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Airline Operation

The Battle For International Routes At Beijing’s New Daxing Airport

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Restrictions on resources and policies have been the biggest obstacle to most of China’s airlines, entering Beijing, one of China’s most attractive aviation hubs. However, with the completion of Daxing International Airport, the resource restrictions are obviously no longer a major problem. In order to increase the volume of the new airport as soon as possible, the industry regulators also encourage airlines to adopt a series of new policies in air resource allocation to allow as many routes and capacity as possible to the new airport, this has also led to fierce competition around the operation of the new intercontinental routes.

Four airlines compete for “Daxing-Paris”

On March 20th, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (hereinafter referred to as the Civil Aviation Authority) announced the latest application for international airline operating licenses. The most striking of these is that Beijing Daxing-Paris has four airlines applying at the same time, including not only China Eastern Airlines Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as China Eastern Airlines), which is considered to be the most likely to obtain the right to operate this route, and China Southern Airlines Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as China Southern Airlines), which has long decided to develop Daxing Airport as its core hub. It also includes the private airline Juneyao Airlines Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Juneyao Airlines), which is based in Shanghai, and Beijing Capital Airlines Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Capital Airlines).

This is also a new change that has begun to appear on the application of popular route resources since the implementation of the new measures for the use and management of International Air Rights in October last year. According to the new rules, the international routes are divided into two categories, category one and two, and gradually break the unwritten “one route and one carrier” rule on the previous intercontinental line. In particular, the European routes are classified into the second category. Resources and openness are all greater, so there are more opportunities.

China and France have previously increased the number of weekly flights from no more than 50 to 126 through new air rights negotiations, which has greatly released the space chosen by airlines, and has made France the most popular in Europe. The tourist destination is able to accommodate more new routes. According to the newly announced route application, including the newly opened route and the additional flights, the airlines have proposed a new application for 72 flights per week. The departure airport includes Nanchang, in addition to the first-line hubs such as Beijing and Shanghai. Direct flights from sub-junctions such as Wenzhou and Nanjing, the destination has also expanded from Paris to a destination that includes direct flights to Nice and Marseille.

“The special thing about Daxing Airport is that many companies hope to use this as an important point for future development, so there will be a lot of companies applying for new routes here,” said Liu Wei, deputy general manager of China Eastern Airlines Beijing Branch on March 18. In an exclusive interview with the reporter of China Times, “but the air traffic distribution policy is continuous, which also determines the concept of the main base airline is different, so the state will still consider these problems when assigning navigation rights to Daxing Airport.”

At present, according to the Daxing Airport air rights distribution plan, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines respectively obtained a 40% share. Compared with the two airlines currently established on the domestic route network, how can they win more international routes at Daxing Airport become a key issue. Judging from the recent application of several international airline operating licenses issued by the Civil Aviation Authority, the two companies have already competed in this tit-for-tat.

In addition to the Beijing Daxing-Paris route, the two companies have also applied for both Moscow and several South Korean routes. As the new airport’s opening date is approaching, there will definitely be more new routes to become the focus of competition.

There also has been the problem that it is impossible for all airlines to obtain the qualifications for airline operations. “If the air rights application before the new regulations is that the airlines have done a lot of preparatory work in the early stage, they already know the results.” After the application is applied, it is basically not likely to be rejected. Now, after introducing the scoring mechanism and publicity, there may be some variables, which makes the airline dare to try.” A person from the marketing department told the China Times reporter.

In Liu Wei’s view, “Daxing Airport will take into account some factors in the process of air rights allocation. In addition to the hard indicators of the on-time rate of flights, which airlines have played a major role in the construction of the new airport, and which airlines have the ability to weave networks, and which are more suitable for point-to-point operations, which will be a factor to consider.”

The current “Measures for the Administration of the Allocation and Use of International Air Rights Resources” also clearly states that when two or more airlines compete for the same right to operate in accordance with the navigation rights regulations, the Civil Aviation Administration will comprehensively evaluate the four types of indicator to determine the allocation. Including consumer interest indicators, hub development indicators, resource use efficiency indicators and business performance quality indicators.

China Eastern Airlines’ dual hub ambition

Although the ownership of many popular international routes has not yet been finalized, the strategic intention of CEA in Beijing has actually begun to appear.

According to a set of data released at the Beijing route promotion meeting held on March 18th, China Eastern Airlines, Shanghai Airlines and China United Airlines carried 20 million passengers in Beijing in 2018, accounting for one-fifth of the Beijing market throughput. Among them, only the Beijing-Shanghai route, China Eastern Airlines can provide 7,500 seats per day, more than half of the total capacity of 12,000 seats per day.

