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Darwin Hub

Old 8th May 2020, 16:00
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Darwin Hub

When all this is over, I suspect many countries are going to look at reducing their dependence on other countries and moving costs / operations onshore.

I wonder if Qantas / Virgin should look at Darwin as a hub to Europe, rather then Perth or Singapore or ME.

So people can fly from east coast, Adelaide, NZ etc to Darwin, and then connect to Europe.

Sydney to London via Darwin = 17,000km, with Darwin-London 13,860km
Sydney to London via Perth = 17,800km, with Perth-London 14,480km

There is going to be a need to rebuild the economy and give people jobs. Upgrading Darwin airport would be a significant project for the NT.
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Old 8th May 2020, 16:26
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A Darwin hub would enable a decent Asian network to be offered from all the capital cities using easier to fill narrow bodies. Main trunk routes such as SYD - SIN will still use non stop widebodies, but routes such as Adelaide to Kuala Lumpur or Perth to Manila would come into play. Darwin could be Australia's Dubai and would give local airlines a significant advantage as they could offer a one stop connection from which ever Asian city they fly to into the domestic network.
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Old 8th May 2020, 17:34
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People don't like hubs and they don't like changing planes - direct, point-to-point is what they want

What the airlines offer is a lower cost to get them to use hubs such as LHR or Dubai
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Old 8th May 2020, 19:58
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Donít think it will be what the pax want, it will be what they get!! Airlines will be looking to save every penny they can when business resumes.

The idea appears to be very plausible particularly given Darwinís close proximity to Asia and beyond in comparison to the eastern and southern states. They certainly have plenty of room to expand the aerodrome infrastructure and I think the current NTG would jump on board with this.

The Darwin economy certainly needs another long term investment project to kick start the local economy since the LNG construction wound down a few years ago, then add the current crisis.
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Old 8th May 2020, 20:46
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Seems to me that QF has very good commercial reasons to have a hub option that's not Perth.
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Old 8th May 2020, 20:50
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I like it, Perth airport......... well I’ll leave it at that.
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Old 8th May 2020, 23:18
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
People don't like hubs and they don't like changing planes - direct, point-to-point is what they want

What the airlines offer is a lower cost to get them to use hubs such as LHR or Dubai
I like hubs even a 24ish hour transfer in Singapore is no problem.

What I hate is being stuck in cattle for greater than about 2.5 hours.

Darwin as a hub, great for 6 months of the year - not so much fun landing then waiting on the apron for 15-20 mins for the lightning to have a break, before going to the gate.
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Old 9th May 2020, 00:25
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Other than being a conveniently located piece if tarmac I cant see Darwin having much to offer as a hub.

Singapore is not much further and is already an international gateway, and financial centre. The ME is also a well established gateway, and at least Perth/WA has a poplulation that can attract some oncarrige.

If I remember correctly Jetstar have already found that Darwin doesnt work having had a base there sometime ago.
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Old 9th May 2020, 00:34
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Bruce tried it with JQ and the pan Asian narrow body strategy.

It didnít work. JQ went point to point with borrowed 330s and then 787s.

Point to point is the future.
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Old 9th May 2020, 00:48
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A non stop flight on a widebody is definitely preferable to connecting flights using narrow bodies, the problem is in filling them. Perth - Ho Chi Minh probably wouldn't support a daily A330 but combining pax from other cities into one aircraft in Darwin could make it viable. If the demand is there A330/B787 could even be used on both sectors with flights reverting to A320/B737 in low season. For many Asian destinations you need to transfer in SIN/BKK or HKG anyway. A Darwin hub would give Australia's airlines a more level playing field when competing with Asia's airlines for regional destinations.

It would be ideal if Sydney had been located where Darwin is instead of in NSW. Non stop to London would have been available for years and onward connections to other cities on arrival in Australia would be much easier.

Travel patterns after restrictions are lifted might be very different to last year. Marginal direct routes could be dropped and a transfer needed instead. The B787 and A320NEO could start replacing B777 and A330s, A380/B747 gone from all but the busiest routes. Reduced frequencies. Definitely fewer pax up the front end paying premium fares.

Eventually travel will return to 2019 levels but it will take time and there will be many changes in the short term.
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Old 9th May 2020, 01:04
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Yep, the world has changed. Probably forever in some ways, and definitely long term in many ways.

