News Briefs

    Australian Government revises advice to US bound travellers

    Australia‘s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade updated (30-Jan-2017) its ‘smarttraveller’ website to reflect changes to entry requirements to the US, effective 27-Jan-2017. According to the update:

    • US State Department has advised visa issuance to nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has been temporarily suspended following the signing of the Executive Order on ‘Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals’.
    • The following limits were already in place:
      • Australians who are dual citizens of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria are no longer eligible to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) to enter the US under the visa wavier programme (VWP). Any of these Australians who have previously been issued an ESTA are likely to have the ESTA revoked;
      • Australians who have travelled to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen since 01-Mar-2011 will also no longer be eligible to apply for an (ESTA) to enter the United States under the VWP.


    Qantas and American Airline to re-file DoT application for JV

    Qantas and American Airlines announced (27-Jan-2017) they will re-file an application with the US Department of Transportation (DoT) seeking anti-trust immunity for the expansion of their joint business arrangement.

    The airlines have reviewed the US DoT’s Nov-2016 Show Cause Order proposing not to grant approval for their original application and, after considering their options, taken the decision to refile “in the coming months”;

    The carriers take the view that the DoT decision:

    “didn’t take into account precedent, intense competition on trans-Pacific routes, or the benefits that a closer relationship between Qantas and American has already delivered, including two new routes”

    The new application will:

    “make a strong case for the full consumer, tourism and trade benefits that would come with anti-trust immunity.”

    Qantas and American also plant to scale back areas of cooperation that aren’t viable without immunity, including the following changes:

    • Qantas will no longer codeshare on American Airlines’ services between Sydney and Los Angeles, effective 01-Feb-2017;
    • Qantas will adjust its Qantas Frequent Flyer policy with American Airlines to bring it in line with other oneworld carriers from 01-May-2017.


    China Eastern launches Wuhan service

    China Eastern Airlines launched three times weekly Wuhan-Sydney service with A330-200 aircraft on 27-Jan-2017, operating the inaugural at full capacity with 221 passengers (Hubei Daily, 29-Jan-2017). The service is the carrier’s first nonstop intercontinental service from Wuhan.

    Sydney Airport stated (28-Jan-2017) China Eastern Airlines’ new Wuhan-Sydney service is

    “expected to bring 21,500 visitors and AUD86 million (USD65 million) in additional visitor expenditure per year”.

    The carrier now provides 26 weekly services from Sydney.


    TTF forecasts record Chinese New Year visitor arrivals

    Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) forecast (25-Jan-2017) Chinese visitor arrivals to Australia will increase by around 81,000 for Chinese New Year celebrations. Chinese nationals are expected to spend AUD1.6 billion (USD1.2 billion) in Jan-2017, of which AUD671 million (USD507 million) is a direct result of the surge in traffic for the Chinese New Year.

    TTF reported Chinese visitors spend on average AUD8328 (USD6290) per trip, the highest spending of all nationalities visiting Australia.


    Qantas launches new safety video

    Qantas reported (29-Jan-2017) it introduced a new in-flight safety video, having worked with Tourism Australia and state tourism organisations to make the film across a 12 day period. The new three minute video will begin screening across Qantas domestic and international flights from 01-Feb-2017 with numerous versions to accommodate 11 different languages, as well as the varying aircraft types across the Qantas Group fleet. The new film is an evolution of the national carrier’s 2016 safety video, which had more than 90 million views across Qantas’ in-flight and social media platforms.


    Qantas launches new maintenance facility in Los Angeles

    Qantas unveiled (27-Jan-2017) its new AUD40 million (USD30 million) maintenance and engineering facility at Los Angeles International Airport. The 613,543sqft facility is 50% larger than the airline’s previous hangar at the airport and will be used to carry out maintenance checks on Qantas’ A380 and Boeing 747 aircraft during ground time in Los Angeles. It will also have capacity to support Qantas’ new 787-9 when it enters service later this year.

    The facility is one of the largest commercial hangars in North America and the first specifically designed to accommodate the A380. Qantas operates more than 40 weekly departures from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Los Angeles using A380s and Boeing 747 equipment. 787-9 services on the Melbourne-Los Angeles route will begin in Dec-2017.


    Qantas announces collaboration with American soap opera

    Qantas announced (27-Jan-2017) a partnership with the US daytime television series, The Bold and the Beautiful, to bring the cast to Australia from 12-Feb-2017 to 17-Feb-2017, to film multiple episodes of the drama.

    The collaboration between Qantas, Network TEN and CBS, follows other successful partnerships by the carrier with US based TV productions including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Modern Family. Qantas Group executive brand, marketing, corporate affairs, Olivia Wirth said the collaboration will help to promote Australia as a destination to the show’s worldwide audience as part of the carrier’s investment in tourism marketing.


    New Zealand Tourism launches new campaign

    New Zealand Tourism Minister Paula Bennett launched (30-Jan-2017) a new marketing campaign starting to attract Australians to the Northland region. Tourism New Zealand’s regional dispersal strategy aims to encourage visitors to travel to less-visited regions, to spread the benefits of tourism across New Zealand. The campaign is being run in conjunction with Northland NZ, Facebook, Flight Centre and Air New Zealand.


    Hearing over lease of Wanaka Airport

    Queenstown Lakes District Council will hold a public hearing regarding the plan to lease Wanaka Airport to Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) under a long-term basis on 13-Feb-2017 (Otago Daily Times, 30-Jan-2017). As previously reported by CAPA- Centre for Aviation, QAC hopes to secure a lease period of 66-99 years.


    New Zealand travel agency announces partnership with ParkCloud, a New Zealand-based online travel agency, selected (27-Jan-2017) ParkCloud to provide its customers with parking reservation services. By partnering with ParkCloud, can offer customers access to ParkCloud’s extensive network of global car parks, extending’s position in the digital travel market. is redeveloping its database for flight information, as well as putting more emphasis on the ancillaries it offers to customers.


    Nelson Airport development

    Nelson Airport CEO Rob Evan said the airport’s redevelopment programme will see the facility “morph into a regional gateway that is more suited to our passenger numbers and the experience we want to deliver to our customers” (Stuff, 27-Jan-2017). The work will be completed over the next 12-18 months, with airport users likely to see the first signs of the terminal redevelopment work taking place in the next month according to Mr Evan.


    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.