Tag Archives: Air Price War

How Long Can This Go On….Low Airfares

Sale Case

The losses are huge, big, enormous and it has hit every corner of the Travel Market and still it hurts, for the airlines it is Judgement day but for how long?

When Singapore Airlines are doing European specials you know life is bad, People will pay a premium to fly the smile high club so what hope is there for anyone else, British Airways have quickly dropped their premium route fare to nothing just to survive with an AUS$1444.00 fare SYD/LON, so Qantas will have to match that and these three airlines have been the big hitters on this route for decades so for them to drop it has to be the very last resort.

For Qantas their other Premium route SYD/LAX (los Angeles), has been decimated by V Australia’s close to as possible $1000.00 return fares, with United chopping fares as well for market share its going to be banging heads on the table in the offices at Mascot and not before time.

And suddenly as a break into a new market, Delta has already dealt in a sword in the ground deal of  AUD$982.00 from Syd with Air New Zealand’s counter offer of AUD $889.00 (including taxes) from Coolangatta is near as damn soil cheap as you can get.

This is a snapshot of just one aviation market in Oceania/Asia and it is being repeated though out many other markets in every part of the globe, the good side is that it has leveled fares that were overpriced on monopolised routes, Qantas’s SYD/LAX route fare $2000.00 was quite simply Sheriff of Nottingham territory and to have it halved showed the bonuses that flowed though the doors of the Geoff Dixon era, economic crisis or not that still had to happen.

So we are in the shit, so to speak and the few cashed up travellers are having a boom time, it can’t last and it won’t but it will not be all bad news.

The cheap fares are there because most Airlines are over productive with too many planes and the staff that runs them, as the airlines shred older inefficient aircraft they will create a newer tighter business, staff will go because you are not going to go and pickup and then go back to normal when the economy picks up again, today you need to be lean and efficient, and a good old shake out of the mattress will help the restructuring of almost every aspect of the Aviation Business so you can now throw out the old model and send in with the new as for the first time in its history except with a few bumps aviation is faced without its stunning growth year after year and so like any other business it will have to adapt to the current climate changes.

The cheap fares will last this year  but for the rest it should settle back down again which means many fares will rise as they have too because.

1. Airline restructuring will be completed.

2. Airlines are not public services they have to make money, break even at least.

That is the bad news…the good news is they won’t go nowhere near the old prices or will again, this is the new new for the business so SYD/LON should level out at AUS$1600-$1800 and SYD/LAX about AUS$1200 – $1300 which is still brilliant value, most domestic traffic will not push those AUS$1 a seat deals t0o hard and put on an average of AUS$20 per ticket price per sector, really low LCC (Low Cost Carriers) will have to improve their bottom lines as the likes of Ryanair (I’ll charge you), Easyjet et all, will not find profit in expansive growth anymore and will have to fall to the realities of the a real business model, and this is all in cattle class as even more changes will come in business class, but these prices do still depend on very stable Fuel costs going into 2010, if they rise then so will the fares by another 5% to 10%.

The only growth area will be in the International LCC (Low Cost Carriers), many have already failed in this new dimension to travel, but some pioneers are paving the trail like AirAsia and Jestar International but once the model is proven many others will quickly come abroad but don’t expect really stupid low international fares here, they will be cheaper than normal route fares but these carriers will want to survive and there is a boundary limit to how far down you can go down with fares as international travel is a completely different model to domestic and short haul travel (European) as you need infrastructure and personal at the other end of the route.

Another factor if it comes to pass is that many countries like Australia are being pressured to drop or reduce their heavy outbound and inbound airport taxes to encourage more traffic, and its these expensive government add-ons that can really make a biggest difference to an airfare price,and that is even domestically and should be curtailed as why should be the airlines that always have to shoulder the costs, these little termites are in many countries a bigger cancer than anything in a good tourism market and if the governments are scared of lost revenue then that is not the case as visitors will still spend more in the country if they are not robbed at the entry point.

..At the moment fares are too cheap and unsustainable and how long they will last is not very long, my guess is the Christmas/New Year 09 period and will not be as severely discounted going into 2010 as they were in 2009 and maybe a few excellent specials will still crop up in the traditionally really low periods, say March and Oct/Nov next year, so with an economic crisis or not airlines will not survive unless they do so, there is also a chance they could even rise sooner to stop the bleeding quicker and once one large influential carrier does so the rest will quickly follow, so the real push from next year for your dollar will be in super economy class with more leg room and better service and higher profitable fares for the carrier, the deals will be there but they will expect you to pay more for them so you win and you lose at the same time.

