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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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Fleet Management

Air France Continues Fleet Renewal Plan With 60 A220-300s & 38 A350-900s On Order

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A220-300 Air France

The Air France–KLM Group yesterday(17 December) has firmed up an order for 60 Airbus A220-300 aircraft as its continuous plan to modernise its single-aisle fleet. The aircraft are intended to be operated by Air France and the airline is scheduled to take delivery of its first A220 in September 2021. On December 11 Air France-KLM also approved an order for 10 additional Airbus A350-900s, summing Air France’s order to 38. As part of a long-haul fleet simplification strategy to replace the early retired A380s, these airplanes’ arrival will also allow the company to accelerate the departure of its Airbus A340s during the first quarter of 2021.


“We are glad to see that Air France is endorsing the A220 as a great step towards fleet optimisation for large network carriers. The largest Airbus A220 order from a European carrier to date speaks volumes on Air France’s ambitious sustainability drive. The modern and fuel efficient Airbus A220 will contribute to lower fuel burn and CO2 emissions significantly compared to older generation aircraft, We thank Air France for the confidence placed in Airbus and for its investment in our latest technology aircraft.” 

Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer

Air France’s Current Long-haul Fleet Consists Of 107 Aircraft:

  • 15 Airbus A330s,
  • 4 Airbus A340s,
  • 2 Airbus A350s,
  • 9 Airbus A380s,
  • 68 Boeing 777s, 
  • 9 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Air France’s Future Long-haul Fleet Plans Only 4 Families:

  • Airbus A330s,
  • Airbus A350s,
  • Boeing 787s,
  • Boeing 777s.

Air Canada A220-300 Takes Off
Air Canada A220-300 Takes Off

The A220, formerly Bombardier CS300, is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market; it delivers significant fuel efficiency and wide body passenger comfort in a single-aisle aircraft. The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer 20% less fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft. The A220 offers the performance of larger single-aisle aircraft. The A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100-to-150-seat aircraft market, is an ideal aircraft model to be part of Air France-KLM fleet renewal and consolidation plan initiated by the recently appointed CEO Benjamin Smith.

Air France is planning to use the 60 Airbus A220-300s to replace its fleet of single-aisle A318s and A319s.


“Rationalising and modernising the fleet is central to our effort to regain our leading position in Europe, It will strengthen our performance from both an economic and operational standpoint, and will help us deliver on our ambitious sustainability agenda. Offering a 25% reduction in fuel consumption compared to previous-generation aircraft, the Airbus A350-900 is a jewel of European expertise and a passenger favorite. We are excited to see it become a core asset of the Air France fleet.”

Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM Group

Air France A350-900 Wing
Air France A350-900 Wing

The A350-900 marks a new phase in Air France’s fleet modernisation strategy. Within 5 years, more than half of the company’s fleet will be made up of new-generation aircraft, Air France took delivery of their first Airbus A350 named Toulouse in September this year with a brand new business class product, the airline will be replacing their older Airbus A340s with the A350-900s and potentially Boeing 777-200ERs and Airbus A330s in the coming years.

A350-900 Air France
A350-900 Air France

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Airline Operation

British Airways & China Southern To Codeshare On 14 Routes

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British Airways A350 Wingtip

From the 2rd January 2020, British Airways(BA) and China Southern Airlines(CZ) will expanded their 10 codeshared routes since 2017 to 14; the new joint venture agreement was signed at Beijing Daxing International Airport today(17th December); the two airlines will start joint venture cooperation on 6 routes between China and the United Kingdom, and reciprocal frequent flyer program benefits will be updated to these routes as well.

Joint Venture Ceremony Beijing Daxing Airport
Joint Venture Ceremony Beijing Daxing Airport

British Airways was one of the very first foreign airlines to switch their entire operation in Beijing to the new Daxing International Airport, the airline is hoping to benefit from the new dual-hub model emphasised earlier by the former SkyTeam member – China Southern Airlines. China Southern Airlines will attach greater focus on their new hub at Beijing Daxing International Airport; the Guangzhou – Beijing dual-hub strategy was first initiated in 2018, with the airline’s aim to operate two extensive long-haul networks in both the north and south of China, with estimated 250+ aircrafts to be stationed at Beijing Daxing, 900+ flights daily to be operated by 2025.

China Southern will be steadily increase expand new routes from Daxing to Europe and the United States, and substantially increase the domestic network’s support for international routes and partners. Currently China Southern Airlines has attained approval from the CAAC on 6 international routes from Daxing, including one daily flight to London.


14 Codeshare Routes Between China and the UK:

As part of the joint venture cooperation, the two airlines will implement code-sharing cooperation on mutually operated routes, including the following:

  • Sino-British long-haul routes:
    • Guangzhou-London Heathrow, (CZ)
    • Wuhan-London Heathrow, (CZ)
    • Sanya-London Heathrow, (CZ)
    • Zhengzhou-London Heathrow,(CZ)
    • Beijing Daxing-London Heathrow(CZ) (2020)
    • London Heathrow-Shanghai Pudong, (BA)
    • London Heathrow- Beijing Daxing; (BA)
  • BA domestic codeshare routes:
    • London Heathrow-Edinburgh,
    • London Heathrow-Glasgow,
    • London Heathrow-Manchester,
    • London Heathrow-Newcastle,
    • London Heathrow-Belfast;
  • CZ domestic codeshare routes:
    • Shanghai Pudong-Shenyang,
    • Shanghai Pudong-Harbin,
    • Shanghai Pudong-Changchun;

*More route frequencies and the Chinese and British domestic routes connecting them will be expanded in the codesharing agreement.


“We are delighted to announce this joint business which will bring the UK and China closer together by providing British Airways and China Southern Airlines customers with a wide range of benefits. The agreement reinforces our commitment to boost tourism and business travel between the two countries and we look forward to strengthening the relationship further.”

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO

China-Southern-Airlines-Tail-B-1205
China Southern Airlines Tail B-1205

In the past two years, the business and tourism markets between China and the UK have to continued to enjoy rapid growth, 2,4 million passengers travelled between the two countries during the period from September 2018 to August 2019, a year-on-year growth of 18.2%. China Southern quickly opened new destinations to London Heathrow from Wuhan, Sanya and Zhengzhou during this period, so a joint venture with UK’s biggest airline has become extremely important. China Southern had started codeshare agreements with Qatar Airways, American Airlines, Finnair and Emirates earlier after its decision on leaving the SkyTeam alliance.

OneWorld is not the biggest airline alliance out there, and its representation in mainland China is close to non-existent, with China Southern establishes partnerships with so many OneWorld member airlines this quickly, one may start to think of their intention of becoming a OneWorld member, however, It is worth noting that while the cooperation between China Southern Airlines and OneWorld Airlines is getting much closer, Cathay Pacific and Star Alliance founding member – Lufthansa quietly started codesharing in several European and Australian routes, and China Eastern has also reached out to OneWorld’s Qantas. We can only expect that more and more cooperations between large airlines will break through the restrictions of the alliance in the future.

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