News Briefs

    Fiji and India sign new ASA

    Fiji and India signed (09-Mar-2017) a new Air Services Agreement, replacing the previous ASA signed in 1974. Fiji Government said the new ASA “has been negotiated to meet the conditions that exist now and will exist in the foreseeable future”, while noting that under the new ASA, Fiji Airways has already signed a codeshare agreement with Jet Airways. Fiji is now in the process of reviewing and updating ASAs with other countries, with the “goal of increasing the scope and quality of economic activity and connectivity while at the same time protecting the Fijian aviation industry”.


    New Plymouth Airport hopes to construct new terminal in late 2017

    New Plymouth Airport manager Wayne Wootton stated he hopes construction on the new terminal can commence in late 2017 (Stuff, 08-Mar-2017). As previously reported by CAPA, the council selected a more extravagant NZD22.2 million (USD16 million) proposal for the project. The airport hopes to operate the new terminal by early 2019.


    New Plymouth Airport surveys passengers to help design new terminal

    New Plymouth Airport launched a customer survey to gain insight into passengers’ travel habits, which will help airport authority design the new terminal accordingly (Stuff, 08-Mar-2017). As previously reported by CAPA, the airport plans to develop a new NZD22.2 million (USD16 million) terminal in 2017. The survey is open until 19-Mar-2017.


    Air New Zealand: Airlines are ‘constrained’ by ‘under investment and over recovery at key airports’

    Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon, commenting on the formation and launch of Airlines for Australia and New Zealand (A4ANZ), noted that for regional airlines to be competitive costs and quality in all parts of the travel experience “must continue to improve” while airlines are “constrained by a legacy of under investment and over recovery at key airports” (Stuff/Australian Financial Review, 08-Mar-2017). A4ANZ will “add its voice” to that ambition” said Mr Luxon.


    Qantas Group welcomes formation of A4ANZ, to promote ‘competitive and sustainable airline industry’

    Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce welcomed the formation of Airlines for Australia and New Zealand (A4ANZ), the first unified airline industry body for Australia and New Zealand (Australian Financial Review, 08-Mar-2017). According to Mr Joyce, the goal of the group is to “achieve regulatory reform that will promote a competitive and sustainable airline industry in the interests of Australian and New Zealand travellers”. Mr Joyce noted that airfares continue to decline, while airport fees and charges “continue to increase”.


    Solomon Islands to install biosecurity screeners at Honiara Henderson International Airport

    Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare urged his government to accelerate the procurement of a biosecurity screening machine at Honiara Henderson International Airport (Pacific Islands Report, 07-Mar-2017). The SBD3 million (USD387,000) machine will enable the nation to export root crops overseas. Honiara Henderson International Airport is the country’s only international airport.


    Rex: New A4ANZ body will be ‘critical for regional communities’

    Regional Express (Rex) executive chairman Lim Kim Hai welcomed the formation of Airlines for Australia and New Zealand (A4ANZ), the first unified airline industry body for Australia and New Zealand (Stuff/Australian Financial Review, 08-Mar-2017). Mr Lim said the industry group will be “critical for regional communities as major airports are all too ready to sacrifice critical regional interests”.


    A4ANZ launch as new Australia and New Zealand airline body

    Airlines for Australia and New Zealand (A4ANZ), a new industry group formed by Qantas GroupVirginAustralia GroupAir New Zealand and Regional Express (Rex), officially launched, with former Australian Competition and Consumer Competition chairman Grame Samuel as independent chairman (Stuff/Australian Financial Review, 08-Mar-2017). A CEO will be appointed “in the coming months”. The A4ANZ board will also include representatives from each carrier, including Jetstar Airways and Tigerair Australia. The group’s intention is to address regulatory and airport issues, fares and charges, encourage more investment in aviation infrastructure and push for market reforms.


    Qantas Group CEO: Australian firms need tax reform to encourage re-investment in growth

    Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce stated that the “big focus is on the tax policy” to make Australia more competitive (CNBC, 09-Mar-2017). He noted a need to make sure that people are incentivised to invest back into their businesses. According to Mr Joyce, 98% of Australian companies reported a profit during the Feb-2017 “reporting season” but 89% of these invested money back to their shareholders, rather than back into growth. Australian need to make sure its tax system, education, industrial relations and energy security are all reformed to ensure that investment is made in Australia in the future.


    Brisbane Airport will investigate need for bike lane on Dryandra Road underpass

    Brisbane Airport stated the need for dedicated bike lane on the proposed AUD120 million (USD90.7 million) Dryandra Road underpass “will be further investigated” (Courier Mail, 08-Mar-2017). The airport noted the existing road does not “have a dedicated bike lane and is not part of the cycling or pedestrian network at Brisbane Airport”. As previously reported by CAPA, Dryandra Road underpass will provide continued public access to key airport facilities such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service, General Aviation Terminal and Acacia Street viewing area following its new parallel runway project.


