Friday, October 10, 2014

EDITORIAL: Potential Boeing 787 Routes to Argentina & Uruguay

With the ever-increasing number of Boeing 787's being delivered to airlines, new routes are opening up worldwide that were previously economically unviable due to limited demand, such as Boston (BOS) - Tokyo Narita (NRT) by Japan Air Lines and Boston (BOS) - Beijing (PEK) operated by Hainan Airlines.

The 787 is ideal for long-range routes with limited passenger traffic that until recently could only be operated by larger and less fuel-efficient airliners, such as the 767-300ER, A340-500, 747-400, etc., but that were too large for the amount of demand on such routes. 

Thinking of Argentina and Uruguay, several routes come to mind that are now served on a limited basis, less efficiently than they could be, or not served at all.      

Montevideo (MVD) - Miami (MIA) is currently flown by American Airlines with 767-300's daily in the southern hemisphere summer and 6x/weekly the rest of the year but could probably be served much more efficiently and profitably with the 787 as there are probably many dates when the present flights are not very full. 

Montevideo (MVD) - Madrid (MAD) service was dropped by Iberia in 2013 and picked up by Air Europa with Iberia currently scheduled to restart service.  If the 787 were flown on this route the service would probably be more profitable and stable and less marginal like it is now which has resulted in airlines adding/dropping the route.      

Cordoba (COR) - Miami (MIA) would be an ideal route for American Airlines with 787's.  Indeed, American was seriously looking to start this route in the early 2000's but put these plans on hold after the 2001 Argentine economic crisis.  Cordoba, with a population of 1.2 million people, is Argentina's second-largest city after Buenos Aires and is known for its universities, extensive farming and its manufacturing industry, especially automobiles.  It is also located in Argentina's geographic center with important cities nearby, such as Rosario, the nation's third-largest city which would probably provide passenger traffic to Miami flights from Cordoba. 

Cordoba (COR) - Madrid (MAD) was flown by Iberia with A340's for 15 months until January 2012 but the Spanish carrier dropped the route due to lack of aircraft and marginal profitability despite good passenger loads.  Air Europa would like to start this route through a connecting hub that it is planning to establish in Salvador, Brazil (SSA) for flights from Madrid to several South American cities but it has yet to gain approval from the Argentine aviation authorities.  This route would be ideal on a non-stop basis with the more fuel-efficient 787 probably being a lot more profitable and sustainable than the A340 was.

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