View Full Version : Airlines ready for war footing

18th Feb 2003, 15:08
"The Australian"

Airlines ready for war footing
By Steve Creedy
February 18, 2003

THE world's airlines are bracing for a war-fuelled downturn that could see traffic in some regions fall by at least 20 per cent and significantly lengthen journeys between Asia and Europe.

Airline executives from 15 airlines, who were in Seoul yesterday for a Star Alliance ceremony to welcome Korean carrier Asiana to the partnership, said some airlines were already seeing falls in bookings as a result of the war.

Air Canada chief executive Robert Milton said the prospect of war was already causing "a deceleration in bookings" in North America.

Lufthansa chief executive Jurgen Weber said his airline had contingency plans but the uncertainty meant nobody knew how serious the problem would be.

"The reduction of passengers we expect will be at least in the order of the magnitude we experienced in the Gulf crisis of the early '90s, which was about 20 per cent," he said.

Singapore Airlines chief executive Cheong Choong Kong said the change routings airlines would make to avoid Iraq, in the event of a war, would add cost and time to flights.

Dr Cheong said yesterday the prospect of war with Iraq had not killed off Singapore Airline's interest in an Australian domestic carrier.

"Our thoughts on Australia are all based on the long-term and the war, I hope, is just a short-term thing," he told The Australian. "It might affect the timing but it shouldn't affect our intentions."

Asked if this meant an entry into the Australian domestic market was still a possibility, Dr Cheong said: "As always, as it has been for quite a while."

But the SIA boss said Singapore had no plans at this stage to start trans-Pacific routes from Australia in light of talks about a possible open skies agreement between the two countries.

Star Alliance chief executive Jaan Albrecht said the alliance was happy with its presence in the country through flights by Singapore Airlines, United Airlines and Air New Zealand to the nation's main cities.

He denied Star was talking to Qantas. "We're well served with the online flights and we're just keeping the options open and analysing whatever possibilities may appear in the future," he said.


Pic Singapore Airlines 777-200 9V-SRC dep rwy 01 BNE.
Photo by Wirraway (Ian Sharp)


Kwaj mate
18th Feb 2003, 22:02
The most direct route from the Australian east coast to the UK (or most other European destinations) is via Korea over Siberia.
This is well away from any current hot spots in the M.E.

18th Feb 2003, 22:24
............ but in easy missile range of the Great Leader, Kim Il Sung's erratic trigger finger in P'yongyang.

18th Feb 2003, 22:50
QF announced on ABC radio that 2500 jobs would go if war broke out. ASA accuses them of making excuses for further cost cutting in anticipation of record half-year profit announcement tomorrow.