News Briefs – 3rd April 2017

    Visitor arrivals to Fiji down 1% in Feb-2017

    Fiji Bureau of Statistic reported (31-Mar-2017) total visitor arrivals to Fiji fell 1% year-on-year in Feb-2017. Details include:

    • Visitor arrivals: 43,876, -1.1% year-on-year;
      • Australia: 15,603, -0.6%;
      • New Zealand: 6228, +12.0%;
      • US: 5538, +30.7%;
      • China: 4071, -33.5%;
      • UK: 1325, -0.7%;
      • Canada: 896, +0.2%;
      • Japan: 720, +52.2%;
      • South Korea: 633, +25.8%;
      • India: 426, +14.2%;
      • Hong Kong: 53, +29.3%.

    Queensland Airports CEO: Gold Coast Airport to finalise hotel operator agreement ‘soon’

    Queensland Airports CEO Chris Mills stated Gold Coast Airport is finalising “an agreement with a preferred hotel operator” to develop and operate a 200 room onsite hotel “soon” (Gold Coast Bulletin, 31-Mar-2017). According to Mr Mills: “The hotel will be located at the heart of the Gold Coast Airport precinct”. The airport precinct will include hospitals, a university campus and other commercial businesses.

    Australia increases security screening for passengers on flights from select Middle East airports

    Australia‘s Federal Government announced (31-Mar-2017) increased security measures for incoming passengers to Australia from Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Additional screening measures at boarding gates are to be introduced from the week commencing 02-Apr-2017, including random explosive detection screening of passengers and their baggage, as well as targeted screening of select electronic devices. The decision follows similar measures introduced by the US and UK. Affected airlines include Qantas, Etihad Airways (Virgin Australia codeshare), Emirates and Qatar Airways. Australia’s Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester stated there is “no ban on the carriage of electronic devices on flights to Australia at this stage”.

    Fiji Airways to extend Nadi-San Francisco service to year-round

    Fiji Airways announced (30-Mar-2017) the extension of seasonal Nadi-San Francisco service to year-round operation. Service will recommence in Jun-2017. The twice weekly service will increase to three times weekly during peak periods in June, July, August and December. Fiji Airways MD and CEO Andre Viljoen said the expansion represents Fiji Airlines’ position as “the premier carrier for Fiji and the South Pacific” and the carrier is “buoyed by the increasing demand from business, leisure and visiting friends/family (VFR) segments to the South Pacific and beyond from the San Francisco Bay Area and the greater Northwest”. San Francisco International Airport director Ivar C Satero stated the expansion “validates the strong market for nonstop flights between San Francisco and Fiji”. 

    Malindo Air Launches service to Brisbane

    Malindo Air launched (31-Mar-2017) daily Kuala Lumpur-Denpasar-Brisbane service – see Route Changes Table for more information. Malindo Air CEO Chandran Rama Muthy stated the new route underscores the strong and growing economic, business and tourism links between Malaysia and Australia. According to the CAPA Fleet Database, the daily service is operated with 162 seat two class Boeing 737-800 equipment and provides an additional 1134 weekly one way seats in the Brisbane-Bali market. This equates to a 26.8% share of nonstop capacity, compared to 31.6% for Jetstar and 41.6% for Virgin Australia. The route is Malindo Air’s second to Australia, originally launching the Kuala Lumpur-Perth route in Nov-2015 with 10 weekly frequencies. 

    Aircraft Turnaround Engineering leases two new TBL190 pushback tractors at Cairns Airport

    Cairns Airport ground handling company, Aircraft Turnaround Engineering, leased two diesel TBL190 pushback tractors from Adaptalift GSE (Ground Handling International, 31-Mar-2017). The equipment is developed by Kalmar Motor and is capable of handling from regional up to widebody aircraft types. According to the CAPA Fleet database, Cairns Airport’s receives fleet types from the Embraer 190 to A330-300.

    Malindo Air CEO: New Brisbane route will lead to ‘immense’ future growth

    Malindo Air CEO Chandran Rama Muthy stated (31-Mar-2017) there are immense opportunities for future growth associated with the carrier’s new Kuala Lumpur-Denpasar-Brisbane route, launched 31-Mar-2017. According to Mr Muthy, the route offers improved connectivity of Kuala Lumpur and Brisbane to other destinations in Malindo Air’s network. The route is expected to attract visiting family and relatives traffic, as well as travellers in the business and diplomatic communities and increased tourism connectivity.

