This week we examine what to do with all of those out of service Airbus 380s, look at British Airways' IT problems and investigate Southwest's foray into global distribution systems.
What to do with Those A380s?
As airlines shift their strategy towards narrowbody and more fuel efficient aircraft such as the Airbus 321XLR, the Airbus A380 is meeting its demise, in spite of its popularity among passengers.
For example, Air France-KLM recently signed a commitment for 60 Airbus A220s, while sending Air France's 10 A380s to retirement, citing efficiency deficiencies as a reason. While the A380 and A220 service completely different routes, this does paint the picture of where airlines are heading as far as fleet management.
While much of this is not a surprise to those in commercial aviation, it does bring up another interesting question – what's to come of all of these out-of-service A380s?
Forbes writer Michael Goldstein tackles this subject in a recent article. Goldstein sees a potential entrepreneurial opportunity here.
All the potential airline mogul needs to do is create a start-up airline (or charter, or, possibly, a freight carrier) with routes that can keep a 500-seat A380 or two packed full. With seven planes parked and more coming, (Lufthansa is returning its aircraft to the manufacturer as part of a deal for new aircraft) Airbus will no doubt cut you a sweet deal on a used A380, original list price $446 million.
So anyone out there with a few extra hundred million?
British Airways IT Woes
In what is not a first-of-its-kind experience for the flagship carrier, British Airways experienced IT failures this past week. According to Reuters, passengers had to endure cancellations, delays and long queues at London airports as the airline suffered its third major computer failure in a little more than two years.
More than 60 flights to and from Heathrow and Gatwick were canceled and more than 100 were delayed.
Compounding matters, BA was fined $230 million last month for a huge customer data breach (in accordance with the GDPR).
For all of the talk and increasing investment into digital transformation and data processing and activation measures, it's striking to see large carriers continue to struggle with fundamental processes.
On top of everything else, BA is bracing for potential strikes in a pay dispute with its pilots. Yikes!
Southwest Finally Comes Around to GDS
After being a long-time resistor, Southwest airlines is finally plugging into global distribution systems, with an expectation to have content ready by mid-2020.
The sordid history between Southwest and GDSs has been noted.
"They haven't been the easiest airline when it comes to access to content, with a very 'come to me direct' strategy, and they're willing to be easier to do business with," said Chuck FIscher, ARC VP of airline retailing and settlement. "It's access to content for the corporate buyers and agencies that's streamlined right into their process."
This is an important development into the distribution world of airlines. There's been two competing forces in this world – the director-to-consumer constituents such as Ryanair, and on the opposite side you have IATA trying to bridge different distribution platforms with its NDC initiative.
Kambr Media will continue to document the tale of airline distribution as it takes shape.
Cool Aviation Video of the Week
This week we have an educational video for you. Ever wonder about the economics of airline class? Watch this video from Wendover Productions and you'll become an expert.
Random But Interesting Read
There's been no shortage of media produced that involves a character hopping on a plane, a scene at an airport and the like. Ever wonder how Hollywood makes the magic happen? Airline Geeks gives us an inside look at how some of these scenes come together.
Located in Pacoima just behind the Hollywood hills, Air Hollywood is the LA film studio where almost any sort of airplane or airport scene becomes a reality for the silver screen. The studio was founded in 1998 by Talaat Captan, a veteran of the film industry and a big aviation enthusiast, and it specializes in building airplane movie sets whether it be the inside an airport terminal, an airplane cabin, or the exterior of a fuselage.
Upcoming Commercial Aviation Events
- International Aviation Forecast Summit, 25-27 Aug, Las Vegas, USA
- ACTE Global, 26-27 Aug, Cotai Central, Macao
- IATA Wings of Change Americas, 3-4 Sep, Chicago, USA
- Aviation Festival Global, 4-6 Sep, London, UK
- IATA Aviation XR Weekend, 7-9 Sep, Crans-Montana, Switzerland
- CAPA Canadian Aviation Summit, 9-10 Sep, Winnipeg, Canada
Other News in Commercial Aviation
- Ryanair's UK Pilots Vote to Strike Later this Month
- Lufthansa's Muddles Eurowings Strategy
- United Airlines Is Cracking Down on the Hidden-City Ticket Trick
- Boeing conducts 500 test flights of troubled 737 Max jets in bid to restore trust following crashes
- Finnair flies its first Push for change biofuel flights
- Why airlines must focus on post-booking power