Delta Plans Shanghai Flights Via Seoul

Delta Air Lines is planning on resuming China services next month. However, the airline is getting creative when…

Delta Plans Shanghai Flights Via Seoul

Delta Air Lines is planning on resuming China services next month. However, the airline is getting creative when it comes to flying those routes. In a schedule update, Delta has indicated that it wants to fly to Shanghai via Seoul-Incheon.

Delta wants to resume China flights next month. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Delta plans one-stop Shanghai resumption

As demand starts to improve– especially within and to China– Delta wants to restart flights to Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport from its hubs in Detroit and Seattle. For these flights, Delta wants to make a stop in Seoul en route to Shanghai.

China has gotten more strict in recent months when it comes to allowing foreigners into the country. This likely could impact airline crewmembers. Delta is currently running its cargo-only flights to Shanghai via Seoul. A new crew would take over from Seoul and do a turnaround from Shanghai. This means the only place Delta’s flight crew will have to layover in is Seoul.

Delta Shanghai
A Delta Boeing 777 in Shanghai. Photo: Getty Images

The move would also be a way for Delta to serve China without adding too much capacity. Several airlines do operate flights like this. For example, Singapore Airlines’ flight to Cape Town operates with a stop in Johannesburg. And, hopefully, one day, Delta will fly the same. Delta likely will not have permission to fly passengers solely between Shanghai and Seoul.

Shanghai is a significant hub for fellow SkyTeam alliance partner, China Eastern. Seoul is a hub for Korean Air– also a member of the SkyTeam alliance and a very close partner of Delta’s. Delta will be able to offer connections via Shanghai or Seoul for passengers who need to fly to other destinations in East Asia.

China Eastern Boeing 777
Delta passengers seeking to fly to other points in China could connect onboard China Eastern’s aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

Issues with restarting service to Shanghai

Delta is waiting on confirmation from the Chinese government for launching flights. Currently, the US Department of Transportation believes that China is blocking US airlines from operating services to the country. Unless that dispute is resolved, Delta will not be able to operate flights to China.

At this time, Delta is only seeking to resume flights to Shanghai. Service to the brand new Beijing Daxing Airport is expected to start later this year.

Airbus A350s currently fly cargo-only flights to Shanghai via Seoul. Photo: Jay Singh/Simple Flying

Will these flights become permanent?

While fewer aircraft overall will be needed to fly to Shanghai, Delta will still have to block additional time on those jets, making some itineraries longer. This would reduce some of Delta’s competitive advantage. However, for the time being, this might be the best way to serve China. Until travel demand starts to improve, it is better for Delta to fly one full aircraft to East Asia rather than two empty ones across the Pacific.

Cargo will also make its way to and from China in the hold. This helps drive additional revenue and can offset some losses as Delta is selling fewer seats onboard its planes.

Airline schedules are incredibly fluid right now. If Delta does not get the proper approval, it will not be able to resume these Shanghai flights. If you are scheduled to fly on Delta either to or through Shanghai, keep an eye out on your itinerary in case regulatory hurdles force the airline to cancel or amend its flight schedules.

Do you think this routing is a good idea? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Vietnam Airlines Mulls Ordering 50 New Planes

Hanoi-based Vietnam Airlines is eyeing a significant fleet expansion. The prospect was raised by the airline’s CEO, Duong…

Vietnam Airlines Mulls Ordering 50 New Planes

Hanoi-based Vietnam Airlines is eyeing a significant fleet expansion. The prospect was raised by the airline’s CEO, Duong Tri Thanh, last week. This comes despite Vietnam Airlines reeling from the impact of COVID-19 and grounding 100 of its 103 aircraft. But Duong Tri Thanh sees opportunities in the midst of an aviation storm.

Vietnam Airlines has floated the idea of buying 50 new planes. Photo: Tom Boon / Simple Flying.

Moving forward amid heavy financial losses

Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world and boasts some of the world’s busiest domestic airline routes. But this year, Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Authority expects local airlines to lose hundreds of millions of dollars. Vietnam Airlines is forewarning a loss of USD$843 million in 2020. In the first quarter of 2020, the airline lost USD$110 million.

Duong Tri Thanh thinks it will take up to five years for the aviation business to return to normal in Vietnam. You might think now would be a good time for Vietnam Airlines to cut its losses and reduce expenses. But the airline’s CEO plans to do the opposite.

Rather, Duong Tri Thanh says now is a good time to buy aircraft. He wants Vietnam Airlines to be in the box position to seize opportunities when normal operations resume. According to a report in VietnamNet, the CEO proposes buying 50 more aircraft at a cost of approximately USD$3.8 billion to help achieve this.

Vietnam Airlines wants to be ready to seize future opportunities. Photo: Tom Boon / Simple Flying.

That’s about a 50% increase on the current fleet size of 103 aircraft. The airline boss argues that normal wait times for new aircraft have been dramatically slashed as other airlines cancel orders. Further, with demand for new planes so low, the big aircraft manufacturers should offer deep discounts to potential new buyers like Vietnam Airlines.

Growth in Vietnam’s aviation sector halted

Government-owned Vietnam Airlines has been under threat by more nimble and aggressive emerging competitors well before COVID-19 struck. Vietnam’s aviation sector has thrived in the last decade with year on year double-digit growth. In addition to Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, Vietjet Air, Vietnam Air Services Company (VASCO), and Bamboo Airways are all scooting around the country. But the brakes have been slammed down hard on Vietnam’s booming aviation sector this year.

With the sector expected to be awash in a sea of red ink for years to come, Vietnam’s Government has stopped the approval process for new airlines. Three new airlines were waiting in the wings. That will give Vietnam Airlines some breathing space in the immediate future. After suspending flights, domestic flying in Vietnam resumed in mid-May, with services gradually ramping up.

Vietnam’s Government has stopped issuing permits for new airlines. Photo: Tom Boon / Simple Flying

Radical decisions to help lock-in Vietnam Airlines’ future

The pro-growth stance taken by Duong Tri Thanh might run counter to conventional wisdom, but he cannot afford to be complacent in a space filled with market hungry newcomers. That space will get even more crowded when the Vietnamese Government lifts its temporary ban on processing new operating permits.

Local upstart competitors like Bamboo Airways have problems of its own. But Bamboo Airways is resolutely pushing ahead with its plans to have 40 aircraft by the end of 2020 and a 30% market share in Vietnam.

Competitors like Bamboo Airways mean Vietnam Airlines cannot afford to be complacent. They’ll leap at gaps in the market the big government-owned carrier is slow to or cannot fill. Powering his airline’s own growth and keeping the lid on competitors like Bamboo Airways are just two reasons why Vietnam Airlines’ Duong Tri Thanh might think now is a good time to buy new planes.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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