News Briefs

    Rex pax numbers up 20% in Jan-2017, 58% load factor

    Regional Express (Rex) reported (28-Feb-2017) the following traffic highlights in Jan-2017:

    • Passenger numbers: 68,000, +20% year-on-year;
    • Passenger load factor: 57.9%, +2.0 ppts.


    Visitor arrivals to Fiji up 13% in Jan-2017

    Fiji Bureau of Statistic reported (28-Feb-2017) total visitor arrivals to Fiji rose 12.5% year-on-year in Jan-2017. Detail include:

    • Visitor arrivals: 64,943, +12.5% year-on-year;
      • Australia: 30,128, +3.4%;
      • New Zealand: 9251, +15.7%;
      • China: 5908, +60.5%;
      • US: 5533, +22.4%;
      • UK: 1349, +5.1%;
      • Canada: 918, +5.0%;
      • South Korea: 749, +15.2%;
      • Japan: 587, -12.0%;
      • India: 353, +3.5%;
      • Hong Kong: 30, -21.1%.


    Australia’s BITRE reports domestic on-time performance in 2016

    Australia’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) reported (01-Mar-2017) the overall domestic on-time performance for participating airlines averaged 85% for on-time departures and 84% for on-time arrivals in 2016. Details include:

    • On-time departures: 85.1%;
      • Jetstar: 73.3%;
      • Qantas: 88.0%;
      • QantasLink: 85.7%;
      • Regional Express: 87.5%;
      • Tigerair: 83.1%;
      • Virgin Australia: 88.4%
      • Virgin Australia Regional Airlines: 86.8%;
    • On-time arrivals: 84.2%;
      • Jetstar: 76.2%;
      • Qantas: 86.4%;
      • QantasLink: 85.0%;
      • Regional Express: 84.4%;
      • Tigerair: 81.6%
      • Virgin Australia: 86.7%;
      • Virgin Australia Regional Airlines: 84.3%;
    • Cancellations: 1.7%;
      • Jetstar: 1.9%;
      • Qantas: 1.2%;
      • QantasLink: 2.5%;
      • Regional Express: 0.6%;
      • Tigerair: 0.9%;
      • Virgin Australia: 1.9%;
      • Virgin Australia Regional Airlines: 1.3%.


    Wellington International Airport CEO ‘disappointed’ with court decision

    Wellington International Airport CEO Steve Sanderson stated he is “disappointed” with the Court of Appeal’s decision that its 90m runway end safety area (RESA) is insufficient and should be extended to the greatest distance practicable between 90m and 240m (News Talk ZB/NZ Herald/Radio NZ, 28-Feb-2017). Mr Sanderson assures “it’s certainly not the end of the road for the runway extension” project, “we have several options in front of us” including taking the case to the Supreme Court. As previously reported by CAPA, New Zealand Air Line Pilotsʼ Association first appeal against Civil Aviation Authority and the airport authority for allowing a 90m RESA.


    Qantas buys back USD3.1m in shares, USD63m remaining in scheme

    Qantas reported (01-Mar-2017) it acquired 1,068,992 shares through an open market buy back, for a total consideration of AUD4 million (USD3.1 million). The shares were acquired at a range of AUD2.76 to AUD3.75 (USD2.11 to USD2.87). Qantas reported AUD82.4 million (USD63 million) of the total AUD366 million (USD279.8 million) share buy back allocation remains.


    ATSB investigating Singapore Airlines Canberra flight for descent below lowest safe altitude

    Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) commenced (Feb-2017) an investigation into an incident involving a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 that descended below lowest safe altitude during approach to Canberra Airporton 22-Feb-2017. The ATSB will interview the flight crew and gather additional information. Singapore Airlines VP public affairs Nicholas Ionides stated the airline is fully cooperating with the investigation (The Straits Times, 01-Mar-2017).


    NZALPA calls for suspension of environmental consent process for Wellington runway extension

    New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association (NZALPA) asked (01-Mar-2017) the Environment Court of New Zealand for an adjournment of the Resource Management Act consents process for Wellington International Airport Limited‘s (WIAL) runway extension application. The request follows a decision in the Court of Appeal of New Zealand requiring the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority director to reconsider his review of the 90m safety area for an extended Wellington International Airport runway. Hearings are scheduled for Jun-2017. According to NZALPA, the consent process should be halted, as parties which have lodged submissions “would be expending considerable resources on a proposal which may be withdrawn or altered and that is seeks the current hearing fixture and timetable be vacated.”