There will be fewer people flying. Even after restrictions are eased, people just won't have the money they used to have. After using Zoom etc for many months, businesses will change and there will be less business flying.

So air travel will have to become more economical. If that means using hubs rather than P2P and using smaller planes and using airports with lower charges, then that will be the price of doing business.
https://www.investopedia.com/bank-of...e-1706-4844284.
https://www.fin24.com/Economy/World/...years-20200508

Would the government be more willing to invest in an expansion of Darwin airport?
Or will manufacturers and carriers be more willing to invest in project sunrise aircraft?

Would you get enough pax from east coast, Adelaide, NZ and south pacific to connect to London via Darwin each day? I expect so.
I also expect you would get enough pax to serve other European cities several times a week.
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Old 9th May 2020, 03:35
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Darwin is 400NM closer to Northern European Airports than Perth (Great Circle tracks) which means that types like the B787 can carry more payload or fuel when destination weather requires it. It would be good to have an alternative to Perth Airport.
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Old 9th May 2020, 05:41
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If Qantas paid for the Infrastructure required in Darwin and took ownership of around 50% then half of their Airport fees would go back into their own pocket. Using Darwin is about Australian jobs for Australia, not Singapore.
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Old 9th May 2020, 06:16
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Originally Posted by Scooter Rassmussin View Post
If Qantas paid for the Infrastructure required in Darwin and took ownership of around 50% then half of their Airport fees would go back into their own pocket. Using Darwin is about Australian jobs for Australia, not Singapore.
I think it was intended for Darwin to be the main international entry/exit port for Australia not to try compete with Singapore as a hub for the region.
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Old 9th May 2020, 06:27
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It would be great to see, but in reality it will stay nothing more than a dream.

At the end of the day, Darwin would offer no real improvement in convievence or cost over Singapore, China/HK, or the ME. Most of those have plenty of LOCO and full service carriers offering a plethora of onwards connections anyway.

Other than the romantic idea of Australianism and local jobs, there is no real point. Any investment could be better spent elsewhere.
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Old 9th May 2020, 06:55
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I donít think a hub would work in Darwin.

Flights to Europe from there would be fuel limited. When Darwin ATC makes one sit at a holding point for half an hour or vectors them at minimum speed towards Bathurst Island because thereís a single 210 estimating the field within 15 minutes of their ETA itíd probably render the operation unviable 😉
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Old 9th May 2020, 08:13
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Originally Posted by slats11 View Post
When all this is over, I suspect many countries are going to look at reducing their dependence on other countries and moving costs / operations onshore.
I'm not sure that a virus pandemic will cause widespread on-shoring. Global trade has held up reasonably well given the circumstances. After all, the most notable shortages were of (Australian made) toilet paper!
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Old 9th May 2020, 08:23
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I heard there is a plan to build a new RAAF Base south of Darwin in order to get the RAAF completely out. If this happened I'd imagine it would free up a lot of space for infrastructure and I’d say the airspace would be managed by Airservices and not the RAAF. Build the international terminal and associated facilities on the existing RAAF base, that’s were the original terminal was before anyway, plenty of realestate to play with on that side if the RAAF moved out.

Last edited by Duck Pilot; 9th May 2020 at 23:05.
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Old 9th May 2020, 09:48
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That would be Tindal wouldn't it.
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Old 9th May 2020, 10:07
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Originally Posted by dijical View Post
I'm not sure that a virus pandemic will cause widespread on-shoring. Global trade has held up reasonably well given the circumstances. After all, the most notable shortages were of (Australian made) toilet paper!
Calling Qantas or Virgin to change flights or get refunds was/is pretty much impossible due overseas call center shut downs.

I am not sure there was ever a shortage of toilet paper (Australian made or other), the shops were noticeably short on a number of items. Construction also are waiting on many materials to arrive and certainly PPE is still a very rare item in Australia.

Given a second wave or a repeat of a similar event, it will either be a swift lockdown or no/minor action - a swift action seems to have been effective for this virus. But clearly we need some better onshore capabilities or reserve capacities, neither are cheap options.

Australian owned catering companies for the aviation industry could be a good start, then they could access Jobkeeper payments
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