News Briefs

    Tigerair granted temporary reprieve

    Tigerair Australia announced (12-Jan-2017) that following consultation with the Indonesian Government, the airline has been granted permission to operate flights from Bali to Australia until 16-Jan-2017 to enable Australians who are currently in Bali to return home. As a result of these services, Tigerair Australia will be able to bring almost 2000 customers back to Australia.

    • Tigerair Australia has not been granted any further permissions at this stage. Tigerair Australia “continues to work constructively with the Indonesian Government in order to recommence normal operations to Bali”. Flights from 17-Jan-2017 onwards are under review;
    • Tigerair Australia has cancelled all services from Australia to Bali from 13-Jan-2017 to 20-Jan-2017 inclusive. Flights from 21-Jan-2017 onwards are under review.

    Indonesia‘s Transport Ministry spokesman Mr Bambang Ervan stated that Tigerair Australia‘s operations into Indonesia were suspended due to the fact that the carrier was operating in effect as a scheduled carrier but under a charter licence, by offering one-way fares in violation of charter license regulations.

    Tigerair has been operating flights from Australia to Denpasar since Mar-2016 via an arrangement with parent Virgin Australia. As the carrier has not yet obtained the scheduled license needed to operate its own equipment to Indonesia, Tigerair operates Virgin-owned aircraft, flown by Virgin cockpit crew and staffed by Tigerair cabin crew, on its routes to Indonesia.

    Tigerair Australia CEO Rob Sharp stated to the media that the carrier had been granted permission by Indonesian aviation authorities to operate to the country under a charter arrangement out to 25-Mar-2017, and the carrier is:

    “working constructively with the Indonesian government to commence flying to Bali again as soon as possible and to work through the new requirements they have given us this week”.

    Indonesia‘s Embassy to Australia reported the suspension of Tigerair Australia‘s operations into Indonesia is a “commercial matter and will be imposed temporarily until Tiger Airways complies with regulations stipulated by the Government of Indonesia” (Fairfax Media, 12-Jan-2017). According to the Embassy, the suspension is not due to the introduction of new administrative requirements, but rather a failure of Tigerair Australia to meet existing requirements.

    Tigerair Australia CEO Mr Sharp stated the carrier is not proposing any changes to the agreement:

    “[Tigerair] is operating under the same approval we have been for the last eight months.”

    New Zealand records continued tourism spending

    New Zealand Tourism Minister Paula Bennett reported (12-Jan-2017) the continued growth of tourism spending throughout most regions in the year to Nov-2016, provides:

    “a solid base ahead of the high summer season. [The 14-Nov-2016 earthquake had a] “limited impact on national tourism expenditure.”


    Australia discount economy and business class domestic airfares rise

    Australia‘s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) updated (Jan-2017) its Australian Domestic Air Fare Indexes for Jan-2017 (as measured against a Jul-2003 baseline of 100):

    • Domestic business class: 95.2 index points, +2.4 points year-on-year;
    • Restricted economy: 79.8, -1.1 points;
    • Best discount economy: 59.6, +4.8 points.

    Growth for Melbourne’s accommodation sector

    Melbourne’s hotels had a solid Dec-2016, according to preliminary data released by consultancy STR Global (11-Jan-2017), which has indicated overall performance growth driven by rate.

    Based on daily data from Dec-2016, Melbourne reported the following in year-over-year comparisons:

    • Supply: +3.2%
    • Demand: +1.5%
    • Occupancy: -1.7% to 80.8%
    • Average daily rate (ADR): +3.1% to AUD190.50
    • Revenue per available room (RevPAR): +1.4% to AUD153.91

    STR have attributed the market’s monthly decline in occupancy to supply growth. On New Year’s Eve, Melbourne reported occupancy above 90.0% and ADR in excess of AUD320.00-  roughly 4% higher than 31-12-2015, which fell on a Thursday. During the week of the cricket Boxing Day Test on 26-Dec-2016, the market recorded mostly flat RevPAR performance even with an increase in ADR. STR state they anticipate Dec-2017 will show significantly stronger performance, with the English cricket team touring for the Ashes series between Nov-2017 and Jan- 2018.

    NSW – popular with solo travellers

    Destination NSW reported (12-Jan-2017) its research shows 40% of domestic overnight visitors and 48% of international visitors to Sydney in summer 2015/16 were solo travellers. In addition, 23% of international visitors who take short breaks in NSW were more likely to travel alone. 92% of international solo travellers to NSW head to Sydney as their major destination.


    Fiji – arrivals from Australia declined in 2016

    Fiji Bureau of Statistics reported tourism arrivals from Australia declined 1.2% year-on-year to 359,100 for the 12 months to Nov-2016 (Fiji Times, 11-Jan-2017).

    Christchurch airport welcomes autonomous passenger shuttle

    Christchurch International Airport, via its official Facebook account, announced (12-Jan-2017) the arrival of its first fully autonomous vehicle, a Navya 15-person shuttle by HMI Technologies, which will be on trial within the airport precinct by late Jan-2017 (NZ Herald, 12-Jan-2017). Airport GM of corporate affairs Michael Singleton stated that, once the safety case has been made:

    “We hope to eventually see autonomous vehicles operating in and around the airport”.