Odds and Ends: Bombardier, Kingfisher, Southwest

CSeries: Blogger Airline Reporter has this post after touring the Bombardier CSeries mock-up. We’ve seen it before and came away with the same impressions. What caught our eye was this comment:

All the time , I hear people asking for wider seats, more room, etc. But really, what airline is going to take a Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 and go from six seats across to five? (hint: none)

No kidding. Not in this day-and-age where load factors are running at 80% or better and airlines still worry about making money in an uncertain age of oil prices. Some airlines now make their entire profits from fees.

Airline Reporter’s remarks further poke in pin in the balloon of the goofy proposal of a 1x3x1 Airbus interior proffered by a former Airbus employee.

That aside, Airline Reporter does a good job of synopsizing the CSeries design philosophy.

Kingfisher: oneworld, the international alliance, won’t allow Kingfisher in just yet. The carrier’s financial condition is too fragile. Kingfisher is on our Death Watch list. Another ominous sign: Kingfisher was suspended from the international Clearing House, where airlines settle up ticketing, because Kingfisher hasn’t paid up.

Southwest Airlines: Aspire Aviation has this long analysis of Southwest Airlines, which points out some problems the carrier will have going forward. We’ve talked about some of these issues in the distant past–we call Southwest the first “legacy LCC”–with labor costs-to-expenses now the highest in the US.

China to Europe: Drop dead. China banned its airlines from participating in Europe’s carbon emissions taxing scheme. We say, “good.” This scheme is nothing more than a general fund tax for Europe. It would be one thing if the Europeans used the money for aviation environmental purposes, but they aren’t. The money is going into the general fund. So a pox on them.

41 Comments on “Odds and Ends: Bombardier, Kingfisher, Southwest

    • Pfft. Odd man out sitting in the middle, alone, watched and hassled from both sides.

      • Every seat a window or aisle and purr-fect for prima donnas and poseurs.

  1. AirBoss :
    Every seat a window or aisle and purr-fect for prima donnas and poseurs.

    Har, har.
    Didn’t Airbus talk about building a transparent plane?
    dual aisle 0-1-0 seating, being waited on hand and foot visible to the world ;-)

    • Uwe :

      AirBoss :
      Every seat a window or aisle and purr-fect for prima donnas and poseurs.

      Har, har.
      Didn’t Airbus talk about building a transparent plane?
      dual aisle 0-1-0 seating, being waited on hand and foot visible to the world

      Exactly! Launch customer: Air Narcissist

  2. This is a merry gathering ! My other alias is Goofy of TwinAisleFeeders and I’m happy to join the debate ! I think Scott misread David : when the proposal is to give more space to the passengers “going five abreast” in the A320 or 737, this necessarily implies to stay single aisle, ie, you get (2+3) and B-class seating, but with a TRIPLE, which is non-sense, wherefore the conclusion “there’s nothing to gain” is correct ! No pin at all in my balloon, Scott. Relax ! And grab your pocket calculator : going HQR or HP3 or HME (this last one is for the (2+1+2) alternative, dubbed “Mauvais Elève” in French, because you can put Donkey Ears on the middle seat occupant) with A320 or 737 (to produce eg H2XQR Series or H3XQR Series 1+3+1) doesn’t give one little iota extra transversal space to the passengers : all the extra space made available goes to the Operator, to boost his ground turn-around efficiency. That’s how H2XQR Series finances itself over A32X Series [3+3]. Let these aspects sink in slowly, Scott, I’m sure you’ll get there ?!

    • Hi, Mr G!
      I had once thought about 1-3-1 in a sit on the sides stand in the middle arrangement.
      2 class seating for RY ;-)

    • I agree, the US should follow China in this one. It is just an EU scam for money. Now the scientist say we have not had any global temp increases in 10 years. Watch out for the ‘global winter’, its coming next……. Then will the EU start paying airlines to dump C)2 into the atmoshere?

      Why doesn’t Airbus try a 2-2-2 across seating on the A-320. Those 10″ aisles would be fun when it comes to the traditional deplaning when every one is getting the stuff from the overhead they put there to save the $25 baggage fee.

