JNB-HKG peculiar new timing?

Old Dec 5, 17, 1:12 pm
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JNB-HKG peculiar new timing?

Checkmytrip just notified me that the departure time of my flight to HKG in March has changed from 17:20 to 13:20. Which seems really odd: instead of sitting for over 11 hours in HKG the aircraft will now be there for over 15 hours! Seems a strangely inefficient change - can anyone offer insight into the reasoning?

[Of course this causes me all sorts of problems with my flight up to JNB which has to be changed. And my layover in HKG becomes almost 7 hours unless I can find an earlier flight at a reasonable price. ]
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Old Dec 6, 17, 5:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Cheetah_SA View Post
Checkmytrip just notified me that the departure time of my flight to HKG in March has changed from 17:20 to 13:20. Which seems really odd: instead of sitting for over 11 hours in HKG the aircraft will now be there for over 15 hours! Seems a strangely inefficient change - can anyone offer insight into the reasoning?
The retiming has been done for better connections to JNB-GRU-JNB and a few other JNB morning arrival routes. Since they reduced JNB-GRU-JNB from 11x weekly to daily (and dropping the later arrival into JNB from GRU) the layover from GRU-JNB-HKG became huge, up to 10 hours as opposed to 4 hours. The 15 hour downtime in HKG is not that problematic since they getting rid of the leased A340-300 and keeping only the owned ones which have been fully depreciated, so besides for the extra parking costs there are few cost increases for SAA to do this. The utilizations on the owned A340-300s becomes relative moot since fixed costs are now close to zero.

Originally Posted by Cheetah_SA View Post
Of course this causes me all sorts of problems with my flight up to JNB which has to be changed. And my layover in HKG becomes almost 7 hours unless I can find an earlier flight at a reasonable price. ]
I'm guessing you've booked others on a separate ticket? That's unlucky. Unfortunately for all airlines at HKG slot issues are a challenge so I don't think they could control the timing of when these changes got made/announced. They'd been trying to make these changes for a while.
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Old Dec 13, 17, 9:09 am
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Originally Posted by evanb View Post
I'm guessing you've booked others on a separate ticket? That's unlucky. Unfortunately for all airlines at HKG slot issues are a challenge so I don't think they could control the timing of when these changes got made/announced. They'd been trying to make these changes for a while.
Yes. I went into it with my eyes open realising the potential for disaster. But I figured the chance to use up Voyager miles was too valuable to waste even if the connecting flight wasn’t available. My other flights are flexible and usually it’s not difficult to get a cheap CPT-JNB flight - but that day is proving a challenge. On the Asian end I will be able to cope with a long layover - the lounges are great and it’s very easy to go to the city.
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Old Dec 13, 17, 9:18 am
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Originally Posted by evanb View Post
The retiming has been done for better connections to JNB-GRU-JNB and a few other JNB morning arrival routes. Since they reduced JNB-GRU-JNB from 11x weekly to daily (and dropping the later arrival into JNB from GRU) the layover from GRU-JNB-HKG became huge, up to 10 hours as opposed to 4 hours.
Very interesting. I had no idea there was enough traffic on that routing to warrant this kind of accommodation!

Originally Posted by evanb View Post
The 15 hour downtime in HKG is not that problematic since they getting rid of the leased A340-300 and keeping only the owned ones which have been fully depreciated, so besides for the extra parking costs there are few cost increases for SAA to do this. The utilizations on the owned A340-300s becomes relative moot since fixed costs are now close to zero.
Even with aircraft “for free”, so to speak, better use of craft will feed the bottom line - critical for a business making the kind of losses that SA is, surely?
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Old Dec 13, 17, 3:42 pm
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Originally Posted by Cheetah_SA View Post
Very interesting. I had no idea there was enough traffic on that routing to warrant this kind of accommodation!
I'm not convinced there is much there for them but worth the attempt. For a time SAA dominated GRU-HKG and GRU-BOM mainly because JNB had a geographical advantage over European connections. Once Emirates, Ethiopian, Qatar and Turkish entered GRU it cut away at them. When they reduced JNB-GRU from 11x weekly to daily I was very surprised that they cut SA224/225 entirely (late night GRU departure, JNB afternoon arrival) since this was the natural connection to HKG. I thought they might have cut some of the SA222/223 and had a split operation to keep the HKG an option. However, by moving the HKG option earlier they now have the connection available daily. So this works out decently and they likely also have more connecting options in HKG as well given the earlier arrival.

