Airlines have been forced to shrink their route profiles due to COVID-19. Many leisure and business travelers have been deterred from traveling due to multiple reasons. However, some airlines are still looking optimistic amid this. Bamboo Airways is announcing new route additions from October of 2020, according to multiple sources.
Bamboo Airways will relaunch certain connections beginning on October 25th to revive its long-haul operations. Additionally, Bamboo Airways announces/firms new routes to Australia with a specific date of operation. Note that most of these routes are not available for booking which means there is uncertainty on the aircraft types used on these routes.
Primarily, Bamboo Airways will reestablish key links between large population centers in Asia, not to mention new links. The selection of routes include Beijing, Seoul-Incheon, Tokyo-Narita, and Osaka-Kansai. The routes will be operated mainly on the carrier's A321NEOs. The city pairs are listed below:
Next, Bamboo Airways will reestablish its previously announced routes to Prague, Czech Republic and Munich. These will be operated on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner's. The city pairs are listed below in a table:
Finally, Bamboo Airways will launch new routes to Brisbane and Melbourne. Previously, Bamboo Airways signed a Memoriam of Understanding (MoU) for a flight to Melbourne. These will be operated using the carrier's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and will be operated 8 weekly in total. Note that these are not yet available for reservation. Below are the city pairs:
Brisbane(BNE) - Ho Chi Minh City (SGN)
Brisbane(BNE) - Hanoi(HAN)
Melbourne(MEL) - Ho Chi Minh City (SGN)
Melbourne(MEL) - Hanoi(HAN)
Bamboo Airways will use its new Airbus A321NEO and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners on these routes. Its A321NEO's have 196 seats, with 8 business class seats in a 2-2 configuration, and 188 economy seats in a 3-3 configuration. Meanwhile, its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners have 302 seats, with 4 first class suites in a 1-1 configuration, 24 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, and 274 economy class seats in a 3-3-3 configuration.
Currently, the carrier has 4 A321NEO's with another 46 on order and 3 Boeing B787-9 with 27 more on order. It is unclear how Bamboo Airways will utilize its 3 Boeing B787-9 efficiently. Based on assumption, there will be one Boeing 787-9 designated for Australian operations, one for Munich(MUC) operations, and one Boeing 787-9 which will be probably switched in and out for Prague(PRG) and Australian operations.
Bamboo Airways Expansion and Competition
Bamboo Airways commenced operations in early 2019 with leased narrowbody aircraft, due to delays in aircraft deliveries, flying domestically between Vietnamese cities. It tried to penetrate the market with its low prices, in the midst of tough competition like VietJet, Vietnam Airlines, and its subsidiary Jetstar Pacific(now Pacific Airlines).
Bamboo Airways has always planned to expand to new frontiers including the U.S., primarily the main gateways to the West Coast, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Bamboo Airways has outlined ideas to fly to the United States by the end of 2021/early 2022 like the outrageous A380 flight from Los Angeles to Taipei to Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City or via ordering Boeing 777X's. Additionally, Bamboo has outlined flights to Sydney, Paris, Moscow, Berlin, and Kuwait, among others.
Bamboo Airways looks to be targeting routes with minimal nonstop competition in Asia which is decently high-yielding, mainly in Northeast Asia like Korea and Japan, staying away from low yielding destinations in Southeast Asia dominated by low cost carriers like AirAsia. For example, on its Hanoi-Beijing route, it will penetrate that market via low costs against regular-service carriers like Vietnam Airlines and Air China. Additionally, on its Japanese routes, the only real price competitor is VietJet, while the other carriers in the market are mainly full-service carriers.
Looking outside of Asia, Bamboo Airways faces no nonstop competition on most of its European and Australian routes except Melbourne(MEL) via Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar, putting pressure on Vietnam Airlines to counter Bamboo Airways as an international threat. The only Australian route that Bamboo Airways faces a threat on is Melbourne, Australia, with AirAsia offering competitive onestop options for VFR(Visiting Family and Relatives) travelers, not to mention Jetstar providing competitive prices nonstop to Ho Chi Minh City. Meanwhile, Bamboo Airways will face threats via the ME3, among other airlines on its European routes.
Vietnam Airlines should definitely feel Bamboo Airways as a threat. Even if some of the markets are not directly competing with them, Bamboo Airways will continually attack Vietnam Airlines' international market with its incoming Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
These markets will definitely require some testing considering the considerable drop in demand to COVID-19.
What are your thoughts on the expansion of Bamboo Airways? Do you agree with their optimism to launch routes in October? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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