    • Won’t happen.
      And my guess is that China will come around to something cooperative.
      Probably going to do their own CarbonOffset programme. Unknown to most
      the Chineese governement is rabidly green. ( better: conservationist.)
      But they do have to care about their industrialisation and manufacturing process.
      Keep in mind that a significant part of their carbon footprint happens to the advantage of other nations. Primary the US which has exported most heavily poluting production and still remains the biggest polluter per capita.

      Drop dead:
      The US seems to be the major source of fuel guzzling oldtimers ( in Europe ).

  3. @ Greg (and also @ Uwe) : I’m quite willing to have fun, but if the matter is H2XQR Series, then I’ll get serious, I just can’t help it, it’s my favourite topic … anyway, my post was intended for nostalgic Scott who is warming up to a full teach-in to XXIst Century SMR Feeder operation economics ! @ Uwe : who’s RY, did you mean RYR ?

    • Kingfisher just needs to go away. Maybe they will be the next Malev? IT flys an all Airbus jet fleet, along with a few ATRs. They currently have about 37 various Airbus aircraft, 2 ATR-42s and 25 ATR-72s, with another 92 Airbuss on order. They currently hold 20 options for the ATR-72, and 5 options for the A-380, with another 5 on ‘firm’ order.There current long haul aircraft are 5 A-330s with another 15 on order.

      They should fail now while they are still relitively small.

    • typo : FR : Ryan Air ( whose crews actually provide significantly better service than Deutsche Bahn )

  4. Yeah, Uwe … I think you actually meant RYR, MOL is quite an unconventional Strategist, but let’s not lose track of the 16G crash test : not to send your standing customers flying, eg in CAT … you’d need to box them in to secure them somehow … and @ KC135+, minimum aisle width is 15″ (a service trolley measures 14″), current standard aisle width is minimum 19″, nobody is going to go back below that these days : commercially, it equates a no-go !

    • Yes, FT, I know. In the KC-135 when we carried pax and cargo we needed to maintane a 18″ aisle with direct routing to the aft hatch, overwing hatchs, and the cockpit exits.

      But when you take a 6 across seating NB, like an A-320 (or B-737) and want to make it a twin aisle, you only have 19″-20″ to work with, thus a 10″ aisle.

      If we allow 10″ aisles (or less), then an airline like FR (Ryanair) will put another seat in one of those aisles, making their B-738NGs 7 across seating in a 5-2 or a 3-4 configueration.

  5. We’re tuning in, KC135+ …to allow for Twin Aisles in A320 Series or 737 Series, as you can’t have aisles of 10″, you’d need to drop one seat out of six, to give [forget (2+1+2)!] either HQR (1+3+1) or HP3 (1+2+2) ; in both versions the two aisles are 19″ wide, in line with commercially acceptable trends. Scott Hamilton qualifies this idea as “goofy” ; TwinAisleFeeders says it does make sense ! Airbus and Boeing are proffing resolute media-silence, a sign that (1) the airframers are embarrassed and that (2) in fact off-record, they are chewing on the twin aisle concept (otherwise they’d shoot it out of the sky, like another clay pigeon, sine die, why wouldn’t they ?!). To my own best guess, the matter is being reviewed at the “grey hats” level, in Chicago and Toulouse. My aim entering this post joining the chat is to try gain around Scott to giving H2XQR Series a fair review : one of AirInsight’s star experts open to debate a new concept is a springboard to recognition. As you’ve seen, I’m not yet there : “goofy” is his verdict ?! Other opinions are more mitigated : http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/runway-girl/2009/12/enter-the-twin-aisle-narrowbod.html ; http://avia.superforum.fr/t1070p260-a320-et-b737-bi-couloir#27285

  6. “Some airlines now make their entire profits from fees.”