Originally Posted by Cheetah_SA View Post
Even with aircraft “for free”, so to speak, better use of craft will feed the bottom line - critical for a business making the kind of losses that SA is, surely?
Given the reduction in widebody domestic flying it's now an equation of having the aircraft sit in HKG rather than JNB. The aircraft wouldn't be utilized in JNB during that time. Also, given that they'll return most of the leased A340s and keep mainly owned ones there isn't much pressure at all on A340 utilization going forward. Low utilization may also be useful since they might avoid some heavy checks my keeping hours down. However, the A330s will need to be pushed for high utilization since they're all leased.
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Old Dec 29, 17, 7:34 am
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I ticketed
SZK-xJNB-xHKG-HND-xHKG-xJNB-BBK
(one ticket)

Because of JNB-HKG retiming, I'm forced to stay JNB overnight.
HKG-HND (NH) is rebooked to one day later.

Ohter option provided by SAA is canceling whole ticket without penalty.
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Old Mar 14, 18, 1:11 am
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Originally Posted by Wasabi Tofu View Post
I ticketed
SZK-xJNB-xHKG-HND-xHKG-xJNB-BBK
(one ticket)

Because of JNB-HKG retiming, I'm forced to stay JNB overnight.
HKG-HND (NH) is rebooked to one day later.

Ohter option provided by SAA is canceling whole ticket without penalty.
They have essentially screwed up a lot of Africa-JNB-HKG flights. Heading back to HKG from Victoria Falls and now have to overnight in JNB instead. As mentioned, refund without penalty allowed and endorsement over to ET allowed. However, if I was willing to fly ET to begin with (and transit in ADD for only 55 minutes), I would have paid a much lower price. Totally not sure what the logic is. At least I don't need a yellow fever vaccination now when boarding the flight from VFA to JNB (given that most of us would have incurred a Zambian entry stamp while visiting Victoria Falls).
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Old Mar 14, 18, 3:51 am
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Originally Posted by zhaobao View Post
They have essentially screwed up a lot of Africa-JNB-HKG flights. Heading back to HKG from Victoria Falls and now have to overnight in JNB instead. As mentioned, refund without penalty allowed and endorsement over to ET allowed. However, if I was willing to fly ET to begin with (and transit in ADD for only 55 minutes), I would have paid a much lower price. Totally not sure what the logic is. At least I don't need a yellow fever vaccination now when boarding the flight from VFA to JNB (given that most of us would have incurred a Zambian entry stamp while visiting Victoria Falls).
VFA and LVI connections are mostly to Europe, hence the timings of the flight. While unfortunate, bringing the GRU connections back are more important for HKG, as are better connections in HKG.
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Old Mar 16, 18, 12:08 am
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Re GRU - HKG - it's still a 6-hour transit in JNB whereas it's only a 2.5-hour transit in DOH if flying QR or 3-hour transit in ADD if flying ET. And the whole journey is shorter with QR and ET.
With original JNB to HKG schedule - one can still make all the connections to PEK/TPE/ICN/NRT/KIX.....
Re VFA/LVI to LHR - it's a 6-hour transit in JNB too.
Am I missing something ?
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Old Mar 16, 18, 2:36 am
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Originally Posted by zhaobao View Post
Re GRU - HKG - it's still a 6-hour transit in JNB whereas it's only a 2.5-hour transit in DOH if flying QR or 3-hour transit in ADD if flying ET. And the whole journey is shorter with QR and ET.
With original JNB to HKG schedule - one can still make all the connections to PEK/TPE/ICN/NRT/KIX.....
Re VFA/LVI to LHR - it's a 6-hour transit in JNB too.
Am I missing something ?
SAA previously flew JNB-GRU-JNB 11x week, with the 4x per week flight connecting well to JNB-HKG-JNB. They had a strong connecting business with a 4.5 hour connection east-bound in JNB. The reduction of JNB-GRU-JNB to daily lost those connections. You may be surprised but SA have a strong brand in Brazil and a very good local sales network. Their codesharing with both JJ and O6 provide excellent feed. The connection is 6 hours on SA, but less than 4 hours on JJ (there is a bilateral codeshare).

While the previous arrival time into HKG did have connections to PEK/TPE/ICN/NRT/KIX they were struggling to get sufficient capacity. They'll now have much greater access to codeshare capacity in HKG.
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Old Mar 16, 18, 3:55 am
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Oh dear - codeshare with a OneWorld airline. This almost sounds like taking a successful business and damaging it yourself rather than via any external factors, like a self-fulfilling fallacy. If a traveller is simply price or time conscious, there are alternatives. So are TK/ET/QR/EK/SQ all taking business away from SA for Brazil to Asia ? (Which is the chicken and which is the egg here ?)
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Old Mar 16, 18, 4:38 am
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Originally Posted by zhaobao View Post
Oh dear - codeshare with a OneWorld airline. This almost sounds like taking a successful business and damaging it yourself rather than via any external factors, like a self-fulfilling fallacy. If a traveller is simply price or time conscious, there are alternatives. So are TK/ET/QR/EK/SQ all taking business away from SA for Brazil to Asia ? (Which is the chicken and which is the egg here ?)
They had a bilateral codeshare with JJ since before SA were *A, why is there a problem with that?

Some travelers may to time/price conscious, others might have other calculus.
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