Lufthansa Group service to Bristol [BRS]

Old Apr 1, 2009, 4:20 pm
  #31  
 
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BRS suspended

Looks like LH is suspending its FRA-BRS service from 1st May. There's been some rumours, and checking on LH.com shows no direct flights from 1st May onwards. (They're offering a LH codeshare with SN from BRU instead - wow, gee, thanks).

The route has been running for a year, and had been scaled down for winter, then scaled up again this month for the summer season. Now it's stopped with a month's notice. Loads were OKish, and I would have thought acceptable for a route that's trying to grow business against a very established KL/AF presence.

The fares weren't as competitive as they could have been - in most cases it was the YQ that was pushing it beyond the competition (and goodness, there's not much surprise there) - but it was a good service, and reliable. And the only *A feeder from BRS.

It'll be interesting to see if anything else gets cut. I heard some explanation for the changes being fleet-related. It's also hard not to conclude that LH's pending acquisition of SN, who have operated BRS-BRU for decades, might not have been a factor too.
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 4:24 pm
  #32  
 
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I suspected as much from the wording of an interview published earlier today.

Lufthansa seeks 'stability' in UK


Lufthansa has no plans to expand its operations within the UK this year, according to its head of sales for the UK and Ireland.

Marianne Sammann, talking to ttgbusiness.com at the launch of Lufthansa Italia in Milan, that the airline must look for “stability” during the recession.

In recent years the German carrier has made huge strides to increase its UK market share.

In the last two years the airline has increased daily services from Heathrow, Manchester and Birmingham, while starting new operations in Bristol and Newcastle. It also acquired a 70% in BMI which has 11% of the slots at Heathrow.

Sammann said Manchester and Birmingham continue to bring success to the airline, but admitted she was concerned about Bristol.

“Growth at Birmingham and Manchester has been positive,” said Sammann.

"The strength of the regional airports is accessibility to a large catchment area. Increasing numbers have been using Lufthansa to connect in Frankfurt and Munich.

“Bristol is maybe too close to Heathrow. We will have to closely monitor the situation.”
She said there may be potential for growth in the north-east of England. The airline flies twice weekly from Newcastle to Dusseldorf.

“These flights have been popular and there is potential for growth. We could look at services to Frankfurt or Munich from Newcastle though we are still a long way from that at present.”

Lufthansa has cut 0.5% of capacity from its summer schedule and will soon announce similarly small cuts to its winter programme.
Sammann said: “Quality of frequency is important to our travellers so we need to find a balance
.
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 4:49 pm
  #33  
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I think we will see some more trimming in the near future.
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Old Apr 1, 2009, 4:52 pm
  #34  
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LH's UK website is still advertising Top Offers of fares ex-BRS.

  • Purchase by: 30.11.2009
  • Departure period: 22.04.2009-30.01.2010
  • Return period: 22.04.2009-31.01.2010
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Old Apr 2, 2009, 1:24 am
  #35  
 
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I'm not sure the argument of "Bristol is too close to Heathrow" bears too much examination. BHX is closer to LHR, and the door-to-door (via train, coach or car) times are about the same. (You could apply the same argument to SZG and MUC).

The proximity of LHR also doesn't seem to deter KL, AF, CO, SN, EZY, FR etc. etc. The main catchment of BRS is The West of England, South Wales and a sizeable chunk of people down through Devon and Cornwall.

AFAIK the route trends were good, and pretty much in-line with a route that's only been running a year. LH was the first *A airline to BRS, so it was a standing start against SkyTeam. It just needed commitment, which appears isn't possible in the current environment.

I think they also ran into a problem with LH's main marketing drive in the UK, which is the "£49 to Europe" message, running quite heavily on radio and outdoor in the area. That probably works ex-LHR/BHX/MAN, but it was completely against the route strategy for BRS, which was lower volumes, higher yield pax. Planes yo-yo'ed between good numbers of people paying nothing, or smaller numbers of people paying more. I had several colleagues who were pretty annoyed to find virtually no E avails ex-BRS, and then they were only to FRA! Going anywhere else invoked the curse of LH's YQ, and fares that weren't so good.

