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ATLBrain

Nashville-Tokyo Air Service

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As I close up shop this eve, I spotted on my computer's headlines page that Nissan wants this flight. It looks like the wheels are starting to turn on this. I'm sure a lot of work and political maneuvering will be needed to get this through. Maybe TN's senators (and dare I say Nashville's congressman) can prove that they're not just empty suits. Frist should have led the move to abolish the Wright Amendment like he once said he would. It sure as heck would have made American Airlines regret pulling out of Nashville.

Anyway...

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ar...NESS01/60616010

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This would be great for Nashville and Tennessee. With Dell bring in some Taiwan traffic and of course Fedex going everywhere in Asia from Memphis our footprint is beginning to spread East.

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I have a question (I am sure this has been asked before) but what will become of the BellSouth since ATT and BellSouth are merging? Will BellSouth become ATT? Will it be the ATT Batman Building? :blink:

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A Nashville-Tokyo flight would be very cool. Tokyo is not a common destination from the east side of the US is it? What airline would offer this flight? Delta?

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A Nashville-Tokyo flight would be very cool. Tokyo is not a common destination from the east side of the US is it? What airline would offer this flight? Delta?

Having flown from Charlotte to Tokyo (via Houston) I can tell you that not many Airlines are going to be willing to open another gateway city to Tokyo. Not every airline has the planes that can make this journey and they have to fill it to make the journey possible. There isn't enough of the public available to fly from the east coast to Tokyo which means most airlines usually fly only one flight/day This means the service is going to have to occur from a major hub where they can feed enough people onto the flight to fill one of these huge planes, or it will not be profitable to them.

I don't see this happening in Nashville since there isn't a hub there anymore.

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I asked my Delta V-P neighbor about this at our monthly poker game last night and he said that he had heard a rumor that this could happen with some shuffling from NWA. He said Delta and American wouldn't do it. United and Continental aren't even considered in this plan. He did say that the big 5 airlines have talked about opening up more gateways to the Far East with the FAA and the various countries, and from the Southeast especially. Obviously, this would be a situation where political leadership is key.

Not that it's related, but doesn't China Air have a significant hub at BNA or Smyrna?

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I don't know about the size of the operations, or really where it's based, but China Air runs some cargo for Dell. While out weeding this morning, what looked like a China Air 747 flew over rather closely. I stuck out my thumb, but I guess they didn't see me. I need vacation.

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At this time the only airlines I would expect to even think about this would be American and Northwest.

I believe Northwest code shares some of their flights to Tokyo with Continental. i.e. Continental flys the route. However it might make sense for them to come up with a flight from their Memphis hub to Tokyo. American already has 3 flights/day to Tokyo DFW, O'hare, and San Francisco, I don't think they would be looking for another one.

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I don't know about the size of the operations, or really where it's based, but China Air runs some cargo for Dell. While out weeding this morning, what looked like a China Air 747 flew over rather closely. I stuck out my thumb, but I guess they didn't see me. I need vacation.

China Airlines CARGO has a warehouse at the Cargo Link over by the overlook. They fly a 747-400F into and out of here, but it is based in Taiwan.

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I believe Northwest code shares some of their flights to Tokyo with Continental. i.e. Continental flys the route. However it might make sense for them to come up with a flight from their Memphis hub to Tokyo. American already has 3 flights/day to Tokyo DFW, O'hare, and San Francisco, I don't think they would be looking for another one.

I see this whole idea of Nashville / Tokyo nonstop as being really tough to sell to any domestic airline as long as Nashville doesn't have a hub operation. The easiest thing to get started might be a Northwest flight direct from Nashville to Tokyo with one stop in Memphis or Minneapolis. This might not satisfy Nissan. Otherwise, they need to see if JAL (Japan Airlines) or ANA (All Nippon Airlines) would be interested.

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As I mentioned earlier, its a very long flight to Tokyo. Only the Boeing 777 or 747 or similar Airbus can make the trip without refueling. I just don't see there being enought O/D traffic in the Nashville area to fill one of these planes every day.

