News Briefs

    Singapore Airlines to increase Singapore-Christchurch frequency for summer 2017/18

    Singapore Airlines announced (23-Mar-2017) plans to operate 30 additional Christchurch services between 30-Nov-2017 and 16-Feb-2018 to cater for increased peak season demand. The airline will increase Singapore-Christchurch frequency from daily to 10 times weekly from 30-Nov-2017 to 03-Feb-2018 and reduce to nine times weekly until 15-Feb-2018 – see Route Changes Table for more information. The additional services will add 8130 seats and will also cover Chinese New Year on 15-Feb-2018. The airline will operate the additional services with Boeing 777-200ER equipment configured with 26 business class and 245 economy seats.

    Environment Court agrees to suspend Wellington Airport runway extension project application

    Wellington Airport received approval to suspend the Environment Court application for its runway extension project (Stuff, 23-Mar-2017). As previously reported by CAPA, the airport is seeking to appeal the Court of Appeal’s ruling to the Supreme Court, a decision that may affect the entire project.

    Auckland Airport CEO: Airports are catching up with airlines to enhance customer experience

    Auckland International Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood noted airports “haven’t really had a deep customer relationship in the past” but are recently starting to “catch up” with airlines in “realising that they do have a role to play” in enhancing a passenger’s travel experience (Future Travel Experience, Mar-2017). Mr Littlewood revealed the airport is developing an airport operating system to share data from different parts of the airport system back to all stakeholders “so we are working from a coordinated set of data”.

    Auckland Airport hopes to implement ‘integrated terminal’ by 2040

    Auckland International Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood stated the airport is expecting to see “a shift away from domestic and international terminals into an integrated terminal” by 2040, “a flexible footprint to accommodate a mix of passengers and fleet” (Future Travel Experience, Mar-2017). Passenger numbers are forecast to reach 40 million p/a by 2040, however Mr Littlewood said “growth has come on faster than we expected” with over 18 million passengers passing through the airport in 2016 alone.

    Destination NSW launches Aboriginal tourism toolkit

    Destination NSW, in partnership with NSW Aboriginal tour operators, launched (21-Mar-2017) an indigenous tourism toolkit. The directory is an initiative in Destination NSW’s Aboriginal Tourism Action Plan.

    Auckland Airport to complete first phase of international terminal development project in mid 2017

    Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood announced the first phase of its international terminal development project will complete in mid 2017 (Future Travel Experience, Mar-2017). Phase one will deliver an expanded outbound processing area and complete early works on the duty free stores. The second phase will begin in late 2017 with final works to conclude in early 2018.

    Air India wanted exclusive codeshare agreement with Fiji Airways: AG

    Fiji‘s Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Public Enterprises, Civil Service, Aviation and Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum commented on why a codeshare agreement was not signed between Fiji Airways, which has a codeshare agreement with Jet Airways, and Air India stating: “We have no problem with Air India and in fact we wanted to do codeshare with both of them, but Air India wanted exclusivity” (Fiji Times, 23-Mar-2017). He continued: “They said you do a codeshare with us and don’t do codeshare with any other airlines in India. We told this to the Prime Minister of India and the honourable minister and his officials were actually quite astounded at that”.

    Fiji Airways reports ‘robust demand’ from the US for 2016

    Fiji Airways reported (22-Mar-2017) record arrivals to Fiji from the US for 2016, with 69,628 passengers, up 5% year-on-year. During 2016, Fiji Airways launched Nadi-San Francisco service, offering the only direct route between Fiji and the US. Fiji Airways stated that much of its profitability in 2016 benefited “robust demand” from the US, with the country accounting for approximately 27% of total point of sales revenue contribution for the airline.

    Brisbane Airport partners Sci-Fleet Motors to develop BNE Auto Mall

    Brisbane Airport announced (23-Mar-2017) a cooperation with Sci-Fleet Motors to develop the BNE Auto Mall, an automotive precinct within the airport’s commercial area. The AUD300 million (USD229 million) project is due to open in 2020.

    Qantas: No impact from PED ban on customers travelling to UK and US

    Qantas advised (22-Mar-2017) there is no impact to passengers travelling on its services, following the announcement of new travel requirements implemented by the US and UKrestricting the carriage of personal electronic devices (PEDs) larger than a smartphone in the cabin of inbound flights from selected Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) airports and countries. Customers traveling with codeshare partners are requested to check requirements of the operating carrier. As previously reported by CAPA, the US has barred in cabin carriage of PEDs (excepting smartphones) from 10 MENA airports to the US, while the UK prohibited PEDs in aircraft cabins on services from EgyptJordanLebanonSaudi ArabiaTunisia and Turkey to the UK.

    Jetstar and Airbnb announce booking partnership

    Jetstar announced (21-Mar-2017) a partnership with Airbnb, allowing passengers to book Airbnb accommodation alongside flights at the carrier’s website. This partnership follows a similar partnership between Qantas and Airbnb in late 2016. The announcement comes after a Feb-2017 Galaxy Research survey found 91% of people planning holidays considered booking homestay accommodation. Jetstar CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said Jetstar passengers are particularly likely to stay at Airbnb properties while on holidays in Australian capital cities and beachside destinations, as well as in New Zealand and “throughout Asia”.

