Qantas: we see Hong Kong as transit point for China, North Asia

By David Flynn , February 6 2014
Qantas: we see Hong Kong as transit point for China, North Asia

While Virgin Atlantic is pulling out of the Sydney-Hong Kong route, Qantas is talking up the Asian metropolis as not just as a destination in its own right but an increasingly important 'transit point' for taking passengers into China.

"(Hong Kong) used to be a transit hub for European destinations such as London, Frankfurt and Paris for Qantas" according to Wyn Li, general manager in Hong Kong for Qantas, in an interview with The South China Morning Post.

"But now, we would rather see Hong Kong as a transit point for the mainland or North Asia destinations."

The city and Qantas' strategy neatly dovetails into efforts to launch Jetstar Hong Kong, the latest in a series of Asian 'franchises' for Qantas' own low-cost offshoot.

The Hong Kong connection

Qantas hopes that the Hong Kong-based budget airline will get off the ground this year after missing its 2013 target to obtain an operating licence from the Hong Kong government.

Leading the lobbying against Jetstar Hong Kong is incumbent Cathay Pacific, ironically a Qantas partner via the oneworld airline alliance, which relies on its own flights and those of regional sibling DragonAir to shuttle travellers into China and a clutch of capital and regional cities throughout Asia.

Also in the anti-JQ camp is low-cost airline Hong Kong Express, which aims to expand its network to 20 Asian cities and more than double its fleet to 11 Airbus A320s by the end of this year.

Qantas has already forged codeshare partnerships with China Eastern and more recently China Southern but these are primarily for flights between Australia and China and a limited number of mainland connections from each airline's respective hubs in Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Superjumbos and souped-up lounges

For its own part, Qantas has recently upgraded its Sydney-Hong Kong service to a daily Airbus A380 through to early March, with the flights then switching back an A380 for five days of the week and a Boeing 747 every Tuesday and Wednesday.

However, Hong Kong could conceivably become a dedicated A380 route for the Flying Kangaroo should Qantas decide to 'optimise' other superjumbo routes in any reshuffle of its network as the airline attempts to reign in costs.

Qantas will also open a new Hong Kong lounge in early April, based on the same concept as the successful Qantas Singapore Lounge with a menu drawn from Neil Perry's Rockpool and Spice Temple restaurants.

The Qantas Hong Kong Lounge showing part of the dining area and the bar
The Qantas Hong Kong Lounge showing part of the dining area and the bar

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David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

When will Qantas realise that Qantas and Jetstar are not complimentary services?

 Taking pax off a flight in HKG and connecting them on a JQ flight to North Asia is not a step forward. It is just dumb.

Anecdotal evidence with frequent flyers tells me a great number of them are not a fan of this arrangement (domestically and in SIN). Some specifically seek out Qantas operated flights to avoid a code-share operated by Jetstar.

To make it worse pax cannot create their own itinerary (and buy discounted Jetstar tickets in SIN) to connect QF services to Jetstar services. Pax will have to clear immigration in SIN and re-check for their Jetstar flights. The only way out is to book the Jetstar flight together with the QF flights and pay the premium - only then will your baggage will be checked through!

Am I wrong in this? Has Qantas done some marketing that shows a majority of its target segment is in favour of this type of arrangement? Or is this another con job?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Aug 2012

Total posts 126

Never a truer word spoken TheRealBabushka.

How can they draw on both Qantas and Jetstar "services" together it terms of a seemless option for passengers?

12 months ago, I went (regrettably) on a Jetstar flight from Hong Kong to Singapore (it won't happen again!). It was through Terminal 2 (instead of the main terminal 1). After a long wait and walk to get to the gate (it must have been rush hour), we were then herded like cattle into a bus and were driven for 15 minutes to the aircraft which was parked in a far out bay. It was very crammed in the bus and uncomfortable. I understand I did fly a low-cost carrier, but the point I'm making is that you can't compare a full-service option with the 'service' from a LCC. It just doesn't work and gel together!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

It's rubbish, but at the same time the days of intra-Asia tag flights, where 767s were being used to run combinations like PER-SIN-HKG-BKK and return, are also over.

The problem that is screwing Qantas is that to serve Asia properly, it needs a large set of destinations; however, Qantas cannot fly to all these Asian ports nonstop from all Australian ports, so they need to have a forward hub or two. This has largely been SIN and HKG, both of which are semi-hostile hubs.

They then need to codeshare out of these forward hubs, or run their own operation. They can't really codeshare on one airline based out of SIN because that involves basically one choice - Mortal Enemy #1, Singapore Airlines.

