News Briefs

    US and German tourism arrivals to New Zealand closing in on major milestones

    Tourism New Zealand reported (27-Feb-2017) tourism arrivals from Germany and the US are close to reaching new major milestones. German tourist arrivals were just 528 visitors away from reaching 100,000 for the 12 months to Jan-2017 and US arrivals were nearly 300,000 for the period, an increase of 24%. Arrivals were also strongly up from Australia (+9%) and China (+13%).


    Visitor arrivals to New Zealand up 11% in Jan-2017, departures up 14%

    Statistics New Zealand reported (Feb-2017) international visitor arrivals to New Zealand rose 11% year-on-year in Jan-2017. Details include:

    • Total international visitor arrivals: 381,068, +11.0% year-on-year;
      • Oceania: 140,912, +4.6%;
        • Australia: 127,760, +4.2%;
      • Asia: 99,536, +22.8%;
        • China: 54,096, +32.4%;
        • Hong Kong: 4736, +77.2%;
        • Japan: 9104, +3.1%;
        • South Korea: 12,592, -1.3%;
        • Malaysia: 2704, +81.7%;
        • Singapore: 2720, +9.7%;
      • Europe: 84,224, +9.1%;
        • UK: 35,344, +0.5%;
        • Germany: 15,952, +19.7%;
      • Americas: 48,352 +16.1%;
        • USA: 34,240, +18.1%;
        • Canada: 7952, +6.2%;
      • Africa and Middle East: 1232, -4.9%;
        • South Africa: 1232, -4.9%;
    • Departures: 165,673, +13.7%.


    Air New Zealand joins Unisys Cargo Portal Services

    Air New Zealand joined (27-Feb-2017) Unisys Cargo Portal Services, enabling the airline’s freight forwarder clients to book and track shipments online. The system will allow the carrier to reach more than 6000 forwarders and shippers from 2200 companies across 330 cities in 105 countries. Air New Zealand implemented the Unisys Logistics Management System for its air cargo business in 2010.


    TTF encourages re-use of heritage assets in building tourism in Australia

    Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF), in partnership with Mawland Group, released (27-Feb-2017) a study of the value to the visitor economy of adaptive re-use of heritage assets. According to the study:

    • More than two million international visitors a year visit a historic/heritage building, site or monument – comprising 33% of all visitors to Australia;
    • Cultural and heritage tourists spend 24% more and stay 24% longer in Australia than the average international visitor;
    • Domestic tourists made 4.9 million overnights trips and 4.1 million day trips to historic/heritage sites. These tourists spend 56% more and stay 37% longer than the average.

    TTF is encouraging government to work with private operators to preserve and give new life to the portfolio of historic government buildings which no longer provide meaningful benefit to the public.


    Tourism New Zealand: Peak travel season on track for new arrivals record

    Tourism New Zealand reported (27-Feb-2017) tourism arrivals data from Statistics New Zealand shows the 2016/2017 southern summer peak travel season is “on track to be the biggest ever”. Tourism arrivals rose 11% year-on-year for the 12 months to Jan-2017, passing 3.5 million visits. Holiday arrivals rose 15% for the period. Dec-2016 and Jan-2017 monthly arrivals were both new single month records.


    Queenstown Airport to pay around USD288k p/a in tax for RESA

    Queenstown Airport is estimated to pay around NZD400,000 (USD287,649) per year in tax for its runway end safety area (RESA) following the ruling by a New Zealand court that RESA is not tax deductible for depreciation as it is rarely used (National Business Review/Otago Daily Times, 28-Feb-2017). As previously reported by CAPA, the airport is estimated to have lost

    NZD2.7 million (USD1.9 million) in deferred tax liability as a result of the decision.


    Qantas selects engine wash service from Lufthansa Technik

    Qantas selected (27-Feb-2017) Lufthansa Technik to provide its ‘Cyclean Engine Wash’ service for CFM56-7 engines on its fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft. The programme began in Jan-2017, carried out by 145 Aviation Services, part of the Permagard Group. Engine washing is initially taking place exclusively in Melbourne.


    Thales Australia appoints new VP strategy

    Thales Australia appointed (27-Feb-2017) Gary Dawson as VP strategy, with additional responsibility for external affairs and communications. Mr Dawson is currently CEO of the Australian Food & Grocery Council. From 2008 to 2012, he worked for Thales Australia as VP communications.


    Airways New Zealand CEO emphasises need for just culture

    Airways New Zealand CEO Ed Sims emphasised (28-Feb-2017) the need to encourage a “just culture” in the ATM workforce, stating, “Our people are instead congratulated for reporting a concern and taking ownership of a mistake… anyone who self-reports an unintended mistake isn’t subject to penalties”. Mr Sims highlighted the workers must be ensured there are no negative consequences for unintentional mistakes, which has a “Huge impact on our reporting rates”. “It has built trust and engagement with staff, and helped us get to the root causes of incidents much faster”, he concluded.


