Friday, October 21, 2016

Air India's non-stop service forces Etihad to scale down San Francisco operation

by Soumen Mukherjee


When the US3 carriers are engaged in a bitter rhetoric against the MEB3 carrier on their offering of one-stop sixth freedom flights via Middle Eastern hubs killing the prospect of non-stop point to point US-India flights. The Indian national carrier Air India seems to have hit the bull's eye with its non-stop services to United States. Air India is now operating 30 weekly flights from four US gateways (Chicago, Newark, New York and San Francisco) which is only going to increase with Washington Dulles service being introduced in spring 2017. In fact it is known to have plans for Los Angeles too. Air India's non-stop San Francisco service is getting wide patronage even at a premium charge over one-stop offerings by other airlines in Gulf or in Europe. Air India's decision to double its San Francisco capacity from November is now believed to be forcing Etihad Airways to scale down its own San Francisco frequency from early next year. The Delhi-San Francisco sector had the maximum number of passengers flying via one-stop flights from India in 2015 as it did not have even a non-stop flight for most part of the year. According OAG traffic analyser's report a total of 1,65,117 passengers (one-way) flew from Delhi to San Francisco via intermediate hubs which was the 12th largest underserved city-pair globally in 2015.

















In December 2015, the Indian flag carrier returned to the US west coast starting with three-weekly service on board it's 238 seater (8F, 35J, 195Y) Boeing 777-200LR. Air India has only three of those aircraft in its fleet capable of flying such long distance. In Q1-2016, Air India's direct flight carried total of 7,945 passengers against 9,282 seats deployed resulting 86% load which is just phenomenal within months of service launch.











On the Delhi-San Francisco sector, Air India strikes a rare success as evident from load and yield as well, it charges a premium for its non-stop service. The carrier plans to remove the entire first-class cabin and replace with economy seats, leading to marginal increase in seat capacity on the route. In mid-August, Air India made some changes in its London Heathrow operation freeing up another Boeing 777-200LR; It currently operates an all Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner flights to and from Heathrow. But AI's schedule now showing Boeing 777-200ER flight to return on its afternoon Delhi-Heathrow departure (AI 111/AI 112) in the winter schedule effective from 30 October. That leaves two such aircraft in its fleet which will operate six-weekly flights on the route from 21 November. Air India will increase its annual one-way seat capacity to 74,256, double of its current capacity.


Air India's San Francisco schedule:
Flight No
Origin: Departure
Destination: Arrival
Freq
AI 173
Delhi: 03:30
San Francisco: 07:00
3,5,7
AI 173
Delhi: 02:35
San Francisco: 06:00
x2
eff 21 Nov

AI 174
San Francisco: 11:30
     Delhi: 03:55+1   
3,5,7
AI 174
San Francisco: 10:30
Delhi: 04:15+1
x2
eff 21 Nov
  
Given the large O&D passenger volume between Delhi and San Francisco, many passengers fly one-stop via intermediate hubs and the MEB3 carriers are leading airlines in flying transit traffic from India. Etihad depends heavily on Indian connections for its San Francisco flight. This was started in November 2014 and initially operated on Boeing 777-300ER dry-leased from Jet Airways. Later changed to Boeing 777-200LR from February this year. If we look at top 10 source markets for Etihad's non-stop Abu Dhabi-San Francisco flights, seven out of top 10 originate from India with top five cities providing more passengers than Abu Dhabi itself. 

From February next year, Etihad is reducing its San Francisco capacity from current daily flight to three-weekly frequency. The Abu Dhabi based airline will divert this capacity to increase Dallas/Fort Worth frequency from current three weekly to daily flight. Air India's decision to increase San Francisco frequency to six -weekly from November is believed to the driving force behind Etihad's capacity reduction. Instead it turns its focus more on India-Texas connections. As there is no direct flight operating from India currently to Southern United States. 

Air India's San Francisco route change:
From 16 October, Air India has started flying the Delhi-San Francisco leg (AI 173) via trans-Pacific route while has maintained flying via the polar route on the return leg (AI 174) making it a round the world flight. With this Air India title of flying the world' longest air-route beating it significantly reduces the flight time. Though the new route is significantly longer than the old route (15,142 km on trans-Pacific route vs 13,959 km on Polar route). It provides the advantage of tailwinds offered by the jet stream over North Pacific Ocean which helps the airliner to cut fuel consumption and reduce the travel time by more than two hours. 

14 comments:

  1. Is Air India is going to deploy Boeing 777-300 in Mumbai-Riyad-New Delhi route then?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Air India already operating Boeing 777-300ER on Mumbai-Riyadh and Delhi-Riyadh routes. Other B77Ws are deployed on US routes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sorry, I see VTALG, VTALH flight routes which shows, both of them still running on Riyadh route. So will then completely change all these to Boeing 777-300ER?