I know the LH and BRS teams worked hard to get the route up, and I hope the gap to a return isn't too long. Last time LH left BRS, it was 17 years before they came back.
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Old Apr 6, 2009, 1:58 pm
  #36  
 
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Hi BristolTraveller,

Most of my travel on *A and since I'm based in Bristol I'm obviously very frustrated with LH pulling out of BRS as this was a convenient service.

Bristol Airport website gives an example of a daily flight with Brussels Airlines departing at 10.15 - now that they are a fully fledged member of Miles & More this would work for me - but checking the SN website this flight only appears to operate on Mondays. All other days of the week you're limited to a flight leaving at 20:20 arriving at BRU at 22:30 - which is completely pointless if you're trying to connect anywhere on the same day!

Any idea if SN will expand their morning service to 5 days a week?

Cheers!
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Old Apr 6, 2009, 2:33 pm
  #37  
 
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Originally Posted by hi_fly
Hi BristolTraveller,

Most of my travel on *A and since I'm based in Bristol I'm obviously very frustrated with LH pulling out of BRS as this was a convenient service.

Bristol Airport website gives an example of a daily flight with Brussels Airlines departing at 10.15 - now that they are a fully fledged member of Miles & More this would work for me - but checking the SN website this flight only appears to operate on Mondays. All other days of the week you're limited to a flight leaving at 20:20 arriving at BRU at 22:30 - which is completely pointless if you're trying to connect anywhere on the same day!

Any idea if SN will expand their morning service to 5 days a week?

Cheers!
Hi hi_fly

The morning flight to Brussels is generally every weekday. However, this week is a school holiday week in Belgium and that means that SN operate on a very (b)light schedule.

It should be back to normal next week, that is four out of five weekdays.

Did you note on the BIA website the arrival time at FRA when connecting at BRU? Not entirely convenient unfortunately. No surprise underneath BIA refer to CDG and AMS connections on AFKL....

There is a double LH miles promo on SN for first 2 flights - registration at M&M required first.
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Old Apr 6, 2009, 4:03 pm
  #38  
 
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The BRU service is better than nothing at all, but it's not great.

- It's a double daily service, but only weekdays. There's a single rotation on Sundays.
- The timetable is Swiss cheese throughout May, with lots of awkward missing morning and evening flights
- SN don't night-stop at BRS. The earliest BRS-BRU is 10:20, which means getting into BRU at 12:30.
- There are virtually no connections to *A long-haul out of BRU. Good-bye BRS-FRA-SIN/BKK/HKG/PVG/KUL/PEK
- Most intra-Europe connections are poor through BRU. I just tried BRS-BRU-HAJ to replace a BRS-FRA-HAJ. It was more expensive, and I had to spend 4 hours on the ground at BRU in both directions. Fail.
- The route is codeshared with LH (and with BD too - if you're crazy enough to book it from their website), and earns Status & Award miles in Miles and More - but there's no *A status recognition.
- The codeshared route won't interline with other *A airlines, and certainly won't create good fares. BRS won't appear on the *A destinations list.
- None of the LH fares I've checked allow BRS-BRU routings - they are all BRS-FRA/MUC/HAM/STR/DUS/ZRH-FRA/MUC/ZRH-XXX

So really, the BRS-BRU flight is no replacement for the BRS-FRA flight that is going. But maybe there just weren't enough people jumping the AF/KL ship fast enough.

I hope LH aren't considering SN/BRU as a replacement for any more of their existing European destinations.

At least the BRS-BRU route has run for decades, no doubt enjoying an indirect subsidy from all the South-West MEPs. (I was on a Sabena plane when they went bankrupt - on the apron at BRS).
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Old Apr 6, 2009, 4:19 pm
  #39  
 
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Oh, for crying out loud. Now they've taken BRS off the LH website, so you can't book anything ex-BRS. It just says the destination is not served.

