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Future of the Airlines.

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Future of the Airlines.

Old 24th Mar 2020, 03:27
  #1 (permalink)  
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Future of the Airlines.

After this pandemic and worldwide depression I predict a much smaller airline industry to emerge, similar to before deregulation. Airlines without a very healthy balance sheet before this started, or government backing will go under.

What’s left will be nationalised or subject to heavy controls regarding routes, timetables and fares.

For the A380 it’s almost certainly long term storage for a couple of years and only back on a few limited routes where the numbers add up, if and when it does return.

Probably the final nail for the B737 MAX as well. Why waste billions in patching up a fundamentally flawed design for which future demand has evaporated ? There may have been a case for a solution when the order book was in the thousands, but not any more.

The US government will likely take over Boeing due to its importance to the economy and as a defence supplier. The downturn could be used to develop an all new replacement aircraft.

I believe that the future is now all twins, with A320/B737s being used to the limits of their range and B787s taking over from there. These types are already in existence in significant numbers and economical to operate, even though fuel price won’t be much of an issue for a while. High density seating in the narrow bodies and 9 across in the B787, with possibly a couple of rows of business class will be the new norm.

Suites and lie flat seats won’t be filling up anytime soon. A holiday is likely to be an annual trip to a short/mid range destination on a low cost airline, rather than long haul on a premium carrier. Short getaways to Europe from the UK will likely be replaced with coach trips to Blackpool, Rhyl, Skegness and Brighton.
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Old 24th Mar 2020, 04:03
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Since air travel was a major player in the virus's spread across the globe "social distancing" might be a requirement in future air travel.

Not sure any airline has a healthy enough balance sheet to last this out and be able to function when the dust finally settles in the distant future.

Governments will have much bigger concerns than air travel - much of the business travel (junkets) will not return.

Tourism air travel will be a long slow process as folks now realize savings are important - when things go bad.
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Old 24th Mar 2020, 07:05
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Originally Posted by krismiler View Post
After this pandemic and worldwide depression I predict a much smaller airline industry to emerge, similar to before deregulation. Airlines without a very healthy balance sheet before this started, or government backing will go under.

Whatís left will be nationalised or subject to heavy controls regarding routes, timetables and fares.

For the A380 itís almost certainly long term storage for a couple of years and only back on a few limited routes where the numbers add up, if and when it does return.

Probably the final nail for the B737 MAX as well. Why waste billions in patching up a fundamentally flawed design for which future demand has evaporated ? There may have been a case for a solution when the order book was in the thousands, but not any more.

The US government will likely take over Boeing due to its importance to the economy and as a defence supplier. The downturn could be used to develop an all new replacement aircraft.

I believe that the future is now all twins, with A320/B737s being used to the limits of their range and B787s taking over from there. These types are already in existence in significant numbers and economical to operate, even though fuel price wonít be much of an issue for a while. High density seating in the narrow bodies and 9 across in the B787, with possibly a couple of rows of business class will be the new norm.

Suites and lie flat seats wonít be filling up anytime soon. A holiday is likely to be an annual trip to a short/mid range destination on a low cost airline, rather than long haul on a premium carrier. Short getaways to Europe from the UK will likely be replaced with coach trips to Blackpool, Rhyl, Skegness and Brighton.

Too many questions within your original comment

Boeing, I think you are correct.

The A380 should survive or heavy traffic routes. The problem is volume -v- frequency; do consumers want 2 x 500 seat aircraft per day, or a schedule that has 4 x 250 seat aircraft? Can all international routes be daily services?

The A350 is a far better aircraft IMHO than the 787, in terms of range, fuel efficiency and passenger space, and with all the goings on within Boeing it should become more popular - and how far off is the A330 neo?

The other thing is with climate change will more short haul routes be overtaken by high speed rail? Maybe not in the US, but possibly in Europe.

Will people return to coach trips? Really, everyone lives for their cars.
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Old 24th Mar 2020, 07:11
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Too many potential passengers will have got used to using Skype that there will be very little business travel because businesses can't afford it
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Old 24th Mar 2020, 08:10
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Generally people will downgrade a step or two, first class to business, business to economy, full service to low cost. Long haul holiday destination to regional, regional to domestic. The problem experienced in the UK after the financial crisis was that people's spending levels didn't instantly rebound once things improved. Money saving habits were ingrained and once it was realised that supermarket own brands did the same job as premium ones, you didn't actually need to upgrade your cell phone every year and a ready meal from M&S with their own brand wine was as nice as a poncy restaurant, it was hard to justify going back to the old ways. This was especially applicable if you were caught with your pants down financially having little in the bank and heavy monthly commitments.

The big question is of course, how long this goes on for. A vaccine available in mass quantities tomorrow would end the immediate crisis and we could concentrate on the economy, a second wave of a more severe virus strain with a higher mortality rate would plunge us into a depression that would still affect our grandchildren.

