News Briefs – 31st March 2017

    Rex pax up 10% in Feb-2017, 58% load factor

    Regional Express (Rex) reported (31-Mar-2017) the following traffic highlights in Feb-2017:

    • Passenger numbers: 90,000, +10% year-on-year;
    • Passenger load factor: 57.6%, +4.9ppts.

    New Zealand tourism spending up by double digit amounts for year to Feb-2017

    New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment reported (30-Mar-2017) tourism expenditure grew in all New Zealand regions over the year to Feb-2017.

    • Northland: NZD1.1 billion (USD741 million), +10% year-on-year;
    • West Coast: NZD496 million (USD347 million), +11%;
    • Nelson: NZD342 million (USD239 million), +11%;
    • Tasman: NZD298 million (USD208.5 million), +10%.

    Hobart Airport joins Airport Carbon Accreditation at Level 1 Mapping

    Hobart Airport joined (30-Mar-2017) Airports Council International’s Airport Carbon Accreditation at Level 1 Mapping. The carbon accreditation programme recognises an airport’s voluntary efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

    Dawson Media Direct opens Sydney office to better serve South Pacific customers

    Dawson Media Direct opened (22-Mar-2017) a new base in Sydney Airport to better serve its South Pacific customers, supplying both print and digital newspapers and magazines onboard and at premium lounges. DMD Australia’s early clients include Qatar AirwaysCathay PacificSingapore Airlines and Delta. The company has presence in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Cairns, Canberra and Auckland airports.

    International pax to/from Australia up 7% to 2.8m in Jan-2017, capacity (Seats) up 7% to 4.7m

    Australia’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) reports (31-Mar-2017) the following international traffic highlights to/from Australia in Jan-2017:

    • Passenger numbers: 2.8 million, +6.8% year-on-year;
    • Available seats: 4.7 million, +6.7%;
    • Flights: 17,698, +3.3%;
    • Cargo volume: 79,734 tonnes, -2.6%;
    • Aircraft movements: 18,014, +3.5%;
    • Top 10 international carriers:
      • Share of passengers carried:
        • Qantas: 16.2%, +0.3ppt;
        • Jetstar: 9.1%, -0.5ppt;
        • Emirates: 8.9%, +0.1ppt;
        • Singapore Airlines: 7.8%, -0.1ppt;
        • Air New Zealand: 6.2%, -0.7ppt;
        • Virgin Australia: 5.6%, -1.3ppts;
        • AirAsia X: 4.1%, +0.3ppt;
        • Cathay Pacific Airways: 4.0%, -0.5ppt;
        • China Southern Airlines: 3.5%, +0.3ppt;
        • Etihad Airways: 3.0%, +0.1ppt;
      • Share of cargo carried:
        • Singapore Airlines: 16.4%, -2.4ppts;
        • Qantas: 11.6%, -0.2ppt;
        • Emirates: 9.9%, -1.6ppts;
        • Cathay Pacific Airways: 7.5%, -1.0ppts;
        • Air New Zealand: 6.3%, +1.2ppts;
        • Thai Airways: 3.9%, -0.3ppt;
        • Malaysia Airlines: 3.1%, -0.5ppt;
        • Qatar Aiways: 2.9%, +1.0ppt;
        • Etihad Airways: 2.9%, +0.3ppt;
        • China Southern Airlines: 2.7%, -0.6ppt. [more – original PR]

    BITRE also reported LCCs AirAsia X, Cebu Pacific AirIndonesia AirAsiaJetstarJetstar AsiaScoot and Tigerair Australia accounted for 17.2% of total international passenger traffic to/from Australia in Jan-2017. LCC share in Jan-2017 was 18.1%.

    Air Vanuatu strategic plan includes building relationships with other carriers to drive traffic

    Air Vanuatu CEO Joseph Laloyer welcomed (29-Mar-2017) the first new Port Moresby-Honiara-Port Villa codeshare service with Air Niugini. According to Mr Laloyer, the carrier’s strategic planning involves building relationships with other carriers enabling the airline to “tap in to new markets and thus bring more traffic to Vanuatu“.

    Queenstown Airport complete first phase of Stage 4 car park expansion

    Queenstown Airport, via its official Twitter account, announced (30-Mar-2017) it completed the first phase of the Stage Four car park expansion and traffic flow improvements project, adding 52 car park bays at the Staff Car Park. As previously reported by CAPA, works under Stage Four will be conducted in five phases between mid Feb-2017 and Jun-2017.

    Air Niugini and Air Vanuatu commence codeshare relationship

    Air Niugini and Air Vanuatu operated (29-Mar-2017) their first Port Moresby-Honiara-Port Villa codeshare service, under a agreement designed to increase traffic between Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. Air Niugini CEO Simon Foo stated the codeshare agreement allows passengers in both markets to make seamless connections and expands their choices of fares and tickets. Air Niugini will operate Boeing 737 aircraft on the twice weekly service. Solomon Airlines also codeshares with Air Niugini on the route, as well as between Port Moresby and Honiara.

    Qantas to allow rebooking, destination change or travel credit for pax affected by Cyclone Debbie

    Qantas stated (30-Mar-2017) passengers travelling to/from Coolangatta (Gold Coast) and Brisbane affected by ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie may rebook/reroute travel, change destinations or retain the value of the ticket in credit for future travel. Rebooking/rerouting must be for an alternate Qantas flight with a ‘QF’ flight number operated by Qantas/QantasLink on/before 09-Apr-2017. Credit for future travel must be within 12 months from the original ticketed date of departure, with fare difference payable by the passenger.

