News Briefs

    Qantas CEO says it’s the right time to invest in international growth

    Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the carrier is “obviously going to be gingerly about how we go about re-growing the international business”, with the Qantas International business “doing a lot of growth because its cost base is right, its profitability is right” (Bloomberg, 26-Jan-2017).

    Mr Joyce also commented that it is the “right time” to invest in international growth, noting the strong growth from the Chinese market and the recent AustraliaChina open skies agreement offers “huge benefits”.



    Market has changed as Qantas returns to China

    Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the carrier has resumed service to Beijing and a Chinese market that is “so much different to when we were last here in 2009”, highlighting the growth in outbound international travel, and particularly the boom of travel into Australia, with 1.2 million Chinese tourists arriving in 2016, an increase of 23% year-on-year (Bloomberg, 26-Jan-2017).

    Australia is “the most attractive destination” for Chinese travellers said Mr Joyce, referencing surveys performed in the Chinese market. All three major markets – business, leisure and freight – are exhibiting strong growth into China according to Mr Joyce.



    China an opportunity to grow corporate travel and cargo business for Qantas

    Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce reported China is the 11th largest corporate travel market out of Australia, and the Australia-China free trade agreement is “generating a huge amount of extra business traffic for us” (Bloomberg, 26-Jan-2017).

    There is also a “big increase in cargo freight”, in particular for fresh produce to China. The Australia-China open skies agreement will also generate a “huge benefit” for Qantas, not only through international links, but also in flying Chinese travellers domestically.


    Weakening dollar makes Australia more attractive – Qantas CEO

    Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said a weakening of the Australian dollar is making the country a more attractive destination “compared to some of our peers and competitors in the region” (Bloomberg, 26-Jan-2017).


    Qantas a top global brand – Qantas CEO

    Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the Qantas is “one of the top airline brands in the world” and the carrier’s brand and its quality of service allows it to generate a premium on fares (Bloomberg, 26-Jan-2017).


    Qantas looks to China for growth

    Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the carrier would “love to grow Hong Kong” and has been attempting to secure more slots, but the airport is full (Bloomberg, 26-Jan-2017).

    The carrier is growing its operations into Shanghai, via its JV with China Eastern Airlines, and its Jetstar Asia operations, which include eight points in mainland China. The carrier “has never been as big in China as we are today” said Mr Joyce.


    Qantas to keep A380 but indicates the future lies with the 787

    Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said he believes there is a role for the carrier’s fleet of 12 A380 aircraft as they help with slot issues in London and scheduling window issues in Los Angeles (Bloomberg, 26-Jan-2017).

    However Mr Joyce does not see a need for the eight other A380s, which it is has on order but whose delivery is on indefinite suspension.

    Mr Joyce attributes the decision to the 787 which he describes as “a better aircraft, [has] longer range, has better economics” and can be used to operate routes such as Perth-London and Melbourne-Dallas to “expand our international reach”.

    Qantas will be “more active in that size of the market, where the growth opportunities are” said Mr Joyce.


    Qantas CEO committed to staying in role

    Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said he has no intention to depart the airline and, “as long as the board and the shareholders still want me to do the job and I’m enjoying it, I’ll continue to do this job” (Bloomberg, 26-Jan-2017).

    Mr Joyce was appointed Qantas CEO in 2008, after leading its Jetstar LCC subsidiary.


    TTF urges for greater flexibility on Sydney Airport curfew

    Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) urged for “more flexib­ility” with Sydney Airport’s noise restrictions, proposing the Australian government relax the curfew from 23:00-06:00 to 00:00-05:00 and raise hourly aircraft movement capacity from 80 to 90 (The Australian, 27-Jan-2017).

    TTF CEO Margy Osmond stated these restrictions were implemented 20 years ago when aircraft were much noisier and less efficient, keeping these regulations up to date will

    “ensure tourism growth into the future­ and… that Sydney Airport is able to maximise its effic­iency”.


    Queensland Tourism Minister leads delegation to China

    Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones reported (20-Jan-2017) a state aviation delegation, including representatives from Tourism and Events Queensland, Cairns Airport, Cairns City Council, Tourism Tropical North Queensland, and Tourism Australia, travelled to China to pursue additional flights to Cairns. In Dec-2016, AUD33.5 million (USD25.2 million) in funding was announced for Cairns under the ‘Connecting with Asia’ programme, to enable the far north Queensland tourism industry to realise the potential from Asia by partnering with Chinese airline, travel and media firms.


    Queenstown infrastructure investment continues

    Queenstown Airport announced (26-Jan-2017) plans to the launch fourth stage of its car park expansion and traffic flow improvements project in mid Feb-2017. Works are estimated to cost NZD2.7 million (USD1.95 million) and includes:

    • Reintroduction of the two-minute public drop-off zone in its original location. The public pick-up zone remains the same – entering the short-term public carpark which offers free parking for 20 minutes;
    • Development of a new roundabout inside the airport entrance;
    • A dual lane to link the new roundabout;
    • Addition of 50 car parks in staff car park by St John Ambulance building;
    • A new and expanded coach park;
    • Upgraded drainage across the airport, particularly in flood-prone areas.

    Works under stage four will be conducted in five phases between mid Feb-2017 and Jun-2017 to minimise traffic disruption.


    Christchurch Airport trials autonomous powered Smart Shuttle

    Christchurch International Airport launched (26-Jan-2017) demonstrations of the fully autonomous electric powered Smart Shuttle in partnership with HMI technologies. The Smart Shuttle features capacity for 15 people, no steering wheel and guidance systems with LIDARs, stereo vision, and odometry technology.

    Airport CEO Malcolm Johns stated:

    “[there is] potential for driverless vehicles to transform and enhance mobility and transport options [in airport operations]”.

    The airport will trial the system for two years commencing from 1H2017. Trials will start in a closed area within the airport campus, once the safety requirements are proven, the vehicle will be trialled on public roads under controlled arrangements. The airport hopes to eventually operate the technology on public roads.


    Ansaldo signs contract for Perth’s Forrestfield – Airport Link

    Ansaldo STS signed (24-Jan-2017) a AUD44 million (USD33 million) signalling and communications contract with Salini Impregilo – NRW Joint Venture (SINRW) to deliver the complete signalling and telecommunications system for Perth’s 8km Forrestfield-Airport Link rail extension project.

    The scope of work includes the design, supply, installation and testing of signalling and communication for the 8km line extension, which includes three new stations. Work on the project will begin immediately, with project completion scheduled for Sep-2020.



    Israel drone company Airobotics announced (26-Jan-2017) the appointment of Joe Urli as director of flight operations, who will be based in Brisbane, Australia. Mr Urli is also president of Australian Certified UAV Operators (ACUO). Airobotics stated the appointment is part of its push to grow the company presence in the Australian market, while confirming plans to apply for an Australian commercial Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operator’s Certificate from CASA. The company already has US FAA waiver authorisation for commercial drone operations and a commercial licence for Israeli operations.

    Australian Airports Association, via its 27-Jan-2017 Airport Alert newsletter, announced (27-Jan-2017) Port Lincoln Airport appointed Matthew Newland as aerodrome operations officer. Mr Newland previously held the position of part time aerodrome reporting officer at the airport for four years.


    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.