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Over 8.6 million passengers served in FYR 2004 at the airport. With the recent addition of Jetblue, two destinations for Southwest, and an added NYC flight for Delta.....the passenger traffic is only going to get bigger. Southwest currently operates a "mini hub" out of Nashville with it being their 11th biggest airport operation in 2005. I think getting people here isn't the issue. The issue is finding butts to put in the seats of a 747, Airbus 330, or a 777. We are talking about 200-400 persons per flight on these birds. Do I think it will happen? Yes. Why? Cause Nashville is already underserved as an international destination. At some point the "dam" will break and it will happen...you can take that to the bank. LOL!!! Atlanta is a hard sell for people on a budget and on time restraints. Nashville is in the position to take on added business. It's just finding the right airline that wants to make that commitment to this market. Southwest is making it every month with new flights. NWA pressence in Memphis is minimal when compared to MSP. That hub in Memphis is a small (circa AA in Nashville mid 1990's) hub to begin with. Talks of closing it have risen and fell for the past few years.

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IF a Nashville-Tokyo route is opened by a domestic airline then they would most likely make Nashville a focus city. I think American Airlines is the obvious choice (maybe they could save face from when they pulled the hub). I would like to see JAL or some other airline just as much. Do you think there is much demand in Japan to visit Nashville? The route really needs to work BOTH ways.

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Do you think there is much demand in Japan to visit Nashville? The route really needs to work BOTH ways.

Indeed. This is why you won't see a direct to Japan flight to anywhere but a major city (NYC, San Francisco, Los Angeles) or a major airline hub. Going to Japan is much different than going to Europe. The flights are twice as long and only the most expensive planes can make the journey. And there really isn't that much traffic going to Asia from the east coast compared to Europe. They simply will not fill a 300 passenger plane twice a day to fly to Tokyo to Nashville and back.

On the earlier comment about pricing, international flights to Tokyo are not priced locally but nationally because there are only a few places where the jump from the USA to Tokyo takes place. If I am flying from Charlotte to Japan, I have to go though a gateway city. The price from here is the same regardless if the flight goes through Atlanta, Houston, DFW, Ohare, etc. It's mainly a matter of time of day and the particulars of airline that make the choice with this.

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You're right that Nashville can't support two daily flights to Tokyo, but don't you think it could support one or two weekly flights to Tokyo?

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You're right that Nashville can't support two daily flights to Tokyo, but don't you think it could support one or two weekly flights to Tokyo?

The only problem with that is that no airline is going to spend $200M on a 777ER equipped for international travel, only to use it twice/week. As I keep mentioning a plane that can travel from Nashville to Tokyo is very expensive and they have to keep these planes flying constantly full of people to make a profit from it.

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I see this whole idea of Nashville / Tokyo nonstop as being really tough to sell to any domestic airline as long as Nashville doesn't have a hub operation. The easiest thing to get started might be a Northwest flight direct from Nashville to Tokyo with one stop in Memphis or Minneapolis. This might not satisfy Nissan. Otherwise, they need to see if JAL (Japan Airlines) or ANA (All Nippon Airlines) would be interested.

I think Nashville could fill up a transcontinental nonstop flight in a 777--200 passengers and a very economical, efficient aircraft for smaller cities--if whoever does it could work out some codeshare with Southwest for connecting passengers. I know the Memphis-Amsterdam flight is solidly booked with all the NWA connecting traffic.

There's been a push in Memphis for a NWA nonstop to Tokyo for a few years now. The 777 would be the likely plane. And NWA has been adding Memphis flights as it crawls out of bankruptcy.

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The only problem with that is that no airline is going to spend $200M on a 777ER equipped for international travel, only to use it twice/week. As I keep mentioning a plane that can travel from Nashville to Tokyo is very expensive and they have to keep these planes flying constantly full of people to make a profit from it.

Well yeah, but couldn't there be another connecting flight to say Beijing or Hiroshima or even to Australia or something? It could go from Tokyo to Nashville back to Tokyo, to another city, back to Tokyo, and on. That way Nashville and another city are being served as much as they need to, and the plane is still constantly being used.

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I read once that there are over 40,000 people employed by Japanese companies in Tennessee? Obviously not nearly the whole bunch would be needing to go to the Far East.

Of course, I know next to nothing about the airline industry, but I do know that as economies in Asia grow, there will be greater air traffic to and from... and not just to the big 10 cities in America. So just as NWA goes to Amsterdam from Memphis (hub), and American goes to London from RDU (not a hub), this is possible with the right schedule and feeder lines. Also, Portland, OR serves as a gateway to several Int'l destinations, and I think Kansas CIty does too. Just because an airport is not a hub, doesn't mean it can't receive feeder flights. Southwest has proved that in several markets.

