News Briefs – 12th April 2017

Virgin Australia Group supports infrastructure upgrade of Townsville Airport

Virgin Australia Group confirmed its support of the necessary infrastructure upgrade of Townsville Airport “to ensure the sustainable future of air services in this country” (Townsvillebulletin, 11-Apr-2017). As previously reported by CAPA, Qantas stated it would not pass on an AUD3 (USD2.25) passenger levy to fund the upgrades and that Townsville Airport should fund the upgrade itself.

Qantas confirms Zimbabwe ticket sales have ceased until further notice

Qantas confirmed ticket sales in Zimbabwe have ceased (Bloomberg, 11-Apr-2017). Qantas requested agents in Zimbabwe to refrain from selling tickets for its services as International Air Transport Association (IATA) confirms it is getting harder to move funds out of the country. Qantas regional manager for Africa Michi Messner stated Qantas had been advised by IATA that the situation with the repatriation of funds out of Zimbabwe is worsening. IATA utilises Bank Settlement Plan Zimbabwe to transfer revenue to the carrier however there is a substantial amount still outstanding. 

Sydney Airport announces commencement of road upgrades at Airport East precinct

Sydney Airport welcomed (11-Apr-2017) the commencement of works on the AUD170 million (USD127 million) Airport East precinct upgrade. The project is a joint commitment by the airport, New South Wales State Government and the Australia Federal Government to ease traffic flow and improve access to and from the airport. It is part of a wider road and ground access upgrade programme that is currently three years in. Remaining work under the five year programme includes:

  • An elevated shared cycle/pedestrian path into P7 at T1;
  • A new dedicated exit road for Departures Road/Arrivals Court to Airport Drive; 
  • Widening of Qantas Drive between O’Riordan Street and Robey Street in preparation for the NSW Government’s Airport North works;
  • A new flyover between Airport Drive and T1 precinct;
  • Construction of a dedicated Ground Transport Interchange at T2/T3.

Expanded codeshare agreement for Virgin Australia and Alitalia

Alitalia announced an expanded codeshare agreement with Virgin Australia (RoutesOnline, 11-Apr-2017). Alitalia will codeshare on additional Australia and New Zealand routes including:

  • Perth–Adelaide;
  • Perth–Brisbane;
  • Perth–Melbourne;
  • Sydney–Christchurch;
  • Sydney–Queenstown.

Alliance Airlines purchases Fokker 70 from Dutch government

Alliance Airlines confirmed the purchase of a Fokker 70 from the Dutch government (Dutchnews, 11-Apr-2017). Netherlands acting Infrastructure Minister Melanie Schulz stated the airline paid some EUR3.7 million for the aircraft which was mainly used by the government and the royal family for official visits.

Qantas reveals new Coffs Harbour Airport lounge

Qantas revealed a newly upgraded lounge at Coffs Harbour Airport on 12-Apr-2017 (Coffs Coast Advocate, 12-Apr-2017). The upgraded facility has 25% more floor area than the previous lounge, providing capacity for 40 passengers.

Air Caledonie: Situation of services after Cyclone Cook

Air Caledonie announced (11-Apr-2017) regular services will commence from 12-Apr-2017 following Cyclone Cook. Air Caledonie implemented “exceptional” flights on 11-Apr-2017 to assist with moving passengers however regular services are now available.

Qantas celebrates the Boeing 737 birthday

Qantas celebrated (11-Apr-2017) 50 years since the launch of the Boeing 737 aircraft, naming the twin-engine jet the workhorse of their domestic fleet. The first version of the 737 (the -100) was launched in Seattle on 09-Apr-1967, starting a continuous production run of more than 8000 aircraft. Qantas stated that the 737 has become “the most successful commercial jet in aviation history”.

Sydney Airport refinances USD1bn of bank debt

Sydney Airport refinanced (11-Apr-2017) AUD1.4 billion (USD1 billion) of bank debt facilities at lower margins, reducing its debt maturities over 2017-19 by 82% with next maturity in mid 2018. The average debt maturity has been extended approximately six months to late 2023.

Coffs Harbour Airport conducting terminal upgrades

Coffs Harbour Airport is undertaking a AUD5 million (USD3.7 million) terminal upgrade project (Coffs Coast Advocate, 12-Apr-2017). As previously reportedly by CAPA, works include upgrading toilet facilities, the addition of two lounges, expanding the baggage collection area at arrival hall and increasing check-in space at departures.

Mantra Group completes exterior structure of Sydney Airport Mantra Hotel, opening in Jun-2017

Mantra Group completed (11-Apr-2017) the exterior structure of Sydney Airport‘s Mantra Hotel, a 136 room hotel located near the Domestic Terminal precinct. Work will now move to the interiors as it prepares for the late Jun-2017 opening. Catering for its target market of business travellers, the Mantra Hotel will feature 24/7 atmosphere and service, informal meeting spaces and a relaxed dining and service culture, stated Mantra Group CEO Bob East.