News Briefs – 30 March 2017

    Fiji government shortlist two sites for new international airport in Northern Division

    Fiji Government shortlisted two feasible sites in Northern Division for the development of a new international airport (Fiji Times, 30-Mar-2017). The government is reportedly considering between Seaqaqa and Wailevu. The project is estimated to take five years and will be developed in the 2030s.

    Wellcamp Airport confirms first domestic airfreight service

    Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport confirmed (29-Mar-2017) it handled its first domestic airfreight operation in Mar-2017. Trackspares commissioned the service for an urgent 10 tonne shipment of machinery parts to Rio Tinto’s bauxite mine at Weipa. EastAir arranged the service, which was operated by Pionair Australia, via Aviation Cairns, with a BAe 146-200QT aircraft.

    Wellington International Airport resumes service following fog disruption

    Wellington International Airport, via its official Twitter account, announced (30-Mar-2017) commercial services officially resumed at around 11:40 following more than 24 hours of closure due to heavy fog. Air New Zealand deployed a Boeing 777 to help clear the backlog of passengers from service cancellations yesterday.

    Rural and regional NSW experiencing ‘tourism bonanza’, with spending up 10% in 2016

    NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall reported (29-Mar-2017) rural and regional NSW achieved its highest domestic overnight visitors, nights and expenditure during 2016, with more than 70% of the state’s 29.3 million domestic overnight visitors having visited regional NSW. These visitors stayed 71 million nights and spent AUD10.2 billion (USD7.8 billion) up 10% year-on-year.

    Sydney Airport welcomes Vietnam Airlines new service from Hanoi as ‘important opportunity’

    Sydney Airport, at a press conference, welcomed (29-Mar-2017) the launch of Vietnam Airlines’ new Hanoi-Sydney service. Sydney Airport MD and CEO Kerrie Mather stated: “This was an important opportunity for Sydney Airport as up to 40% of the total Vietnamese population living in Australia reside in New South Wales”. The route is aimed at the visiting friends and relatives travel market. Ms Mather highlighted that “visitors into Sydney have increased by 11% over the last year”. Ms Mather also noted that Australian holiday visits to Vietnam are increasing.

    Vietnam Airlines ‘the largest’ international 787-9 operator in Australia

    Vietnam Airlines country manager Hung Truong, at a press conference for the launch of the Hanoi-Sydney service, reported (29-Mar-2017) the carrier is the largest international operator of the Boeing 787-9 into Australia. The carrier introduced 787-9 equipment for its new three times weekly Hanoi-Sydney service, configured with 274 seats (28 business, 35 premium economy and 211 economy). According to the CAPA Vietnam Airlines profile, the carrier already operates Ho Chi Minh City-Sydney and Ho Chi Minh City-Melbourne routes with 787-9 equipment.

    NT Tourism: Subsidised coaching for digital marketing available for local tourism operators

    NT Tourism announced (27-Mar-2017) tourism operators in the territory are eligible for stage two of the Northern Territory Department of Tourism and Culture’s Digital Leap Programme. The 12 month programme offers subsidised membership to tourism operators to a training programme with digital training experts Tourism Tribe, and a new online tool kit.

    TTF urges continued investment in new tourism product and marketing

    Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) warned (29-Mar-2017) continued tourism growth is only able to be maintained by “continued investment in new tourism product, improvement in traveller infrastructure and ongoing commitment to original and engaging tourism marketing”. TTF CEO Margy Osmond urged continued investment in new tourism product and marketing, stating: “With international markets growing, particularly China and greater Asia, we now have much bigger opportunities than ever before, but also much bigger challenges of building our visitor economy in the face of fierce competition from other markets”.

    ACT working to secure Canberra-Adelaide LCC service

    Australia Capital Territory (ACT) Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the ACT Government is working to secure an LCC service between Canberra and Adelaide (Canberra Times, 29-Mar-2017). Tigerair Australia launched Melbourne-Canberra service in Dec-2016.

    Cook Islands tourism arrivals up strongly over first two months of 2017

    Cook Islands Tourism Corporation CEO Halatoa Fua reported tourist arrivals rose 27% year-on-year for Jan-2017 and arrivals grew 41% for Feb-2017 (Cook Islands News, 28-Mar-2017). New Zealand nationals accounted for the strongest growth over the first two months of 2017, followed by nationals from Australia and the US. Mr Fua attributed the growth to declining airfares and a change in New Zealand travel patterns, away from peak summer periods towards more year-round travel.

    Air New Zealand to operate domestic 777-200 flights, extra A320 service to clear Wellington backlog

    Air New Zealand announced (30-Mar-2017) operations at Wellington Airport resumed on 30-Mar-2017, with the carrier operating additional A320 services and deploying a 312 seat Boeing 777-200 domestically in order to clear a backlog of delayed passengers. Operations at the airport were halted on 28/29-Mar-2017 due to fog and low cloud.