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Germany is irrelevant (to policy)

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Germany is irrelevant (to policy)

Old 22nd Jun 2012, 14:36
  #21 (permalink)  
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I don't find myself convinced that BA cannot make money flying from outside London - they just don't want to. You can make figures prove just about anything, the old adidge about "lies, damned lies, and statistics" applies equally to accountancy in so far as how you choose to apportion costs governs whether an operation is deemed profitable or otherwise.
That might be true if you want to make profits vanish to reduce your tax bill. BA made continual gaping losses at their regional bases, and these couldn't just be adjusted on the balance sheet to look like a profit. What was amazing wasn't so much that BA became LA, but that they hung on in the regions for so long, even trying the BACON rebranding exercise and so on.
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Old 22nd Jun 2012, 21:48
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Quote: "The level of devolution in the UK is nowhere near that enjoyed by the Laender in Germany, particularly Bavaria, which even more a free state than the others."

Agreed, ATNotts, basically German lander are defined by the constitution, UK devolved executives are created and dissolved (as in Northern Ireland a few times) by Act of Parliament, as are the French regions.

Did say "closer to the devolved executives in parts of the UK" which is true: both the lander and the devolved executives have law-making powers, French regional councils do not.

Quote: "France is very much more like the UK politically, being overwhelmingly centralised on Paris."

Agreed, especially compared to Germany, but the UK is much more centralised since Thatcher created the quango state and took functions away from local government and Blair continued the policy."

Quote: "There are relatively few domestic air services because France, unlike the UK has properly invested in high speed rail."

Not so, both France and the UK are both, rightly, awash with domestic air services. The problem in the UK is that not nearly enough of them are domestic destinations linked to LHR, the country's hub.

High speed rail is a red-herring. It adds choice and options, enables more journeys, and allows an increase in the volume of journeys overall. It is not an alternative to domestic flights it complements them.

Don't fall for the specious nonsense from the "green" lobby.

Quote: "While the UK goes through endless public consultations, pandering to NIMBYs, the French identify a need and bulldoze the projects through."

True enough!

Quote: "I don't find myself convinced that BA cannot make money flying from outside London - they just don't want to."

Can't see the logic in this comment, BA are a commercial company, and as jabird states, they moved heaven and earth to keep the regional networks going for as long as possible. It's desperately sad that this the case, but it is nonetheless.

Last edited by Fairdealfrank; 22nd Jun 2012 at 21:54.
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Old 24th Jun 2012, 17:06
  #23 (permalink)  

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ATNotts: I don't find myself convinced that BA cannot make money flying from outside London - they just don't want to.
I can only speak with authority on the late 1970s, when I was in charge of BA's product planning on US routes. We tried everything to wring a drop of profit out of MAN and GLA (and very briefly BHX) - absolutely no chance. The routes were kept alive for reasons other than economics. Very little high-yield traffic and all the operational problems of maintaining schedule integrity with aircraft based away from home.
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Old 24th Jun 2012, 18:53
  #24 (permalink)  
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Quote: "There are relatively few domestic air services because France, unlike the UK has properly invested in high speed rail."

---

Not so, both France and the UK are both, rightly, awash with domestic air services. The problem in the UK is that not nearly enough of them are domestic destinations linked to LHR, the country's hub.

High speed rail is a red-herring. It adds choice and options, enables more journeys, and allows an increase in the volume of journeys overall. It is not an alternative to domestic flights it complements them.
Actually, the only city of note in France where rail does have almost all the market is Lyon (c. 93%).

Once you go beyond 2 hours, rail is just an option, it is not the provider of everything. Still no LGV yet as far as BOD / TLS or NCE.

Actually, England must already have a higher rail-to-capital market share than France if you look at LPL, LBA, MME where there are no air routes (although LBA due to regain LHR), and even on MAN & NCL, air is in retreat already, long before any new HSR gets built.

Air is more dominant in Scotland, but be under no illusions that HS2 is going to change this, as it will only go as far as the Manchester - Leeds axis, and for anything above that, the proposed new trains are slightly slower than the existing ones!

If we want to learn from Germany for how to do HSR, that is fine - they aren't so dependent on new lines but they have them where they provide a clear gain and they don't spend billions on the last few miles like we are doing. They also link into a number of core airports - not just FRA, but also DUS and CGN + the iirc the new BER when it opens - like we are not doing! (BHX is already linked to inter-city services and do you really think they will spend more on a rail link to T5 than the terminal itself cost - just to link it to the regions?).

