Is there a market for strickly a Biz/First Class Airline?


#1

Howdy all, it’s been a long time since I have posted a topic. But I was just wondering if a new airline selling strictly Business/First class seating could make it? I know EOS went belly up trying this with only New York - London flights on a business class only 757. Could this work elsewhere in the US to International destinations or even intercontinental?

For example ORD-LHR, CDG, HKG, SYD via LAX, SAN, SFO, or LAS or maybe even LAS-SYD, HKG, LHR?

any thoughts?


#2

Airline? No, we watched Eos Airlines, MAXjet Airways, Silverjet, and L’Avion fail (add OpenSkies to that list soon).

Select routes for existing carriers? Sure, there’s quite a few doing well:
Singapore - Los Angeles and Singapore - Newark by Singapore Airlines
Zurich - Newark by Swiss (operated by PrivatAir)
Amsterdam - Houston by KLM (operated by PrivatAir)
Various Germany - India routes by Lufthansa (operated by PrivatAir)
And British Airways about to launch their London City - New York service (which I expect to do well).


#3

add to the list of failures domestic business class airlines like MGM Grand Air, Regent Air, and Legend Airlines.


#4

I knew this sounded too good to be true. I would rather haul it to Heathrow and fly nonstop. See below from press release:

However, the flight time to New York is nine and and a half hours - almost two hours longer than from Heathrow - because the plane will have to refuel before it sets out across the Atlantic - probably in Ireland or Scotland. This is because it cannot depart fully laden with fuel from the short runway in Docklands. However, the return flight will be non-stop and only around 15 minutes longer than the current seven hours from JFK to Heathrow.

source: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23435259-details/BA+starts+business-only+flights+from+City+Airport/article.do

Will be interesting to see how well this route holds up…


#5

They’re going to stop in Shannon, Ireland and in addition to refueling they’ll use the US preclearance facilities there to clear immigration/customs/public health/agriculture inspection.


#6

Lessee… you can add National, Harmony, and WinAir to that list.

National actually had a really good domestic service that was completely first class, but 9/11 literally killed them, while the legacy carriers got bailed out by the government.

For what the OP is looking for, there definitely isn’t the market for it. They’ll either have to drop the prices so low that they couldn’t turn profit for it on the given routes, or keep them so high so they can get ROI on it. Either way, they lose; not enough volume for the route, or too expensive to pay for the ticket.

BL.


#7

National, Harmony, and Winair were NOT all-first class or business class airlines.

The demise of Legend Airlines was mainly due to American Airlines constantly taking them to court.

The Singapore-LAX/NYC nonstops are business and first class only flights. There’s also the 737 flights between Europe and the USA on Lufthansa that are business only.

There is a market out there for these types of flights. However, right now is not the right time for a stand-alone airline to operate the flights.

Viperdoc: When you paste the URL in, do not use the URL tags unless you are going to format it as a named link.

thisislondon.co.uk/standard/ … article.do

or
BA to start business only flights from City Airport

Here’s what the second link looks like:



[BA to start business only flights from City Airport](http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23435259-details/BA+starts+business-only+flights+from+City+Airport/article.do)


#8

Business only. IIRC the first class suites are too heavy for the A345’s payload capability at that range. They used to have premium economy in the back, but dumped it a while ago.


#9

National, Harmony, and Winair were NOT all-first class or business class airlines.

I stand corrected on Harmony and WinAir Airlines, but National was most definitely an all business-class airline… they thrived on that and advertised as such here in Vegas. On every flight I ever had with them, they had a single class configuration just for that.

BL.


#10

Wikipedia states they had a 2 class configuration. There’s an archived version of the National web page at the archive.org. Click on “about us” then use the drop-down box to go to “our fleet” you’ll find a seat map showing their aircraft had 22 first class and 153 tourist class seats.


#11

Believe me, I know! I helped to host the website!

But I know firsthand after stepping foot on their planes numerous times (I took them roughly once a month for the time they were operating to LAX), that none of their B752s were configured in a 2 class setup. The seat pitches were right, yes, but I seriously recall them all being one class. I was even able to sit up close to the flight deck without being charged anything extra, and they had assigned seating.

BL.


#12

I thought about this just now, but what if you used older planes that are in good shape (i.e. DC-10, 742, 743, etc for international use)? You can buy them outright and probably for cheap if they are in passenger configuration. Then you can fill a lot of the empty space with as much cargo as you can hold for a flight. Cargo would help balance the cost of less people up top sitting in there first class seat.

just an idea. i dont have any clue on logistics if it can work.


#13

You buy the AC and I’ll get the 121 certificate rolling for you


#14

Couple problems:

  1. Those older aircraft are really inefficient and costly to operate (the 747-200 and DC-10 require 3 cockpit crew). There’s a reason they’re parked.
  2. The only widebody with a “combi” version that would allow you to haul cargo upstairs is the 747-300. Not many of those were made.
  3. The cargo market is in the crapper and with no network to get much cargo to its end destination I doubt you’d get much cargo and what cargo you’d get would be at depressed prices.
  4. Most of those aircraft are too big. Most network carriers are having trouble filling their 35-90 F/C seats on transpacific flights. Imagine the trouble you’d have filling over 100 of them with no network.

#15

The 747-200 was available as a combi.

The DC-10 could also be configured to have main-deck baggage storage and thus allow for more cargo in the holds.


#16

I worked for National from day one till the end in management and none of our aircraft were all F class. They wanted to cater to the business market but found the market really wasn’t there and most of our traffic ended up being low end vacationers. When we first started we wet leased a Casino Express 737-200 for a couple of weeks while additional 757s were added. This aircraft was all coach and used for LAS-LAX and LAS-SFO.

See link for pictures of Nationals first and coach class meals and snacks.

airlinemeals.net/meals/NationalAirlines.html

Primaris was another Vegas based airline that proposed all first class service that never materialized. They did operate two 757s for a couple of years before shutting down. Management team was mostly ex National people.


#17

DC-10s can go through retrofitting to become MD-10. Cuts a 3 person crew in the cockpit to 2.


#18

Are there any passenger MD10’s flying? I was under the impression only FedEx the aircraft.


#19

The program was exclusive to FDX in the beginning but Boeing has opened it up. The Advanced Common Cockpit gives the MD-10 and MD-11 the same type rating for pilots.

Looks like the Orbis DC-10 will be converted to an MD-10 soon.

orbis.org/Default.aspx?cid=8 … iew&lang=1


#20

ahhhhh…correction here chief, there are also the B747-200 and 400. I’ve worked on 2 of 3 (B747-200 /300 AF, PK B747-300 KL, ) I believe Asiana has the B744 combi…watched one at KLAX once. Never got to work a B744 combi or freighter. Also as a side note, AZ has or had MD-11 combi’s we would see them MXP-IAD from time to time.* Add LH B747-200 to this list…how could I forget working those 8)