They can't really codeshare on one airline based out of HKG either because that involves basically one choice - Mortal Enemy #2, Cathay Pacific.

They tried setting up their own little SilkAir/Dragonair based in SIN. It was Joyce's hype about Red Q or Qantasia or whatever you want to call it. That didn't work.

This is the pickle that has seen QF Group try and fob us off to Jetstar out of these forward hubs.

Funnel flights out of Darwin? In fact do DRW/LHR; funnel SYD, MEL, BNE, ADL,PER to DRW. DRW as the main hub for Asia and beyond! Pivot Qantas away from Mascot to the top end. Mascot middle management's going to freak out! 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

I can see the logic here. Fly daily double-triangles to retain nonstops ex-SYD and ex-MEL.

It can be drawn up...

18 Apr 2012

Total posts 33

Problem with Darwin is, it's an expensive airport with crap facilities.. but it's a valid idea if the costs were right.. personally I am over them making SYD the "hub"

That's true. But the key is to turn DRW into a HEL, VIE or FRA.

It is easier and relatively cheaper to fix an airport than it is to change your geography or navigate bilateral rights!

aow
aow

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Feb 2012

Total posts 17

Please do - even on a less-than daily schedule - perfect!!!!

if Qantas aked NTG for a subsidy to do it, they would redily agree!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 8

^this.

Watson374 has nailed the precise problem why QF can never make it in 2014.  Despite CX being a oneworld partner they play dirty and presumably have little incentive to codeshare with QF into China. VA has made some clever strategic alliances by having SQ, NZ and EY have stock in the airline despite not being a star alliance partner. Jetstar Asia is not really going to help the situation.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

CX does not play dirty. The simply know they have the upper hand and are happy to take full advantage of it. Their management seems to blend the best of British and Chinese business culture.

Anyway, they know they don't need Qantas to feed HKG from Australia, because they are far ahead; they basically feed themselves ex-Australia. They have no incentive to get QF feed simply because they don't need it.

I've heard claims of political restrictions on HKG-China codeshares by foreign carriers. So that's HKG gone.

Which leaves SIN.

If they had put in more effort, it might have worked. Qantas Singapore is not an entirely impossible idea - the obstructive clowns back home just need to build a bridge and get over it; you can bring your skilled engineers over there - provided it is executed right.

Unlike HKG, in SIN there are no paralysing political restrictions to what QF can and can't do. They can set up a subsidiary to fly Singaporean-regiestered aircraft out of Singapore, as well as fly Australian-registered aircraft into Singapore and then onwards.

The Singaporean government is more than happy to let QF grow traffic through SIN. They are, after all, more concerned about their airport than their airline. That's why 3K was allowed.

So they could do it if they really, really wanted to. Whether it would work, I don't know. SQ would fight, and hard.

But the difference is that in HKG, if CX says bite, the government bites; in SIN, if SQ says bite, the governments tells them to do their own biting. Which they do well.

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 128

I am pretty sure if the QF venture in singapore was not majority Singapore owned like the current Jetstar Asia the singapore government would have "BIT" regardless of SQ's opinion.

it is also ludicrous to suggest that the SQ government is less cosy to its subsidiary SQ than the HK government is to a private airline that is a relic from the BRITISH  days!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

It is superficially majority-owned by Singaporean interests, but those Singaporean interests are funded indirectly by Qantas Group. It's a sham.

And believe me, the Singaporean government has been quite open about it - Singapore Airlines has to succeed based on its own good work and that they will not prop it up and provide a sobbing room. The government is ultimately more interested in the growth of the SIN airport. The airline is just a tool to capitalise on the airport and make even more money.

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 128

yes but that sham is exactly what they should have done in HK

sorry but a government owned entity has more ties /sympathy from the government than a private company regardless of what the government says!!!

HKG largely now Chinese government has no interest to help  Cathay. Also Beijing gave approval to Jetstar HK so any nutty claims of Air China wanting to help Cathay is out of the door. 

Also considering that Cathay is pretty much the only MAJOR private airline in that region and is making profits its clear they are not sobbing but just competing effectively for the reason that thye know they cannot depend on the government. Financial firms are more confident on lending to stable govt owned entities like SQ - being government owned has benefits. HK in general however achieves the same city state goals of Singapore but using the private market

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

Sure you can picture SQ as an arm of the Singaporean government, but if you're going to wear those goggles you may as well picture CX and the Hong Kong government in similar light - two allied businesses.

They both compete effectively because they cannot depend on the government to keep them alive - they need to go out and bring home the bacon by their own hard work.