    It’s disappointing to see this silly statement repeated here. It’s easy to attribute large profits to a service when you aren’t allocating any cost to that service. Find me one airline that allocates the costs of ramp workers, baggage handling systems, etc. against the revenue generated from bag fees. Likewise with almost every other ancillary revenue product. It’s a largely fixed cost business where you try to maximize revenue across the entire flight, if not the entire network.

  7. That CSeries looks roomy. The better comfort level will differentiate it from the NEO and MAX. Just like the E-jet’s success over the CRJ 900/1000, the wider seats of the CS150 will add to its long term value and sales.

    I take it that 1-3-1 is for short flights. I think the future is 2-2-2 in a 14′-4″ o.d. fuselage. If it is cheaper for luggage to go self service in the cabin, there will be more storage space per passenger.

  8. KC135TopBoom :
    Uwe, was that a paid political anti-American statement?

    Why would it have to be?

    So here goes a politics post, as EU politics are the subject.
    As it happens, I agree with most (not all) of what Uwe says. But that’s not really the point. I find the arguments from “the other side” astounding, to say the least.

    Curiously, nobody that is openly against the trading scheme for airlines ever seems to bother with the finer details. Instead, we get people crying about how the money earned in this scheme doesn’t go into a particular sector of environmental protection, how this is pretty much a tax by another name, etc. – which all completely miss the point in my view.

    Anyway, a few points on this:
    * Even if none of the revenues from the scheme went to environmental causes, this would be irrelevant if the main objective is to change behaviour. (Cigarette taxes and alcohol taxes are also not spent 100% on addiction prevention and caring for victims of tobacco and alcohol abuse.) Only marginally relevant here (see the next point), but still worth keeping in mind.
    * True, revenues from the scheme aren’t tied to “aviation environmental purposes” (quoting Scott). In fact, it would be nonsensical if they were. Emissions rights are tradeable and aren’t tied to a sector. So Lufthansa could sell emissions rights to Vattenfall or whoever if Lufthansa finds they don’t all of theirs. So it makes sense that revenue can be used wherever it is needed, rather than in a particular sector. Nor is it tied to EU countries – it can also be used for projects outside the EU.
    * Directive 2008/101/EC, which governs the airline emission trading in particular, specifically states:

    Decisions on national public expenditure are a matter for Member States, in line with the principle of subsidiarity. Without prejudice to that position, revenues generated from the auctioning of allowances [...] should be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to adapt to the impacts of climate change in the EU and third countries, to fund research and development for mitigation and adaptation and to cover the cost of administering the Community scheme. Revenues generated from auctioning should also be used on low-emission transport. The proceeds of auctioning should in particular be used to fund contributions to the Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund, and measures to avoid deforestation and facilitate adaptation in developing countries.

    As an example, Germany has a dedicated environmental fund for any such revenues. Some of the projects that the German fund funds are questionable, but that’s a problem of the actual implementation, not of the general principle.
    * The scheme is a trading scheme foremost, and many companies have been quite creative in using it to actually make money. One of the major points of criticism of the scheme, but certainly not from the companies involved in it.
    * The scheme does not consitute an unfair disadvantage to any airline – everybody that wants to fly from/to the EU ETS member states has to participate, and that includes domestic airlines as well. That’s no more unfair than the US having a jet fuel tax, while the EU member states (with the sole exception of the Netherlands) currently don’t.
    * I’d like to see those people applauding China for disallowing its airlines to participate in the scheme should China decide to no longer allow them to pay some security, fuel or whatever surcharge/levy/trading scheme/whatever that the US (or any other country) already has or may decide to introduce. Which is certain to happen, especially if China is actually successful with this.
    * I always find it almost comical how something that has been known for four years (since 2008, not taking into account discussions before the bill was passed) is dragged out by those affected, hoping that it’ll never come to pass. Then the new law/charge is actually implemented (as scheduled) and people suddenly act all surprised and upset. I find that hard to take seriously.

  9. afromme :
    So here goes a politics post, as EU politics are the subject.