So if your going to fly on the cheap then fly now..and book quickly because fares will rise, but not enough to break your credit card limit…….

Updated 18th Nov 2009…..
I noted in the above issue that the fare to Europe would be AUS$1600.00 – $1800.00, the recent Fares for early 2010 are AUS$1685.00, and will be basically around AUS$1750.00 late 2010, but we are having the problem of very high fares coming  (USA/European Summer) to try to pull back some profit see current issue Airline passengers are back-so lets get back to work, as this is a cash in to pull back profit it won’t work except maybe in the early (May/June 2010) period, but it will scare more away than bring passengers back into their seats….

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V Australia..About time?

Let the Pacific war begin

Let the Pacific war begin

V Australia in their opening up of the Pacific Routes from a monopoly which will have the greatest impact on Australian Aviation since Virgin Blue created the lower prices that stayed around for more than a few months (Impulse, Compass) , and will give Tourism Australia finally a reason to smile, Protectionism of this immensely profitable route will be a real head holding time for Qantas at Mascot, but the reality is Qantas has been a real thorn in the side of Australian Tourism in its approach of profitability on the Pacific Routes both ways, and shows that overly protecting a national Icon can really hurt the the very thing it upholds.

I was far more expensive to fly to Los Angeles and San Francisco than to go to London or Paris, with these gateway costs so high, a return fare to New York was astronomical, it was cheaper to get a around the world ticket than have a return fare to NYC, or fly to London and go across the Atlantic then return was the same price, in other words it was ridiculous.

Qantas has held the country to ransom and knew what it was doing, and the Politicians in Canberra are to take most of the blame in letting the Airline do so. Tourism Australia should have also banged it’s drum far louder than it did and showed more in its mettle in doing what was right and not what monopoly’s can get away with, but Australia has a history of such head in the sand approach, its Two Airline agreement reigned for years until it was finally buried.. again to the benefit of Qantas but not so to Ansett which went south, but since the demise of the policy the local Australian Aviation has thrived like no other with excellent LCC carriers and good fares, And Qantas even benefited too as Jetstar has been a success they could only dream of..

So why get in such a lava over all of this, well not only did Australians pay way over barrier than what they should like in the Two Airline Policy days, but In that it also made Australia a very expensive country to visit, it is far enough away from prime travel markets as it is, but this was keeping arrivals at far lower levels than they should have been and certainly for years and years this has cost Australian Tourism millions and millions in lost revenue to give Qantas a few extra bucks in the bank, in fact Qantas should apologise for its behaviour and give the Australian Traveller a better deal to make up for all its callousness and greed.

Qantas finally only when forced has the Airline has finally dropped its prices from Aus$ 2000 + to around $1200.00 return to counter V Australia’s prices to date of average $1199.00,(both include taxes) that is in some cases a $850.00 drop (or Profit which ever way you look at it), that is a big drop by any Airline standards, but the benefits for the country will now certainly be apparent, but is it a little too late, today with the economic crisis going at full speed the Americans don’t anymore have the spare cash to pop downunder, one benefit though is the exchange rate is well balanced in the USofA’s favour making Australia an excellent value destination, and it almost always tops the most “I want to go there” lists, But for Australians its a bugger of a bad deal, offset only by the cheaper fare.

Qantas has another problem is the 777’s V Australia is using is very competitive on the routes, only the newly minted A380 Airbus’s came just in time to save the day in efficiency and high load factors, Virgin’s product is usually very good too, there are always accolades on their service and the niceys they throw around, if Qantas only had their 747.400’s still running the line, Qantas would have had a small disaster on their hands, old equipment, old service, expensive to run over the same distance, the Airline would have lost money on every takeoff from Mascot if they had matched the new prices, the only saving grace would have been lower fuel costs, but even that would have helped V Australia more than Qantas..

LA – Sydney is first on the 27th February, Followed by LA-Brisbane April 8th, LA-Melbourne Follows in September, worse for Qantas is the Sydney – Johannesburg SA routes have also been applied for, another cash cow gone, so is all of this fair to Qantas?