    Virgin Australia enters WiFi streaming partnership with Gogo and Optus, trial to commence Apr-2017

    Virgin Australia announced (30-Mar-2017) a partnership with Gogo and Optus to provide customers with inflight WiFi on domestic and international services. From Apr-2017, Virgin Australia will commence a three month customer trial of Gogo’s technology on a single Boeing 737-800. Access will be provided to Netflix, Stan and Pandora for the trial, as well as a complimentary three month subscription to Pandora Plus and Netflix. The service will use Ku-band satellite connectivity provided by Optus Satellite for domestic and New Zealand services and Intelsat and SES for other international flights. Virgin Australia plans a full installation of Gogo’s 2Ku technology across its full fleet of Boeing 737-800, Boeing 777 and A330 aircraft following the testing period. Virgin Australia group GM John Thomas stated: “We are confident that by working with Gogo and Optus Satellite and using their proven technology we can deliver the best possible and most reliable connectivity and entertainment experience in the air”.

    i-SITE New Zealand aligns advertising at Auckland, Christchurch with Tourism New Zealand campaign

    i-SITE New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand announced (31-Mar-2017) a partnership to allow international visitors arriving into Auckland and Christchurch airports to be greeted by Tourism New Zealand’s ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ campaign. It is the first time this imagery has been used in New Zealand, after i-SITE New Zealand sought to align its advertising more closely to the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign at the start of 2017. i-SITE New Zealand executive manager Paul Yeo stated the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign is well known overseas. Incorporating it into advertisements means international visitors will identify the i-SITE Network as part of the Tourism New Zealand family and therefore, a valuable source of information.

    Air New Zealand final Boeing 767s sold for conversion to freighters

    Air New Zealand reported (31-Mar-2017) its two remaining Boeing 767s have been sold for conversion into freighter aircraft, with both departing the carrier’s fleet in late Mar-2017/early Apr-2017. According to the CAPA Fleet Database, the aircraft are 23.7 and 22.4 years old, and have both completed more than 100,000 operational flying hours.

    Air New Zealand to operate final Boeing 767 service, consolidates widebody fleet with 777 and 787-9

    Air New Zealand announced (31-Mar-2017) its final scheduled Boeing 767-300ER service will be operated between Sydney and Auckland on 31-Mar-2017. Air New Zealand has operated the type for more than three decades. Both remaining 767-300s have been sold and are being retired this week. Air New Zealand chief operations integrity & standards officer Captain David Morgan says the retirement of the 767 completes the airline’s long term plan to move to a simplified fleet structure, based around a narrowbody fleet of A320s and a widebody fleet of Boeing 777s and 787-9s. According to the CAPA Fleet Database, Air New Zealand has 31 aircraft on order for delivery before 2021.

    Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport welcomes aviation growth following strong 2016

    Australia‘s Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester welcomed (30-Mar-2017) the strong annual domestic airline statistics issued by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE). Mr Chester said it was evidence the government’s policies to grow the Australian aviation industry were succeeding. According to the BITRE data, Australia’s domestic aviation sector saw record growth in freight movement in 2016 as well as a 2% increase in patronage to 61.3 million passengers.

    Airservices calls on GA industry to identify locations for weather cameras

    Airservices Australia called (30-Mar-2017) on Australia‘s general aviation industry to take part in a survey, to “help ensure a weather camera network is installed in locations that will deliver the greatest safety benefit”. The network will provide access to an “array of cameras”, for pilots to view weather conditions in real time at a variety of locations across Australia. Airservices CEO Jason Harfield confirmed coordination with the Bureau of Meteorology and airports to identify sites with existing power, communication infrastructure and cameras. Once the sites have been identified, Airservices plans to launch a public website in May-2017 with six available locations for monitoring. The survey is open until 30-Apr-2017.

    Virgin Australia to use in-flight video streaming trial to determine business model for service

    Virgin Australia group executive for airlines John Thomas stated the carrier will use its upcoming in-flight trial of video on demand WiFi streaming to determine the business model it will use for the service (Australian Aviation/The Australian, 30-Mar-2017). The carrier will offer the service on a single Boeing 737 for a three month period and take passenger feedback through the process. Virgin Australia has partnered with Gogo and Optus to offer the service and signed Netflix, Stan and Pandora as initial content partners for the trial.

    Virgin Australia: Reliability, rather than speed, the key point for in-flight connectivity

    Virgin Australia group executive for airlines John Thomas commented that reliability, rather than speed, is the key pain point for inflight connectivity provision (Australian Aviation, 30-Mar-2017). According to Mr Thomas, the experience with carriers offering internet connectivity in the US and elsewhere is that “people get very upset if the product isn’t reliable”.

    NSW Business Chamber Tourism Division urges better planning, more regional tourism development

    NSW Business Chamber Tourism Division released (29-Mar-2017) its On the Move Mid-Term Report Card providing an assessment of the NSW Government’s performance the tourism sector. The chamber stated the NSW Government’s initiatives has contributed to a “flourishing” visitor economy, but that tourism needs better strategic planning in the cities, as well as clear strategies to draw more visitors to the regions. It added that if the NSW Government is to grow regional tourism, it “needs to provide the funding and policy attention that’s needed, starting with a strategy to boost the dispersal of the lucrative Chinese market”.