News Briefs – 19th April 2017

    Australian government announces changes to 457 visa system

    Australia‘s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, via his personal Facebook page, announced (18-Apr-2017) the removal the 457 visa programme for skilled migrants. Mr Turnbull stated the government would replace the programme with a new restricted version which will ensure “foreign workers are brought into Australia in order to fill critical skill gaps and not brought in simply because an employer finds it easier to recruit a foreign worker than go to the trouble of hiring an Australian”. As at 30-Sep-2016 there were 95,757 workers in Australia on primary 457 visas. 

    Flight attendants and pilots among the professions impacted by changes to 457 visa policy

    Australia‘s carriers responded to the removal of flight attendants and pilots from the list of professions under changes to the 457 visa policy (, 18-Apr-2017). Qantas spokesman Stephen Moynihan stated the carrier has only a handful of staff working on 457 visas out of 30,000 and it would have little affect on their business. Virgin Australia also advised it would not be affected by the changes, while Tigerair was still considering the impact the announcement would have.

    Destination NSW appoints its first manager for Germany and France

    Destination NSW appointed (13-Apr-2017) Barbara Samoilenko as the organisation’s first Business Development Manager for Germany and France. Ms Samoilenko will be responsible for developing and implementing trade marketing and business development plans in both countries, to deliver programmes and activities that increase overnight visitation and expenditure in NSW. Ms Samoilenko joins Destination NSW from the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. Reporting to Regional Manager UK/Europe based in London, Ms Samoilenko will join Destination NSW in the new Frankfurt office on 18-Apr-2017.

    Tourism NZ: Games visitors to stay and explore more

    Tourism New Zealand stated (13-Apr-2017) the World Masters Games opens in Auckland on 21-Apr-2017 and is a major opportunity to encourage as many of the international participants, their family and friends, to stay longer and travel further afield in New Zealand before or after the Games. The Games also provide a platform to showcase New Zealand to the world. Before the event, Tourism New Zealand has produced content that has resulted in 89 stories globally that are helping to promote New Zealand as a tourist destination. Tourism New Zealand will also continue to explore content and PR opportunities with visiting media throughout the 10 day event. 

    Tourism NZ aims at agents to boost tourism from the Philippines

    Tourism New Zealand announced (18-Apr-2017) plans to target travel agents in the Philippines to boost tourism to New Zealand. Tourism New Zealand regional manager, South and South East Asia Steven Dixon stated: “We have delivered training to over 350 travel agents in the Philippines over the past year, it’s an important way of bringing the local industry up to speed on how to sell New Zealand holidays”. 21,152 people from the Philippines visited New Zealand in the year ending Feb-2017, a 44.8% increase on the previous year.

    Australian Federal Government sides with Qantas on cabotage

    Australia‘s Federal Government indicated that will not change the country’s existing restrictions on cabotage in the domestic airline market (Aviation Week, 18-Apr-2017). As previously reported by CAPA, Qantas advised a parliamentary committee to refrain from allowing international carriers to operate on domestic routes in Australia, citing substantial economic, employment and operational risk. A submission from the Infrastructure and Regional Development Department stated “despite previous proposals to relax cabotage rules in some instances, there would be no benefit in doing so”.

    Vanuatu launches new marketing campaign aimed at Sydney and Brisbane

    Vanuatu Tourism Office launched a AUD255,000 (USD192,684) “Wake Up In Vanuatu” consumer marketing campaign in New South Wales and Queensland, in an attempt to reach travellers in Sydney and Brisbane who have access to nonstop services to Vanuatu (Travel Monitor, 19-Apr-2017). The campaign is expected to run until the end of May-2017.

    Alliance Aviation’s OZ Minerals contract to end in Aug-2017

    Alliance Aviation Services advised that the contract it currently holds with OZ Minerals will end on 11-Aug-2017 (Australian Aviation, 18-Apr-2017). The contract includes operating services to the organisation’s copper and gold mines at Prominent Hill in South Australia. Alliance Aviation stated that the end of the contract would have no impact on its 2016/17 full year financial results.

    Australia BITRE: Domestic pax down 2% to 4.4m in Feb-2017

    Australia’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Region Economics (BITRE) reported (19-Apr-2017) the following traffic highlights for Australian domestic airlines in Feb-2017:

    • Passenger numbers: 4.4 million, -2.4% year-on-year;
    • Top ten domestic city pairs:
      • Melbourne-Sydney: 713,450, -4.0%;
      • Brisbane-Sydney: 349,746, -0.6%;
      • Brisbane-Melbourne: 240,455, -5.3%;
      • Gold Coast-Sydney: 207,359, -2.5%;
      • Adelaide-Melbourne: 182,535, -2.1%;
      • Melbourne-Perth: 145,066, -8.7%;
      • Adelaide-Sydney: 144,427, -0.9%;
      • Hobart-Melbourne: 136,043, +5.0%;
      • Gold Coast-Melbourne: 134,822, -2.7%;
      • Perth-Sydney: 128,175, -4.5%;
    • Load factor: 75.3%, +1.2ppts;
      • Gold Coast-Sydney: 88.0%, -1.1ppts;
      • Gold Coast-Melbourne: 86.5%, +3.2ppts;
      • Hobart-Melbourne: 84.6%, -0.5ppt;
      • Melbourne-Sydney: 83.7%, -1.6ppts;
      • Adelaide-Melbourne: 78.9%, +1.9ppts;
      • Brisbane-Sydney: 78.8%, -0.7ppt;
      • Adelaide-Sydney: 78.6%, +1.8ppts;
      • Perth-Sydney: 77.7%, -0.4ppt;
      • Melbourne-Perth: 76.7%, stable;
      • Brisbane-Melbourne: 75.2%, -1.0ppt;
    • RPKs: -3.1%;
    • ASKs: -4.6%;
    • Aircraft movements: 48,521, -4.0%;
    • Seats: 5.8 million, -3.8%.

    Queensland Environment Minister probes for explanation on chemical spill at Brisbane Airport

    Queensland Minister for Environment Steven Miles probed for more explanation in regards to the chemical spill from firefighting foam at Brisbane Airport (SBS, 18-Apr-2017). On 10-Apr-2017, 22,000 litres of firefighting foam spilled from a Qantas hangar with about one quarter leaking into the environment and water system. The foam has been banned in Queensland following the discovery of environmentally harmful chemical contents. Qantas stated: “The foam we use in Brisbane meets our current requirements under federal safety regulations, we have been working through a process to replace it with a type that meets the Queensland government’s updated requirements”.

    Adelaide Airport to trial new body scanner

    Adelaide Airport launched (19-Apr-2017) a one month trial of Rohde & Schwarz Quick Personnel Security Scanner on 19-Apr-2017. The technology completes a full body scan in a matter of seconds: “The open plan design means passengers simply stand in front of the scanner with their arms held slightly away from the body” stated airport MD Mark Young, creating “a more pleasant experience” for passengers with medical implants. Mr Young added: “Objects are recognised by an evaluation of the reflected (backscattered) microwave signal” and projected on “a generic graphic of the human body…preserving the privacy of passengers”.