During the interviews with the media during the two sessions of the country, Liu Shaoyong also made it clear that the construction and operation of Daxing Airport is a major historic opportunity for China Eastern Airlines and will open a new stage for the future development of China Eastern Airlines.

Liu Shaoyong said in an interview with the media that he would “use the power of the whole company to force the Beijing market and transform the two core hubs of Shanghai and Beijing into a spatial pattern of ‘two dragons going out to sea’.”

It is not difficult to see the ambition of China Eastern Airlines in the international business of Daxing Airport from the “going out to sea”. Although China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines had start-ups in Beijing earlier, they have not had too many opportunities in the international business of long-haul routes. Although China Eastern has a total of 13 international routes originating in Beijing, it is mostly in Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea. If you want to connect to Europe and the United States, you still need to dock other domestic destinations or share code with partners.

In fact, China Southern Airlines and even more other medium-sized airlines obviously have the same idea. Otherwise, there will be no competition for four airlines on the Paris route. For the mainstream purpose of the first release from Daxing Airport like Paris. Local resources, whoever can succeed will also take the lead in the layout of the new airport.

Liu Wei told this reporter that “Paris is the main hub of the SkyTeam Alliance. It is obviously more suitable for the members of the SkyTeam Alliance to fly. There are strong partners in the local area. The competitiveness of non-alliance partners will decline. It will also appear in other hubs. A similar situation.”

According to the plan announced by China Eastern Airlines, 200 large and medium-sized passenger aircrafts will be put into operation at Daxing Airport, and routes connecting the America, Europe, Oceania, Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions of China will be opened.

As Liu Shaoyong disclosed before: “According to the market share of Beijing Daxing International Airport’s passenger throughput of 72 million in 2025 and China Eastern Airlines’ 40% market share, we will carry more than 28.8 million passengers at Daxing International Airport. The passenger traffic at the airport is equivalent of what we have in Shanghai Pudong, which is the largest increase in the future development of China Eastern Airlines.”

Albert K. Field Albert is my name, and travel the world is my game. I began my passion for travel at a very young age, I started this website as a strong means to further explore the world of frequent flyers programs (FFP). The relationship between customers and service providers in the aviation and hospitality industry always seems to be in opposition, however, since the introduction of United Airlines’ Frequent Flyers Programm since 1972*. This has significantly eased the middle spectrum between 2 parties. While the aim of airlines is still to generate more revenue; but for us,as consumers, are also given the opportunity to participate in the bargaining and exploiting from service providers. Living in a world of globalization where big data becomes vital for simulating successful economical activities, most of us will have to travel to other locations whether willingly or unwillingly, while you hearing all this fascinating stories about others, In fact, you too, can blend into the trend. It may not sound like how media illustrates, but indeed there are possibilities for us to have more spontaneous travel without getting held back by financial situation. My website consists of reviews of airline premium cabin products,airport lounges and stay reports of 5-star hotels and their executive lounges across the globe. In addition to all of that, I care the most about their frequent flyers program and loyalty program, which also includes banking partners. Plus, I spontaneously put up reviews and news update regarding premium water brands and restaurants. The purpose of this website is to share all of this information with my audience as well as inviting you to be part of my journey.

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Airline Operation

Delta Air Lines Moves To Shanghai Pudong Satellite Terminal, Eyeing Further Strategic Expansion

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Delta A330-900 Neo Cabin Ceiling


Delta Air Lines officially announced on 30th September that it will relocate from Shanghai Pudong International Airport Terminal 1 to the new S1 satellite hall. The relocation of Delta Air Lines is coordinated with China Eastern Airlines to create a more seamless and convenient transit and travel experience for passengers alliance-wide.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport Terminal Layout
Shanghai Pudong International Airport Terminal Layout

In the future, all Delta flights can be bridged to a S1 Terminal gate, thus completely abandoning the need to take the shuttle bus, which greatly enhance passengers’ boarding experience.


Shanghai Pudong Airport S1 Terminal
Shanghai Pudong Airport S1 Terminal
PVG S1 Terminal Interior
PVG S1 Terminal Interior

Changes to Departure & Arrival Flow At Shanghai PVG:

Delta Air Lines Moves To New Home In Shanghai Pudong Airport
Delta Air Lines Moves To New Home In Shanghai Pudong Airport

Delta Air Lines currently operates four direct flights to major US hub airports from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, flights run daily to and from Detroit, Seattle, Los Angeles and Atlanta.