    Destination NSW partners with Chinese celebrities to showcase Sydney and rural NSW

    Destination NSW partnered (22-Mar-2017) with China Communication Television Broadcast Network (CCTBN) and Chinese celebrities to promote NSW rural tourist destinations. CCTBN and 32 online platforms will broadcast a Chinese reality TV show in Apr-2017, following two Chinese celebrities across Sydney and NSW regional destinations. The celebrities will engage with Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo about their travel experiences.

    Tourism Australia: Brazilian TV series explores Australia’s culinary and coastal experiences

    Tourism Australia, via its weekly newsletter update, stated (22-Mar-2017) a new 13 episode TV series showcasing a range of Australia‘s food and coastal experiences is airing from Mar-2017 to May-2017 on Globo’s GNT cable channel in primetime reaching millions of Brazilians. Diário do Olivier follows chef Olivier Anquier on Kangaroo Island and the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, Sydney in New South Wales and in Cairns and Hayman Island in Queensland. Tourism Australia hosted a special culinary class led by Mr Anquier to promote the show’s premiere which was attended by industry, food and lifestyle media, the Australia Ambassador to Brazil Sir John Richardson, and members of Austrade.

    Tourism Australia launches tourism campaign with Etihad and Globetrotter Travel Service

    Tourism Australia, via its weekly newsletter update, stated (22-Mar-2017) Tourism Australia, Etihad Airways and tour operator Globetrotter Travel Service rolled out a campaign in Switzerland during Mar-2017 highlighting Australia‘s aquatic and Indigenous experiences. The promotion is featured in 22 Globetrotter Travel stores across Switzerland with attractive travel offers and is backed up with advertising on leading news platform 20 Minuten as well as sponsored social media posts. Tourism Australia and Etihad have recently rolled out cooperative promotions across Europe including FranceGermany, the UK and Ireland.

    Australian Government will adjust security if necessary following US/UK electronics bans

    Australia‘s Government reported (22-Mar-2017) it is aware that the US and the UK have changed their temporary, additional security measures for certain US and UK bound flights from several Middle Eastern and North African countries, barring electronic items will be allowed in the cabin of affected aircraft with the exception of mobile phones and medical devices. The additional security measures will affect Australians travelling into or transiting through Europe or the US from African/Middle Eastern countries. The Australian Government has updated its travel advice for the US and UK and concerned travellers should contact their airlines or travel provider to determine if they are affected. The Australian Government is in contact with the aviation industry and international partners, and will continue to monitor security developments and adjust our security settings if needed.

    Fiji Airways eager for Beijing and Northern European services

    Fiji‘s Minister for Civil Aviation Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum stated Fiji Airways would “love to” operate to Northern Europe and Beijing, although services to the Chinese capital are dependent on the finalisation of negotiations with Air China

    Australia to monitor aviation security and make adjustments ‘if necessary’

    Australia‘s Federal Transport Ministry spokeswoman Kate Barwick said the Australian Government has no plans to introduce measures blocking the transport of certain personal electronic devices (PEDs) in the cabins of aircraft on routes from certain airports and countries in the Middle East and North Africa (news.com.au, 22-Mar-2017). A ban on PED transport in cabins, exempting smartphones and medical devices, has been introduced for travel from certain desinations to the US and the UK. Australian Federal Minister for Transport Darren Chester said the government would continue to monitor security developments and adjust security settings “if needed”.

    Qantas ‘seeing good performance’ to the US

    Qantas senior manager corporate communications Stephen Moynihan commented that the carrier is “seeing good performance” on its trans-Pacific routes and there is “quite a bit of competition between the US and Australia so fares are always competitive”

    Intrepid Travel: Australia/New Zealand travel bookings to US down heavily in early 2017

    Intrepid Travel spokeswoman Kate Parker reported bookings to the US from Australiaand New Zealand have declined 32% since the 20-Jan-2017 inauguration of US President Donald Trump (The New Daily, 21-Mar-2017). Ms Parker said the decline was “sudden” and occurred immediately after the 27-Jan-2017 Trump Administration Executive Order travel ban on seven Muslim majority states. The decline “could be a temporary dip” according to Ms Parker, although it runs against the general trend of a 24% year-on-year increase in bookings over the first two months of 2017.

    Momondo: US travel searches down 4% globally, 9% from Australia

    Momondo PR manager Lasse Skole Hansen said there has been a 4% global decline in travel searches to the US, and a 9% year-on-year decline in travel searches from Australia for US destinations since the innaugeration of US President Donald Trump (The New Daily, 21-Mar-2017). Australian searches for US travel declined a “whopping” 14% since the first Trump Administration Executive Order travel ban, which was introduced on 27-Jan-2017, although searches rose again after certain US Federal Courts blocked both the first and second Executive Order travel bans.