Facebook Google Menu Linkedin lock Pinterest Search Twitter



Dec 19, 2016

SingaporeAir, Qantas, Qatar Airways, circle each other's airport strategies

Taken in isolation, recent moves by Qantas, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines are impressive. Connect the dots and it seems a battle of the hub airports is imminent


How Changi's Jewel development will look in 2018
How Changi’s Jewel development will look in 2018

Qantas won’t confirm or deny contemplating new flights from Singapore to London, SingaporeAir is going full throttle for more full service options over Changi Airport, and Qatar Airways sees its chance to fill voids left by airport expansion delays by its ME rivals Emirates and Etihad at their respective Dubai and Abu Dhabi hubs.

And that means in Singapore, as well as Australia,  for the Doha based Qatar carrier, which currently flies A380s to Sydney and Melbourne, and will start Canberra flights, possibly with A350s, in the nearish future.

There is a lot for airline watchers to process in recent weeks, including of course the whole new ball game for Qantas in opting for 2018 non-stops between Perth and London, which cuts at least some of the attractions of Singapore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha out of the action anyhow for those travellers who don’t need secondary connections with European or Asian cities.

Today’s development, a Singapore Airlines announcement that it will substantially lift its number of flights from key Australian airports to its Changi hub  from next July, will mean more better timed A380, 777 and A330 flights spread across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, as well as growth in onward services to key destinations including Rome, Moscow, its new destination of Stockholm, and Bangkok, Dhaka and Ho Chi Minh City .

See your travel agent or patiently study the booking sites to delve into the matrix of new possibilities, since it can be confidently predicted no-one is going to fly to all of them in the next timetabling season without losing control over their lives or being admitted to a rehabilitation centre.

The real message from Singapore Airlines to its investors and its competitors is that contrary to some expectations, its ambitions for its low cost brand Scoot will not come at the cost of any retreat from excellence or frequency by its full service brand, and its new premium economy cabins either.  It might have been as the airline says, a tough year for Singapore Airlines, but it continues to make good money, and leveraging the timely improvements to the Changi hub is critical to limiting the advances made by its ME imitators.

Singapore Airlines is also replacing older A380s with new A380s, and its Airbus A350s, which are inherently more comfortable than tight fit 787s are in the medium term replacing its older but recently refurbished 777-200s and its leased A330s.

Emirates is already an all A380 airline out of Sydney. And the major Australian airport is just about full when it comes to useful longer haul slots. The pressure is on all carriers to upscale the capacity of their jets, and doing so by means of inflicting physical pain on those flying economy class may not prove nearly as smart as some airline advisors think.

The Singapore Airlines announcements begs a number of sensitive questions for Qantas, as well as the ME3. Changi airport is way ahead of other Asia hubs for serving secondary cities in the hemisphere, and can just as readily address such destinations in Europe with less hassle than Dubai. Apart from Perth, which is part of a very credible answer, what else might Qantas do?

Whatever it does, Singapore Airlines looks set to do it sooner. Stay tuned. There has to be more to come.


We recommend

From around the web

Powered by Taboola


Leave a comment

7 thoughts on “SingaporeAir, Qantas, Qatar Airways, circle each other’s airport strategies

  1. Dan Dair

    I truly believe that the introduction of direct flights to Europe from Perth is a very clever move.
    As the range, with a profitable payload, of large aircraft has improved, Qantas are taking advantage of it & trying to create a service never previously available.
    I also imagine that if the service is a success, additional routes will be opened-up to other European destinations. (perhaps starting with one additional daily ‘route’ which serves two or three different European capitals over the course of a week.???)

    Potentially, the rest of Australia (& NZ) could hub out of Perth, direct into Europe in the future.

    Of course, what’s not going to change (although, to be fair, it might actually improve.!!) is the range of one-stop options available through the ME3 hubs, or through Changi or HK.
    (Additionally, if the Chinese ever get their-selves together, they might potentially bring an additional hub option to the table.?)