    Just to clarify: my post isn’t a personal jibe at anyone. Apologies if anybody does feel offended by it.
    But as Scott said “a pox on them” based on a political subject in the initial post I felt it was fair game to at least try and explain the other side of the argument. …and most of all call for some sanity in the discussion. It’s not like the world’s about to end, so why all the personal “drop dead” and “pox on them” language?
    US Airways added $3 per one-way ticket to EU countries as a consequence of the scheme if I recall correctly. Cost factor for others – LH, AF, BA included – would be in the same region, so I don’t see that as a differentiator between airlines to begin with. Also, the increase in fuel prices will probably cause way more of an increase in ticket prices than $3 within the next six months.

    • I have no problem with the EU placing a ‘carbon’ tax on Europeans, but they want to tax the citizens of every country who have to, or want to visit Europe. In effect, the EU is taxing the air you, me, and airplanes breath. They are taxing a natuerally occuring by-product, CO2, which is created by everything that decays, water evaporation, volcanos (which are by far the largest contributors), and even gas passed by humans and anamils. Yes, burning fossel fuels also adds to it, but so what?

      With scientists now saying ‘global warming’ actually ended some 10 years ago, there is now a much less need to worry about CO2 emissions. In fact it may lessen or protect us from a new global ice age.

      You may be right, the price of fuel may very well cause airline ticket prices to increase in the coming months, that is enevetable. But adding a tax will do nothing to prevent that, and the tax, once added, will never go away.

      This EU carbon tax is not a scheme, it is a global scam. The Chinese government is right to say they want no part what is really a global tax on the airlines.

      • You arguments show that you haven’t understood the issue.
        IMHO that questions your oppinion.

        Burning fossil fuels REintroduces carbon that has been in continuously increasing amounts sequestered into the ground first as dead organic matter then transforming under pressure and higher temperature over time to solid, liquid and gaseous “fossil fuels”. Another big store are methanehydrates in the oceans. No idea how many millions of years sequestration is returned currently by one years worth of burning hydrocarbons.
        Result: in a formerly reasonably stable setup you introduce another big inflow of carbondioxide without a matching sink.
        We may return to a “dinosaur time” climate: no ice at the poles, significantly higher ocean levels and gigantic loss of arrable and populated land.

  10. For clarification:
    I don’t take an issue with anybody disagreeing with the scheme. It’s not like 100% of Europeans are in favour of it (or even have an opinion, to be honest). I do take some issue with the personal tone in many comments (not particularly from you, KC), though.
    That combined with the attempt to paint EU ETS as the next-most-evil thing to have been invented since annoying mobile phone ringtones.

    An important point – to me – is that the scheme does not exempt European airlines. If it did, that would be an unfair advantage for domestic airlines, and I would oppose that.

    KC135TopBoom :
    I have no problem with the EU placing a ‘carbon’ tax on Europeans, but they want to tax the citizens of every country who have to, or want to visit Europe.

    Nobody is talking about individual citizens.
    But in any case – that’s kind of the way it works with taxes and laws in general, isn’t it? You have to live with local regulations wherever you are or go.
    Non-US airlines also have to pay jet fuel tax if they fill up in the US even if they’re not subject to any such tax in their own country. In Oregon I pay no state sales tax, while its neighbour California charges one of the highest rates in the US. Sure, I could just stay in Oregon.
    But choosing to not visit a place because of its taxes is usually more of a loss to all parties involved than parting with an additional few quid. In my eyes, deciding not to visit a country or whole region because it costs you about $3 more to get there and back (on top of a ticket that costs at least $500) is excessive. To put this into perspective – you have to pay $14 for an ESTA registration to enter the US, over €40 to get a tourist visa to India (business visas cost even more), etc.

    KC135TopBoom :
    This EU carbon tax is not a scheme, it is a global scam. The Chinese government is right to say they want no part what is really a global tax on the airlines.

    They’re totally within their rights to say that, of course. As they’ve done. They’re not the only ones, either. People/countries/NGOs can voice their opinion about such things and let the governments (US, EU, wherever) know how they feel. However, part of the deal is that those governments then get to make their own decision on whether to oblige.

