View Full Version : Viability of more destinations from HBA

26th Nov 2002, 01:37
After Dixon saying that new routes such as CBR-WLG and ADL-AKL are on the agenda if the deal goes ahead, I thought I'd do a bit of research of my own.

After a quick five minute analysis of some figures from the tourism tasmania website, here's what I've come up with.

For the year ending June 2001:

Tas Domestic Arrivals: ~420,000
Tas International Arrivals: ~100,000

If International Arrivals account for almost 20%, why are there no International services (bar the once a week in December Singapore Airlines charters)?

There were just under 50,000 arrivals from UK and Europe, and 10,000 from NZ. 4 out of 5 visitors come by air. By my calculations, it would be viable to have at least say 2 x 737 services a week HBA-NZ, (maybe 1 to AKL, 1 to CHC or something), and 2 x 767 services/week to SIN to connect with Europe.

Domestically, 200,000 visitors came from VIC, 100,000 from NSW, 50,000 from QLD, and 25,000 each from SA/WA. This to me suggests that there is at least demand for HBA-QLD 717 flights every second day (probably even daily), say 3 to BNE and 1 to OOL or something. This flight would be best suited to leave HBA first thing in the morning to get people on the beach as early as possible and connect people to CNS/TSV/HTI/ROK etc. (Maybe drop the Hba-Mel 7:30 and just keep the 6:30 flight?) There would even by demand for a weekly service to ADL that connects to PER.

Why are there not more point to point services? There are so many "hidden cost savings". For example, it would probably cost less to operate a jet SIN-HBA than SIN-MEL. Although there is a slight extra distance, the landing/parking/terminal fees at HBA would be considerably less than those at MEL/SYD. If passengers travel non-stop, there is no need to transfer baggage, security needs to be checked only once, the passenger only needs to pay one set of landing/parking/terminal/departure tax fees, not to mention no need to have planes waiting if connecting passengers flights are late!

I reckon that the only reason yield is so bad at HBA is that there are only non-stop flights to Mel and Syd, and if you want to go anywhere else, you have to connect. This results in buying a "full ticket" for something like a Mel-Akl, but then a "cheap ticket" for the Hba-Mel leg. If a non-stop flight existed, then the passenger would instead just buy a "full" Hba-Akl ticket, thus raising yield, as it would cost the same as the Mel-Akl leg, but there is no need to buy a cheap connecting Hba-Mel ticket.

The above figures take no account of the market growing because a non-stop flight exists. With growth, there could be even more flights still.


26th Nov 2002, 11:11
If Hobart, or Tasmania for that matter, could support more direct flights to places such as ADL then airlines, aircraft and yield permitting, put them on.

The truth is that the population is so low and international visit times so short, most only stay two days and night, that the passengers levels required for direct flight simply aren't there.

Old hands will no doubt recall the ridiculous weekly HB-CHC service TAA used to run on Saturdays as part of some vague plan the airline then had to go international. It took an inordinate amount of effort to fill the seats on the B727 and the route never made money.

And given the number of seats required on major routes no airline in its right mind would put seats on say a BN-HB-BN on the chance they might sell all the seats when they can put the same aircraft on BN-SY-BN twice and sell every seat.

If you really want an example look at Virgin's operations to DN. One flight a day(night) ex-BN which improves aircraft utilisation and doesn't strip seats off the key BN-SY-ML corridor during the day.

26th Nov 2002, 22:30

The figures from the tourism tasmania site state that the average stay of visitors to Tasmania is infact 9.9 days, up from 9.0 days for the previous year, not the 2 days you suggest.

The only reason that the trunk routes get so many passengers is because everything is hubbed through the major ports, passengers need to travel multiple legs to get to destination, one of which is usually a trunk route.

You go on about aircraft utilisation. As Herb from SouthWest says "hub and spoke is a very good way to fill planes, but a very inefficient way to utilise them." I think QF could learn a lot from WN given that they are a profitable US domestic airline in the present climate - a pretty good effort for mine!