    Tourism Tasmania positive about outlook for 2017 following record 2016

    Tourism Tasmania CEO John Fitzgerald said (25-Feb-2017) the state “had another fantastic year for tourism” during 2016, and that the popularity of Tasmania, “shows no signs of letting up as a record number of Australian and overseas visitors discover the people, the produce, the places, the stories and the experiences that make Tasmania such an exciting travel destination”.


    NSW Transport Minister: Western Sydney Airport’s rail decision ‘many years off’

    New South Wales Transport Minister Andrew Constance stated the Federal Government is still assessing the proposal to connect Western Sydney Airport with a rail service, but a decision is “many years off” (Sydney Morning Herald, 27-Feb-2017). As previously reported by CAPA, the new airport is expected to open in 2026.


    Tigerair Australia to conduct maintenance & upgrade of key online and mobile systems

    Tigerair Australia announced (27-Feb-2017) it will conduct a scheduled upgrade of a number of key online and mobile systems between 24:00 on 28-Feb-2017 and 05:00 on 01-Mar-2017. The carrier’s web and mobile check-in systems will be offline from 19:45 on 28-Feb-2017 and 05:00 on 01-Mar-2017. All flights are departing as per designated schedules, unless passengers are otherwise notified. The carrier anticipates no issues with the scheduled upgrade required.


    NZ Government announces support package for Kaikoura region tourism promotion

    New Zealand Government announced (27-Feb-2017) a NZD870,000 (USD625,000) support package to promote tourism in Kaikoura and other upper South Island districts impacted by last November’s earthquakes. According to New Zealand Tourism Minister Paula Bennett the funding will help bring in more international visitors for the 2017/18 peak season following a “challenging” summer. The funding sits alongside a NZD350,000 (USD251,000) tourism relief package for Hanmer Springs and the Hurunui District announced in late 2016.


    Virgin Australia abandons plans to launch Perth-Abu Dhabi

    Virgin Australia announced (27-Feb-2017) it cancelled plans to launch Perth-Abu Dhabi service. The carrier originally announced its intention to introduce a three times weekly service in Sep-2016. Virgin Australia will rebook passengers who have tickets with partner and strategic share owner Etihad Airways, which offers daily service on the route, as well as connecting services. Virgin Australia stated subsequent changes in market conditions since its initial announcement have made the route no longer viable for the airline. The carrier will continue to explore opportunities to bring choice and competition to travel from Perth.


    Air New Zealand adds four partners to loyalty programme

    Air New Zealand announced (28-Feb-2017) four new partners – Ranstad, MoleMap, The Economist and Exeed Limited – have joined its ‘Airpoints’ loyalty programme, taking the total partners to 59 companies. In the past two years, the carrier has added 33 new businesses to the network.


    Court of Appeal rules against Wellington Airport requiring CAA to review RESA length

    New Zealand Court of Appeal decided (28-Feb-2017) Wellington International Airport’s runway end safety area (RESA) must be extended to the greatest distance practicable between 90m and 240m as part of its runway extension project, overruling previous decisions. The court directed the Civil Aviation Authority to reconsider Wellington Airport’s runway extension application in accordance with this judgement.


    Regional Express back in the black in H1FY2017

    Regional Express revenue up 9% – financial highlights for six months ended 31-Dec-2016:

    • Total revenue: AUD144.3 million (USD108.7 million), +8.8% year-on-year;
      • Passenger: AUD127.9 million (USD96.3 million), +13.0%;
      • Charter: AUD12.1 million (USD9.1 million), -12.6%;
    • Total costs: AUD136.2 million (USD102.6 million), -6.7%;
      • Labour: AUD54.1 million (USD40.8 million), +5.1%;
      • Flight and port operation: AUD28.1 million (USD21.2 million), +18.2%;
      • Fuel: AUD16.7 million (USD12.6 million), -6.0%;
    • Profit before tax: AUD8.6 million (USD6.5 million), compared to a loss of AUD13.2 million (USD9.9 million) in p-c-p;
    • Net profit: AUD6.2 million (USD4.6 million), compared to a loss of AUD11.4 million (USD8.6 million) in p-c-p;
    • Passengers: 612,284, +11.3%;
    • Passengers load factor: 56.6%, +1.8 ppt;
    • Passenger revenue per ASK: AUD 30.9 cents (USD 23.3 cents), +1.4%;
    • Passenger cost per ASK: AUD 29.5 cents (USD 22.2 cents), -2.1%;
    • Total assets: AUD265.4 million (USD200 million);
    • Total liabilities: AUD72.1 million (USD52.3 million).


