No I guess its just gate 12 at the moment although the whole pier resembled a building site when I went through last month. I guess you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette so I await my next trip with baited breath!!
Skipness, what I wrote may read as harsh but once they had the spark of starting Go!, they should have headed off easyJet at the outset by basing it away from the London area and, regrettably, abandon the hub strategy they they appeared to be developing; they never did quite harness the European flights into feeding the long-haul.
In terms of letting the Gulf carriers dominate the regions, sadly I have to wonder why the three alliances are letting them do this; SQ I keep hearing that half the F class is being booked out of MAN and J class is difficult to book. That cargo plays a part in keeping MAN viable should make me wonder if they will take the decision to delink the service again and trust the alleged pattern of F and J class bookings will continue. Although there is some murmuring about the current route being upgraded to A380 in the medium term.
Anywhere, it's reported elsewhere that they were 503 pax inbound today and 501 pax outbound on today's service.
In terms of letting the Gulf carriers dominate the regions, sadly I have to wonder why the three alliances are letting them do this
Not sure which data you are using, but traffic between UK regional airports and the Gulf was 1.7m in 2009. Traffic between UK regional airports and Heathrow was 5.5m. AF/KLM traffic is getting on for 4m between UK regional airports and their hubs in CDG & AMS. For proper UK regional coverage, KL are streets ahead.
All this talk of BA and the regions, just want to put my 2 cents in:
I can understand why BA focus on heathrow as a hub. Its the capital, their base and where a good pax base comes in. Just like EK serve MAN from their hub, AA from theirs, QR from theirs and so on, BA are serving routes ex-LHR from their hub. Thats fine and dandy, but my main bone of contention is that they are now looking to expand elsewhere, and this place is MAD. Again, I understand the IB tie in, but rather than give MAN a chance, expansion is going mile and miles south of the UK. Its BRITISH airways, not LHR-MAD airways! Now, Id rather see BA set up a small hub at MAN, displacing some high frequency routes to MAN, for example LHR-NYC where AA has 5 or 6, and LHR has 9 (EWR/JFK). Im sure LON pax would rather travel 100 miles up to MAN, or as seen as many pax originate north of the midlands anyway so not far for them to travel anyway, rather than send them hundred of miles south before bringing them northwards back to NYC, adding hours to their journey. British Airways is a UK airline, so why not give the UK a chance? Im not expecting a full blown super hub with hundreds of flights to every world airport, but a MUC-esque hub similar to what LH have.
Now, this middle eastern dominance issue.
Yes, there are lots of pax travelling that way, and it is taking an ever increasing market share, but this is because it is the current best route. There is no viable/worthwhile competition at the moment, why would you travel MAN-LHR-SIN-SYD when you can travel MAN-MID EAST-SYD? If the service was there, im sure pax would use it as the pax figures are obviously there. I cant remember where the figures are, but I saw that 138000 pax travelled MAN-LHR-HKG, and thats just LHR, how many more via DXB/AUH/DOH/FRA/AMS and so on? If you cant make at least 4 weekly flights work with that sort of figure, then you really are in trouble! Now for yields. 138000 obviously like the price of the tickets MAN-LHR-HKG, and the CEO'S obviously like the price of the tickets MAN-LHR-HKG so why not start MAN with the same prices, meaning yields are there but costs are lower due to lower airport fees and dropping of the need of a MAN-LHR flights.
Goodness gracious! What a debate I've started.....
Ok. As far as BA bashing. Guilty as charged.
Understand the economics, but the point I'm trying to make is that through their actions over the last 5 years or so, BA have really alienated many people in the N of England who would have normally had some allegiance to flying with the supposed UK 'flag carrier'. Carriers like EK have exploited this and good luck to them. For me, BA is the last resort (i.e. LGW).
As Skipness says, if we could rely on BA making the links to their hub from their domestic links a priority, then they might be a viable proposition. But any sign of trouble and they sack them.
So, in summary, I agree with most of the sentiments of the posters. As history has proven over the last 50 years, MA can't rely on BA but can rely on other carriers to fill the gap that they haven't the acumen / ability to fulfil....
Whilst I agree with the thrust of your argument S1E, on a point of order it is worth mentioning that the most recent development in the retrenchment of SQ at MAN was actually to upgrade the service to daily as of this week!
Wanna_be_there: argument from the last century unfortunately. In the 21st century the country of origin of an airline is increasingly immaterial - ie RYR, EZY, AF, LH etc either with multiple non-domestic bases, or foreign subsidiaries, and that will only increase.
As the BA JFK flight demonstrated, a long haul base with a single daily flight will only ever have a shaky future at best, unless it can be ramped up to start to achieve a critical mass of daily flights. A long term plan, the resources to cope with 2-3 years of losses as traffic built up, and properly based crews would be an absolute minimum starting point, and I can't see BA being in a position to do that anytime soon even if they had the inclination.
