It’s all change in the South Pacific airline sector, but is the upcoming fleet and capacity growth sustainable?

The South Pacific airline market is poised for a major transformation as several of the region’s flag carriers pursue fleet expansion, supporting tourism aspirations but also intensifying competition to potentially unsustainable levels.

Tiny Air Kirabati, which currently only operates small turboprops, is acquiring two E190s-E2s to support new international flights. Air Vanuatu is acquiring four A220s to support a major tourism driven international expansion plan. Start-up Samoa Airways is acquiring two 737 MAX 9s and Fiji Airways, the largest airline in the South Pacific, is adding two A350s.

As one the discussion topics at the forthcoming Australia Pacific Aviation and Corporate Travel Summit, CAPA – Centre for Aviation will question whether the growth plans now being pursed by the South Pacific airline sector are realistic and whether tourism, including related infrastructure, expand fast enough to keep up with the capacity growth.

The discussion will ultimately look at the option for the region’s flag carriers to possible pursue closer cooperation, including potential joint services and joint fleets, rather than stepping up competition with ambitious fleet expansion plans.

Other discussion points will include:

  • How will the launch of international jet services by Air Kirabati impact the local market, particularly the only three existing competitors with jet services – Air Nauru, Fiji Airways and Solomon Airways?
  • How has Fiji Airways’ expansion, including a doubling of the widebody fleet from four to eight aircraft in less than two years, impacted smaller South Pacific carriers and foreign airlines (such as Korean Air, which recently announced it was suspending services to Nadi)?

As the foremost authority on aviation in the world, CAPA – Centre for Aviation’s events provide cutting edge knowledge about strategic market trends and dynamics to help attendees make informed decisions, delivering the information and connections needed to inspire and improve business. The CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation and Corporate Travel Summit will take place in Sydney on 07-08 August 2019.

The South Pacific aviation market has enjoyed relatively benign operating conditions in the last couple of years, allowing the region’s carriers to record some of its best ever results. Major inbound markets are performing well and bringing solid traffic growth. Against this backdrop, Australia and New Zealand air carriers are exploring the latest aircraft technology, opening up new city pairs, realigning their hubs and reviewing their partnership strategies on key markets such as the Trans Tasman and Trans Pacific.

But as we head deeper into the year, changing macroeconomic conditions, rising fuel prices and growing trade protectionism could cause major headwinds in the industry. What is the outlook for Australia and New Zealand aviation for the medium term and what new dynamics will shape?

CAPA’s home event, the Australia Pacific Aviation and Corporate Travel Summit, will be held on 7-8 August to explore these issues, as well as the commercial and operational pillars underpinning strategic decision making at local and international carriers. It will gather 600+ aviation and corporate travel executives from airlines, airports and suppliers in what is widely regarded as the largest, pre eminent strategic aviation summit in the South Pacific region.

This event, hosted at the Hyatt Regency Sydney hotel, Located adjacent to Darling Harbour in Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD), is a must attend for those seeking to learn from, network and collaborate with today’s travel industry leaders!

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