News Briefs – 4th April 2017

    Virgin Australia resumes Melbourne-Los Angeles service

    Virgin Australia relaunched (04-Apr-2017) Melbourne-Los Angeles service on 04-Apr-2017, operating five times weekly – see Route Changes Table for more information. The carrier will operate Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on the route, configured with 37 business seats, 24 premium economy and 278 economy seats. Virgin Australia Airlines group executive John Thomas stated Los Angeles and North America is an important market for the carrier which, in partnership with Delta Air Lines, offers 25 return services per week across the Pacific.

    Council seek expression of interest for runway asphalt overlay works at Roma Airport

    Maranoa Regional Council issued (02-Apr-2017) an expression of interest for supply and placement of asphalt overlay on Roma Airport‘s runway. The airport’s 1504m x 30m runway is predominantly used by QantasLink which operates regular Q400 passenger service, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, LifeFlight, general aviation movements and resource company charters. The project aims to restore the runway to its design capacity of 16 Q400 movements per week. Tender submissions closes on 28-Apr-2017.

    Roma Airport reveals newly renovated terminal

    Roma Airport revealed (31-Mar-2017) the product of a AUD3.3 million (USD2.5 million) terminal renovation project. Works include:

    • Expand check-in area by 90sqm;
    • Reconfiguration of passenger screening to facilitate better flow;
    • Improved baggage claim facilities to allow for a new arrivals area with a baggage reclaim belt;
    • Increased amenities for male, female, wheelchair and parents;
    • Additional cafés;
    • Development of a security staff office;
    • Extended passenger check-in conveyer system;
    • Fire and water system upgrades.

    The project was conducted by SM & KA Duff Builders and funded by external organisations and airport passenger tax.

    Queenstown Airport launches construction on long term car park facility ‘Park and Ride’

    Queenstown Airport commenced (03-Apr-2017) construction on a long term car park facility, Park and Ride, on Brookes Road which will be serviced by regular shuttle busses to the airport terminal. The facility is expected to commence operation before Jun-2017 and will be on trial for 12 months. Colin Keel stated Park and Ride is “a big step forward in the airport’s parking and traffic flow improvement plans” as it aims to resolve the issue of cars parking along Kawarau Road which have become both a safety issue and an eyesore. Queenstown District Council is also developing new parking strategy to ensure travellers do not park their vehicles on residential streets for extended periods.

    Rockhampton Airport closes due to flood

    Rockhampton Airport, on its official website, announced (04-Apr-2017) the airport is temporarily closed until further notice as it braces for a 9m flood. All scheduled services will be redirected to Gladstone Airport.

    Quilpie Airport issues tender for construction of 340sqm terminal building

    Quilpie Airport invited (Apr-2017) tenders to participate in the construction of a new 340sqm purpose designed airport terminal building. Scope of work includes all associated sub-trade works including electrical and plumbing installation. Tender proposals must be submitted by 21-Apr-2017. Quilpie Shire Council expects to award the tender in late Apr-2017, allowing construction commence in May-2017.

    Air Vanuatu domestic services grounded due to strike action from fuel provider

    Air Vanuatu cancelled domestic service from 03-Apr-2017 until further notice, as a result of ongoing strike action over working conditions by staff at Air Vanuatu’s fuel provider, South Pacific Petroleum (radionz.co.nz, 03-Apr-2017). The strike extends to Pacific Petroleum refuelling stations and is the second for 2017.

    Air New Zealand to partner with Snapchat in NZ

    Air New Zealand entered an agreement with Snapchat, becoming the first brand in New Zealand to launch campaigns with the social media networking tool (adnews.com.au, 03-Apr-2017). Snapchat will run advertising videos nationwide for Air New Zealand. Campaigns will include geofilters and sponsored ‘lenses’, permitting certain overlays for users videos. Air New Zealand GM global brand and content marketing Jodi Williams said the carrier is interested to see New Zealanders engage with the first national geofilter.

    Air New Zealand responds to claims of misleading advertising as ‘genuine mistake’

    Air New Zealand responded to claims of misleading advertising as a “genuine mistake” (nzherald.com.nz, 03-Apr-2017). The carrier advertised return fares for Auckland-Honolulu at NZD499 (USD349) in a daily alert email and on its Grabaseat website, however was quick to apologise to customers and correct the error.

    Australia visa processing may take three weeks due to high demand

    Australia‘s High Commission in India advised visa applicants not to finalise their travel arrangements until receipt of a visa, noting that the visa office at the Australian High Commission, New Delhi is currently experiencing a very high volume of Visitor visa lodgements from applicants travelling to Australia from India, especially in the upcoming summer months (tourismbreakingnews.com, 03-Apr-2017). Visitor-Tourist visa applications are currently taking up to 17 working days (over three weeks) to be processed. Visitor-Business visa applications are currently taking up to 10 working days (up to two weeks) to be processed.

