News Briefs

    Australian Domestic fares up on average

    Australia’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) released (09-Feb-2017) the Domestic Air Fare Index for Feb-2017 which showed the ‘Best Discount Fare’ Index (Jul-2003 = 100) for domestic travel increased 2.0% year-on-year to 60.1 in Feb-2017. ‘Restricted economy’ was up 0.5% year-on-year and ‘Business class’ was down 0.4% year-on-year.


    Qantas partners with travel services provider Serko

    Qantas Airways partnered (06-Feb-2017) with Australasian corporate travel and online booking company Serko, for business users of Serko Online to have, “Access to greater rewards and savings” when joining Qantas’ Business Rewards programme.

    Serko Online users will also benefit from streamlined booking processes. Serko CEO Darrin Grafton said:

    “[Qantas’ programme integrates] seamlessly into Serko Online, where our customers can not only book and manage their flights, accommodation, transfers and car hire in one consolidated platform, but can now earn more rewards as well”.


    New Zealand ramps up sporting events in 2017

    Tourism NZ stated (07-Feb-2017) New Zealand will host major sporting events “just about every month” in 2017, attracting, “tens of thousands of international visitors.” 2017 events include the World Masters Games, DHL New Zealand Lions Series, three world class golf tournaments, Audi Quattro Winter Games NZ, Rugby League World Cup, Crankworx and Queenstown and Hawke’s Bay international marathons.


    AccorHotels rebrand Melbourne property

    AccorHotels has rebranded the Grand Mercure Apartments Docklands in Melbourne to The Sebel Residences, Melbourne Docklands effective 6 February 2017.

    AccorHotels Melbourne network of properties now comprised of: The Sebel Melbourne Flinders Lane, The Sebel Melbourne Docklands, The Sebel Residences Melbourne Docklands and The Sebel Melbourne Moorabbin (opening early 2017).


    Wellington passenger numbers flat

    Infratil, majority shareholder of Wellington International Airport, stated (08-Feb-2017) “the flat international [passenger] figures” at Wellington Airport “reflect a…durable problem” of insufficient runway length to accommodate long haul aircraft.

    As previously reported by CAPA- Centre for Aviation, the airport stalled its runway extension project due to opposition from New Zealand Airline Pilots Association (NZAPA) over the length of the proposed runway end safety area. Infratil noted:

    “Over the last five years the rest of New Zealand experienced a 39% rise in tourist spend, almost double the 20% growth of the central region [while] ongoing increase in New Zealand-China traffic is benefitting other regions but is also out of reach of Wellington”.


    New Zealand reports over NZD10 billion in tourist spending

    Infratil stated (08-Feb-2017) international tourists spent NZD10.95 billion (USD7.91 billion) in New Zealand during 2016 according to data by New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Tourist spending by Chinese nationals accounted for more than 10% of the total at NZD1.66 billion (USD1.2 billion).


    Wellington runway extension on hold

    Infratil, announced (08-Feb-2017) Wellington International Airport’s runway extension project hearing by the Environment Court will be postponed “to probably Jun-2017” due to the November earthquake at Kaikoura causing “a shortage of court space in Wellington”.

    As previously reported by CAPA-Centre for Aviation, the hearing is in regards to New Zealand Airline Pilots Association request to develop a 240m runway end safety area instead of the 90m proposed by the airport as part of it’s runway extension project.


    Wellington Airport reports busiest day of 2016

    Infratil reported (08-Feb-2017) Wellington International Airport experienced its busiest day of 2016 on 23-Dec-2016, as predicted, handling 4364 international and 23,650 domestic passengers. The airport will conduct further upgrades to its passenger terminals including plans to expand its international facility, improve the ground-transportation hub and develop a 134 room hotel.


    Wellington Airport capex hits NZD90 million for 2016/17 as expansion continues

    Infratil announced (08-Feb-2017) Wellington International Airport forecast capital spending for FY2016/17 ending on 31-Mar-2017 is approximately NZD90 million (USD65 million). Upcoming development projects include further upgrades to its terminal passenger services including plans to expand its international terminal, improve ground-transportation hub and development of a 134 room hotel. The airport acquired three bond issues accordingly:

    • NZD75 million (USD54 million) 4.25% coupon maturing May-2023;
    • NZD60 million (USD43 million) 4.00% coupon maturing Aug-2024;
    • NZD50 million (USD36 million) 5.00% coupon maturing Jun-2025.

    The third of these issues is still open to investors seeking a BBB+ rated bond with a 5% p/a coupon.


    Jetstar to commence Sydney-Prosperine services

    Jetstar Airways plans to commence three times weekly Sydney-Proserpine service with A320 equipment from 03-Apr-2017 (Routes Online, 08-Feb-2017). The route is subject to approval from Australia‘s government. According to OAG, Tigerair Australia also operates the service.


    Darwin Airport signs lease with Royal Doctor Service

    Darwin Airport announced (08-Feb-2017) the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) signed a 15 year land lease agreement to open its 25th aeromedical base at Darwin. Darwin Airport appointed local construction company Ahrens to construct the AUD4 million (USD3 million) facility for RFDS, due to complete in Jun-2017. The facility will include an engineering workshop and store with capacity to hangar four aircraft and apron parking space for up to six aircraft; private patient management bays, with separate waiting area/lounge for charter guests.


    Armenia to enter Air Services Agreement with Australia

    Armenia reportedly plans to approve a proposal to enter a new air service agreement (ASA) with Australia on 09-Feb-2017 (, 08-Feb-2017). Armenia also reportedly plans to develop an ASA with Syria.


    Singapore and Cook Islands enter open skies agreement

    Singapore and the Cook Islands concluded an open skies agreement on 07-Feb-2017, enabling airlines to operate any number of services between the countries and to any third country without restrictions on capacity or aircraft type (Bernama, 08-Feb-2017). Cargo carriers will be able to base aircraft in either country and operate hubs for operations to third countries. Singapore’s Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan said:

    “Such a fully liberal air services framework will allow carriers from both countries maximum flexibility to respond to market opportunities.”


    Alliance extends contract with Newcrest

    Alliance Airlines announced (08-Feb-2017) a three year contract extension with mining company Newcrest, to continue providing air services to the company’s gold mine in Telfer, Western Australia. Alliance has operated with Newcrest at the Telfer site since 2004.


    US DoT renews Fiji Airways’ permission to operate to San Francisco

    US Department of Transportation (DoT) renewed (07-Feb-2017) Fiji Airways‘ exemption from 49 U.S.C. § 41301 to operate service between Nadi and San Francisco, effective 07-Feb-2017 through 07-Feb-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.