The A350 may be a better aircraft than the B787 but it couldn't compete with second hand B787s being sold at fire sale prices by bankrupt or downsizing airlines. There are probably enough narrow bodies around at the moment to cater for immediate needs, the newer and larger variants such as the A321NEO could replace widebodies on many routes which would be unable to sustain a 300 seat aircraft. The B777-300 would effectively be the new A380. Fuel prices are unlikely to be a major issue for a while which will extend the lifespans of older aircraft currently in use.
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Old 24th Mar 2020, 08:17
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According to a report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global demand and frequency of travel are expected to increase by 3.5% per year, and air travel is predicted to increase from 3.8 billion travelers in 2016 to well over 8.2 billion passengers by 2037. This trend gonna be changed with what is happening right now.
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Old 24th Mar 2020, 08:20
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Originally Posted by krismiler View Post
Generally people will downgrade a step or two, first class to business, business to economy, full service to low cost. Long haul holiday destination to regional, regional to domestic. The problem experienced in the UK after the financial crisis was that people's spending levels didn't instantly rebound once things improved. Money saving habits were ingrained and once it was realised that supermarket own brands did the same job as premium ones, you didn't actually need to upgrade your cell phone every year and a ready meal from M&S with their own brand wine was as nice as a poncy restaurant, it was hard to justify going back to the old ways. This was especially applicable if you were caught with your pants down financially having little in the bank and heavy monthly commitments.

The big question is of course, how long this goes on for. A vaccine available in mass quantities tomorrow would end the immediate crisis and we could concentrate on the economy, a second wave of a more severe virus strain with a higher mortality rate would plunge us into a depression that would still affect our grandchildren.

The A350 may be a better aircraft than the B787 but it couldn't compete with second hand B787s being sold at fire sale prices by bankrupt or downsizing airlines. There are probably enough narrow bodies around at the moment to cater for immediate needs, the newer and larger variants such as the A321NEO could replace widebodies on many routes which would be unable to sustain a 300 seat aircraft. The B777-300 would effectively be the new A380. Fuel prices are unlikely to be a major issue for a while which will extend the lifespans of older aircraft currently in use.
And then there are the grounded 737MAX...

I think you will be able to get a widebody aircraft free with your cornflakes, as long as you pick it up and pay for parking...
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Old 24th Mar 2020, 11:45
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I think that with Jet A1 being 1/3rd of the cost it was a year ago, it might make more sense to run a cheap, less efficient airframe than an expensive, efficient one. Why pay leasing on a 787 when you can pull an old Jumbo (or A380!) out of the desert and get more bums on seats?
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Old 24th Mar 2020, 12:15
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first and foremost - it must be de-industrialized in a sense, that aviation is not "just a business". CEO's who get payed extra if companie's share value rises, so taking care for themselves by buyback of own stock with someone else's money, should stop, should be strictly prohibited. De-regulation has started race to the bottom and increased pollution, as flying became so mondane, as walk in the park. I hope that there will be significant increase in investment in real public transport, like high-speed rails - as routes up to 500 km (or even more) on continent should be covered by high-tech trains, rather than aeroplanes. And everything is not for sale or to be used freely, withouth any moderation. Like airspace - drones and autonoumus airplanes and crap like that. Or we will wanish as species rather sooner than later.
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Old 24th Mar 2020, 16:47
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Originally Posted by Chris2303 View Post
Too many potential passengers will have got used to using Skype that there will be very little business travel because businesses can't afford it
They absolutely won't. Even the companies making these video based solutions send lots of employees around the world because video simply cannot replace face to face (never mind the timezone issues). Some travel might go away, but the vast majority of business travel is going to stay - cashflow permitting.
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Old 24th Mar 2020, 17:07
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The specific structure of the post virus air transport system is pretty much open, no carrier can survive in hibernation for months. So they all will need help to restart, which gives the governments lots of leeway. The carriers will reemerge, in some form and relatively quickly.

What is underappreciated is the damage to aircraft builders.
The global fleet has been getting substantially younger, courtesy of a decade of vigorous fleet renewal spurred by low interest rates. The system now has no replacement needs for several years.
Full Wings' perceptive comment just highlights another element which adds to the pressure on the manufacturers. Nobody will need more aircraft for some years. The industry may have considerably more adjustment in store.
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Old 24th Mar 2020, 18:41
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Geeez, Federal Government takeover of Boeing? Atilla the Hun might as well be UN Secretary General.
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Old 24th Mar 2020, 20:20
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Originally Posted by krismiler View Post
After this pandemic and worldwide depression I predict a much smaller airline industry to emerge, similar to before deregulation. Airlines without a very healthy balance sheet before this started, or government backing will go under.

Whatís left will be nationalised or subject to heavy controls regarding routes, timetables and fares.

For the A380 itís almost certainly long term storage for a couple of years and only back on a few limited routes where the numbers add up, if and when it does return.

Probably the final nail for the B737 MAX as well. Why waste billions in patching up a fundamentally flawed design for which future demand has evaporated ? There may have been a case for a solution when the order book was in the thousands, but not any more.

The US government will likely take over Boeing due to its importance to the economy and as a defence supplier. The downturn could be used to develop an all new replacement aircraft.