    Global Eagle signs exclusive content agreement with Qantas and Jetstar

    Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE) opened a new office in Sydney to support an exclusive content services agreement signed with Qantas and Jetstar (runwaygirlnetwork.com, 03-Apr-2017). Under the arrangement, GEE will offer a full IFE content line up, including movies, TV shows and music via seatback, overhead and wireless systems on board more than 200 Qantas aircraft, as well as across Jetstar’s fleet of Boeing 787s.

    Virgin Australia asks travellers about pricing for WiFi video streaming service

    Virgin Australia released an online survey, asking passengers to answer questions to help the airline determine the cost of its planned inflight WiFi streaming video service (ausbt.com.au, 30-Mar-2017). The carrier plans to undertaking a three month trial of the new WiFi service, but has yet to determine whether it will be a free or charged service and whether it will be a multi-tier offering. In the survey, Virgin offers a choice between a basic connection costing between AUD8 and AUD14 (USD6 and USD10) per flight, as well as a high speed connection between AUD15 and AUD21 (USD11 and USD16) per flight. Virgin Australia Airlines group executive John Thomas mentioned on some flights the price could be free, or the first 30 minutes could be free.

    Qantas engages lobbying group for joint venture with American Airlines

    Qantas engaged Washington law firm Wiley Rein to assist with lobbying the Trump Administration for approval on a JV with American Airlines (thehill.com, 04-Apr-2017). The bid was originally rejected in 2016 by the Obama Administration as it was believed the venture would result in unfair competition, however the application can now be refiled under the new administration. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said Qantas is still working through the implications and reviewing the options with the Trump administration. As previously reported by CAPA, the carriers announced in late Jan-2017 their intention to re-file for anti-trust immunity to expand their joint business arrangement, and intend to “make a strong case for the full consumer, tourism and trade benefits that would come with anti-trust immunity.”

    PNG launches dual citizenship for foreigners in select countries

    Papua New Guinea (PNG) Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Rimbink Pato officially launched dual citizenship for select countries, with the arrangement taking three years to be approved (EMTV Online, 30-Mar-2017). Countries included in the launch include AustraliaNew ZealandFijiVanuatuSamoaUKGermany and US. Mr Pato said was a “historic moment for PNG”.

    Queensland again ‘open for business’: Tourism Minister Kate Jones

    Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones stated (03-Apr-2017) Queensland is once again “open for business” in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie. Ms Jones advised that bodies such as Tourism and Events Queensland and the Regional Tourism Operator network are in the process of planning for the industry recovery process. As part of the plan, to be carried out in partnership with Tourism Australia, a targeted marketing campaign will be released to “encourage everyone to consider a Queensland holiday”.

    NT Government declares India a ‘potential tourism market for Australia and NT’

    Northern Territory Department of Tourism and Culture CEO Alastair Shields declared (29-Mar-2017) India as a future key market for Australia and the Territory, as it is “increasingly becoming a potential tourism market for Australia and the NT” given its status as the world’s second most populated country with a rapidly growing middle class. The Department of Tourism and Culture and Tourism Australia are hosting a travel agent familiarisation tour with nine Indian tourism distribution partners to promote and sell the Northern Territory to the Indian market.

    Qantas applies to extend capacity to allow codeshare with Emirates and SriLankan to Singapore

    Qantas issued (03-Apr-2017) a request to Australia‘s International Air Services Commission (IASC) requesting an extension to a 2013 determination allocating 300 seats per week between Australia and Singapore. Qantas seeks to retain the existing conditions in the determination:

    • Capacity may be utilised by Qantas or another wholly-owned Australian subsidiary;
    • Capacity may be used by Qantas to provide joint services with any wholly-owned subsidiary;
    • Capacity may be used by Qantas to provide services jointly with Emirates and SriLankan Airlines.

    Virgin Australia announces exclusive airline partnership with Live Nation

    Virgin Australia announced (31-Mar-2017) a partnership with Live Nation Australasia to manage the travel needs of touring artists and personnel. Virgin Australia is the first airline partner for Live Nation, opening up marketing opportunities for Virgin Australia at Live Nation concerts and events. Virgin Australia chief marketing officer Inese Kingsmill stated the partnership provides Virgin Australia with the opportunity to “support the unique travel needs of many of the world’s greatest and most exciting artists.” Other Live Nation partners include American ExpressFlight Centre, Europcar and Hilton Hotels and Resorts.

    Air Marshall Islands revises international resumption to mid-Apr-2017

    Air Marshall Islands made further adjustment to planned international service resumption with the carrier scheduling Majuro-Tarawa service from 13-Apr-2017 (Routes Online, 03-Apr-2017). The weekly service, operating with Bombardier Dash8-100 aircraft, was previously scheduled from 06-Apr-2017.

    Hawaiian Airlines celebrates fourth anniversary of Honolulu-Auckland service

    Hawaiian Airlines celebrated (03-Apr-2017) its fourth anniversary of service on Honolulu-Auckland route, having transported more than 120,000 passengers on the route since 2013. Hawaiian’s service between Auckland and Honolulu has spurred USD247.6 million in total visitor expenditures and generated USD27.6 million in tax revenues, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.