I'm not saying that by operating more direct services will immediately fill planes to HBA with P and J pax, (the Singapore services I propose could be run by Australian in all economy class for example), but it will reduce the number of deep discount fares sold to Mel and Syd which pax use to connect to other flights, thus raising yield.

26th Nov 2002, 22:45
717 direct to Tassie.

No thanks - not with the current seat pitch.

I did the 717 over the ditch run a few months back.

I'm happy to change at MB rather than sit in a 717 for that long.

I wonder if Tassie Tourism has thought about the impact of the lack of Business Class seats in & out of Tassie?.

26th Nov 2002, 22:49
The problem with HBA as a destination is that the demand would mean only a smaller aircraft could be used on the route. At best this would be an A310 or 762ER but for regular services would probably be a A320 or 73G. These planes would be struggling for range on SIN-HBA and even if they could make it the per seat cost would be much higher than flying pax to MEL on a heavy and transferring them to a 717 for MEL-HBA.

A similar argument counts against CBR as an international destination. It is hard to be price competitive and also hard to get the demand to justify a half decent frequency. A weekly service is hardly of interest to anyone. CBR-WLG may be a goer but only if premium government traffic means lots of business class is sold so the yield stays up. Other routes out of CBR would seem to be a waste of time given its proximity to SYD.

ADL-AKL does make sense especially with NZ getting A320s which can easily make the trip. As I understand it, the current 733s can do ADL-AKL but couldn't do the return trip. NZ had a plan to use AN's A320s on this route before it all went pear-shaped. Other routes out of ADL will struggle due to population, tourist and yield considerations. SQ's service already offers ADL pax a one-stop service to Europe so realistically the only route QF could offer is a non-stop 763 service to SIN to meet the Europe bound 744s at SIN also. Even then you'd have to wonder if the demand is there for both QF and SQ to operate the route without completely stuffing yields. I guess the answer is no, otherwise QF would already be doing it.

29th Nov 2002, 08:54
The Mel-Bme flights are a perfect example of hub-busting. The tourist demand is there, and surely the cheapest way to get people anywhere is to fly them in nonstop with no pissing around at hub airports ! If QF can fill an H-bomb going Mel-Bme, then surely a 717 can get a few pax going HBA-BNE, with 50,000 people a year arriving in Tas from Qld, the non-stop flight allowing cheaper fares to be more viable.


2nd Dec 2002, 09:50
The seat picth on the 717s is 32" on the older aircraft and 34" on the new aircraft. When you consider 31" is the benchmark for longhaul carriers - including QF, the 717 is much more comfortable seating wise. Have you sat behind row 7 in QF's older 737s? It isn't much chop!

Also the aircraft has to be 80% full for the middle seats to be used. That's yet another selling point.

Are you super tall or just having a whinge? :rolleyes:

Oh, and if people are going to avoid the wonderful destination that is Tassie for the sake of a J class seat on a 50 minute flight then they have serious issues! I can't imagine it has hurt the tourist industry too much. Perhaps they could fly on DJ with the 30" pitch?

2nd Dec 2002, 11:18
I used to work really closely with Tourism Tas in my last role. I think NZ (yrs ago) did have direct flts to AKL..(might be wrong there) but they canned them due to lack of bums on seats..the recent HBA/OOL were just as bad i think..I do believe though that if the capacity is there people will take advantage of it. When Southern pulled its LST/ADL weekly flights people screamed! was great for people coming into the island state from SA

just my thoughts


2nd Dec 2002, 21:22
Yes, the HBA-OOL sector wasn't a wise choice in my opinion, but I think that HBA-BNE would work. It was first tried in 1998 over summer, then again in 1999 over summer with the 146. Didn't run in 2000, as Southern had increased services to MEL and SYD in April with the 146 also. Didn't run in 2001 for obvious reasons and is not running in 2002 either.

I think that the time of the flights also has something to do with it. The OOL service didn't leave HBA until lunchtime, so hardly an attractive flight if you wanted a holiday to OOL, as your first day is wasted just getting there!