But this thread was about air, not rail! I'll save the rest of this rant for PTDRUNe!
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Old 24th Jun 2012, 21:01
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by jabird View Post
Actually, England must already have a higher rail-to-capital market share than France if you look at LPL, LBA, MME where there are no air routes (although LBA due to regain LHR), and even on MAN & NCL, air is in retreat already, long before any new HSR gets built.
It is a popular misapprehension among amateur transport planners that air and rail are somehow alternatives that can jockey for an inter-city market. The fact is that they tend to serve different markets. London to Manchester is an example, with heavy flows on both air and rail, but there is limited scope to transfer between them. Few O&D pax on the air route are actually heading for Central London. In contrast air serves Surrey and the Thames Valley, both generators of much commerce in offices and also higher-income residential traffic, so much better than the fag into London and across to Euston before you even start. This can be discerned by conversation with your seatmate on both services. The Euston trains abandoned their stops at Watford, which suited the Berks/Bucks market well, for technical reasons that a train stopping absorbed the slots of two that didn't. That's all very well for the financial well-being of the monopoly franchise train operator, but does nothing for a national transport policy. It also puts two fingers up to any argument about railways being the "green" option.

I used to be a regular on the VLM London City to Manchester air route, which was lost around the time the rail service was improved, and a number of commentators made the incorrect conclusion that one led to the other. The fact was that loads on the aircraft were always marginal, and progressive hikes in APD and LCY fees pushed the costs over the edge. Few of those I sat next to (in the lounge - there were always plenty of free seats on the aircraft) would have found rail an alternative - people used to drive down from Cambridgeshire to LCY, for example, to get the flight. They probably drive throughout now, or arrange their meetings quite differently.

Last edited by WHBM; 24th Jun 2012 at 21:03.
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Old 24th Jun 2012, 21:26
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Quote: "It is a popular misapprehension among amateur transport planners that air and rail are somehow alternatives that can jockey for an inter-city market. The fact is that they tend to serve different markets."

Exactly, it's specious nonsense peddled by the "green" lobby. Along with the roads, the two complement eachother.

If there was competition between rail and air, would expect it to be with MAN-LCY, rather than MAN-LHR.

Quote: " London to Manchester is an example, with heavy flows on both air and rail, but there is limited scope to transfer between them. Few O&D pax on the air route are actually heading for Central London. In contrast air serves Surrey and the Thames Valley, both generators of much commerce in offices and also higher-income residential traffic, so much better than the fag into London and across to Euston before you even start."

As a resident of the Middlesex section of the Thames Valley, be assured that it is much easier to head to Heathrow and take a flight to Ringway than traipse up to London on a train, then accross London on the tube, then to take another train.

Maybe if the airport bus to/from Watford was still there and the fast trains still called at Watford, there may be a case for using the train. Apart from this, the cost of using the train is often prohibitive!

So inconvenience and expense, it's a no-brainer.

Quote: "The Euston trains abandoned their stops at Watford, which suited the Berks/Bucks market well, for technical reasons that a train stopping absorbed the slots of two that didn't."

Good grief, there are so many platforms at Watford, it should be possible to get the stopping "intercities" out of the way of those not stopping. Otherwise have all the "intercities" stop there, as they do at Stockport at the Manchester end. It isn't rocket science!

"That's all very well for the financial well-being of the monopoly franchise train operator, but does nothing for a national transport policy. It also puts two fingers up to any argument about railways being the "green" option."

Exactly!
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Old 24th Jun 2012, 22:23
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Actually this is not a correct view. AF don't do any regional operations; if you go to Nice say, the only actual AF services you will see operate to Paris, just like BA domestics from Heathrow. You will see some regional operations from there run by an associated company with RJs, which is not dissimilar to FlyBe, with their 15% BA ownership which gives a seat on the board, and multiple regional hubs. The only real difference seems to be that one paints up their aircraft in the mainline colours (although not when CityJet are the regional operator) and the other does not.

Over in Germany it's much the same, by the way.
This isn't quite true I would say. Air France mainline has bases in Marseille, Nice and Toulouse, each with a range of international short-haul flights that don't involve Paris. Lufty has hubs in Munich and Frankfurt, plus focus cities with international mainline operations in Dusseldorf (this one is actually called a hub by LH), Hamburg and from next year, Berlin Brandenburg. Yes, both AF and LH do use regionals in their colours, although some of these are fully owned subsidiaries.