That's ridiculous. How is anyone supposed to book anything in the remaining weeks. How am I supposed to book my last-flight? How am I supposed to book the LH codeshared BRS-BRU-FRA?!

Daft.
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Old Apr 7, 2009, 12:25 am
  #40  
 
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Thanks for your replies.

How come then when I check the timetable for w/c 26th July there's only 2 flight on the Monday and 1 every other day? Is that a holiday reduction again?

Agree with all your points thought that the SN service is far from an ideal replacement. I regularly fly to ZRH so BRU could have been an ok transit point.
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Old Apr 7, 2009, 12:46 am
  #41  
 
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Originally Posted by hi_fly
Thanks for your replies.

How come then when I check the timetable for w/c 26th July there's only 2 flight on the Monday and 1 every other day? Is that a holiday reduction again?

Agree with all your points thought that the SN service is far from an ideal replacement. I regularly fly to ZRH so BRU could have been an ok transit point.
Yes, it's because it's the summer holiday. I suspect (although I've never checked in detail) that it's closely linked to when the European Parliament is sitting or not.

Not as helpful to those of us in business trying to get places.
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Old Apr 7, 2009, 12:51 am
  #42  
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Although I'm not directly affected it's disappointing to see a UK-Germany route withdrawn. I live 90 miles from MAN but onward connections via FRA and MUC for longhauls are much more convenient than travelling via LHR, and enjoy an additional luxury of connecting via DUS and ZRH. I agree that BRU is no substitute if you are connecting to destinations further afield.
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Old Apr 7, 2009, 1:33 am
  #43  
 
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Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
The BRU service is better than nothing at all, but it's not great.

- It's a double daily service, but only weekdays. There's a single rotation on Sundays.
Yes, very annoying but standard for many European destinations served from BRU (both with SN and LH).

Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
- The timetable is Swiss cheese throughout May, with lots of awkward missing morning and evening flights
Yes, annoying, too, but this is happening to lots of routes from BRU due to the current economic situation.

Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
- SN don't night-stop at BRS. The earliest BRS-BRU is 10:20, which means getting into BRU at 12:30.
BRU is just not big enough to sustain more services, I think.

Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
- There are virtually no connections to *A long-haul out of BRU. Good-bye BRS-FRA-SIN/BKK/HKG/PVG/KUL/PEK
Indeed, only to the USA on UA, US and soon CO. And of course to Africa on SN.

Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
- Most intra-Europe connections are poor through BRU. I just tried BRS-BRU-HAJ to replace a BRS-FRA-HAJ. It was more expensive, and I had to spend 4 hours on the ground at BRU in both directions. Fail.
BRU-HAJ is also relatively poorly served from BRU. You will find that a number of connections work well though.

Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
- The route is codeshared with LH (and with BD too - if you're crazy enough to book it from their website), and earns Status & Award miles in Miles and More - but there's no *A status recognition.
Will come in due course once SN is in *A!

Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
- The codeshared route won't interline with other *A airlines, and certainly won't create good fares. BRS won't appear on the *A destinations list.
Will come in due course once SN is in *A!

Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
- None of the LH fares I've checked allow BRS-BRU routings - they are all BRS-FRA/MUC/HAM/STR/DUS/ZRH-FRA/MUC/ZRH-XXX
My guess is that this will be changed relatively quickly.
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 3:33 am
  #44  
 
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Just done the re-bookings of various people to alternate flights.

The LH agent (who I think was in Lyon) was already briefed on the situation with BRS, and it was completely painless, with all my suggested (but reasonable!) re-routings accepted. Pretty good show.

I had from a couple of sources now that the A300 fleet is being withdrawn. That might suggest that LH are short on aircraft (assuming that the 737-5 fleet cascades up to run the A300 routes, and the 146's go up to replace the 737's). They're already "borrowing" aircraft from BD. Maybe that's another factor behind this route getting ditched?
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Old Apr 8, 2009, 4:02 am
  #45  
 
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Originally Posted by BristolTraveller
assuming that the 737-5 fleet cascades up to run the A300 routes
Pretty sure it would be A321 replacing A300-600!
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