    NZ Civil Aviation Authority monitoring increased passenger security

    Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand advised it will be “monitoring the situation” regarding introducing additional security measures for flights into New Zealand from select Middle Eastern airports (radionz.co.nz, 02-Apr-2017). The statement follows a decision by the Australian Federal Government to introduce additional screening of passengers on all services from Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

    Australian Transport Minister: New security measures are not a result of a direct threat

    Australia‘s Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester assured (31-Mar-2017) travellers that there is no specific threat to Australia, despite a decision to introduce additional security measures on passengers inbound to Australia from Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Mr Chester advised the security measures are precautionary changes and are in line with the UK, which recently announced that people travelling from the Middle East ports will be subject to random explosive trace detection screening.

    Gold Coast Airport acquires 18ha to develop aerocity

    Gold Coast Airport expanded (Mar-2017) its landholdings by approximately 18ha to support a long-term property strategy to develop a business and education precinct around the airport. Queensland Airports CEO Chris Mills stated the aim is to “enhance and complement the airport’s primary aviation function with business, education and lifestyle offerings” and “we want to see the airport precinct become a destination in its own right”.

    Government of Vanuatu: Contracts awarded for airports upgrade

    Vanuatu Government awarded (31-Mar-2017) the China Civil Engineering Construction and Northwest Civil Aviation Airport Construction Company JV the contracts to rehabilitate runway, apron and related infrastructure works at Port Vila Bauerfield Airport and for design and development of short term runway repairs at Espiritu Santo Pekoa Airport and Whitegrass Airport. The signing of both contracts is scheduled for mid Apr-2017. The contracts are worth USD47.66 million and USD11.39 million respectively. The announcement was made after World Bank issued a “no objection letter” regarding the projects.

    Emirates responds to new security measures for flights to Australia

    Emirates confirmed new security measures will be introduced for services from Dubai to Australia (Khaleej Times, 02-Apr-2017). The carrier stated it received new guidelines from the Australian Government and will be enforcing the measures starting 06-Apr-2017. The directive includes additional screening measures at boarding gates, as well as targeted screening of select electronic devices.

    New Air Niugini Port Moresby-Townsville service develops Townsville connections to Asia

    Townsville Airport welcomed (31-Mar-2017) the launch of Port Moresby-Townsville service by Air Niugini. The new service adds 15,800 seats between Port Moresby and Townsville p/a, as well as offering connections to Manila via Port Moresby for Townsville Airport. Air Niugini will also provide Townsville with ‘one stop to Asia’ connection to Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and other regional destinations.

    Queensland announces tourism industry plan following Tropical Cyclone Debbie

    Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones announced (31-Mar-2017) Tourism and Events Queensland, travel and tourism industry representatives and the Regional Tourism Operator network have developed a plan for an industry recovery process, following Tropical Cyclone Debbie. In collaboration with Tourism Australia a targeted marketing campaign will be introduced to encourage Australians to visit the state for a holiday.

    Tourism WA CEO: National Visitor Survey results ‘not reliable’

    Tourism WA CEO Gwyn Dolphin stated (29-Mar-2017) methodology issues recently identified by Tourism Research Australia (TRA) mean the 2016 National Visitor Survey data results are not completely reliable. Mr Dolphin believes the issue impacts domestic travel data for all Australian states and territories and expects TRA to back cast the data once they are confident with its accuracy. In the results published 4Q2016 shows total visitor spending in Western Australia reached AUD10 billion (USD7.6 billion) for the first time in a calendar year. [more – original PR]

    Tourism WA: “TRA has told us they believe these 2016 results aren’t too far off the mark however, we have chosen not to publish this data with comparisons to previous years given methodology issues identified in 2014 and 2015 as well,” Gwyn Dolphin, CEO. Source: Tourism WA, 29-Mar-2017.

    National Visitor Survey sees double digit growth in visitor numbers and nights since 2013

    Tourism Research Australia (TRA) released (29-Mar-2017) year-on-year comparison results from the National Visitor Survey. According to the TRA from 2013-2016, every state and territory in Australia has seen double digit growth in visitor numbers and visitor nights. This percentage increase has resulted in spending by international and domestic visitors to grow by AUD5.6 billion (USD4.2 billion) in 2016, exceeding AUD100 billion (USD76.1 billion) for the first time. For the period, Australia wide visitor numbers rose 20%, spending increased 18% and visitor nights grew 18%.

    Virgin Australia seeks to renew IASC determination for Australia-Sri Lanka operations via Singapore

    Virgin Australia applied to Australia‘s International Air Services Commission (IASC) to renew a Determination 121, allocating capacity of 400 seats per week for stopover traffic between Singapore and Colombo, for a five year period. The determination is due to expire on 27-Mar-2018. It permits passengers to include a stopover in Singapore enroute to Colombo. Virgin Australia codeshares with Singapore Airlines on the Singapore-Colombo route.