Flybe, on the other hand, has no real 'loyalty' to BA, they have a large codeshare arrangement to feed AF at CDG from the UK regions, a Nordic operation with Finnair boosing HEL feed to Asia and wet leases/feed for Brussels Airlines. In fact, their 'partnerships' (of varying significance) span all three alliances!

My only point here is that BA does not mirror LH or AF, I think BA tried and failed with the regions and to go back for more wouldn't be a wise business decision. That's not to say that other European carriers haven't made a success of their regions though, for varying reasons. If you're looking for a carrier that has adopted a central country hub with a regional covering everything else, then the other half of IAG (Iberia) may be a good bet?

Last edited by EuroWings; 24th Jun 2012 at 22:41.
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Old 25th Jun 2012, 21:23
  #28 (permalink)  
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Good grief, there are so many platforms at Watford, it should be possible to get the stopping "intercities" out of the way of those not stopping.
It isn't just about platforms, you need enough track before and after to allow for acceleration and deceleration. It is't dissimilar to wake turbulence - stopper can follow stopper and fast can follow fast but once you have to create a space for a train to slow down and stop you kill two paths.

This isn't just a British challenge. The newer TGV stations have the facility for through running, sometimes with a couple of km of four tracks either side. However, between Paris and Lyon, where capacity is most needed, you will find very few stops - yes, the towns are small, but in other locations they would have a stop.

Otherwise have all the "intercities" stop there, as they do at Stockport at the Manchester end. It isn't rocket science!
That is fine at Stockport, or at Birmingham International, which are both on branches from the central spine. All Virgin ex-Euston trains pass through Watford, and to make them all stop would be creating far too much capacity at Watford, and it would add critical time on to the whole journey elsewhere.

"That's all very well for the financial well-being of the monopoly franchise train operator, but does nothing for a national transport policy. It also puts two fingers up to any argument about railways being the "green" option."
Relative to air, rail traditionally has been, and still is, the greener option, but it is not greenest (that is video conferencing), nor is it suitable for all people all of the time.

A lot of the debate is about air v rail, and that is quite legitimate. However, rail works best on city centre to city centre, or where no more than one easy change is needed.

As said before, this is where we SHOULD be learning from our German friends, as the concept of a Cologne Neue Strasse or a Munich Euston simply doesn't exist, as all their cities have just one main station. Berlin was the last to do things the "British" way! That doesn't mean that these cities don't have important secondary stations (Cologne Deutz, Hamburg Altoona etc), but they still have one central station for interchanges.
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Old 26th Jun 2012, 08:01
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Regarding Germany and its single main stations - Germany is a federal state with a much less centralised history than the UK. None of their cities compare to London in terms of size and concentration of rail need. Even at the main Munich station there are only 32 platforms - how many would London need in total? Destruction in WW2 and Berlin's divided history helped to keep land clear to create a major interchange at their new Hauptbahnhof. So, unless some random terrorist blows up a massive section of central London and clears some land, it's not going to happen here.
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Old 26th Jun 2012, 23:02
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Regarding Germany and its single main stations - Germany is a federal state with a much less centralised history than the UK. None of their cities compare to London in terms of size and concentration of rail need. Even at the main Munich station there are only 32 platforms - how many would London need in total? Destruction in WW2 and Berlin's divided history helped to keep land clear to create a major interchange at their new Hauptbahnhof. So, unless some random terrorist blows up a massive section of central London and clears some land, it's not going to happen here.
Fair points, but in the context of transport planning, I was pointing out that we should be trying to learn from the Germans when it comes to the railways, whereas we have less to learn from them when it comes to airports.

There are numerous cities around the world of a similar size (in terms of rail pax) to London which have one main station, or which only have a couple of main stations (New York, Chicago), or which have a central station and other main station which is directly linked to the central station (Tokyo) and so on.

What we are doing with HS2 is creating one new station, which could link many strands together, but which misses the opportunity to do so (Old Oak Common), and two new stations which are separate to the rest of the network.

Even St Pancras is the wrong way round for through running.

So the bottom lines is, even if "London Hbf" isn't going to happen, we still aren't learning.
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