      Delete
    2. Debemos pornografiar con los ventosos indumentarios a los violadores sexuales que desean cambiar los ultrajes por la masturbacion pero a los que nunca cambian entonces tenemos que darles veneno en la sopa para evitar pornografiarlos asesinamente como obsequiosas porque evitaríamos la creacion de más violadores sexuales, por las cuales, existe el femicidio. El origen del violador sexual es de que es un mal cortejante cuando es novato en buscar novia o en buscar amante donde es rechazado unánimemente por incompetente donde se exaspera para ultrajar por falta de aceptacion. El violador de infantes se crea cuando las niñas desean sexualmente a un adulto mayor.

      Atentamente:
      Jorge Vinicio Santos Gonzalez,
      Documento de identificacion personal:
      1999-01058-0101 Guatemala,
      Cédula de Vecindad:
      ORDEN: A-1, REGISTRO: 825,466,
      Ciudadano de Guatemala de la América Central.

      Delete
  3. Nice to see Air India doing well on some fronts. Funny that EY runs SFO route on the ex-AI aircraft and decides to pull back a bit. AI definitely got some edge with better planning their Delhi hub and freeing the only OD traffic routes to small aircraft instead of running empty. For example HongKong/Osaka/Seoul route is just wasted with misaligned schedules at DEL west bound traffic. Same is the case with DEL-SIN,DEL-DXB, Align or downgrade. When they cannot align its better to downgrade to A321 and free up a B787. B787 is better for RUH, JED than B777 as no kings are flying on AI to use first class on these routes. Aligning schedules at DEL gives at least 5% or more load advantage with AI being in Star Alliance. Given the A320 order they are expecting soon, it should not be a problem to accommodate some of these routes and expand long haul routes. Just some vague thoughts. JetAirways, Spicejet and Indigo can easily fly that KWI-MAA route, not sure why they aren't able to do that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Where are the aircraft's Mr mukherjee? For the long haul non stops ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As it was mentioned in the blog that Air India has three Boeing 777-200LR ultra long-haul aircraft that should be sufficient for San Francisco service. Air India currently has 21 787 and 12 B77W it its fleet. Additionally Air India has six Boeing 787-8 and three Boeing 777-300ER on order that should help the airline to grow its long haul network in the coming years. It is also known to have plans for acquiring more wide-body aircraft.

      Delete
    2. I m aware of the statistics. But three 777 can be converted into orders but they require more. Also they sold their 200lrs to etihad for peanuts. Which they are handsomely utilizing on SFO lax GRU and some Australian routes. I have always been great admirer of air India but recently when I flew their 777-300ers on ai 102 and 126. I felt bad on the way they were maintained. Couldn't believe that a beautiful aircraft has been taken for granted. My opinion says if they want to expand soon the only option they have is direct flights and not non stop. Like they have recently done on the amd-lhr-ewr sector. They can reconsider their Frankfurt stopover once again . It will also help them to connect with their star alliance partner Lufthansa for further connections to South America and and a few cities in North America where they don't fly like jet have been doing on Amsterdam sector with skyteam partners . Also eyeing a berth in skyteam group.

      Delete
    3. Debemos pornografiar con los ventosos indumentarios a los violadores sexuales que desean cambiar los ultrajes por la masturbacion pero a los que nunca cambian entonces tenemos que darles veneno en la sopa para evitar pornografiarlos asesinamente como obsequiosas porque evitaríamos la creacion de más violadores sexuales, por las cuales, existe el femicidio. El origen del violador sexual es de que es un mal cortejante cuando es novato en buscar novia o en buscar amante donde es rechazado unánimemente por incompetente donde se exaspera para ultrajar por falta de aceptacion. El violador de infantes se crea cuando las niñas desean sexualmente a un adulto mayor.

      Atentamente:
      Jorge Vinicio Santos Gonzalez,
      Documento de identificacion personal:
      1999-01058-0101 Guatemala,
      Cédula de Vecindad:
      ORDEN: A-1, REGISTRO: 825,466,
      Ciudadano de Guatemala de la América Central.

      Delete
  5. Debemos pornografiar con los ventosos indumentarios a los violadores sexuales que desean cambiar los ultrajes por la masturbacion pero a los que nunca cambian entonces tenemos que darles veneno en la sopa para evitar pornografiarlos asesinamente como obsequiosas porque evitaríamos la creacion de más violadores sexuales, por las cuales, existe el femicidio. El origen del violador sexual es de que es un mal cortejante cuando es novato en buscar novia o en buscar amante donde es rechazado unánimemente por incompetente donde se exaspera para ultrajar por falta de aceptacion. El violador de infantes se crea cuando las niñas desean sexualmente a un adulto mayor.

    Atentamente:
    Jorge Vinicio Santos Gonzalez,
    Documento de identificacion personal:
    1999-01058-0101 Guatemala,
    Cédula de Vecindad:
    ORDEN: A-1, REGISTRO: 825,466,
    Ciudadano de Guatemala de la América Central.

    ReplyDelete
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