Peace: Ethiopian Airlines to commence daily service
Ethiopia and Eritrea declared their state of war to be over on 9-Jul-2018, after talks between the neighbouring East African countries' leaders.
This move was part of a historic agreement that will see the opening of embassies, the development of ports and resumption of flights. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, wasn’t slow to employ the imagery du jour: "We will demolish the wall and, with love, build a bridge between the two countries," he said.
The agreement has paved the way for new daily direct air service by Ethiopian Airlines, starting on 17-Jul-2018.
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Mexico election: doubt now about MEX airport and airline regulation
The erection of a border wall, uncertainty over NAFTA and immigration controversies have all coalesced to create a blanket of uncertainty in Mexico-US relations, which have resulted in knock-on effects in the transborder aviation market.
Now the election of a leftist and populist president in Mexico is adding to that uncertainty, and on a broader scale, creating potential roadblocks to crucial progress needed in tackling infrastructure constraints and changing governmental mindsets about the benefits of aviation to Latin America.
One of Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) campaign pledges was to stop construction of the new Mexico City airport scheduled for completion in 2020. Hopefully he will not follow through on that promise, but the precedent set by his comments should be worrisome to the evolution of Mexican aviation. In the immediate aftermath of Mr López Obrador's election, there have been mixed messages, a mildly positive development.
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Airport privatisation: varied successes as IATA takes aim
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), along with organisations such as the trade association Airlines for Europe (A4E) – especially those within Europe – has been on the attack, with privatised airports in their sights. Each regards such airports as monopolies that need stringent price regulation to protect airline passengers, and they regard privatisation itself as an unnecessary evil.
An independent U.S. organisation has found that of the 100 largest airport groups, 40 were either fully or partially privatised and 62% of them were included in the world’s hundred best airports as judged by passengers.
There have been some privatisation failures, of course, and there is still a sense of retail overkill at some privatised airports.
This report examines both sides of the argument.
To read on, visit Airport privatisation: varied successes as IATA takes aim