    NZALPA welcome Court of Appeal decision to review Wellington Airport’s RESA

    New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association (NZALPA) welcomed (28-Feb-2017) the Court of Appeal’s decision for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to reconsider Wellington Airport‘s proposed 90m runway end safety area as part of its runway extension project. CAA and Wellington Airport were also requested to pay NZALPA for costs of taking this action. The court stated CAA incorrectly adopted a cost-benefit test when deciding whether a 240m RESA was “practicable” and did not consider the possibility of installing an arrestor system.


    Australian Airports Association launches online wildlife hazard management course

    Australian Airports Association (AAA) launched (28-Feb-2017) an online education programme to help airport and aerodrome operators around Australia better manage risk caused by wildlife. The course includes four modules including wildlife hazard management; development and monitoring a wildlife hazard management plan; the identification of different wildlife hazards and control measures; and wildlife strike reporting.


    dnata opens new cargo facility at Adelaide Airport

    dnata opened (27-Feb-2017) a 1500sqm airside cargo facility at Adelaide Airport with capacity for up to 80 tonnes of cargo per day. The facility provides storage for exports and imports and was developed from an existing cold store facility. The site meets customs, quarantine, Office of Transport Security and TSA requirements and includes refrigerated and ambient temperature product options. The facility is designed to support future growth for new and existing airlines to meet growing demand for South Australian exports and imports. The facility is dnata’s fourth largest in Australia. dnata previously served the South Australian cargo market through a 400sqm off-airport facility. The company currently provides services to China Southern AirlinesQatar Airways and Virgin Australia in Adelaide.


    Regional Express completes first year of WA operations, raises route capacity by 35% overall

    Regional Express (Rex) completed (28-Feb-2017) one year of Regular Public Transport (RPT) route operations in Western Australia (WA). The carrier operates 23 times weekly Perth-Albany and 18 times weekly Perth-Esperance routes, under five-year exclusive RPT contract with the Western Australia Government. Rex GM network strategy & sales Warrick Lodge stated the carrier has increased the number of services across the two routes by 35% when compared to the previous contract holder, Virgin Australia Regional Airlines, which “withdrew services citing a lack of viability on the routes”.


    Air New Zealand dismisses claims of anti-competitive relationship with Virgin Australia in Samoa

    Air New Zealand manager – Samoa Laura Senara dismissed allegations in the Samoan media that the carrier is working with Virgin Australia in a duopoly relationship and colluding on airfares and capacity (Samoa Observer, 25-Feb-2017). Ms Senara affirmed there is “zero relationship between Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia in Samoa“, although the carriers are engaged in a regulated alliance on trans-Tasman services. Air New Zealand plans to add 3700 seats into the Samoan market “in the next six months” said Ms Senara, building on an 18.1% increase in seat capacity between 2014 and 2016.


    Tourism Fiji appoints relationships manager for Australian market

    Tourism Fiji appointed Jason Sacriz as trade partnerships manager – Australia, effective early Mar-2017 (Travel Monitor, 01-Mar-2017). In the newly-created role, Mr Sacriz will concentrate on wholesalers and retailer relationships, as well as travel industry operators. Tourism Fiji is also seeking a regional manager for its Australian office.


    Qantas self develops and implements API gateway to support technology choices

    Qantas manager digital technology and services Jessica Lin stated Qantas decision to develop and implement its own API gateway and management platform provides it with capabilities to design, build, upgrade and support its own platform to support its technology choices (Computerworld, 01-Mar-2017). Ms Lin acknowledged that self-developing the platform was a “rather unconventional approach for a larger enterprise.” Qantas plans to implement Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) support to allow it to “unlock the value from our legacy services”, commented Ms Lin. The airline is also adopting microservices architecture, which allows software developers to work without interfering with the areas of other teams.


    Cathay Pacific to launch seasonal Hong Kong-Christchurch service

    Cathay Pacific announced (28-Feb-2017) plans to launch seasonal Hong Kong-Christchurch service from 01-Dec-2017 to 28-Feb-2018. The carrier will operate three times weekly on the route with A350-900 XWB aircraft. Reservation is now available, however remains subject to government approval. As previously reported by CAPA, Cathay Pacific and Air New Zealand extended their strategic partnership on services between New Zealand and Hong Kong for a further five years until 2022. The alliance has been in place since Jan-2013 and includes reciprocal frequent flyer benefits.


    Launceston Airport to conduct terminal reconfiguration in mid Mar-2017

    Launceston Airport announced (28-Feb-2017) a AUD2 million (USD1.5 million) reconfiguration project that will commence in mid Mar-2017. The project aims to accelerate passenger boarding process to allow travellers more time within the retail and dining precinct. Passengers can expect a re-orientated security screening facility located directly after check-in, enhanced flight information displays and signage, new passenger amenities, additional seating and power charging points and a new automated CCTV-controlled security exit.