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In Homer's epic tale The Odyssey, it takes Odysseus 10 years to return home after the Trojan War. Although CEO Adam Scott's first attempt to start Odyssey Airlines began around nine years ago, he will he hoping for a smoother journey after the planned launch of all-business class flights between London City Airport and New York in 2016.
Odyssey's business model is based mainly on the convenience of London City and the deployment of the Bombardier CS100 in a 40 seat configuration. It will compete with British Airways' 32 seat A318 business class-only service from the same airport, in addition to multi-class services from BA, American, Virgin Atlantic, United and Delta from Heathrow.
History has not been kind to premium-only operators on the North Atlantic, whose share of global premium revenues is declining. In spite of this less than encouraging backdrop, Odyssey is not the only airline planning all-business class operations between Europe and North America. Following our recent analysis of Dreamjet's forthcoming launch between Paris and New York, in this second of two reports we look at Odyssey's prospects.
The North Atlantic and Europe are suffering a fall in their share of world premium traffic revenues. Moreover, the North Atlantic market has consolidated in recent years, to be dominated by the immunised joint ventures within the three global alliances (plus the new Delta-Virgin Atlantic JV).
So why are two new European all-business class transatlantic services currently planning to enter this market? It may be possible for a differentiated product, tapping into a defensible and large enough sector of this market, to succeed if its business plan is well devised and well executed. However, history is not attractive for a new entrant and previous attempts, before the global financial crisis, saw the rise and fall of Eos Airlines, MAXjet, Sliverjet and L'Avion.
In this first of two reports, we review the defunct all-business class transatlantic airlines and the all-business class services of existing network carriers. We also look at the business model proposed by Dreamjet, which plans to operate between Paris and New York this year. In part two, we will consider Odyssey Airlines, which plans to start up from London City to New York in 2016.
New Thai Airways unit Thai Smile is gearing up to launch services on 07-Jul-2012 following a unique hybrid model aimed at allowing it to compete against LCCs at the back while meeting the needs of premium passengers, including those connecting from Thai-operated flights, with a light premium economy type of product at the front. Thai Smile’s initial network will feature a mix of new destinations for the Thai Airways Group and existing destinations, where the new carrier will look to supplement existing Thai Airways-operated service.
Thai Smile’s first destination, Macau, will be international but managing director Woranate Laprabang tells CAPA that about 30% of the new carrier’s capacity will be allocated to domestic routes. Mr Laprabang now expects to be managing a 20-aircraft all-narrowbody operation by the end of 2015.
FRIDAY REFLECTIONS, WITH RON KUHLMANN & THE CENTRE. Popular wisdom tells us that lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but the new US startup, Jet America, a brainchild of John Weikle, looks a whole lot like his previous failed venture, Skybus. Lightning alert!
Joy Air received an operating license from the CAAC on 02-Jun-09 and announced plans to launch services “shortly”.
See also CAPA's profile on low cost carriers.