Airline operations: Scoot…er; Norwegian outlook.

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

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.

July 16 2013

Airline operations: Scoot…er; Norwegian outlook.


-Scoot not only operates the wrong aircraft (B777s; too big for a no-frills-airline), but configures them wrongly.

-It has a business class (a no-no for an NFA). And in economy class it has some cabins and part-cabins that are in a different colour, to define different price sections. It seems that these have more legroom.

-But even if Scoot management does not, surely owner SIA knows that it is a risk to fix the configuration like this? There may be a demand on one route for 100 seats, and 30 on another. And even different demands on the same route depending on the time or the day or the time of year.

-These are operating basics. I am amazed that SIA has ignored them (because it surely knows them).

-The longterm outlook for Scoot does not look good.


Norwegian outlook

Norwegian is a no-frills-airline that is doing well, and growing fast. But there are some factors for the future that its boss, Bjorn Kjos, needs to understand.

-Its best opportunity for substantial expansion is the domestic Germany market (not necessarily domestic flights, but the domestic market, with 3/4 Germany hubs). Norwegians understand the market mores better than the (blindly-) British run Easyjet. This market should have been captured by GermanWings – but GW is Lufthansa owned, and Lufthansa has shown it does not know how to run an NFA.

-Unfortunately, ‘Norwegian’ is the wrong name for Europe expansion. Can Kjos understand this, and change the airline’s name (to anything non-national – Blue, Sky [now Sky Europe has shut down])

-Kjos has mooted the possibility of operating longhaul routes. If he does not want his airline to go the way of Air Berlin (all directions, then into the arms of Etihad, but still not out of trouble), he should not. Or be extremely cautious.

-Ryanair is also thinking medium-haul – across the Atlantic. I would trust Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary more than any other to know what is needed for such routes. Norwegian should wait for Ryanair to see what to do and not to do.

The Fox

Markets/marketing: OZ OK; Amadeus roadblock; Hurun lost in China.

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

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.


July 14 2013


Markets/marketing: OZ OK; Amadeus roadblock; Hurun lost in China.



Someone promoting Australia outside the country told me of his recent temporary trip back home – ‘get up, swim, go to work’. And that it reminded him of the attractions he is selling.


I think differently. What he experienced is a lifestyle experience. Visitors might get a bit of that but to me there are other things that pull people to Australia. Including:


-the cultural diversity and excitement of Melbourne.

-the fast pace of the good life in Sydney.

-the outback (still, even if most visitors just ‘touch’ it by kuddling a koala; ugh).

-Gold Coast, epitomising the sun life.


And yes, Australia’s own culture (I suppose I should call it OzKulture – Oz OK OzK, get it?). To me that was summed up in 2005 now-discredited SWTBHAY campaign, and I liked it for that reason – even if the purists (can I call them ‘OzSnobs’?) didn’t like it.


R U an OzSnob?




Amadeus roadblock

We’ve done road-maps. We’ve done junctions. We’ve done crossroads, and many more traffic interventions. Now Amadeus tells us that the industry is standing at a ‘Big Data Crossroads’, and has produced a report to prove it.


I am not convinced. And I do not like the accreditation for the BDC study, which Amadeus tells us is “authored by Harvard Business School professor” Thomas Davenport. Unconsciously, we would categorise this as a Harvard University report; it is not. Worse, the report describes Davenport as actually a ‘visiting professor’ (at HBS, not HU), not quite so important.


That’s something like me saying I studied at Oxford – but omitting that it was the McDonald’s hamburger menu I studied, in its Oxford location.


The report contains much of what I call ‘consultese’ – redundancy-replete language often found in consultant-written reports.


-Travel companies must “benchmark their maturity while assembling data science skills to devise a BD strategy.” Baffling, but appears meaningless or self-evident at best – ie, does it mean ‘study information, learn from it, and act on it’?

-“Benefits of BD include better decision-making, greater product- and service-innovation, stronger customer-relationships through new approaches to customer- and revenue-management, internal operations.” Ditto.

-“New open-source software to separate data-processing across servers, with databases including ‘columnar’ or [Amadeus says “and”] ‘vertical’ approaches, new program-languages – such as Python, Pig, Hive – combine to deliver the potential to harness BD”. Baffling again, or meaningless, not least because you cannot ‘deliver a potential’ – as a professor should know.




Hurun lost in China

The Hurun Research Institute has published an impressively-comprehensive report, The Chinese Luxury Traveller. However, I found a number of shortcomings, including leaving two crucial measures unclarified: the period covered, and what is a HNWI (high net worth individual), when that, ‘luxury’, ‘super-rich’, ‘wealthy’ are used in the report. Are they all the same?


Just a few others:


-A list of luxury hotels preferred includes Hilton, Sheraton, Marriott (but not their related luxury brands – Waldorf, St Regis, Ritz-Carlton).

-28% fly first class – difficult given the absence of FC on most intraAsian flights.

-Bookings – one part of the report shows 16% use domestic travel agencies, another 77%!

-Travel companions. One data set says family 40%, friends 20%. Another 38%, 22%.

-Swimming passes golf as favoured sport. I’ll believe that when I see it.

-On each trip, HNWIs visit one or two destinations. Obviously some visit more than two.



The Fox