Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.



February 9 2012



Outbound China. Malaysia Airlines. Orient Express.



IME for some rethinking? On my old favourite, Outbound China, plans for Malaysia Airlines, and names at the Orient Express group.



[] As noted earlier, I calculate around 23% growth for outbound travel from China through November 2011, but a semi-official report indicates 21% for the whole year.


Watch that one, but in the meantime, other data indicates that fastest growth is coming out of Guangdong, or at least Guangzhou.


Over all-2011, China Southern sold 16% more seats on its international routes, compared with 10% more for Shanghai-based China Eastern, and only 3% more for Beijing-based Air China. Airport international passenger-throughput traffic (courtesy ACI), shows 20% growth (Jan-Sep) at Guangzhou, compared with 9% (J-Oct) Shanghai, and 8% (J-O) at Beijing.




[] PAGPFT (pronounced PAG-puffed); People Are Getting Paid For This.


Malaysia Airlines really seems set on changing its business as outlined in December. The plan is so mis-guided, I wonder if it was written by Air Asia – because this will make my prediction that AA will eventually take over MA more likely.


MA’s new airline will operate the narrow-body fleet and shorthaul routes of MA, as well as the now-abandoned Firefly operation. The target is to have all this running before July.


The question is why? Why hive off part of a business that has some of the same customers, the same marketing areas, the same sales/marketing teams? If some of these will be changed, operating costs will increase.


And why base a division on the aircraft type it flies? If a narrow body and a wide body operate on separate routes into China for instance, should they be run by separate companies?


And why shut down the low-fare Firefly? But if the decision has been made, even if wrong, why keep it on as a division of a division?




[] Extracting information in a report on Orient Express in Travel Business Analyst this month, I present a series of name twists that surely need to be resolved one day?

-The company has changed its name to Orient Express Hotels, from Venice Simplon Orient Express. Before, its name sounded more like a train company. Now it sounds more like a limited-service hotel company (that ‘Express’). And where do the trains and the cruiser fit in?

-That cruiser – the ‘Road To Mandalay’, sic – has been around for some time with that name, so maybe could be considered acceptable. But surely somebody should grasp the moment, and change it?

-The train in Europe is still named VSOE. Why not Orient Express? Ditto for the Eastern & Oriental Express in Asia.

-There is still no hotel named ‘Orient Express’. This is needed if the company is to fully challenge companies such as Mandarin Oriental.

-The OEH website is called Orient Express.



The Fox