3 Links I Love: airberlin’s Blunder, Ontario Goes to China, JetBlue Wants More Mint

Air Berlin, JetBlue, Links I Love

This week’s featured link:
NIKI no longer to merge with TUIfly in a setback for airberlin’s restructuringCAPA
Alitalia’s eskimo brother airberlin is giving Alitalia a run for its money as worst airline ever. It had already transferred a bunch of airplanes over to subsidiary Niki so it could then tie that off with TUI and turn it into a powerful leisure airline. But wait, the deal fell through. Now Niki has a bunch of airplanes and is still owned by airberlin. Oh my, this is a mess.

Two for the road:
Starting this summer, flights from China expected at ONTInland Valley Daily Bulletin
Is this really how crazy Chinese subsidies are now? Dynamic will fly a 767 from Ontario to Nanchang with a tech stop in Anchorage a couple times a week this summer. I can’t imagine Dynamic would give this a try if there wasn’t money been dangled on the Nanchang side. If it’s not subsidy, it must be guaranteed tour bookings from China. I know Ontario has big hopes for China service, but it’s hard to imagine how Nanchang works to even a first tier US airport.

JetBlue eyes transatlantic premium marketATW
The whispers around JetBlue’s potential transatlantic service continue to grow louder. Now JetBlue is talking about how it might work. For one thing, it wants more than the 16 Mint seats it has on its domestic transcon flights today. It just doesn’t know how many more it wants.

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18 comments on “3 Links I Love: airberlin’s Blunder, Ontario Goes to China, JetBlue Wants More Mint

  1. The JetBlue article reminds me of something I read about the Alaska/Virgin merger. Alaska’s leadership underwent a comprehensive market research study and came up with some 19 different customer segments, choosing to focus on the six or seven ranging from small businesses to premium leisure.

    I feel like if JetBlue does decide to take the plunge into the Transatlantic, they’d need to take a similar approach in terms of the premium segment they’re targeting. They already said they won’t be aiming for the same market as Norwegian and they won’t have the network and schedules to nab a lot of international business from big corporate accounts.

    1. they have always done that though. The move to grow major cities vs. secondary some 5 years ago, the addition of Mint, the creation of Mosaic. They seem to know their sweet spot – high value leisure, (relatively) low business volume mostly from Boston. They have been laying groundwork with bigger planes, food, elite status, a connection capable hub in boston. The question is what are the a321 economics on flights that long. They seem successful in transcon, so western europe isn’t much different.

      My only question is if that is the lowest hanging fruit? Europe ops are long stage lengths and not sure 1 europe roundtrip is better than 2 FLL-carribean trips or launching NYC-MIA for instance. Unlike legacies with fleets over 500 planes, JetBlue has a higher need to prioritize marginal benefits of routes.

  2. RE: Ontario. Isn’t there a market in LA basin for one of the secondary airports to be Newark to LAX’s JFK? It would seem that the market is there. And isn’t Ontario the only airport that can handle larger aircraft? I’m not saying this particular route will be successful, but how about something like BA to London from Ontario?

    1. The problem is that ONT is hours away from LAX, no one wants to go there, and there is no public transportation.

      From, Newark you can see Manhattan, and there are multiple busses, trains and whatever to get you to LAX. My bus from Mid Town to Newark was only about a half hour.

      For a better Newark comparison look at OAK/SFO. OAK has Norwegian and British Airways. You can see downtown San Francisco from the terminal.

      1. Meaning that Ontario is similar to SWY or HPN? I think it can be much more than that. As Jeremy states, the infrastructure needs to be improved. Perhaps if there were rail lines to both LA and Orange County, it would work. It just seems that the catchment is pretty substantial, and that there is only one LA area airport with any meaningful international flight options. It really is a monopoly.

        I flew into Ontario recently and our ultimate destination was Costa Mesa. It wasn’t that bad (WN for some reason was priced much better on our travel date flying into ONT than SNA).

        1. It really just depends where you’re going. LA is so spread out. Like you said, ONT isn’t terrible for Costa Mesa; it’s about an hour away so similar to LAX, though SNA would be the first choice and LGB second.

          The problem is that the area around ONT itself doesn’t drive a lot of air travel demand. JetBlue’s initial experiment with transcon flying went to ONT and OAK, that later got moved to the LGB hub.

          LAX is simply the regional juggernaut and with the ability to fly everywhere easily from there, trying to develop a full fledged equivalent airport just doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to work. Better just to improve and optimize LAX. LAX may be a monopoly airport for long haul direct travel, but fares are still kept reasonable since nobody has been able to turn it into a fortress hub.

