As Europe Recedes, Asia Leads in Oz (Updated)

D7 330 and SQ 380.jpg

AirAsia X and Singapore Airlines in Oz, but where’s the roo? (Photos: author)

As this decade draws to an end (if you ignore when the millennium actually was) and commentators seek to define it,aviation’s decade legacy in Australia is clear. On the internationalfront, traffic shifted from European carriers to Asian carriers.

Australia had historically been tied to Europe–Britainespecially–and those ties were replicated in air services. Air France,Alitalia, Austrian, and KLM are some of the carriers Australia saw inits heyday of European flights.

Now only British Airways and Virgin Atlantic remain, and BA has seasonally reduced one of its B747-400 services to a B777-200. [Update 4 Feb 2010: BA will reduce its services again this year.]

Onthe other hand, Asia has grown increasingly important to Australia. Onthe political front, Kevin Rudd was elected as Prime Minister in 2007with many impressed by his fluent Mandarin.

Chris Woodruff Melbourne.jpg

MelbourneAirport CEO Chris Woodruff recently said that his airport saw Chinesepassengers overtake UK passengers as the most frequent internationalvisitors in 2008.

In October China Southern announcedit would up its Guangzhou-Sydney service from 5 weekly to daily until20 February 2010. It previously flew an add-on sector to Melbourne fromSydney, but through 25 March 2010 will operate thriceweekly non-stops to Melbourne.

CZ A330 midair.jpgYesterdaythe carrier, the fifth largest in China, announced it would increasecapacity to Sydney by approximately 10% by upgrading the A330-200 withan A330-300. The increase sees the introduction of first class with 4seats along with 24 additional economy seats.

Late last monthAirAsia X announced it would go double daily (from 11x weekly) toMelbourne in the peak travel periods of February and July. CEO AzranOsman-Rani said his low-cost, long-haul carrier in the near futureplans to add more frequencies in Australia, and hopefully serve Sydney.

(Above photo: China Southern)

If this decade–the noughties,or whatever you please–saw a shift from European to Asian services, thenext decade will continue that trend, and also see how Australia’sairlines will respond.

Will it be cut throat? Or sneakily strategic along the lines of AirAsia and Jetstar looking to form a joint venture?

Orwill Australia’s airlines not respond in full force because they don’twant to (Jetstar feigning off AirAsia X on routes to Europe, V Australia settling inon the US market) or can’t (Qantas and Jetstar growth pegged on much-delayed 787, Virgin Blue Group only has 777s and narrow bodies)?


4 Responses to As Europe Recedes, Asia Leads in Oz (Updated)

  1. Will Horton December 31, 2009 at 12:17 am #

    Great points, Grant and good to hear from you. Keep up the great work on the podcast. Happy New Year!

  2. Grant (Falcon124) McHerron January 1, 2010 at 12:13 am #

    The shifting towards Asian carriers definitely echoes the shifting in immigration paths. Where-as in the 50′s, most immigrants were European (especially Mediterranean), now we’re getting more Asians & Middle East folks. Definitely a factor in the shift of airlines visiting our shores.

    Don’t forget Emirates, Etihad and Qatar who are now also increasing their flights down under. When you have to make a stop somewhere to get to Europe, why not go via Dubai rather than Singapore/Bangkok with QF/BA ? Many are flocking to the perceived higher quality service offered by Emirates and their neighbours.

    Definitely going to be interesting to watch this space :)


    (Falcon124 –

  3. Grant (Falcon124) McHerron January 1, 2010 at 4:42 am #

    Oooops – sorry for the multiple postings of the message. My browser got itself into a rather convoluted state, I think :(

    Thanks re: podcast. Will be good to get you on for a chat soon :)

  4. Will Horton January 1, 2010 at 9:24 am #

    No worries, Grant! Y2K finally struck? ;-) Would be great to get on podcast soon. Will be traveling for much of Jan and Feb but let me know.

Leave a Reply