In any case, the exact same sham structure is being attempted in HKG, going through some province of the Stanley Ho empire. But because the goal in HKG is to create a powerful base for CX - rather than the goal in SIN of creating a powerful international hub airport - the obstruction is far greater.

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 128

since your going by  "what a government says" then the goal in HKG is to create a powerful international hub as well, and based on the stats they are doing a far better job..

again its easier to finance large aircraft orders etc when the government controls the airline.

if SQ were a private airline their fleet would look much older and their order list less ambitious

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

You seem reluctant to argue rationally.

SQ are a well-run airline that exists to make money for the Singaporean government, and they have a young fleet because they follow the practice of rapidly churning aircraft.

I am not going to dignify your diatribes any further.

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 128

the only irrational bit here is your belief that a private airline is supported more by their government than a government owned airline!!!

 

I agree SQ is a well-run government etity like most companies in Singapore.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

omfg

DUDE

k fine

CX is a private airline, yet it has a young fleet and it too follows the practice of using relatively young aircraft to keep its operating costs lower. There is a perception that both CX and SQ flies loads and loads of brand-new planes, but the truth is that they also have clunkers in the closet flying backwater regional runs to places like Penang.

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 128

CX does not have a young fleet... they cannot afford one like govt controlled airlines

SQ has 0 747's and A340's

So you propose we nationalise Qantas? Because I'm not quite following your line of logic...What exactly are you suggesting by making the point that SQ is government owned?

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 128

I am merely countering the other posters idea that government owned SQ is independant of the government and private CX is propped up by the government.

i.e unlike most Asian carriers and other European carriers CX has grown/survived/kicked BA and QF out  HKG in spite of the government favouring BA and QF as a PRIVATE airline.

He believes Jetstar HK being banned is because of HK government supporting CX against LCC's - this is untrue else Oasis HK and HK express would have never existed.

As for airlines in general I think SQ etc should all be privatised - only then is FAIR competition especially in financing new aircraft etc.

His failure to understand that CX has succeeded on its own without government assistance has caused this long yet interesting discussion.

as for QF they are nuts.

They keep saying Asia is where the growth and money is yet they  moved their hub form Asia to Dubai which is closer to Europe?- with such nonsensial decisions and lack of investment in Asia and betrayal of long time friends- QF deserves all its troubles.

It would be somewhat naive to think that CX has not been lobbying the HK govt to prevent or delay the set up of Jetstar Hong Kong. The difference between Oasis and Jetstar is that the parent of Jetstar is able to provide the funds to stay and fight. 

But if we are to follow the argument that government owned airlines result in newer aircrafts (and through conjecture, a better service) then logically all airlines should be nationalised to provide improved product offerings and service to consumers? 

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 128

I agree CX is lobbying but I disagree that a private run CX lobbying will be more favoured by governments than government run SQ's lobbying.

SQ had no  cause against Jetstar as they are BY LAW majority Singapore owned

HK express parent has deeper pockets than QF YET HK express got through thus this has nothing to do with Jetstar's financial strength where it infact LAGS compared to Hainan.

CX was banned to fly to China for years - Hence KA existed -  in fact if CX were allowed to fly to Chona KA would not have survived. KA was essentially assisted by the HK government against CX- hence CX had to buy KA

one cannot link service to new aircraft

SQ is a govt run airline with excellent service- so SIN is sean as a good /hospitable tourist hub. service is as CX proves completely unrelated to age of aircraft.

so yes government owned airlines result in newer aircrafts more easily of the government wants mordernisation (CZ /SQ/CA ) but does not result in better service as they usually are immune to competition/ it depends on who runs the government (AI)

SQ has great service as its owned by the SIN government which is unique as the SIN government does a good job across all its departments. But CX has good service but cannot afford as many aircraft and as quick replacements as its finances are not backed up by an entire city/country!!

YOU LINK of new aircraft= better service is inaccurate - better food/FA's/IT/lounges etc do not come as a package deal from Airbus or Boeing!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

What a pillock.

D'you seriously think SQ doesn't have old 772s and such?

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 128

https://www.cathaypacificcadetpilots.com.hk/about/our-fleet/

just under 11 years

vs

6 years 8 months

https://www.singaporeair.com/en_UK/about-us/sia-history/sia-fleet/

not to  mention SQ's larger orders and is also set to make an order on that 777x that far outshines CX's 777x order- 

772's are young compared to 747's

fact is Banks etc will always see a govt backed airline as lower risk than a private airline like CX - CX would love to have such an extravagant order book like SQ but because the government does not own them - it is not possible

 

 

so again your talking nonsense...