If there were more international flights out of BNE rather than just SYD and MEL, then HBA-BNE could get extra pax for international sectors. A pax travelling HBA-LAX for example could travel HBA-BNE-LAX, thus avoiding conjestion at MEL or SYD???


2nd Dec 2002, 23:30
A pax travelling HBA-LAX for example could travel HBA-BNE-LAX, thus avoiding conjestion at MEL or SYD???

Apart from there being no direct BNE-LAX flights at this stage, why would anyone want to transit in BNE? This involves a bus trip between the two terminals when the other option is MEL. A domestic/int'l transit in MEL is less than a two minute walk without leaving the terminal.

3rd Dec 2002, 00:14
1A, that's why I said if there were more international flights from BNE! I'm not saying that everyone should travel this way, it's just another option, that's all.


3rd Dec 2002, 15:33

Point Taken.

I am north of 6' and therefore not of usual dimension. Also, I am yet to fly in the back of a Dicky Bus & experiance the 30" pitch.

5th Dec 2002, 04:57
If you really want an example look at Virgin's operations to DN. One flight a day(night) ex-BN which improves aircraft utilisation and doesn't strip seats off the key BN-SY-ML corridor during the day.

Have you seen the copy of voyeur magazine on dj's services? they draw this line from mel and sydney to darwin making it look like they actually fly there from darwin when in fact you have to truck through brisbane in the middle of the night (arrive BNE 0440) to get there...

The NT Gov't gave dj $4m to run a service into darwin and provide some"competition" in the wake of Ansett's collapse.

Is a back of the clock redeye special really much competition? me don't think so....

and dj may even wonder why the loads are so poor ex bne on this one:rolleyes: if you are going to service a market you might as well do it properly rather than taking some government grant and providing some half-arse service because you have an aircraft spare at night that would otherwise be sitting on the ground in brisbane.

all this while they can provide a daily service to rocky, a market which is now serviced by three carriers all flying jet equpt!!!

Eastwest Loco
5th Dec 2002, 08:02
Poor old Tassie.

Unfortunately, there are plethora of reasons why we are unlikely to see increased air services and have lost the Internationals (TN and AN week about HBA CHC with 727-200s then Air NZ with 737-200s) not discounting the SQ charter market (100% load factor charter services) over our alleged summer. the service was pulled in every case because it was impossible to achieve a viable yield mix.

1/. The Tourism industy in general - Most, including the bloke who runs the award winning Strahan Village and other sites are reticent to pay commission to agents who wish to book direct. Agents avoid them and many others like the plague and push elsewhere.

2/. Low quality amongst the good stuff - Mum and dad call sell their farm up the Nook and buy a small motel affiliated to a chain or group and survive with no return business on the trickle coming from their affiliates. Try this is Queensland and the need to service a much bigger debt due to the much higher purchase price and you are gone in 6 months.

3/. Attitude of support services - ever tried to get a decent meal in a regional centre after 730pm?

4/. Climate - apart from late Summer to early Autumn - it sucks.

5/. Population - Tasmania represents less than 3% of the Australian domestic market, and is a very low yield destination. A 75% full aeroplane out of MEL or SYD will return much more than totally full typical ex TAS flight. Business class was always under utilised and thats why there has been no rush to reintroduce it.

6/. Too may airports - HBA LST BWT and DPO are all medium jet capable and SIO could also take up to 733 if the taxiways were sealed. Too much fragmentation of infrastructure. Four jet capable airports within 4 hours drive.

7/. The twin ferries - sailing each direction each night with the bulk of the passenger originating in the MEL catchment area has removed a significant percentage of he single sector traffic.This is of course the highest yield per seat kilometer, and despite the 30% upturn in the states' advance booking over the holiday season (which is a damned good result) the airlines are still bookable on days that are traditionally rock solid 2 months out.

8/. Promotion - the local and State Tourist Promotions bodies are staffed by contracters and promoters who are working in Tasmania for one of 2 reasons. One - that they are just starting out in the industry after gaining some degree or two - they are not good enough to get a job in Queensland, WA or the NT (even VIC or NSW) where the big bucks are. Then there are the volunteers in the Tourist Info centres at weekends. With volunteers in these centres, you get what you pay for.