    However, China goes a bit further. They disallow Chinese airlines’ participation in the ETS, which effectively is to tell them to break the law in those of the EU ETS member countries that they fly to.
    And that’s why I find it questionable to applaud China for this simply because you personally oppose the trading scheme – because it undermines the whole concept of not just international but local law as well.
    It’s like my government threatening to punish me for, say, paying the $14 ESTA registration fee. It just seems wrong, outside their jurisdiction, and excessive, no matter what anybody’s opinion on ESTA is.
    It would still be wrong – in my eyes – if we were talking about an American scheme/levy/charge/tax that applies to all airlines (domestic included) that fly to/from the US, and a country made it illegal for its airlines to pay it. Irrespective of what my own view on it was.

    I hope I’ve explained my view and objections clearly enough :-)
    And yes, this will be my last comment on this particular article/comment thread.

  11. afromme: I applaud you, one of the best posts I have ever read here. By anyone, including Scott.

    Scott: you might want to read up a bit before you post a political rant like you just did (in my opinion it was more unbalanced and political than you generally let the commenters get away with).

    We know you do not like taxes (who does?), but they are needed as a source of revenue for national states and to induce a certain behavior, or both. I generally prefer taxes placed directly on particular goods or services to general texes applied broadly over a population base/group. This because it allows you to make your own choice as to you want to activate the tax or not (by buying the goods or using the service).

    I would be very grateful if you could explain to me how you see the principle of the ETS differing from principle of the ESTA tax in the US. Not what the tax is based on, we are intelligent enough to understand that, but the logic behind the application. I for my sake styruggl to see any dfference, but I am most interested to understand the difference you say is there.

    /Martin

  12. TC :I think the future is 2-2-2 in a 14′-4″ o.d. fuselage. If it is cheaper for luggage to go self service in the cabin, there will be more storage space per passenger.

    At A320-type cross-dimensional seating standards, a 2+2+2 cabin requires 0.7″x2 + 42.5″x3 + 19″x2 = 166.9″ or 13′ 10.9″ … you’re very close, TC. Now, the problem with a pure 2+2+2 to Y-class standards (ie equivalent to either 737-139.2″ or A320 -145.4″ but with one more aisle, of 19″) is that it penalises head clearance in the aisles, or if you build the overhead stowages in retreat to solve head clearance, your stowages end up too minute : the central double seat is 42.5″ wide, so the overhead stowage shall not exceed 38″ side-to-side, with an internal separation panel (it is accessible from both sides), entailing a penalty in cuft/seat of available cabin stowage volume.

    The only way to solve this very acute geometrical problem, TC, is to allow for a central TRIPLE, to Y-class standards, ie of 59″ to 62″ : on top of this triple, you may hang a roomy central stowage…. From there, the choice goes from H2XQR or H3XQR 1+3+1 (TwinAisleFeeders/Airbus or Boeing) to super-H9XQR 1+3+2 (TwinAisleFeeders/COMAC) to Fattie 2+3+2 (Boeing). Eg (@ 32″ seat pitch) H2XQR Series give 3.25 cuft/pax (159 %) vs 2.045 for A320 Series (100 %) or 2.4 for C-Series (117 %). As you correctly propose, TC, the service trends are for more carry-on freedom : easy come/easy go, no ombilical string ties to the aircraft’s cargo holds … With the twin aisle cabin, you greatly speed up airport ground rotations.

    • “With the twin aisle cabin, you greatly speed up airport ground rotations.”

      If people actually move along the aisles with reasonable speed
      the congestion point is the entry/exit passage ( single file only ).
      If they obstruct the aisles by being slow to extract their overhead stuff
      ( my observation ) you now have two aisles but also give more passengers
      a chance for obstruction. Single aisle may actually have advantages as it puts
      pressure on those hamfisted to “move on and be done with it”.
      IMHO adding another aisle to 6 per row seating provides insignificant gains.

      • So if twin-aisle provides insignificant gains due to “parallel clotting”, instead of the twin-aisle, has anyone modeled a single wider aisle that would allow easier bypassing and result in faster entry/egress?

