News Briefs

    Auckland Airport 1HFY2017 profit increases

    Auckland Airport revenue up 11% – financial highlights for six months ended 31-Dec-2016:

    • Revenue: NZD310.9 million (USD222.7 million), +10.8% year-on-year;
      • Airfield: NZD59.2 million (USD42.4 million), +17.9%;
      • Passenger services charge: NZD859 million (USD61.5 million), +13.8%;
      • Retail income: NZD80.7 million (USD57.8 million), +2.7%;
      • Rental income: NZD40.7 million (USD29.2 million), +14.3%;
      • Rates recoveries: NZD2.8 million (USD2.0 million), +3.7%;
      • Car park: NZD28.9 million (USD20.7 million), +11.2%;
    • EBITDAFI: NZD235.9 million (USD169.0 million), +10.5%;
    • EBITDA: NZD264.8 million (USD189.7 million), +13.7%;
    • Net profit: NZD141.8 million (USD101.6 million), +25.5%;
    • Total assets: NZD6259 million (USD4484 million);
    • Cash and cash equivalents: NZD28.5 million (USD20.4 million);
    • Total liabilities: NZD2320 million (USD1662 million).

    *Based on the average conversion rate at NZD1 = USD0.716405

    Looking ahead, Auckland Airport has an ongoing programme to upgrade both its aeronautical and transport infrastructure and is currently consulting with its airline partners on that programme and the setting of aeronautical prices for the 2018 ̶2022 financial years. This process is well underway and we will be announcing the revised pricing and infrastructure programme in the middle of this year once the consultation process has been completed.

    Sir Henry van der Heyden, Chairman. Source: Company statement, 17-Feb-2017.

    Auckland Airport to invest USD288m in infrastructure improvements

    Auckland Airport outlined (17-Feb-2017) plans to invest between NZD370 million (USD267 million) and NZD400 million (USD288 million) in needed infrastructure as capacity increases. Auckland Airport chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden said 1HFY2017 was strong for New Zealand tourism with the amount of international carriers increasing by 50% in the last 18 months.

    Tourism NT launches youth travel marketing campaign

    Tourism NT launched (16-Feb-2017) a new advertising campaign, in partnership with lifestyle and travel brand Summersite, dedicated to the 18-34 youth travel market. The campaign will also work with the social media channels of fashion brand partners such Roxy, Fallen Broken Street and Thrills and will be supported by travel packages with WebjetJetstar and Student Flights.

    US DoT grants Polynesian Airlines’ request to operate proposed intra-American Samoa service

    US Department of Transportation (DoT) granted (16-Feb-2017) Polynesian Airlines‘ request to operate between Pago Pago and the Manu’a Islands for a period of 30 days between 18-Feb-2017 and 19-Mar-2017. The agency deferred action on the remaining portion of Polynesian’s application, which requested authority to operate beyond 18-Feb-2017.

    Virgin Australia outlines planned HNA alliance agreement and Hong Kong services

    Virgin Australia announced (17-Feb-2017) details of its proposed alliance agreement with HNA AviationHong Kong Airlines and HK Express. The airlines submitted an application for authorisation of the proposed alliance to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Subject to authorisation, the airlines plan to:

    • Introduce new direct services between Australia and Hong Kong and between Australia and mainland China, operated by Virgin Australia with A330 equipment. The alliance will offer onward connections to destinations in mainland China on services operated by Hong Kong Airlines;
    • Virgin will codeshare on services operated by Hong Kong Airlines, Hainan Airlines and other HNA Aviation airlines between Australia and mainland China, between Australia and Hong Kong and on domestic services. Beijing Capital Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and Tianjin Airlines will codeshare on Virgin Australia’s domestic and trans-Tasman network;
    • The partners will cooperate in relation to route planning, sales, distribution and marketing, frequent flyer programmes, lounge access and other activities;
    • Frequent flyer partnership between Velocity Frequent Flyer and Fortune Wings Club, including:
      • The opportunity to earn Points and Status Credits on alliance routes;
      • Reciprocal access to tier status benefits including lounge access, priority check-in, priority boarding and additional baggage allowances.

    Virgin Australia plans to introduce services between Australia and Hong Kong in mid-2017. The airlines are seeking interim authorisation of the proposed alliance to enable the introduction of the services and the commencement of codeshare arrangements.

    This new alliance will be a game changer for travel between Australia and China, providing significantly more competition and choice for travellers. We are excited about introducing direct Virgin Australia flights – and our famous customer service – to Hong Kong, together with access to destinations across China. The alliance will accelerate and support our access to the Chinese market, which is Australia’s fastest growing and most valuable inbound travel market.”

    John Borghetti, CEO. Source: Company statement.

    Virgin Australia defers first 737 MAX deliveries to late 2019

    Virgin Australia Holdings reported (17-Feb-2017) its fleet restructuring is “well advanced”, with the following highlights over 1HFY2017, ended 31-Dec-2016:

    • LoI signed to sell six remaining owned Embraer 190s;
    • All E190 operations to cease by the end of 2017;
    • First Boeing 737 MAX delivery deferred to 4Q2019;
    • AUD350 million (USD269.4 million) capital expenditure associated with 737 MAX programme to be deferred beyond FY2019.



    Source: Auckland Met.

    Virgin Australia confirms Tigerair Australia withdrawal from Bali ‘due to regulatory issues’

    Virgin Australia Holdings confirmed (16-Feb-2017) Tigerair Australia decided to withdraw from Australia-Bali operations, “due to regulatory issues”. The carrier “remains focused” on identifying other growth opportunities in the short-haul international market, as well as the domestic market. The cost of withdrawing from the routes is not currently expected to have a material impact on Virgin Group’s underlying earnings. [more – original PR]

    New Zealand convention delegates up 6% in 2016, conventions down 8%

    New Zealand‘s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released (Feb-2017) its convention activity survey for 2016:

    • Delegates: 585,000, +6.2% year-on-year;
    • Delegate days: 1 million, -9.1%;
    • Conferences: 5100, -7.8%.

    New Zealand considers more funding for Solomon Islands airports

    New Zealand’s Government is assessing development opportunities for airports in the Solomon Islands to help boost tourism (Radio NZ, 16-Feb-2017). New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully attending negotiations in Honiara. Mr McCully noted the necessity of improvements to the quality of Solomon Islands’ airports, which was previously committed to with USD22 million in aid funding.


    Sydney Airport seeks curfew and service cap review

    Sydney Airport is seeking a review of limits to the number of services operated per hour, currently at eight per hour and 20 every 15 minutes, and curfew limitations for night operations (SMH, 17-Feb-2017).

    Sydney Airport argues the 20 year old restrictions are detrimental to New South Wales’ tourism industry and should be changed to reflect lower noise levels of modern aircraft. Tourism and Transport Forum chief executive Margy Osmond said reviewing the slot and movement caps was a, “common sense reform we must address.”

    Airways New Zealand CEO to step down on 26-May-2017

    Airways New Zealand announced (17-Feb-2017) the resignation of CEO Ed Sims following a six year term, effective 26-May-2017. Airways New Zealand saw profit increase from NZD4.9 million (USD3.53 million) to NZD23.1 million (USD16.66 million) during Mr Sims’ term since 2011. Mr Sims said, “It is now time for a new CEO to bring their own vision and leadership style to one of the best roles in New Zealand“. Recruitment for a replacement will begin immediately.

    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.