9/. Lack of a dedicated medium jet airline - Tasmania thrived when serviced by East-West and Air NSW with non stop F28 services out of Sydney and Melbourne. These airlines could take up the slack in the badly placed advertising of the then Tasbureau as TAS was a major and valueable part of their networks. It showed in numbers and growth figures. No current major airline in its right mind would throw hundreds of thousands of dollars at a low yield maket representing less than 2% of the available mainland originating passengers.

10/. Cargo - If it wasnt for the dollars made on airfreight in and out of the state, and protecting the ports from the gredy eyes of a start-up carrier, it is doubtful Tasmania would have had any kind of jet air service at all.

It is however a great place to live, and most tourists including an ever increasing number of backpackers, seem to have a great time.

I just think those who want non-stop jet services to everywhere should take a little look at why they aren't there and be happy with and support the services that we have.

Let Pork Boy go spend hundreds of thousands of tax payers dollars seeking services that just will not eventuate.

Best all


6th Dec 2002, 08:40

have you considered that the tourism industry is amateurish and attracts lower yield people beacuse the services to get people here are amateurish in the first place?

I believe it all flows down from there. The fact is, 50,000 people from QLD, find TAS a good enough destination to visit, that they transit here by air, willing to stop at Mel/Syd in order to get here. Why not give them a non-stop service, and try and grow the market??? Transfer a Melbourne flight to goto Brisbane instead, still should be similar passengers, similar yield, what's the big change? Nothing financially, other than the market will grow, bringing more people in, making airlines and tourist operators (and me!) happy.

I agree with too many airports. Burnie should close, and probably Devonport too. Just have turboprops on the Lst-Mel, and Lst-Syd routes, and have all jets coming into HBA.


Eastwest Loco
6th Dec 2002, 09:40

Your point is valid but what are those punters willing to pay.

They are willing to pay he deepest Discount airfares and will no doubt have a lovely time, however they are no base for a viable service wihout the high yield full economy and upper discount fare paying SLF on the same aeroplane.

With reference to your comment regarding amateur attempts by the airlines - please read - 2.5% of the Australian domestic market - why should they bother. there is nothing in Tasmania apart from feeders to the higher yield International market for them.

Sorry - but a fact. If we choose to live on a rock in the Southern Ocean we just cop the negatives and the positives as they fall. Nothing is guaranteed, and if we do not like it, we can move North to the higher housing prices and costs of living. It is our choice to live on the rock - not the fault of anyone else.

There are precious few industries in this state who can afford to pay full freight to major tourist destinations, much less to business centres.



6th Dec 2002, 22:38

your point about the deep discount fares is also valid. But I am proposing a soultion to try to fix this problem. The Question is this.

Would you pay full fare for a flight that takes you somewhere you don't want to go?

I don't. Maybe if there were more nonstop flights, then people would be prepared to pay more, for a service that they actually want! It is much cheaper in the longrun to fly people in nonstop, as you only need one flight, not two or three, no need to transfer baggage, no need to wait for connecting flights etc.

And about 2.5% not being much. I'm not sure how much the national market is worth, but I was always told that 1% of a billion dollar industry is a lot!

Eastwest Loco
7th Dec 2002, 02:56
Your point is valid HOBAY, however to enjoy deep discounts on non-stop routes, one must have the high yield passenger base to allow these flights to operate in the first place.

Tasmania cannot provide that base, nor can the intended destinations provide the incoming business traffic in sufficient numbers to make the non-stops viable and as such justify the "top up" fares we all seek.

The only reason Southern operated LST ADL over Saturday - back Sunday - was to get the 146 into the maintainence facility for NJ in ADL for scheduled servicing.

Running low yield seats into and out of ADL was temporarily cheaper than establishing an AMD in LST. When thy bit the bullet and did so, the LST ADL was removed.

Best regards