The answer is no, they should have rationalised the routes years ago, they have to do it now because they simply have too, if the fares had been fair there would have been no competition needed to show the discrepancy of the high fares people have been paying, Qantas will of course state this or that reason of why the fare were slated so high, but the real reason is two fold, inefficient equipment and good profit, now they will be well behind the ball mostly on the Aus-SA route, with the Boeing 787 coming in sometime in the never never.

There is no doubt it will be a tough year for the boys at Mascot, but for everyone else and mostly for the country it should give V Australia a helping hand in doing something Qantas should have done years ago, give the country and its tourism industry a fair go price wise to one of the worlds largest travel markets, so …good onya mate!


1.52

The New Bloody Battlefield…

It is the new war for your almighty passenger dollar, for years airlines sole requirement was to fill planes with as many bodies as possible, it still is, the main  weapon was price, cheaper the seat, the more customers, but cheaper seats is still a low yield, so the only way to get more from less was to add more to less, in other words cram as many seats as you can between the windows, and as many seats between the bulkheads, seat pitch was well as small as you can get away with, and you have to pay for everything from pillows to water, and the in-flight magazine is well history…but that is another story.

But you did make a profit, a small one at that but a profit never the less.

But has it also caused very bad press, Deep Vein Thrombosis DVT are the airline management’s voodoo words of hell, poor customer relations went south as well, cattle class is branded about and is now more well known than economy or coach class, and being too close to your neighbour passenger is a complaint machine, but the response is if you want to fly cheap this is only way we can do it for that cost…so tough.

Cheap flights do allow people who would usually not fly to take the plunge, but how far is to far, on a short domestic or national sector, of say two hours it is not really a problem, we can put up with chronic fidgeting, bad smells, coughing, but for ten hours could be reduced to murder at twenty five thousand feet, you are a prisoner at the edge of space in no space to yourself.

Airlines have also upped their classes by one, First class is now in a class of its own, Business Class is the old First Class, Economy is the old Business Class and there is the lower now bulk cattle class or cheaper tourist seats, its still a bit like moving the deck chairs around on the Titanic as things really haven’t changed really at all, the cheap seats are still cheap and the First Class seats or flying villas are still in the “if you want to know the price you can’t afford it” category….so the real problem is…

Every Airline flying your sectors are fighting you in one area and one area alone ……Price, lower the price the better the chance you have filling your planes, except if you have a bad PR moment and everybody will then fly with your competitors, but passengers have had simply enough, cramped, over policed, congested airports, flight delays, loss of benefits, and not even a cheap seat will now make up the difference…..so how do get your customers back and make them happy again……service.

But would the passengers pay for it?

I would, if it is fair.

I would pay for a better seat, better food, better entertainment, and most of all better service, I want to be treated as a good customer and not a bum on a seat, and yes I want that at a decent price, But i would pay the extra for it absolutely.

Airlines are now poised for the battle they simply have no choice in, to simply survive they have to deliver, those who do not will fail and go bust.

The main cash cow for any airline is Business Class, or Champagne Class, Premiums are High, good Yields and the customers get the service, excellent service, the rest of you…well you get what you pay for!

What now as the business sector descends into chaos, the 9/11 event will seem a like speck after this comes down, Wall Street will have to fly, ohmygod, Tourist class, and those yields will well disappear…still rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, its not funny anymore.

So the choice is just that you have to make money on the lower classes, to do that prices have to go up, a little, Super Economy does work, People will pay for extra, so it now comes down to being different and not the same, price still counts but its not the main selling point.

The introduction of the new A380 is showing what is happening, space, tons of it gives you flexibility, most Airlines are still selling the premium classes, but this will have to change and quickly, it is the back of the plane that is important now, once ignored, it is now the difference between survival or death, any airline that ignores this segment will be gone, as the rest will be fighting you into the ground for passengers, Air New Zealand are already stripping their planes out, Economy is the new new, ahead of the curve, it will be interesting, it will be bloody, but it will be great, it will be great to look forward to flying again, service, the few who gets it right will win, the few who don’t will be gone or merged, different cabins will now abound, services, food, gifts, blankets, a smile from the steward, and space, glorious space will Prevail, yes it will cost a little more, but it will be worth every cent, as you smile at a former banker from New York, flying like you in Super Economy..

“Cheers mate”.. raise your glass, “its not to bad back here, but you should have seen it a few years ago, bloody awful, great flying again”, he may smile a small smile back, or scowl, but life is better at the back, really great…..