News Briefs

    Enhanced partnership between Qantas and Tourism WA ahead of direct services to London

    Qantas and Tourism Western Australia announced (01-Feb-2017) they are raising the value of their tourism marketing partnership to AUD12.9 million (USD9.8 million) to maximise the benefits of the carrier’s planned Perth-London Heathrow service, to be launched in Mar-2018.

    The additional AUD5.7 million (USD4.3 million) in funding will be used to promote Western Australia in the UK, Europe and locally highlighting Perth as the perfect stopover destination for international visitors and connecting domestic customers.

    Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans said the direct link to Europe was a vote of confidence in Perth’s potential as a tourism hub. Seats on the Perth-London flights will go on sale in Apr-2017


    Sydney Airport to announce full year results as it continues to stall on whether it will commit to Badgery’s Creek

    Sydney Airport has announced it will release its results for the full year ended 31 Dec-2016 on Thursday, 16-Feb-2017, before the market opens.

    Sydney Airport currently holds an option to develop the new Western Sydney Airport at Badgery’s Creek. The Right of First Refusal for the new airport, included as part of the 2002 sale agreement for Sydney Airport, expires 4 months after the Federal Government’s Notice of Intention, issued on 20-Dec-2016.

    Sydney Airport’s announcement of full year results comes as it continues to stall on whether it will commit to developing the new airport in Sydney’s west, which Qantas has announced will be the home of its low cost subsidiary Jetstar in NSW.


    Air New Zealand introduces AI technology to assist customers

    Air New Zealand announced (02-Feb-2017) it is introducing its field of artificial intelligence (AI) service assistant, unveiling its new chatbot ‘Bravo Oscar Tango’ (Oscar).

    The chatbot will initially assist customers with commonly asked queries with Air New Zealand Lounge, Airpoints and baggage queries. It offers a more personalised experience and time saving compared to a traditional online FAQ search. As with other AI technology, Oscar will learn based on the conversations people have with it, becoming more user friendly and more helpful the more it interacts.

    Air New Zealand chief digital officer Avi Golan says Oscar has been launched as a beta product allowing customers to play an active role in training it. Air New Zealand plans integration with its mobile app, via both voice and text, and with other chat platforms and in-home digital assistants:

    “Over time we want Oscar to become a virtual travel assistant helping customers across every stage of the journey, with the ability to recognise who you are, inform you about your flights, make or change a booking, select seats, check you in, and offer to help sort you a taxi to the airport,

    “There’s no doubt that AI is the future, allowing customers to better self-serve within their channel of choice, further improving the customer experience.”

    Avi Golan, Air New Zealand chief digital officer


    Pullman Reef Casino Hotel Cairns gets $6.5 million refurbishment

    The Pullman Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns has announced (01-Feb-2017) completion of a AUD6.5 million refurbishment program which has extended to all public areas.

    The refurbishment includes a redesigned lobby area, expansion of the Tamarind Restaurant and a new bar and café.

    The property has also overhauled its room product, with rates now automatically including breakfast daily, self-parking, wifi, free national calls, a daily drink in the hotel’s new Bar36 and selected mini bar items free of charge that will be replenished daily.


    PM confirms Australian citizens free to travel as normal to the US

    Australia‘s Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull stated (31-Jan-2017) the Australian Government has received assurances from the US Administration that all Australian passport holders remain welcome to travel to the US. The White House has confirmed the US Executive Order of 27-Jan-2018 will not affect any Australian passport holder irrespective of their country of birth or whether they hold another passport.


    Qantas reviews airfares to Honolulu

    Qantas announced (01-Feb-2017) the following a seasonality review of economy and business class fares from Australia to Honolulu, it will reduce the length of the high seasonality period for June and July. The new seasonality will be:

    • Low season: 16-Apr-2017 to 27-Jun-2017;
    • High season: 28-Jun-2017 to 10-Jul-2107.

    All bookings not yet ticketed will be assessed under the new international fare structure effective 01-Feb-2017.


    Melbourne’s SkyBus to service Avalon Airport

    Melbourne Avalon Airport established (01-Feb-2017) an agreement with SkyBus to operate express shuttle bus service between the airport and Melbourne’s CBD for 10 years, effective from 01-Feb-2017 onwards.

    Tickets can be purchased online or at dedicated kiosks costing AUD22 per adult. Jetstar will also include the opportunity to purchase SkyBus Avalon Express ticket in their Jetstar ticket process.


    Australia’s Safety Bureau announces increases in the rate of bird strikes at Australian airports

    Australia Transport Safety Bureau reported (01-Feb-2017) airports with the largest increase in the rate of birds trikes between 2014-2015 were Cairns Airport, Canberra Airport, Darwin Airport, Gold Coast Airport and Sydney Airport.

    The most common operation involved in bird strikes are domestic high capacity aircraft.


    Jetstar appoints new head of cyber-security

    Jetstar appointed Yvette Lejins to the new position of head of cyber security (, 01-Feb-2017). Ms Lejins was recently IT security leader at Asciano. The carrier stated that the appointment is part of a continuing increase in its focus on cyber security, reflecting a broader move in the industry.


    Western Australia airport commences expansion project

    Busselton Airport in Western Australia commenced airside work on a major AUD69.7 million (USD52.8 million) expansion project (Business News, 01-Feb-2017).

    Works on the airside include lengthening, widening and strengthening of the runway, development of additional apron parking bays, taxiways and new airfield lighting. Ertech and Arup were appointed to carry out works for airside and landside respectively.

    Landside work will commence in late 2017 and includes construction of a new passenger terminal, access roads and other supporting facilities. The project is jointly funded by Western Australia government (AUD56.4 million (USD42.7 million)), Commonwealth (AUD9.8 million (USD7.4 million)) and City of Busselton (AUD3.5 million (USD2.6 million)).

    The entire project is scheduled to complete in late 2018.


    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.