      2. I’m not super familiar with the LA area, but would SNA (John Wayne) be the closer equivalent of HPN? Both are located almost right on the water, have short runways, are surrounded by rich people, and have noise restrictions or constant complaints from neighbors about noise…

        1. ONT is better positioned than LAX to serve the San Gabriel Valley (SGV), which is where the heavily Chinese suburbs of LA are located. Would be attractive to airlines looking to serve the FnF market.

          Nanchang, however…¯_(?)_/¯.

  3. Ontario California????
    Ontario to Mexico sure, but to some place in China I’ve never heard of….good luck. How many tourist from China want to be that much closer to Mickey Mouse . The fares must be really cheap to dump a bunch of people in ontario.

    1. Tour Groups from China, as soon as they land lots of 50 board a motor coach and spend the next 2 weeks together, including a couple days at Ontario Mills Outlet Mall (look it up: 28mm visitors a year). Definitely not worried about lack of local transportation. Each group stays together like glue until boarding the plane back. So in the first week or two of service the aircraft may head back to China a bit empty, unless they can attract some VFR traffic with some cheap fares heading to China, but the steady flow of tour groups rapidly brings the overall average load factor well north of 90%.

      1. For this flight, yes, that was my thought as well. The tour package company provides the transportation.

        But Ontario seems to see that as a test for more regular scheduled service. Will that work? Are rental cars the transportation they need and have?

        By the way, what’s with the immigration processing at ANC? Is that just because they have to stop anyway for fuel? I thought ONT has customs/immigration given that they appear to have flights from Mexico.

        1. If they’re stopping there anyway for fuel, getting the pax off the plane for customs and immigration keeps them busy while the plane is refueled. BA does the same thing on LCY-SNN-JFK, the pax get off and clear US customs and immigration at SNN, then came be treated as a domestic arrival at JFK.

          1. How long of a stopover do they schedule for this? Unloading, screening, and reloading a 763 packed with visa-carrying foreigners doesn’t sound like a quick stop. What do they do if USCIS decides to send some pax to secondary screening? Or one of the pax decides to wander off to shop for souvenirs at one of the ANC stores?

            The one time I had a scheduled technical stop (JNB-ATL, stop in FLL for fuel) they didn’t let anyone off. Took less than an hour, if I recall correctly; they probably just added enough fuel to get to ATL.

        1. Most Chinese visitors to the LA area are not interesting in the usual touristy things. They are interesting in visiting Ontario Mills Mall (as discussed), San Gabriel, Monterey Park for shopping and restaurants and Arcadia which is becomeing the Chinese Beverly Hills. All these options are much more convenient to ONT than LAX. I fly frequently from ONT and many passengers are from Orange County and the San Gabriel Valley, not just the IE. I believe this airport has great potential now that it is controlled by Ontario.

    2. Given the volume of Chinese that come to go to Vegas or go shopping in the various (outlet) malls in Southern California…it could be possible to support it. It is a shorter drive to Las Vegas than LAX is.

      Plus when you live in the large Asian enclaves of Alhambra/Monterey Park/Arcadia or Rowland Heights/Hacienda Heights, ONT and LAX are almost equal distance in terms of time…though because this is LA, it is traffic dependent.

      Dynamic had a similar flight in/out of LAX last year. Though it was LAX-ANC-CSX / CSX-ANC-LAX.

  4. The whole Air Berlin drama is a confusing mess….it seems like Ethiad could buy Niki and be done with the other bits and Air Berlin would gain the money from the sale and give it time to do whatever It wants with merging or combining of TUI or whatever the plan is….seems like the Spanish operation has enough market percentage to be spun off into it’s own company, taking some planes and employees off Air Berlin’s/TUI/TUIfly, still confusing, hands….could this work???? If Ethiad wants, it could by into this new venture and keep away from all the AirBerlin mess….they could buy Niki, possibly the new Spanish ops and move on….would this work…….I feel really bad for all the employees in this mess….

    If the ONT flt is going to be package tours etc where no regular person could buy a seat, how will they know its a success….seems like airlines from China have way more route authority to fly to the U S than we have to fly to China…. seems like so many obscure airlines from China are adding new routes left and right from obscure cities in China….US airlines seem to have far less routes and US airlines are having a hard time getting descent landing slots in cities like Beijing, why is China being difficult, the US airline received the route and they should receive a favorable slot, if not The US should cut some Chinese service’s until an agreement can be reached….Beijing and Shanghai are packed but so are LAX, JFK, ORD…..is there something im not seeing

    Seems to me that Europe is over saturated with LCC’s/leisure carriers that there would be enough people to fill all the seats that are available…..Transavia Holland/France, Wizzair, Ryanair just to name a few….it boggles my mind that there are so many airline companies adding routes after routes and filling planes, reading routesonline for airlines adding summer services is overwhelming…..just my observation….

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