Nevertheless, this will still be a big challenge, as many corporations are moving toward their own flight facilities or shared anyway. My firm is a member of a cooperative. Plus two of our partners have their own jets that are used quite often. This has been seen in recent years as the importance of hub airports has decreased.

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Yeah, I don't understand why whenever someone mentions Nashville getting international flights, people say it won't happen because Nashville isn't a hub. Well newsflash, there's only say 7 or 8 major airlines that would do international flights, and we'll say each one has two hubs. And remember, some airports are hubs for more than one airline. I'm pretty sure that there are more than 15 airports with a few international flights. If AA thought Nashville was good enough to be a hub at one point, surely some airline would think that Nashville is good enough to handle a few international flights, right?

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I spoke to a couple of NW pilots today and they said it could be very possible to run a non stop to Tokyo. They said the run out of Minneapolis ,Chicago, LA and they thought Portland. Probably a 777 and they owuld have to make sure the runway was long enough because of the amount of fuel they would carry.

AA is doubtful because they have been in Nashville 2 times earlier with a hub and pulled out both times. The talk there is upper management has no idea what they are doing and have been doing over the past 15 years.

It is conceivable to have an international flight without having a hub, but the logistics would be a huge cost as they would have to have mechanics, catering(which few now do out of Nashville), and other support entities in place.

Atlbrain is correct when he says there is a huge number of Japanese in TN and companies doing business here. I think i heard at one time Japan had the single largest investment of any other country in TN. A lot of business transpires between TN and Japan and if the political connections have the clout they need, there will be a nonstop flight to Tokyo. Its like anything else, politics get involved and deals are made.

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I read once that there are over 40,000 people employed by Japanese companies in Tennessee? Obviously not nearly the whole bunch would be needing to go to the Far East.

Of course, I know next to nothing about the airline industry, but I do know that as economies in Asia grow, there will be greater air traffic to and from... and not just to the big 10 cities in America. So just as NWA goes to Amsterdam from Memphis (hub), and American goes to London from RDU (not a hub), this is possible with the right schedule and feeder lines. Also, Portland, OR serves as a gateway to several Int'l destinations, and I think Kansas CIty does too. Just because an airport is not a hub, doesn't mean it can't receive feeder flights. Southwest has proved that in several markets.

One purpose of the 777 is to allow smaller cities direct international airservice. That's what Boeing is betting on. Airbus with its A380 is betting on the hub system. So I would look to see if the airlines that serve Nashville order the 777. I know that NWA has placed some orders.

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Obviously, this would be a situation where political leadership is key.

^If you're right about this then it a sad commentary on the degree of socialization in the airline business. In a free market, airlines would crunch the numbers and decide if the flight was profitable. If so, then they would just do it - fly the planes from point A to point B. What is this "asking permission from the government" crap? If customer X wants to fly to Tokyo, and airline Y wants to fly them there, then goverment regulator Z has absolutly nothing to offer. Regulator Z can neither help X get to tokyo or help Y fly and operate the plane. No wonder airlines are strugling - I'm sure crap like this is just the tip of the iceberg.

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I see this whole idea of Nashville / Tokyo nonstop as being really tough to sell to any domestic airline as long as Nashville doesn't have a hub operation. The easiest thing to get started might be a Northwest flight direct from Nashville to Tokyo with one stop in Memphis or Minneapolis. This might not satisfy Nissan. Otherwise, they need to see if JAL (Japan Airlines) or ANA (All Nippon Airlines) would be interested.

Seconded. There is absolutely no way that Northwest is going to bet on a nonstop BNA-NRT flight when there is a NWA hub that could easily support the flight through connecting flights. I can see a BNA-NRT flight with one stop in Memphis happening simply because there is already a major campaign to get the MEM-NRT flight along with rumor that this will happen as more A330s/787s come aboard. I think a subsidied JAP/ANA/AA flight will have to happen in order to get direct BNA-NRT

One purpose of the 777 is to allow smaller cities direct international airservice. That's what Boeing is betting on. Airbus with its A380 is betting on the hub system. So I would look to see if the airlines that serve Nashville order the 777. I know that NWA has placed some orders.

Northwest has only placed orders on the 787 for this purpose

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