Through strategic cooperation with China Eastern Airlines, Delta Air Lines provides passengers with more than 1,350 domestic codeshare flights per week, covering more than 40 cities in China. Through the deployment of Delta and China Eastern Airlines in the S1 satellite hall, passengers will enjoy a smooth and seamless experience, whether it is an international transfer or a domestic transfer.


Delta & China Eastern - Equity & Code Share
Delta & China Eastern – Equity & Code Share From 2017

On July 27, 2015, Delta Air Lines invested approximately 3.489 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$450 million, 2.75 billion RMB) to acquire 3.55% stake in China Eastern Airlines on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. This investment was the largest foreign investment in Delta’s history.

The total investment was expected to account for approximately 10% of China Eastern Airlines’ H shares in Hong Kong and 3.55% of the total share capital. Delta will then have the right to obtain an observer seat on CEA’s board of directors.

After the share purchase, Delta Air Lines became the largest external shareholder of China Eastern.


“Delta is committed to continuously investing to improve customers’ on-the-ground and in-flight experience,This move is part of our broader strategy to collaborate with China Eastern to better address the growing needs of the U.S.-China market.”

Wong Hong, Delta’s President – Greater China and Singapore.
Delta One Suite 1A
Delta One Suite 1A

The Chinese market is vital for Delta’s long-term global expansion strategy. Ten years ago, Delta did not fly to any destinations directly from the United States to China. And today, Delta Air Lines has six direct routes between China and the United States, including Seattle to Shanghai and Beijing, Detroit to Shanghai and Beijing, and Los Angeles to Shanghai, as well as direct flights from Atlanta to Shanghai started in July 2018.

Delta A350-900
Delta A350-900

Delta is serving the Chinese market with a generation of new aircrafts, such as the A330-900-NEO that provides passengers with a variety of travel options in four different cabin classes. In addition, Delta deploys their flagship Airbus A350 planes on flights between Detroit and Los Angeles to Shanghai.

The new Airbus A330-900 Neo Picture from Delta News Hub by Chris Rank/ Rank Studios
The new Airbus A330-900 Neo Picture from Delta News Hub by Chris Rank/ Rank Studios

At the end of the year, the newly retro-fitted Boeing B-777 aircraft will fly between Shanghai and Atlanta. By then, all of Delta’s Sino-US routes will be carried out by the newly-configured aircraft models, bringing the best service concepts Delta has to offer to all passengers across the pacific ocean.

Delta One Suite Business Class
Delta One Suite Business Class

All models serving Shanghai are also equipped with a new generation of Delta One® Suites Business Class and Delta Premium Select premium economy class products.

Delta A330-900 Neo Delta Premium Select
Delta A330-900 Neo Delta Premium Select

Eyeing Further Strategic Expansion:

Delta Air Lines plans to connect its Minneapolis-St. Paul hub and China for the first time in 2020, with a proposed route to Shanghai operated with its state-of-the-art Airbus A350-900 aircraft, which currently subject to government approvals from the United States and China.


Delta Air Lines’ Routes From Shanghai Pudong International Airport
Shanghai ​(PVG)​ Atlanta ​(ATL)​
Non-stop Delta Air Lines 7,688 mi
Shanghai ​(PVG)​ — Detroit ​(DTW)​
Non-stop Delta Air Lines 7,161 mi
Shanghai ​(PVG)​ Los Angeles ​(LAX)​
Non-stop
Delta Air Lines 6,508 mi
Shanghai ​(PVG)​ — Seattle/Tacoma ​(SEA)​
Non-stop Delta Air Lines 5,741 mi
Shanghai ​(PVG)​ — Minneapolis ​(MSP)​
Non-stop (Daily) Delta Air Lines

*Proposed from June 2020 on A350 planes, pending government approval.

“Shanghai is the largest Asian market without direct service from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, direct service to China would be a tremendous benefit to the Minnesota business and hospitality communities. By seeking federal approval to fly the route, Delta is once again reaffirming its ongoing commitment to the Twin Cities and creating opportunities for people and businesses throughout the region.”

Brian Ryks, Executive Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

Delta Airbus A350-900
Delta Airbus A350-900

The US and China does not have an “Open Sky” agreement thus flight slots to and from China are restricted. According to the 2007 Air Route Authority Agreement between China and the United States, The US has up to 161 weekly frequencies or 23 flights a day for operating flights to Zone 1 Tier 1 Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. US carriers have used 133/161 of all available slots, while in reality only 4 weekly frequencies are available as of now due to various reasons*. Although 4 slots are better than nothing for any airline who wishes to operate more flights to China, but the US Department of Transportation won’t grant it to any carrier before new talks on slots expansion are in session.

