SAA to NRT?

Old Aug 16, 15, 7:17 pm
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SAA to NRT?

An article on the Japanese website Aviation Wire indicates that SAA is seriously interested in resuming service to Japan, this time to NRT.

Given the route length (nearly 8,500 miles) this would probably either have to be an extension of their HKG service, or have a stop in Southeast Asia.

They briefly flew JNB-BKK-KIX after KIX opened, but loads were terrible and they pulled out of the market.
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Old Aug 17, 15, 1:52 am
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Given that SA has 11 hour and 30 minute downtime in HKG it might be worthwhile if they can get rights to carry passengers between HKG and NRT.
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Old Aug 18, 15, 2:01 pm
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Originally Posted by evanb View Post
Given that SA has 11 hour and 30 minute downtime in HKG it might be worthwhile if they can get rights to carry passengers between HKG and NRT.
That does make sense. And isn't HKG struggling a bit on the passenger numbers (as opposed to cargo)? This could kill a few birds with one stone.
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Old Aug 18, 15, 3:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Cheetah_SA View Post
That does make sense. And isn't HKG struggling a bit on the passenger numbers (as opposed to cargo)? This could kill a few birds with one stone.
From my understanding it was struggling and is still struggling, albeit, it has had some recent improvements. It got hit quite badly by ebola. There has been talk of getting into a joint venture with Cathay, which would likely put NRT to bed.
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Old Aug 18, 15, 6:17 pm
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Originally Posted by evanb View Post
Given that SA has 11 hour and 30 minute downtime in HKG it might be worthwhile if they can get rights to carry passengers between HKG and NRT.
That's precisely what ET is doing now. They opened the route in April but didn't have 5th freedom rights until recently. Now the round trip is by far the cheapest between Tokyo and HKG but the arrival time in HKG is pretty bad for local arrival (1:30am), the return timing is fine though.

SA departs HKG to JNB a bit earlier than ET does to ADD, so presumably the situation would be slightly better if SA were offering the NRT-HKG sector as well, hopefully getting into HKG before the last Airport Express train runs.
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Old Aug 19, 15, 1:13 am
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Originally Posted by dvs7310 View Post
That's precisely what ET is doing now. They opened the route in April but didn't have 5th freedom rights until recently. Now the round trip is by far the cheapest between Tokyo and HKG but the arrival time in HKG is pretty bad for local arrival (1:30am), the return timing is fine though.

SA departs HKG to JNB a bit earlier than ET does to ADD, so presumably the situation would be slightly better if SA were offering the NRT-HKG sector as well, hopefully getting into HKG before the last Airport Express train runs.
Current schedule:

SA 286 JNB HKG 16:55 12:25+1
SA 287 HKG JNB 23:55 07:10+1
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Old Aug 19, 15, 1:37 am
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Originally Posted by evanb View Post
Current schedule:

SA 286 JNB HKG 16:55 12:25+1
SA 287 HKG JNB 23:55 07:10+1
And I think this is why it wont happen, they would need to leave JNB earlier or HKG later to make this work.

The aircraft sits in HKG for 11hrs 30, flying HKG NRT HKG will consume +/_ 10hrs 40. They cannot turn the aircraft around in HKG and NRT in just 15mins per cycle.

There would also be crew implications....

Lastly they would need to secure beyond rights

Given the above I dont think it will happen, but sure hope it does, I find it frustrating having parked metal at foreign airports (PER, IAD, LHR, FRA, MUC and HKG) when it could be flying on and earning $$$. Further linking to other *A hubs would be convenient for passengers.

A better solution could be linking to ICN and Asiana? Not sure on the volumes though?
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Old Aug 19, 15, 3:38 pm
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Originally Posted by SAWorldVoyager View Post
A better solution could be linking to ICN and Asiana? Not sure on the volumes though?
ICN would require an en-route stop, it being even further from JNB than is TYO.

If SA wishes to serve TYO then it makes sense to stop at at *A hub enroute - e.g. BKK, BOM, PVG, or SIN - either with or without local traffic rights.
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Old Aug 19, 15, 6:13 pm
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Originally Posted by SAWorldVoyager View Post

Lastly they would need to secure beyond rights
HKG and Japan both don't seem to tight on giving 5th freedom rights so I don't anticipate this would be a huge issue. Most recently ET has done it, but there are quite a few others as well that either have legacy 5th freedom or more recently secured. BKK is another obvious choice if SA has any interest in SE Asia, Thailand seems to give 5th freedom rights to anyone who asks.
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Old Aug 20, 15, 12:58 am
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Originally Posted by Indelaware View Post
ICN would require an en-route stop, it being even further from JNB than is TYO.
JNB - ICN 7714 mi
JNB - NRT 8438 mi
JNB - HND 8402 mi

JNB - JFK 7969 mi flies non - stop albeit with some operational sacrifices. I however was advocating ICN as an onward option from HKG from an available on the ground time perspective for the current SA286/7 ops
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Old Aug 20, 15, 1:22 am
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Originally Posted by dvs7310 View Post
BKK is another obvious choice if SA has any interest in SE Asia, Thailand seems to give 5th freedom rights to anyone who asks.
Apparently they didn't have 5th freedom rights back when they did JNB-BKK-KIX and v.v.
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Old Aug 20, 15, 2:02 am
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There is no possible way to do NRT non-stop from JNB. At nearly 6,000ft above sea level the payload restrictions from Johannesburg would be ridiculous. Even if they were not the economics of such a route would probably also make it non-viable. The logical tag on would be to an existing route (i.e. HKG). Starting another new route like BKK would be risky given the problems with a JNB-BKK-JNB route. TG tried it and were unsuccessful since the O&D traffic was just too low yielding. SA have good existing connections to BKK through AUH already. HKG makes sense since the aircraft already has a lot of down time in HKG, and they are likely to get 5th freedoms. However, I still think SA are focusing on a JV with CX instead which would probably negate it.
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Old Aug 20, 15, 2:59 am
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Incidentally, and sort of related to this topic, has everyone noticed that Air China is starting a PEK/JNB service later this year? Three days a week using a 3-class 777-300ER. Decent timings for connections too.

CA 868 JNB PEK 11:50 07:30+1
CA 867 PEK JNB 23:15 07:55+1
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Old Aug 20, 15, 3:02 am
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Originally Posted by Cheetah_SA View Post
Incidentally, and sort of related to this topic, has everyone noticed that Air China is starting a PEK/JNB service later this year? Three days a week using a 3-class 777-300ER. Decent timings for connections too.

CA 868 JNB PEK 11:50 07:30+1
CA 867 PEK JNB 23:15 07:55+1
Excellent timings indeed. SA could never get the slops at PEK to make the flight work. Their late night arrival into PEK was a disaster.
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Old Aug 20, 15, 6:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Cheetah_SA View Post
Incidentally, and sort of related to this topic, has everyone noticed that Air China is starting a PEK/JNB service later this year? Three days a week using a 3-class 777-300ER. Decent timings for connections too.

CA 868 JNB PEK 11:50 07:30+1
CA 867 PEK JNB 23:15 07:55+1
This is quite nice for connections in PEK and in JNB on the arriving end, but the JNB departure is a bit early in the day for people to connect from anywhere except domestic flights. It is too bad though that SA was never able to get similar time slots, that flight was no good for anyone going beyond China, while the HKG flight is timed quite well for onward connections to Korea, Japan, Taiwan, etc. Although the equipment is newer (for now) on CA and the seats are better (premium cabins at least), I'd still prefer to fly on SA, the service and food on CA is sub par in my experience.
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