I believe that the future is now all twins, with A320/B737s being used to the limits of their range and B787s taking over from there. These types are already in existence in significant numbers and economical to operate, even though fuel price wonít be much of an issue for a while. High density seating in the narrow bodies and 9 across in the B787, with possibly a couple of rows of business class will be the new norm.

Suites and lie flat seats wonít be filling up anytime soon. A holiday is likely to be an annual trip to a short/mid range destination on a low cost airline, rather than long haul on a premium carrier. Short getaways to Europe from the UK will likely be replaced with coach trips to Blackpool, Rhyl, Skegness and Brighton.
You've got a good cristal ball. Can you tell what the stock markets are going to do?
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Old 27th Mar 2020, 12:37
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question of trust- wildwest of aviation?

I think there will be a trust problem with the airlines when this all finishes - look at the people trying to get home now and how they are being treated- from Irish Independent"John Spollen, the soft spoken president of the Irish Travel Agents Association, describes what has happened since the outbreak of coronavirus as a "Wild West of aviation" as airlines have abandoned their customers and ignored their rights."

Emirates is giving refunds but only from 12 months out. Customers have a year to make their mind up, and after that if they still want a refund, it will give you the refund.

Not much use if you need the refund to fly home now"

Not to blame Emirates alone- many other airlines doing the same- even BA will refund in 4-6 weeks when THEY cancel.
But this doesn't help people getting home now as could hardly be regarded as good PR for the airlines. This does not criticise the staff who work for them but I do worry that this is bad publicity for the industry and will slow a return of normal travel
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Old 27th Mar 2020, 20:48
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Totally agree kid. Whatever happened to a duty of care from an airline when they cancel? Also the time lag for a refund is a disgrace when people who are stranded need the funds to try to return home.
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Old 27th Mar 2020, 21:11
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Originally Posted by kpd View Post
I think there will be a trust problem with the airlines when this all finishes - look at the people trying to get home now and how they are being treated- from Irish Independent"John Spollen, the soft spoken president of the Irish Travel Agents Association, describes what has happened since the outbreak of coronavirus as a "Wild West of aviation" as airlines have abandoned their customers and ignored their rights."
Couldn't agree more.

Personal experience is : I cancelled a long planned fligth to Cuba for 19th March after my gvt had issued a no-fly warning, but the airline - Condor in this case - refused to honour/refund it as the flight was scheduled to operate - and ... it went ahead as scheduled.
Irresponsible and reckless IMO.
Cuba closed its borders 2 days later and 40k tourists are trying to get out.
Wonder how the ones flying 19th March are doing there now ...


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Old 28th Mar 2020, 00:42
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Originally Posted by foxcharliep2 View Post
Couldn't agree more.

Personal experience is : I cancelled a long planned fligth to Cuba for 19th March after my gvt had issued a no-fly warning, but the airline - Condor in this case - refused to honour/refund it as the flight was scheduled to operate - and ... it went ahead as scheduled.
Irresponsible and reckless IMO.
Cuba closed its borders 2 days later and 40k tourists are trying to get out.
Wonder how the ones flying 19th March are doing there now ...
I've just had to get out of Russia in a hurry (I was working there and they are closing down international travel). Was due to return on the 5th of April. Had no problems getting flights changed and I'm now safely home. It is not all bad!
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Old 28th Mar 2020, 01:11
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Are any of you going to fly anywhere if you haven't caught a nasty RNA molecule and survived it? No.
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Old 28th Mar 2020, 03:52
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Originally Posted by kpd View Post
I think there will be a trust problem with the airlines when this all finishes - look at the people trying to get home now and how they are being treated- from Irish Independent"John Spollen, the soft spoken president of the Irish Travel Agents Association, describes what has happened since the outbreak of coronavirus as a "Wild West of aviation" as airlines have abandoned their customers and ignored their rights."
Not all airlines, only some.

Our airline (i don't work there, i just say *our* because it's the flag carrier of the country I live in) does a good job in getting people home from all over the world. Their 777 are constantly flying to collect people from far away destinations in South America or the Far East while they also already started to fly large quantities of medical equipment from China to Europe.

From what I have heard, they treat their Pax well, even in these difficult times and do whatever needed to get people home.

So once this is over, people will have that in the back of their minds. Airlines who treated their pax like cr*ap might find difficult business in the future. And rightfully so.
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Old 28th Mar 2020, 04:19
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Originally Posted by SilverCircle View Post
Not all airlines, only some.

Our airline (i don't work there, i just say *our* because it's the flag carrier of the country I live in) does a good job in getting people home from all over the world. Their 777 are constantly flying to collect people from far away destinations in South America or the Far East while they also already started to fly large quantities of medical equipment from China to Europe.

From what I have heard, they treat their Pax well, even in these difficult times and do whatever needed to get people home.

So once this is over, people will have that in the back of their minds. Airlines who treated their pax like cr*ap might find difficult business in the future. And rightfully so.
likewise with hotels and booking agencies. Customers will have long and permanent memories.

I will state Booking.com have been excellent.
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