News Briefs

    Record numbers at Australia Chinese New Year celebrations

    Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) stated (25-Jan-2017) an estimated 81,000 extra Chinese visitors are expected to visit Australia as part of Chinese New Year celebrations. TTF has estimated that Jan-2017 will see a record-breaking 195,000 Chinese travellers visiting Australia, of which 81,000 will be coming especially for Chinese New Year celebrations. This represents a total of AUD1.6 billion (USD1.2 billion) in Chinese visitor expenditure in the month, of which AUD671 million (USD508 million) is the direct result of the Chinese New Year surge. TTF CEO Margy Osmond said:

    “By our estimate, Chinese New Year will help to deliver a record-breaking 195,000 monthly visitors from China – a great start for 2017, and keeping China on course to become our biggest international visitor market (overtaking New Zealand) by the middle of this year. Chinese visitors spend on average AUD8328 per trip, the highest spending of all nationalities visiting Australia.”

    Ms Osmond said the recent aviation agreement between Australia and China removing caps on the number of flights between the two countries, would continue to drive demand well into the future but Australia also needs to invest in sufficient infrastructure to handle the boom.


    Chinese New Year expected to boost to arrival tourist numbers

    Tourism Australia has stated (25-Jan-2017) Lunar New Year, an important holiday for the Chinese and a period that traditionally provides a boost to Australia’s arrivals figures, will be celebrated over the two weeks of the Chinese Spring Festival from 28-Jan-2017. Tourism Australia MD John O’Sullivan said:

    “Based on the feedback we are getting from our trade and distribution partners in market we’re definitely seeing a significant shift this Spring Festival to more free and independent travel by Chinese travellers who are young and looking for new experiences”.


    Next phase of ‘Do the NT’ campaign launched

    Tourism Australia has also stated (25-Jan-2017) that the next phase of Tourism NT’s ‘Do the NT’ domestic marketing activity kicks off on 01-Feb-2017.

    The ‘Do the NT’ campaign was launched in Aug-2013. The new brand and associated marketing campaigns aim to increase awareness of the Northern Territory as a fun, active and adventurous holiday destination. The Do the NT brand is key to Tourism NT’s 2020 Vision of attracting more domestic visitors to the NT and building a AUD2.2 billion (USD1.7 billion) visitor economy by 2020.


    Older Business Class Skybed on new Beijing A330 services for Qantas

    Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said he expects all Qantas Asian services to feature the new Thompson Aero Seating business class seat at some future point (, 25-Jan-2017). He stated:

    “We are working through the reconfigs of those aircraft as we speak… Eventually all of our aircraft flying into the Asian region will have our new product. It is just that at this time they are the two aircraft that have the range to get there.”

    The carrier’s new Sydney-Beijing service will operate with two unrefurbished A330-200s in the Qantas fleet, VH-EBG or VH-EBL, with the aircraft yet to be fitted with new Thompson Aero Seating business class seats, an updated economy cabin and new Panasonic IFE systems throughout the cabin. Instead, VH-EBG and VH-EBL have angled lie-flat SkyBeds in business class in a 2-2-2 configuration and previous generation Rockwell Collins seat-back IFE. Mr Joyce said he does not believe this would put Qantas at a competitive disadvantage, stating:

    “We don’t think it gives us a disadvantage, we still think that product is an amazing product.”


    Qantas looks to China for growth

    Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said a lower cost base, growth in the China market and local partnerships are necessary to ensure the success of the carrier’s return to Beijing (, 25-Jan-2017).

    The carrier launched daily Sydney-Beijing service on 25-Jan-2017 after earlier suspending operations on the route in 2009. Mr Joyce says the rapid growth in the outbound Chinese market, alongside the anticipated boost to commerce between the two nations due to the recently negotiated free trade agreement, means the market dynamics have changed significantly since 2009. Mr Joyce also noted:

    “Our product is a lot better, our cost base is a lot better than it was in 2009… So we think the economics, from the demand side, from a business market and from our cost base, are very different now than they were back then.”

    Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans also noted that demand has been encouraging, stating: “The loads on the first flight and the initial period are extremely strong, in the high eighties and above… Beyond that, the service is tracking to to the same sorts of seat factors as our Shanghai service, which has been established for a number of years.”


