Wednesday, 9 October 2013

A worldwide view from the windows of Auckland Airport.

One evening last week anyone looking out over the ramp at Auckland's international airport at 18.30 would have seen a lineup of 3 Emirates A380s. All were scheduled to depart within the next 30 minutes, one via Brisbane, one via Sydney and the other via Perth. "Wow" they might have said.

Anyone looking out of Air New Zealand's office windows might have said something different.

 Undeterred though, the national airline continues to develop its own business,network and product. That's sensible. There is no future in wasting time and energy lamenting, as do the President of the American pilots union ALPA and some others, that the world would be a better place (even for American pilots, many of who have found new lives abroad) if it reverted to the old days of protectionism when legacy carriers ruled the clouds at whatever fares , frequencies and levels of service they cared to,- or didn't,- provide.

Just as the new Asian airlines in the 1970s, the new Gulf and Turkish fraternity are bringing new thinking, new standards of product and service and a new geography to the the world's air routes. The capacity and new one stop (two stop in the case of New Zealand) routings between many of the world's primary, secondary and even tertiary cities have broken new ground, created new city pair links and boosted business and leisure travel markets. To nearly all the countries they serve they have brought far more income and jobs scattered through a wider range of allied industries and activities than their national airlines have lost. Ring fencing and protecting airlines has long been a losing game . Most nations have far more to gain by welcoming the newcomers than they have from keeping them out. The UK is a good example. The vast majority of recent growth has been provided by foreign airlines although competing with them is not impossible. It requires substantial investment, new routes, new customer centred cultures (not helped by heavy unionisation)  and new products. For the ground side of the picture, good relationships and a shared vision with base airports and authorities in particular is also essential.

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