Diversity starts with the way you recruit, hubs can be market as favourable parts of a journey and there is a challenge around domestic aviation in Australia at the moment – Insights from the CAPA Melbourne Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit

The CAPA – Centre for Aviation Melbourne Aviation & Corporate Travel Summit took place at the end of the last week and provided some insightful presentations and discussions on the aviation and wider travel sectors.

Here’s some of the key comments from panellists at the event…

Melbourne Airport: Australia is no longer the end of the line
Melbourne Tullamarine Airport senior VP of commercial aviation Ted Knight stated: “We prioritise routes based on things like yield and growth, which normally gives us a point as to what to return to, how interested the airlines are in talking to us is also always a good indicator”. Mr Knight added: “What has changed is the concept of Australia being the end of the line, and I think now we can start looking at redrawing the map with Australia in the middle”.

Scoot GM: We can market hubs as favourable part of the journey
Scoot general manager Jared Simcox stated: “We can market hubs as a favourable part of the journey, particularly as an LCC carrier who has predominantly leisure travellers, not everybody wants to go to one place”. Mr Simcox added: “This is desirable for us as we frequently use that as a selling point, so we’re not in a rush to see hubs go away”.

United Airlines looks at ‘large business cabins’ to accommodate demand
United Airlines director for Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti Julie Reid stated: “We operate more business seats than anybody else travelling to the US, on a general corporate day those flights will be full, we look at large business cabins to accommodate the demand that’s there, business is a comfort factor and most people would try very hard to be in the right seat”.

Tigerair Australia CEO: Diversity starts with the way we recruit
Tigerair Australia CEO Merren McArthur stated: “Creating diverse workplaces is not a box ticking exercise, it’s about creating a pathway and it starts with the way we recruit. We must attract the talent, look at the right places and build awareness, you need to engage with your audience, understand their community and remove any unwanted bias and hidden barriers”. Ms McArthur added: “It is also important to recruit based on merit”.

Tourism Australia: There is a challenge around domestic aviation at the moment
Tourism Australia executive general manager international Phillipa Harrison stated: “The challenge is really around domestic aviation at the moment, Cairns and the Northern Territory in particular can’t get the international carriers through, so there is an inbound problem”. Ms Harrison added “We have a regional infrastructure job to do, in those iconic regions we need more, particularly from a Victorian point of view we need to sort out the Great Ocean Road”.

BARA: Strong growth has put pressure on stability of airlines
Board of Airline Representatives of Australia (BARA) director Barry Abrams stated: “The strong growth we’ve experienced has put pressure on the stability of airlines, there is a real need for quality dynamics and information processes to help plan the industry for the future”.

Visit Victoria: Growing trend toward free independent travel from China
Visit Victoria general marketing manager Nicki Kenyon stated: “There are lots of macro factors that we focus on in terms of growth, from China specifically. There is a growing trend toward free independent travel as opposed to group travel which is an opportunity. Social marketing platforms give us as enormous opportunity to reach consumers and connect with potential travellers to tell the story of Melbourne”.

State Government of Victoria: Airlines coming into Melbourne ‘tend to stimulate demand’
State Government of Victoria senior investment manager Nigel ldons stated: “We want to see sustainable services because airlines have got to make money. Airlines coming into Melbourne tend to stimulate demand which encourages more to increase, we’ve seen that with Chinese airlines”. Mr Idons added: “Hopefully Melbourne is well positioned to continue those services once subsidies fall away because we want to boost demand”.

NDC will enable a lot of things airlines do in the direct channel… be disruptive from a travel buyers perspective… and Qantas is ‘very much on track’ with implementation… but some airlines ‘still haven’t come onboard’… and it has ‘a long way to go’ to reach maturity

Corporate Travel Management global head of partnerships Scott Ward stated: “The discussion will come away from fares because old talk in a new digital platform world becomes redundant”. Mr Ward added “[New Distribution Capabilities] (NDC) is just a data standard tech, it’s not a set of rules for airlines, it will enable a lot of things that they do in the direct channel”.

APA Group procurement specialist Christine Zeuschner stated: “I think [New Distribution Capability] (NDC) is exciting and disruptive from a travel buyers perspective because buyer decisions influence how we control cost”. Ms Zeuschner added NDC “will eventually phase into the background and be just how things are”.

Qantas senior commercial manager of distribution strategy & channel development Anthony Collins stated: “We want to work with everybody on [New Distribution Capabilities] (NDC), we’re very much on track particularly from the relationship side, the targets are achievable but we are doing it in a measured way”. Mr Collins added: “We built a travel case out of value for the customer, but we should separate commercial strategies from NDC”.

Festive Road principal Mike Orchard stated: “There is still a long way to go with (New Distribution Capabilities] (NDC), the common consensus is a lot of us are excited about it but we’re still a few years away from the vast majority of tickets being sold through NDC connection, because some airlines still haven’t come on board”.

Deakin University travel manager procurement Maria Price stated: “[New Distribution Capability] (NDC) policy needs to be reviewed to work out what the NDC is presenting for the airlines that are in it, we have a long way to go to reach maturity”. Ms Price added: “I think different airlines will come into NDC with different levels of preparedness”.