Delta Air Lines has been eyeing the potential slots opening up ever since American Airlines‘ decision on stop its service on the route between Chicago and Shanghai.

Despite objections from both Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, the DOT granted American Airlines an extension on the sought-after frequencies in February this year; with hopes of resuming flights to China in the future, American Airlines eventually stopped flight services both from Beijing an Shanghai to Chicago while continue holding on to those idled 14 weekly frequencies on June 28 this year.

Those idled frequencies would allow Delta to open up a new daily route directly from the former Northwest Airlines’ biggest hub – Minneapolis (MSP) to Shanghai (PVG), which can further strengthen Delta’s competitiveness by penetrating deeper into SkyTeam’s biggest hub in Asia.


*What Happened In 2018?


In April 2018, United Airlines canceled its Shanghai – Guam route, and its three times weekly Zone 1 Tier 1 Chinese cities air rights was returned to the air rights allocation pool on April 1, 2018.


In August 2018, American Airlines decided to stop flying the Shanghai Pudong – Chicago route after October 26, and 12th of the same month, Hawaiian Airlines suspended the Honolulu – Beijing route.


On October 11th, the day before the suspension of the route, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) received relevant documents from Hawaiian Airlines. Since there are tight restrictions on the frequencies of US carriers flying to Beijing, despite Hawaiian Airlines‘ long-term plan includes the Chinese market, The DOT believed that the scarce frequencies should be fully utilised on the grounds of lacking clear short term plan on Hawaiian’s side. Therefore, Hawaiian Airlines should return their air rights of this route from October 12,


On October 19th, American Airlines applied to retain air rights for the 14 weekly frequencies for its Beijing – Chicago, Shanghai – Chicago routes for a 90-day dormancy period until November 1, 2019, while hoping the market will be in more favourable situations before the deadline for them to restore these services. American Airlines believed that such exemption will be in the public interest as it will allow the US aviation market quickly restores these services while also avoiding delays caused by reapplying for air rights allocation.

During that time, US carriers had 7 frequencies remaining to Zone 1 cities in China in addition to the 14 frequencies that American Airlines applied for exemption.


On October 22, Delta submitted an application to the US Department of Transportation for the opening of a new route from Shanghai to Minneapolis. Delta Air Lines indicated in its application that it plans to cooperate with China Eastern Airlines and Shanghai Airlines on the route. Delta Air Lines pointed out that because frequencies for Tier 1 cities is difficult to obtain, it needed sufficient lead time to apply for the route.


On October 30, Delta Air Lines submitted information to the US Department of Transportation, expressing dissatisfaction with the application filed by American Airlines on October 19. Although Delta Air Lines does not object to the relief sought by American Airlines. However, judging by the overall condition of lacking available frequencies to Tier 1 cities in China, Delta believed that the DOT shouldn’t grant American’s applications at this time.

  • If the DOT agreed in whole or in part with the application of American Airlines, it will prevent the Ministry of Communications from promptly approving Delta Air Lines‘ application for its Minneapolis to Shanghai route. Delta Air Lines thus would oppose the DOT’s exemption for American Airlines.
  • With then 7 unallocated Zone 1 frequencies sufficient enough to support Delta’s proposed daily flights; If granted, Delta Air Lines would then not to object American Airlines’ application for exemption. However, if another US carrier submits a competitive application to use the 7 frequencies, Delta would demand the DOT to redistribute all 21 assignable frequencies.

On November 2rd, United submitted information to the US Department of Transportation suspecting that American Airlines would be returning to Beijing and Shanghai in November. United does not object to Delta‘s application earlier as long as it does not sacrifice United‘s future plan for China. United Airlines agreed with Delta‘s stance that airlines need to begin planning for new services to China in the next 18 to 24 months. Thus United asked the DOT to veto American Airlines’ exemption request, and immediately assigned the 14 weekly air rights to other airlines and both Delta and United should be able to apply for it.

United Airlines would apply for 7 flights a week to add a second daily flight between Newark and Shanghai with the 7 frequencies requested to remain valid indefinitely. United also believed that United’s and Delta’s applications are not mutually exclusive, thus the Department of Transportation should be able to grant both airlines’ air rights at the same time.


On November 6, American Airlines objected to the air rights application for Delta Air Lines‘ Minneapolis – Shanghai Pudong route. American Airlines believed that the new route application submitted by Delta and United conflicts with the air rights exemption applied to itself.

On the same day, Hawaiian Airlines also submitted a response stating that it does not object to Delta’s and United’s usage of air rights to open new routes, but disputed the date for the launch of Delta’s and United’s route is too far. In addition, Hawaiian demanded that airlines should open the route no later than six months after the application is filed.