    Modern airline operations are a tough business, but passengers are out there & ready to buy the right service at the right price.
    As Ben mentions, SQ had a difficult year & yet remained healthy.
    It is incumbent upon their business to move passengers into & out of Changi in a symbiotic relationship with that airport, whether or not those passengers terminate in Singapore, fly onwards with SQ or fly with another airline.? SQ’s core business is moving people, long-haul via Changi.
    If Changi remains a pleasant & efficient place to transit
    & SQ’s service-levels remain high,
    passengers will continue to want what both are providing.

    1. Jacob HSR

      If the 17 hour daily flight from AKL to DXB is viable then I guess Perth people are willing to sit an aircraft for 17 hours too.

    2. Mark Skinner

      The question though Dan is this: would someone from Adelaide or Brisbane prefer Qantas domestic then international with a break in Perth, or Emirates international with a break in Dubai? For Business the answer is nope. For Economy, maybe.

  2. patrick kilby

    I can see a major revisit of the Emirates partnership next year for implementation in 2018. For my crystal ball by early 2019 QF well have London (2), Paris (1), and Frankfurt (1) flying all through Perth with 787s. They may increase the order to have 12 787s by then so they can serve LA and Dallas as well, all out of Melbourne. The A380s will all be based in Sydney with a London flight probably through Dubai but possibly through Singapore (the cost of having only one A380 through Dubai may be too high), but there will be stand alone Singapore and Hong Kong A380 flights. QF ‘owns’ four slots at London so this scenario will only use three of them 2 with 787s and 1 A380. Having a crew base in Perth is probably much cheaper than Dubai. This may allow them to close the London crew base, and have one in Singapore instead. EK will keep most of the code shares it has as that avoids backtracking from ‘horrible’ Heathrow. All good speculation!! This well serve everybody until 2025 when a new Sydney and Dubai, airports; and a new Heathrow, Perth and Melbourne runways will all come into play to change the game some more.

  3. Brown David

    I recall seeing that QF made an application for rights for AUS-SIN-Europe flights. The SQ move could be in response to this? A lot of QF clients will be more than happy if the SIN option for transit/stopovers comes back. Possibly more new routes for 787 in the future to expand east coast to UK and Europe not via DXB?

  4. Jacob HSR

    MEL to SIN will be 31 flights per week after 17 July – up from the current 28.

    Does an increase in frequency mean lower ticket prices in order to fill more aircraft?

  5. Zarathrusta

    I recently flew to the US and it is interesting to note how both Virgin Australia and Qantas lost my fare. Virgin, who would have been my preferred carrier simply didn’t have good enough IT to offer my a flight from my home capital to a less popular US state capital. It said no flights, and I thought that meant that the cross pacific flights were full. In fact, it turned out to mean that their IT couldn’t find a connection from LAX to my final destination. Had I know, I could have booked an onward flight but to be honest I probably would have still wanted a single ticket with my checked baggage routed all the way through and the security of knowing that if the international flight was late that it was their problem to find me another connecting flight at no extra cost to me.

    Qantas on the other hand tried to price gouge me. First it wanted to charge me $90 to join their frequent flyer program – something which primarily benefits them not me. Did it ever occur to them that making their “loyalty” program offensively priced creates active and ongoing disloyalty to them? I ended up joining another One World carrier’s frequent flyer program for free instead, and compared their offering to Qantas’ both of which could provide end to end connections on the one ticketing transaction. Well Qantas turned out to be $3-400 more expensive than the ME3 carrier but I did consider going Qantas over and Qatar back. However when I did that in their respective websites, Qatar offered me the same fare for the return leg but Qantas added $300 hundred to the one way fare to which I thought “stuff you.”

    So I took the much longer route to the US with Qatar. I wonder if Qantas realises that its $90 frequent flyer joining fee cost it $3300 in revenue.

    Doha airport is all done out in black marble look to make it look upmarket, but unfortunately it makes it feel dark and oppressive like the whole thing is underground in a tunnel.


https://www.crikey.com.au/2016/12/19/singaporeair-qantas-qatar-airways-circle-others-airport-strategies/ == https://www.crikey.com.au/free-trial/==https://www.crikey.com.au/subscribe/

Show popup

Telling you what the others don't. FREE for 21 days.