A roundup of some of the airline news from the past few days. This post sees a stronger than normal focus on Australian carriers but Delta, SWISS and WOW Air all also appear.
Will Qantas Return to Continental Europe?
Australian Business Traveller (ABT) is reporting that recent meetings between Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and Emirates President Tim Clark could have opened the door for Qantas to re-enter the European market in the near future.
It wasn’t that long ago that Qantas was an airline in disarray and in serious financial turmoil. It was only a couple of years ago that the airline cancelled its Sydney-Frankfurt service and dissolved it’s codeshare agreements with Cathay Pacific (Flights to Rome) and with Air Prance (Paris flights). Since then there hasn’t been a Qantas flight to continental Europe (Istanbul doesn’t count!).
So what’s changed?
Well, apart from the fact that Qantas is on a much stronger financial footing nowadays, it now has a healthy partnership with Emirates and it has also just firmed up it’s order for 8 of Boeing’s 787-9 Dreamliners (deliveries to begin in 2017) as well as having purchase rights and options for 45 more.
The 787-9 is a considerably more economical aircraft than the majority of planes in Qantas’ fleet and when you combine that with its impressive range the argument for Qantas to re-enter the European market begins to make a little sense.
Whether anything will come of this it’s hard to tell but Qantas is going to have to do something with the new Dreamliners it will be receiving and I don’t see them being used solely to fly around Asia.
SWISS’ New Flagship 777-300ER is Coming
Swiss is putting its shiny new 777-300ER aircraft into service over the 2015/16 winter period – initially around Europe but the aircraft will also serve the prestigious Zurich-New York route from early 2016. There are no fixed dates for the New York service but, as the aircraft will be flying short, European, flights to get crew accustomed to the new plane until 17 March, it’s probably safe to assume that the New York flights won’t commence before then.
With a spacious, sleek new business class cabin the Zurich-New York route is one I’m hoping to try out in 2016.
Virgin Australia Delays Boeing 777 Upgrades To 2016
Another story from ABT reports that the much anticipated upgrades to Virgin Australia’s 777’s will now not be rolled out until next year.
The upgrades were due to be done in November of this year and are set to see the 777 aircraft fitted out with a new Premium Economy cabin featuring:
- A 24 seat cabin.
- A seat pitch of 41 inches, with more legroom than any other Australian airline.
- A plated meal service inspired by business class, tailored to the guest and accompanied by a selection of wines from our Business Class cellar.
- A Premium Larder for self-service food and beverages for the exclusive use of Premium Economy guests.
Read more about the new Premium Economy product HERE.
In addition to a new Premium Economy cabin, the 777 will feature the same new business class seats as found on Virgin Australia’s domestic Airbus A330s:
Virgin Australia has been having issues getting the new cabins/seats certified for the 777 aircraft (hence the delay) so travelers on the 777 aircraft between Australia and the US will have a little bit more waiting to do before they see the new product on their routes.
WOW Air Confirms Services To Canada From May 2016
WOW Air is the Icelandic-based airline that offers low-cost fares between Europe and North America. I’ve featured WOW Air sales on Traveling For Miles before and it’s an airline I’m looking forward to trying out.
The airline had suggested in the past that it was looking at commencing services between it’s home base in Iceland and Canada but it’s only now that the routes have been confirmed.
WOW Air will operate flights between Reykjavik and Montreal and Reykjavik and Toronto from May 2016.
Reykjavik – Montreal
The flight will operate 4 times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday) using Airbus A321 Aircraft. The flight times are as follows:
WW135 KEF 15:25 – 17:00 YUL
WW136 YUL 19:55 – 04:50+1 KEF
Reykjavik – Toronto
As with the Montreal flight this one is scheduled to fly 4 times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday) using Airbus A321 Aircraft. The flight times are as follows:
WW145 KEF 15:20 – 17:20 YYZ
WW146 YYZ 19:30 – 04:50+1 KEF
Delta Asks US DOT To Seize American Airlines’ Haneda Route
According to Business Traveller Delta has filed a request with the US Department of Transport asking them to revoke American’s flight rights between Los Angeles and Tokyo’s Haneda airport.
This is a tit-for-tat retaliation by Delta following American’s successful petition to have the DOT remove Delta’s rights to its Seattle-Haneda route.
Delta is claiming that American Airlines had 60 days to commence service to Haneda (something which it has not done) and that the failure to deliver this service should see it stripped of it’s route rights. American has countered by saying that they’re “still working through the process to obtain slots [from the Japanese government].”
To be honest, the spats between Delta and American were amusing to start off with (fights over Haneda, fights over interline agreements and numerous attempts at adding capacity to each other’s routes) but now they’re beginning to look like a couple of school children who simply can’t get on in the playground.
I already think that Delta’s CEO, Richard Anderson, is one of the biggest hypocrites out there but Doug Parker and American aren’t much better. One has to wonder, with continual spats like these, just how long the Big 3 US Airlines can stay aligned in their poorly-conceived struggle against the Middle Eastern carriers?