3 Links I Love: Qantas’s Position of Strength, Making Money Where No Airline Can, Pittsburgh Spends A Lot to Save a Little

This week’s featured link:
ABC Australia
When Qantas was in real trouble on its international routes, it tied up with Emirates and routed its remaining European flights through Dubai as well. This joint venture may have helped stem the bleeding back then, but Qantas is a totally different airline now, and it’s making a nice chunk of change. So, it will move its London flights back to routing via Singapore. (I find it interesting this article points out that travelers prefer connecting via Southeast Asia over the Middle East. They must like having the short hop first followed by the long one.) Combine that with the decision to fly nonstop from Perth to London and the request for aircraft that can fly nonstop from Sydney and Melbourne, and Qantas seems to be distancing itself from the Emirates crutch it once needed.

The comment from Neil Hansford in the article reminded me of . It might be a stretch to compare Qantas to Hugh Grant, but, you know, the airline is looking a whole lot better now than it used to.

Two for the road:
Bloomberg
Venezuela is a terrible place for airlines (and pretty much everyone else not in Maduro’s pocket). Since most airlines are unable to repatriate the funds from tickets sold in the country, they’ve had to stop selling there. The airlines that remained had to survive on sales from outside the country, and that has worked on only a handful of routes. Most airlines have dramatically cut service or pulled out entirely. Yet here’s this little airline from Chile that’s found a way to make things work. This could never happen with a US-based carrier since it must require some serious political ties. But for that Chilean airline, there is great money to be made.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh’s airport terminal was built to be a major USAir hub. Then USAir walked away. Since then, it continues to have a terminal that’s bigger than needed with a train connecting the landside (which had been only for ticketing/baggage since the regional terminal was killed) to the airside. Now, the airport wants to spend $1.1 billion to build a new landside facility that would be attached to the airside terminal. The train would disappear and the number of gates would shrink. Then they’d redevelop the old landside. The only problem? It would apparently save only $23 million a year in operating expense. So, you know, unless they think there’s a billion dollar deal to be hand to redevelop the landside, it’s going to take nearly 50 years to pay it off. Right.

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