10 Mar 2011

Total posts 531

Agree... They are definitely not complementary. It is more complementary to fly Qantas to HKG and then Cathay Pacific inwards but definitely not Jetstar. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 387

agree ... not a chance would i fly jetstar out or HKG after coming in on a full service airline.why not have a business class produce on jetstar and leave economy as budget. i'd certainly consider it then.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 994

It's easy for me to avoid JQ because they don't go to CBR. However...

I had a trip to TYO in September last year. Weather delays at SYD meant my CBR-SYD to connect to QF21 kept getting delayed to the point it would be a missed connection.

When I commented to the CBR lounge staff about it, their first option was to go to MEL, then connect to JQ via Darwin and MNL.

I insitantly said "JQ? er... no." and they got me onto CX.

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

The whole of FNQ use CX to get to Europe or USA saves a very long 5.30am flight to a capital city or overnight stay to be on an outbound Intenational flight.

Qantas gave up this CNS/HKG/CNS route years ago (stupid), CX can charge what they like with planes full. Travelling to/from HKG under 7 hours.

As a gateway to the world HKG has to be one of the best, also, its airport is super modern with excellent amenities & fantastic lounges. I find its usually only about 15mins thru immigration etc. too.

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 298

Been on the CX services PER-HKG (and back) recently and they're all completely full.  So much so that I've been upgraded more than once.  How QF cannot compete on this route astounds me.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1390

Out of HKG I suspect passengers will have a choice - codeshares on Jetstar Hong Kong, China Eastern or China Southern, per QFs recent codeshare arrangements.

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

And ceck the award seat additnal costs, like chalk and cheese comared to the likes of Qantas.

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

oops spelling..

And check out the award seat additional costs, like chalk and cheese compared to the likes of Qantas.

20 Feb 2012

Total posts 128

no airline is allowed to put a codeshare on HKG to China

 

so there is no choice

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

I didn't like Jetstar when it launched, and I have certainly lowered my opinion of it as time has past. Personally I think the time and money the Qantas Group has wasted on JQi could have been better spent on improvements to shore up demand and margin on QF. I certainly won't ever book a QF code share operated by Jetstar, even if it was only one segment that was just a short hop flight. Pass!

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 119

Sounds great...except if you live in Perth Qantas exited their 3 x weekly flight such that HK is a great transit point for Cathay not Qantas.  So message to Qantas if you want it to be a true hub for Australia maybe offer some services from Perth or Adelaide or Darwin...

Agreed! If they really want to make Hong Kong a transit point for North Asia, then for starters, Qantas needs to fly from Perth, Adelaide, Cairns, Darwin to Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong is well positioned and centralised to be a hub for Asia, (maximum 5 hour flight to many Asian cities). The problem for Qantas, is, however, that CX and so many other airlines already operate these flights to cities which are popular for Aussies. 

Agreed! If they really want to make Hong Kong a transit point for North Asia, then for starters, Qantas needs to fly from Perth, Adelaide, Cairns, Darwin to Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong is well positioned and centralised to be a hub for Asia, (maximum 5 hour flight to many Asian cities). The problem for Qantas, is, however, that CX and so many other airlines already operate these flights to cities which are popular for Aussies. 

07 Oct 2012

Total posts 1256

it may make better sense for QF to codeshare on CX flights out of PER, ADL & CNS. A flight from Darwin? I've said it before, Darwin could be a great Northern Australia hub... but is held back by poor management. Also, I have doubts whether Darwin could handle an A330 service. Could a 737-8 do Darwin - HKG?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

Maybe they could run tag flights again with the 789s.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2012

Total posts 304

As a self funded traveller, i personally would never transit from a full cost carrier to a LCC. unless i had no other options of travelling to that city on another full service airline.  The concept of QF travellers transiting onto a LCC is disgraceful...

07 Feb 2014

Total posts 1

I travel a fair bit into China and I usually transit through Hong Kong.

It's bene frustrating to me how Qantas doesn't seem to understand the visiting China for Business schedule. Why is it so hard to have an evening flight that arrives into Shanghai at 8am? Arriving late in the afternoon is so frustrating.

This is why I am normally flying Cathay through Hong Kong and onto Dragon Air (which is a great service) 

What I would really love is being able to clear Chinese customs in Hong Kong airport prior to boarding a flight to the Mainland, this would be so much better that the huge queues you often encounter in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou etc.

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 994

It would be nice if QF ever gets that large amount of 787-9's. They could have 2 flights a day to most major Asian cities from SYD, MEL and BNE. One overnight and one daytime in each direction.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

Actually, with some creativity, why not schedule the day flights ex-SYD and the night flights ex-MEL?


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