On November 7, American Airlines applied to extend its air rights of route AA826 between Chicago and Beijing. American Airlines said that as long as it continues to hold the route management rights, its 7 weekly air rights will be valid indefinitely.



REFERENCES

  • Painter, K. L. (2018, October 23). Delta proposes a nonstop flight between MSP and Shanghai. Retrieved from http://www.startribune.com/delta-proposes-a-nonstop-flight-between-msp-and-shanghai/498207581/.
  • Delta to expand trans-Pacific service with nonstop Shanghai-Atlanta flight. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://news.delta.com/delta-expand-trans-pacific-service-nonstop-shanghai-atlanta-flight.
  • Newsroom – News – American Airlines Group, Inc. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://news.aa.com/news/default.aspx.
  • Sumers, B., Skift, Schwankert, S., Schaal, D., Skift, & Skyhook. (2013, September 24). Honolulu Will Soon Have Three Carriers Flying Non-Stop Between Beijing. Retrieved from https://skift.com/2013/09/14/honolulu-will-soon-have-three-carriers-flying-non-stop-between-bejing/.

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Airline Operation

Air France Rolls Out New Business Class On Its Airbus A350s

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Air France's 1st Airbus A350

On September 27, 2019, Air France took delivery of its first Airbus A350 at the Airbus delivery centre in Toulouse (France).

Meeting Air France’s First Airbus A350

This will only be one of the 28 Airbus A350 Air France will take delivery by 2025. Each of their new A350s will be equipped with 324 seats in a 3 class layout, with 34 in the Business cabin, 24 in Premium Economy and 266 in Economy.

Toulouse

Air France’s first Airbus A350

Air France Press


This first Airbus A350 is therefore being named “Toulouse” by Anne-Marie Couderc, Chair of Air France-KLM and Air France and the aircraft’s sponsor. The capital of aviation par excellence, Toulouse is also the birthplace of this new aircraft that is joining the company’s fleet. Moreover, Air France has been serving Toulouse since the company’s creation in 1933. Air France is thus promoting France, its culture and history throughout the world.


Air France's 1st Airbus A350
Air France’s 1st Airbus A350

New Airbus A350 destinations:

The Air France Airbus A350 will gradually start operating to 6 destinations* on 4 continents as from October 7 on departure from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to

  • Abidjan (Ivory Coast): from October 7, 2019 to December 8, 2019, and as from February 10, 2020 for the 2020 summer season;
  • Bamako (Mali): from October 7, 2019 to December 8, 2019, and as from February 10, 2020 for the 2020 summer season;
  • Toronto (Canada): as from October 27, 2019;
  • Cairo (Egypt): as from December 9, 2019;
  • Seoul (South Korea): as from December 9, 2019;
  • Bangkok (Thailand): 2020 summer season.

(*)Flight schedule on September 16, 2019.


New Business Class Cabin:

The newest business cabin of Air France uses the Zodiac Optima seating by Safran which can turns into a 2 metre-long lie-flat bed. The new business product also came with new 18.5-inch HD touchscreens. All seats have direct aisle access in their 1-2-1 configuration while the 32 seats business class cabin will be even more spacious and quiet.

Air France Airbus A350 Business Class Cabin
Air France Airbus A350 Business Class Cabin
Air France New Business IFE System
Air France New Business IFE System
Air France New Business Interior Design
Air France New Business Interior Design

Air France also introduced improvements and exciting new features about their Premium Economy and Economy class products, the brand new “Recliner” seat in Premium Economy is 48cm wide and reclines up to 124° together with 96cm seat pitch and a 13.3-inch HD touchscreen.

Brand New Premium Economy Cabin Onboard Air France's Airbus A350s
Brand New Premium Economy Cabin Onboard Air France’s Airbus A350s
Economy Cabin With 3-3-3 Layout
Economy Cabin With 3-3-3 Layout

The arrival of a new aircraft is always a unique and highly emotional occasion in the life of an airline. Along with all Air France staff, we are extremely proud to welcome the Airbus A350, one of the world’s most efficient long-haul aircraft in terms of environmental, economic and operational performance. As from October 7, our customers will be able to discover optimal comfort and service on board these new cabins.

The arrival of this first A350 marks a new phase in Air France’s fleet modernization strategy. Within 5 years, more than half of the company’s fleet will be made up of new-generation aircraft!”

Anne Rigail, CEO of Air France
Air France New A350 Winglet
Air France New A350 Winglet

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