      • The calculation is to shorten overall leg time LT = FT + BT. Typical SMR Feeder service economics says Leg (or Trip) Costs = Cyclic + Hourly + Fuel = 20/45/35. If you’re after reducing trip costs, a 10 % drop in trip fuel (we’re not talking of TSFC) impacts with 3.5% less total trip costs, whereas a 10% drop in leg time gives a 4.5% trip cost reduction, meaning this : when you’ve done your homework shaving off fuel costs (eg sharklets/NEO …), it’s about high time to start looking in other directions : the treasury hunt hasn’t come to an end yet ! As for the stop-clocking of an airport ground rotation, when you mentally visualise a deplaning (itemised on the critical flowpath for maindeck rotation, together with cleaning, recatering and boarding), try to think of the actual CAUSES to aisle jamming, then of how best to solve these, it gives a better vision, in preference to just remarking that if one aisle may (for some unnamed reason ?) jam up, then two aisles may (for the same unnamed reason ?) jam up as well.

  13. AirBoss :
    So if twin-aisle provides insignificant gains due to “parallel clotting”, instead of the twin-aisle, has anyone modeled a single wider aisle that would allow easier bypassing and result in faster entry/egress?

    Carrion ^H “Carry On” culture.

    A lot of the delays stem from select passengers not caring or getting a power up from forcing others to wait.

    So one would have to design for the psychology of boarding imho. ( compare to large round obstructions in front of emergecy exits see: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=8384464 . Rather unintuitive, right?

  14. Frequent Traveller :
    try to think of the actual CAUSES to aisle jamming, then of how best to solve these, it gives a better vision, in preference to just remarking that if one aisle may (for some unnamed reason ?) jam up, then two aisles may (for the same unnamed reason ?) jam up as well.

    People psychology isn’t really my forte. I know how to herd electrons, though ;-)

    My observation on recent flights was that on NB craft you have 2..4 blockers in the aisle whose effectiveness is much less than the potential 4 times 1 blocktime due to overlap.
    if you distribute these on two aisles two aisles are blocked but not much time saved.

    One idea would be to provide benefits to the first to be seated or to have embarked.
    ( my misantropic mind says the blocking fumblers are also the persons to scoop up any wayside benefit ;-)

  15. Quoting Uwe : “If they obstruct the aisles by being slow to extract their overhead stuff” … to be able to extract your stuff from the overhead stowage compartment, you have to first be able to stand up; to be able to stand up, you have to first get an access into the aisle; to get an access into the aisle, you have to first be able to extract yourself from your seat; if you are seated in an A or F seat, you first have to wait until the B or E seat occupant has been able to free his or her seat; if you’re an B- or E-seater yourself, you need to wait until the C- or D-seater has accessed the aisle. The aisle-jamming is rooted back to an aisle density of 6 pax per 4.22 sq.ft (19″ x 32″) and to a row EMF (excuse-me factor) of 6 in the (3+3) single aisle configuration. Now, change this to an aisle density of twice 2.5 pax per 4.22 sq.ft, with a row EMF of 0.5 (one half), with four direct aisle seats and zero outer-seat-in-a-triple-squeezed-against-the-wall-panel, as in the (1+3+1) configuration. It’s a world of a difference.

  16. Uwe :People psychology isn’t really my forte. I know how to herd electrons, though

    When too close, two electrons repulse each other; for people, the direct parallels are (closeness = promiscuity) and (repulsion = agoraphobia). The wayside benefit is automatically there : cut off the ombilical string (no checked-in luggage) to free the passengers and each one of them will save 30′ on his or her trip from origin to destination, @ 8 euros per hour of work, that amounts to 4 Euros per pax, times 3.6 billion SMR Feeder travellers per annum (IATA 2010 Statistics) and you save 14.4 billion Euros or the worth of 180 units A320/A321 at 2011 Airbus list prices. This is the social cost incentive for doing things differently, or the other way round : this is the annual cost penalty inflicted upon the worlds travelling public by operators of inefficient (3+3) narrowbody feeder aircraft.

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