Why not a LAX/SFO-SYD double daily?

Old Dec 26, 18, 3:31 am
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Why not a LAX/SFO-SYD double daily?

I was thinking about this on my long flight from Houston to Sydney the other day. Similarly to what UA has done with SIN flights, why not introduce a double daily flight to Sydney from either LAX or SFO. Lots of comments in here about how IAH-SYD and MEL-SFO are or will be marginal routes, surely the demand is there for a double daily flight from the west coast to Sydney.

Using SFO as an example, a schedule could be something like:
SFO-SYD: 10:00am - 8:00pm+1
SYD-SFO: 10:00pm - 4:30pm

Similarly to the Singapore double daily, a Sydney double daily would be great for O/D and shorter connections because it gives you the choice of whether to lose the day in the US, or Australia, or potentially neither. Also, anybody connecting on to the east coast in the US, or further than BNE/MEL in Australia would still have the option of the existing schedule.

Thoughts?
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Old Dec 26, 18, 5:56 am
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If there is demand, as well as gates, crews and planes available, etc...then they will do it.
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Old Dec 26, 18, 7:28 am
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Originally Posted by david_oz View Post
Using SFO as an example, a schedule could be something like:
SFO-SYD: 10:00am - 8:00pm+1
SYD-SFO: 10:00pm - 4:30pm
More capacity leads to lower average fares.

Your proposed schedule doesn't make time for (many) westbound arrivals to connect at SFO, nor to connect from SFO eastbound. That's got to be very heavily O&D and West Coast travelers.
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Old Dec 26, 18, 7:49 am
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The answer is that once (around 2013?) there was indeed a double daily LAX-SYD, with one departing at around 9:30 pm from LAX, and the other from about 10:45 pm. However, this did not last long. Probably the economics did not work out.
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Old Dec 26, 18, 9:06 am
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From LAX, there's also AA, Virgin Australia, and Qantas to Sydney. Pretty competitive market.
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Old Dec 26, 18, 9:47 am
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LAX-SYD

night bank
VA2 Daily 11pm-8:55am 773
AA73 Daily 10:45pm-9am 789
UA839 Daily 10:45pm-8:50am 789
QF12 Daily 10:30pm-8:35am 388
DL41 Daily 10:15pm-8:10am 777

QF18 3x weekly/seasonal 8:15pm-6:15am 388 (Mid dec-Early Jan)

think there's enough capacity on LAX?

SFO-SYD
QF74 Daily 8:35pm-6:10am 744
UA863 Daily 11:05pm-9:05am 789

Last edited by paperwastage; Dec 26, 18 at 10:08 am
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Old Dec 26, 18, 9:55 am
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Originally Posted by paperwastage View Post
think there's enough capacity?
Those are all night flights departing the U.S. The OP is talking about adding a morning departure.
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Old Dec 26, 18, 9:57 am
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
Those are all night flights departing the U.S. The OP is talking about adding a morning departure.
well, theres enough capacity at night. is UA going to move their night flight to daytime?

adding a second flight (daytime) will be overkill.

im surprised QF didn't do a daytime flight with their 3x weekly/seasonal
edit: they did switch the timings up a bit on the return
everyone does SYD-LAX 12pm-6am

QF17 (the 3x weekly) does 6:25pm-1:15pm

Last edited by paperwastage; Dec 26, 18 at 10:03 am
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Old Dec 26, 18, 10:03 am
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Originally Posted by paperwastage View Post
...im surprised QF didn't do a daytime flight with their 3x weekly/seasonal
It's easier for UA to add a daytime flight (if they wanted to) considering their extended operations schedule at the airport vs Qanta's.
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Old Dec 26, 18, 10:06 am
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Aside from demand, does the daytime departure add a logistical challenge with meeting curfew at SYD? I'm also surprised QF/AA does not operate a daytime LAX-SYD flight.
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Old Dec 26, 18, 10:12 am
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Both Air New Zealand and QANTAS have tried daytime flights to Aus/NZ and the economics and scheduling of it don't work out, it appears. If you leave late enough in the West Coast morning to allow connections, you get into Auckland/Sydney too late to allow onward connections. Leave early from the West Coast to arrive Aus/NZ early evening for connections, and the flight has to rely on O/D from LAX/SYD, of which there is a lot, but apparently not a whole plane's worth every day.

The expansion of the market to Aus/NZ via opening new ports (IAH, DFW, ORD) better serves the market than serving it all via California at different times of day.
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Old Dec 26, 18, 10:53 am
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1. It is all about PRASM and not loads or demand. This really means loads at the right place. I am certain that for the right price, UA can fill 4 daily services.

2. Looking at this as West Coast - Australia O&D is a narrow view of the market. There is East Coast and to a certain extent Europe to Australia as well as onwards traffic in Asia.

Finally, all of this has to take place in the context of what other aircraft, crew and related staff UA has at its disposal or which may be obtained in the timeframe.

Not as easy a proposition as it first seems.
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Old Dec 26, 18, 11:09 am
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Originally Posted by 764toHI View Post
Aside from demand, does the daytime departure add a logistical challenge with meeting curfew at SYD? I'm also surprised QF/AA does not operate a daytime LAX-SYD flight.
Exactly the point I was going to make regarding curfew. Current schedules into SYD only have 7 long hauls coming in after 8PM, likely for this reason. Any delay of 2.5+ hrs is going to mean having to hold the plane another ~7hrs. Then you have 250+ passengers in SYD that are stuck overnight, as well as the inbounds stuck in LAX.
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Old Dec 26, 18, 12:02 pm
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The daytime schedule is terrible. It is very poorly timed for connections, and I can't imagine anyone for O&D who is eager to burn a day traveling west when you don't have to. If QF, NZ, et al could make a morning departure from the US work, they absolutely would. Currently their frames sit on the ground for the entire day at SFO/LAX before returning at night. UA already has a big advantage in the market because they do a quick turn in ANZ and can then interleave their aircraft into other routes when they get to the US.

I don't even think the gross demand is there for double-daily.. the Australia flights are just not that consistently booked, especially non-peak days of the week. SFO-SYD is about the only one that seems plausible, and they decided to add SFO-MEL instead, which makes sense. I'd expect a BNE add before they go back to double daily.

Heck, if it were such a big, lucrative market, why didn't SYD get the 77W?
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Old Dec 26, 18, 1:05 pm
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Originally Posted by david_oz View Post
Using SFO as an example, a schedule could be something like:
SFO-SYD: 10:00am - 8:00pm+1
SYD-SFO: 10:00pm - 4:30pm
Sydney has an 11pm curfew, and it's strictly enforced. For an inbound flight from the US, they will be refused departure if it's not clear they will make the curfew. If they are in-flight and realize they aren't going to make it, they will most likely need to divert. (Exceptions are possible, but are extremely rare).

If it takes 90 minutes to turn the plane around (including taxi time), then even a 90 minute delay means that the SYD-SFO flight isn't going to make it off the ground. If you try and move the SFO departure any earlier to counter this you lose any ability for connections, which aren't ideal even for a 10am departure (especially at SFO due to fog). For half the year when daylight savings is reversed (giving a 2 hour difference in time) it's a little better.

Originally Posted by findark View Post
If QF, NZ, et al could make a morning departure from the US work, they absolutely would. Currently their frames sit on the ground for the entire day at SFO/LAX before returning at night.
Not all of them.

The NZ flight to LAX carries on to London. Their SFO flight does sit on the ground, but it's not all that long as that flight has a relatively late arrival/early departure (~8 hours on the ground)

One of the QF flights continues on to New York. The others do sit a long day at LAX/SFO.
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