The best chance of BA returning might be if they decided to partner with a new start up airline, which would have none of the overheads that BA have. Something along the lines of the model they used to have with GB Airways might work, as long as the start up had very deep pockets for the start up costs (we're probably talking 9 figure sums), but I won't be holding my breath!
Again, I understand the IB tie in, but rather than give MAN a chance, expansion is going mile and miles south of the UK. Its BRITISH airways, not LHR-MAD airways! Now, Id rather see BA set up a small hub at MAN, displacing some high frequency routes to MAN, for example LHR-NYC where AA has 5 or 6, and LHR has 9 (EWR/JFK).
There's sadly no room for sentiment as one bad summer can kill an airline and the dole queue is a rather long one. A large amount of BA's profits come from a small number of select routes, the LHR-JFK being one of them, so sharing the resources with MAN doesn't work in the same way. 10 LHR-JFK flights will make more money than an 8+2 split, indeed they are heading to a half hourly evening shuttle out of JFK shared with AA. I think it's all about the connections, and with room to grow at MAD, they can have a business model with critical mass and some logic to it. i.e. US from London, South America from Madrid, bith hubs with large feeds, lounges, engineering staff and the whole shebang.
There's sadly no room for sentiment as one bad summer can kill an airline
Its not so much about sentiment, but more of adjusting the resources accordingly. The point I am trying to make is the following:
LHR is comming up to critical mass and BA in particular are looking at spreading their pax between LHR and MAD, but there are so many pax that are comming from the northern end of the UK that, quite frankly dont need to go through LHR if BA opened up a small selection of routes from the likes of MAN. For example, 138000 people flew MAN-LHR-HKG on BA/CX last year with their code sharing. as a full 365 day even split, thats 378 pax per day that are travelling through LHR. If 1 HKG flight was moved up to LHR, that frees up those pax to go MAN-HKG direct, the old LHR-HKG slots could be used to open up a new needed route from LHR so not only are pax staying with BA/CX, but they will be happier thanks to a direct service and BA gets its much needed expansions and BAA doesnt loose out at the pax/slot void would soon be filled with another route. Win win win for all sides! Yield wise, say a ticket MAN-LHR-HKG was £500, pax are obviously happy paying this and BA/CX are obviously happy with the returns of this. They could still charge £500 for said ticket MAN-HKG, but lower landing fees and the removal of the need of the MAN-LHR segment means profit per ticket actually increases!
JFK was another example as how many pax are travelling MAN-LHR-NYC that could easily be contained at MAN rather than clog up all the LHR services? AA has shown BA that demand is there (yet BA still refuse to code share on this?)
There would need to be a few routes that could be moved to MAN to make a small hub viable cost wise, otherwise we would just have another issue the same as the BA MAN-JFK route which lost money not because of pax yield/loads, but the sheer cost of operating a stand alone route.
Another benefit of this could be that as more pax can be contained at MAN, this could also free up one or 2 slots from the shuttles, as less pax means less need for them.
So basically, think of it as a river, running from a mountain top to the sea, via a resevoir half way down. At the moment, the resevoir water level is getting higher and higher to the point the dam is going to breach, and quite frankly, the water doesnt need to be there. Its time to dig a secondary channel so that the water can by-pass the resevoir and get to the sea quicker, easier and relieving the stresses on the resevoir. That is the MAN-LHR-XXX situation.
The staff are in one place. The engineering cover is in one place. The aircraft are based in one place. The passengers are fed into one place. This is the hub and spoke concept, the one that Emirates uses really well too remember.
If 1 HKG flight was moved up to LHR, that frees up those pax to go MAN-HKG direct, the old LHR-HKG slots could be used to open up a new needed route from LHR so not only are pax staying with BA/CX, but they will be happier thanks to a direct service and BA gets its much needed expansions and BAA doesnt loose out at the pax/slot void would soon be filled with another route. Win win win for all sides! Yield wise, say a ticket MAN-LHR-HKG was £500, pax are obviously happy paying this and BA/CX are obviously happy with the returns of this. They could still charge £500 for said ticket MAN-HKG, but lower landing fees and the removal of the need of the MAN-LHR segment means profit per ticket actually increases!
What you say makes good sense but I have to say that it really, really doesn't work like this in reality. One hub at either end, not a split hub between the UK capital and another airport.
Do you really think BA has Cathay's arm up it's back preventing them flying HKG-MAN? In the real world, a direct MAN-HKG would cost more for a ticket more than MAN-LHR-HKG. Why pay more to fly direct when Emirates has a good one stop service for less? Remember that one less flight from LHR, in some eyes, makes LHR less competitive. If Cathay moved a flight to MAN from LHR, what can happen is that the competition juggle slots and fly the same route at your old time and nick your premium passengers.