    AAPA reports ‘good start to the year’ for passenger and cargo traffic in Jan-2017

    Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) reported (27-Feb-2017) “a good start to the year,” with preliminary figures showing growth in international passenger and cargo traffic in Jan-2017. A 7.7% year-on-year increase in international passenger numbers was supported by leisure travel demand leading up to Lunar New Year. An 8.1% increase in RPKs was supported by “relatively robust” demand for travel within Asia Pacific and on selected long-haul routes.


    PATA commits to increasing activity in the Solomon Islands

    Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) reported (26-Feb-2017) it will increase its activity in the Solomon Islands, following meetings with the Solomon Islands Government, the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau and the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.


    Rex pleased with improvement in profits, positioned to take advantage of economic recovery

    Regional Express (Rex) COO Neville Howell said the carrier’s H1FY2017 results were pleasing, as the carrier managed to improve its profit before tax while major regional carriers such as QantasVirgin Australia and Air New Zealand all reported declining profits in the period. Mr Howell said the carrier sees, “indications of the bottoming of the decline in regional travel” in H1FY2017, and if the trend continues in H2FY2017 “this would strongly suggest the beginning of a recovery in the Australian regional economy”. Mr Howell added that Rex is “well positioned to take full advantage of a recovery in the regional economy and we are confident of turning in very strong results when the rebound happens”.


    Whitsunday Coast Airport added 200,000 seats over past six months

    Whitsunday Coast Airport secured an additional 200,000 aircraft seats over the past six months according to Whitsundays Mayor Andrew Willcox, which has “Dramatically increased traffic through our Whitsunday Coast Airport while visitation to the Whitsundays has seen record growth of 30%” (Whitsundays Times, 27-Feb-2017). Mr Willcox said the Whitsundays “are on track this year to exceed one million visitors to the Great Barrier Reef for the first time ever”.


    Rex positive about full year outlook, but ‘global uncertainties and extreme volatility’ remain

    Regional Express (Rex) provided (27-Feb-2017) its 2H2017 profit outlook:

    • Positives:
      • Q3FY2017 hedged fuel prices to achieve AUD2.2 million in savings. Q4FY2017 not hedged but “expected to bring additional savings”;
      • H2FY2017 has two additional months of West Australian contract contributions;
      • Continued strong international medivac performance;
      • Australian Airline Pilot Academy to continue strong international enrolments;
    • Negatives:
      • Foreign exchange risk high, as USD has strengthening bias;
      • US protectionism could slow world economy;
    • Profit guidance:
      • FY2017 result expected to be an improvement over FY2016, but no specific guidance provided due to “global uncertainties and extreme volatility”;
      • FY2017 operational performance expected to achieve at lease the same percentage improvements as seen in H1FY2017;
    • Dividend: To resume, if FY2017 results indicate passenger decline trend has bottomed out.


    Qantas confirms premium economy seating on Perth-London will be competitively priced

    Qantas stated its planned Perth-London nonstop service will be competitively priced with the market, including for its new premium economy seats which will debut when the carrier takes its first new Boeing 787-9 (The West Australia, 27-Feb-2017). The carrier plans to configure its 787-9s with 42 business, 28 premium economy and 166 economy seats. The first of eight 787-9 aircraft will be delivered in Oct-2017. Qantas’ first international 787-9 operations are to commence in Dec-2017, with Melbourne-Los Angeles service.


    Whitsundays nominated to receive federal tourism funding

    Queensland State Government Tourism Minister Kate Jones announced the Whitsundays have been nominated for inclusion for funding from the Australian Government’s Regional Tourism Infrastructure Investment Plan(Whitsundays Times, 27-Feb-2017).


    Airways NZ signs agreement in principle with Aireon for space based ADS-B validation trial

    Airways New Zealand signed (28-Feb-2017) an agreement in principle with Aireon LLC to enter an operational validation trial for space based ADS-B services. Aireon expects the agreement to lead to a formal operational validation agreement. The two entities previously signed a memorandum of agreement for a benefits analysis for deploying space based ADS-B in New Zealand. Airways also plans to use Aireon data to determine the best configuration of planned terrestrial based ADS-B installations, augmented with space based ADS-B. Airways NZ CEO Ed Sims said, “Once we have completed the formal agreement we will, over the next three years, work with Aireon to investigate how satellite-based surveillance could enhance our ATM services in the South Pacific airspace”. As previously reported by CAPA, Aireon’s space based ADS-B constellation is scheduled to enter operations in 2018.