    China a corporate travel opportunity for Qantas

    Qantas CEO Alan Joyce have stated that China is the 11th largest corporate market for Qantas, which makes the resumption of Sydney-Beijing service something that the “business community has been calling out for for some time” (AAP, 26-Jan-2017). Mr Joyce added that the carrier is seeing strong demand from Chinese holiday-makers and the corporate market for the new service.

    “We are seeing a Chinese tourism boom and we know that this route will bring a lot of new tourists into this country”.

    With the new daily service, Qantas now has its largest presence in greater China since commencing its first flight to Hong Kong in 1949.


    Virgin Australia promotes community contribution

    Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti noted the importance of business leaders of not only focusing on running the business and operating it profitably, but also about “making a contribution to the country” (The Australian, 26-Jan-2017).

    “Virgin has been involved in sponsoring sports, the arts and charities. Yes, we do it because it ­financially makes sense, but in some cases we do it because it is the right thing to do. It is important people remember they do have a social responsibility.”


    Air Tahiti and American announce codeshare to Canada and France

    Air Tahiti Nui and American Airlines recently expanded their codeshare agreement, including additional routes to Canada and France, via Los Angeles (Routes Online, 25-Jan-2017). Planned new codeshare routes includes American Airlines service from Los Angeles to Charlotte, Philadelphia, Portland OR, Seattle and Toronto from 26-Dec-2016. The codeshare agreement also cover Air Tahiti Nui service from Los Angeles to Paris CDG from 02-Jan-2017.


    Passenger traffic grows and cargo rebounds

    Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) reaffirmed (25-Jan-2017) continued solid growth in demand for international air travel in 2016, whilst air cargo markets showed renewed strength in the second half of the year after a weak start. International scheduled traffic for Asia Pacific airlines are as follows:

    • Dec-2016:
      • Passengers: 26.2 million, +6.7% year-on-year;
      • Passenger load factor: 80.4%, +1.7 ppt;
      • Cargo traffic (FTKs): +8.7%;
      • Cargo load factor: 65.7%, +2.3 ppts;


    • 2016 total:
      • Passengers: 292.8 million, +6.0%;
      • Passenger load factor: 78.7%, +0.3 ppt;
      • Cargo traffic: +1.8%;
      • Cargo load factor: 62.5%, -1.0 ppt.

    Air New Zealand to open Perth international lounge

    Air New Zealand general manager customer experience Anita Hawthorne has reportedly said the carrier would open its first airport lounge at Perth International Airport by the end of 2017 (25-Jan-2017). Air New Zealand operates from Perth to both Auckland and Christchurch using Boeing 787-9 aircraft, configured with business class, premium economy and economy seats.


    Marriott announces further growth post Starwood merger

    Marriott International has announced (23-01-2017) that 2016 represented the strongest year of rooms growth in its history. Marriott opened a record 55,000 rooms in 2016, excluding the 381,000 rooms gained with the Starwood acquisition.

    The combined company (including Starwood) signed 880 new hotel deals, representing nearly 136,000 rooms, under long-term management and franchise agreements, and opened over 400 hotels with more than 68,000 rooms around the world.

    Marriott operates or franchises over 6,000 hotels and nearly 1.2 million rooms, including over 30 properties in Australia and New Zealand.



    Hong Kong Airlines announces Hong Kong to Gold Coast now daily  

    Gold Coast Airport announced (25-Jan-2017) Hong Kong Airlines will increase Hong Kong-Gold Coast frequency from three up to seven times weekly during Jan-2017 and Feb-2017. The carrier is the sole operator on the route.



    Fly Corporate to expand to Australia

    Fly Corporate, via its official Facebook account, reposted (18-Jan-2017) reports that it plans to launch two new routes from Brisbane from Feb-2017, including service to Biloela (Thangool) and Orange, operating with Saab 340 aircraft (Routes Online, 25-Jan-2017). Details are as follows:

    • Brisbane-Biloela (Thangool): Eight times weekly service from 01-Feb-2017. This replaces existing QantasLink service, which ends on 31-Jan-2017;
    • Brisbane-Orange: Five times weekly service from 20-Feb-2017.


    These are among the over 30 news items in relation to the Australia Pacific region published by CAPA Centre for Aviation in their Asia Pacific Airline Daily and over 400 news items covering global aviation.