This was the reason the "BA Hub Without the Hubbub" concept crashed at LGW. Every flight they moved to LGW left the front end at LHR with the competition. Yes I agree that's a little mad but there we go!
I doubt anyone would drop a LHR slot in favour of MAN, the question remains why CX have failed to add a complimentary service on the A340 say. For that, I suspect the reason is the Emirates A380 and the rise of Qatar and Etihad at MAN.
Interesting debate re long haul but I suspect not all contributors have much experience of the matter even as a mere passenger like me.
The BA bashing is tiresome really - it's a private business, not the Ministry of Aviation and they have a right to operate where they feel they can make (most) money - like any other airline. I tend not to use BA myself as I don't like the drag of LHR - and yes even T5 - but to say that Northern folk 'are increasingly refusing to use them' smacks only of sour grapes. I wonder whether the so-called goodwill that people talk about on here is only amongst the aviation enthusiast community, as most people I know don't give a hoot. A friend of mine, living only 20 minutes from Manchester Airport, who regularly travels business class to the US - including to a place that has a daily non stop from MAN still insists on flying to LHR and back across with BA because he collects BA miles, He gets enough over the course of a year to pay for a nice family holiday. That sort of thing goes on quite a lot whether we like it or not.
In terms of further long haul expansion to the east from MAN, good news as Emirates is, it was one more nail in the coffin in terms of other airlines trying new routes. One possible exception is HKG because the numbers might make a non stop work, but that would be it.
A couple more points based on the real world of people who actually do the flying that creates the demand for these routes and airlines:
1. To make any long haul route work for business pax really, you need a daily service, There would be no way I would stay an extra day in some far flung destination to wait for a direct service to MAN when I could get back to the family through a usually wide range of options, a whole day sooner. Something like a 2x weekly to (say) Beijing would likely end up with a full back end of aircraft with people who don't mind when they travel as long as it's cheap.....and a near empty front end as the business passengers will have made other arrangements. Result: failed service.
2. Those that talk about Emirates and their great connections to China, obviously haven't had to do that on business unless they like sitting in aeroplanes. If you're in MAN and need to go to Beijing you would probably go with Lufthansa or Finnair, I've tried most of the viable options and those are the best, Reality check over.
Do you really think BA has Cathay's arm up it's back preventing them flying HKG-MAN? the question remains why CX have failed to add a complimentary service on the A340 say
A service on said A340 was very nearly launched, to the point the route was put on sale! I dont know the truth behind it but most seemed to say it was bmi who threw their toys out of the pram that time preventing the service starting.
EK fly to their hub, QR to theirs, EY to theirs and all the time, oneworld are loosing pax over this. It is a good question now as to why a counter attack has not begun by CX from their hub. The amount of cargo CX shift Via MAN, surely that alone could absorb a lot of the costs of a MAN-HKG route?
I used the old Cathay services via ZRH/AMS/CDG and they were pretty well used, considering there were capacity restraints due to the one stop pick up. Ive tried the CX from HKG via LHR and it was a nightmare of a journey, the CX flight to LHR had very few pax on it,(maybe indicating HKG-LHR is over saturated ?), but the connection hasssle was awful as was the shuttle experience. If CX come back to MAN then I would use them. In the meantime, I'm more than happy to use Swiss or Lufthansa on their one stop flights. As has already been said, CX shift enough cargo from MAN, so they already have the mx infrastructure / handling / crew changes etc in place. I would have thought a 744 or 777 five times a week would carry enough cargo to make the pax service very viable - if they realy wanted to come back.
The more recent aborted re-start was for a CX service via Moscow with full pax rights. Not a bad idea in itself as we have no direct Moscow flights either. The rumour was that BMI hold traffic rights on MAN-Moscow & objected to this proposed service-whether that is true or not, I do not know. If it's true, I don't understand how an airline can object to a route they don't operate, but I guess political bi lateral agreements come into play here. At the end of the day, CX could have opted for plan B, but maybe they just didn't have one.
I note that 2 days on from the 1st A380 EK service, MAG have still not issued any form of press release to coincide with this big event. In fact, the last release was 18 Aug saying they were A380 ready.
They are missing a trick if they cannot make the most of this PR dream opportunity.....
Do they need to make a press release? It was well covered by most UK news groups and watched by thousands of people. All worked effortlessly in front of the media/spectators so what else would MAN need to say?
I agree with much of this, just wonder why they didn't go for the MAN-HKG direct on the A340 without the Moscow stop. I think the cargo on the A340-300 would be restricted perhaps so not ideal? Predating the arrival of the B77W as well......now there's a thought! I couldn't see QANTAS back but Cathay seem a better candidate.
The onworld hub in question is LHR but they are a decade away from bring T3 up to T5 standards to have good connections with UK domestics from T3. Ah Britain....we're quite rubbish at this sort of thing you know!