    Canberra Airport vehemently rejects campaign the airport is unsafe

    Canberra Airport rejected (08-Mar-2017) claims that the airport is unsafe for operation due to the proximity of commercial buildings to the runway. The airport stated infrastructure developments on the airport site comply with safety regulations and were assessed and approved by CASA and Airservices Australia.


    Qantas Group most concerned about threat of protectionism

    Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce stated the most concerning issue that would worry the airline about the future is if protectionism became a “big item” in the USChina and elsewhere (CNBC, 09-Mar-2017). My Joyce stated that this in not good for globalisation, trade and travel and he believes that it is a responsibility of business communities to ensure that people understand the implications of protectionism.


    Qantas Group: European capacity share has fallen from above 35% to lower than 12% in 10 years

    Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce reported the share of total capacity dedicated to Europe has declined from over 35% to less than 12% over the past decade, and “we’re reducing our exposure” to Europe even further by flying nonstop to the UK from Australia, with a route from Perth (CNBC, 09-Mar-2017). Qantas is “still seeing very good growth out of the UK in terms of demand” despite the 2016 Brexit vote, said Mr Joyce.


    Guardians of the Bays welcome news Wellington Airport wants to delay runway extension application

    Wellington lobbying group Guardians of the Bays welcomed (06-Mar-2017) news that Wellington International Airport requested an interim adjournment of proceedings from the Environment Court regarding its runway extension application. This request comes in response to Court of Appeal’s ruling that the Civil Aviation Authority must reconsider its decision on the length of the proposed runway safety area. As previously reported by CAPA, Wellington Airport’s request was denied and its resource consent application hearing will be held on 23-Mar-2017.


    Qantas Group: Little impact from Brexit & US travel ban, optimistic about US market

    Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said he sees little impact on the carrier’s business from Brexit and the US travel ban (CNBC, 09-Mar-2017). According to Mr Joyce, the outlook for the US market is for continued good growth and Qantas is “fairly optimistic” about the outlook for the US market, particularly if the Trump Administration implements its planned USD1 trillion stimulus package and tax reforms. The US is a “huge growth market” in business travel and in leisure travel. Mr Joyce noted that Qantas has over a 50% share of the US-Australia travel market.


    Qantas Group CEO: ‘Calculated risks’ need to be taken, tempered by solid strategic debate

    Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said he believes in taking “calculated risks”, although this is helped at Qantas by the diversity and strength of the carrier’s management team that produces “good strategic debates” about the business directions, risks and solutions, and implementing these with a “full understanding” (CNBC, 09-Mar-2017). According to Mr Joyce, even then sometimes the strategies don’t work, and you “just have to be adaptable and flexible to move on to other things”. He cautioned that sometimes not doing anything “produces a worse outcome than doing something, and if it doesn’t work, adapting and moving on”.


    Canberra Airport to receive direct city bus service from 20-May-2017

    Canberra Airport welcomed (09-Mar-2017) a decision by Transport Canberra to provide direct bus services between the airport and city centre from 20-Mar-2017 onwards. The bus service will run 64 times per week with 26 frequencies on Saturdays and 24 on Sundays. Airport MD Stephen Byron stated this transportation option “will be particularly welcomed by our low cost carrier passengers”.


    Brisbane Airport launches trial of SITA Smart Path facial recognition technology

    Brisbane Airport launched (09-Mar-2017) a trial of SITA Smart Path, a system that utilises facial recognition technology to allow passengers to complete the aircraft boarding process without presenting boarding pass or passport once travel documents are registered into the system at check-in. Smart Path can be extended to include any processes and checkpoints that require document checks. Airport GM strategic planning and development Roel Hellemons revealed plans to “integrate with various government systems for immigration and border checks”.


    New Zealand’s popularity increasing in business travel markets 

    Tourism New Zealand reported (24-Feb-201) New Zealand‘s increasing popularity as a destination for international business events. Tourism New Zealand business events manager Lisa Gardiner said New Zealand is performing well as an “attractive and unique” business and conference destination, reporting an estimated value of NZD96.3 million (USD66.5 million) for all conferences bid by Tourism New Zealand in FY2015/16. The body said it will be focusing on promoting New Zealand as a business events destination in AustraliaChina, Southeast Asia, the US and the Global Association markets.


    Tourism New Zealand reports ‘significant growth’ from European markets during 2016

    Tourism New Zealand reported (07-Mar-2017) “significant growth” from European markets, with a 15% year-on-year increase in international visitor arrivals from Germany for the year ending Dec-2016 and a 12% increase from the UK. Tourism New Zealand regional manager Europe Pip Casey commented that New Zealand is: “also witnessing a continuing trend of these visitors coming to New Zealand in the shoulder seasons”.


    Tourism NZ reports over 3.5m visitors for 2016, growth driven by holiday arrivals

    Tourism New Zealand reported (27-Feb-2017) 3.5 million visitors arrivals for for the year ending Jan-2017, an increase of 11% year-on-year. Key highlights include:

    • Holiday arrivals: +15%;
      • Australia: +9%;
      • China: +13%;
    • US: +24%, with close to 300,000 arrivals;
    • Germany: Close to 100,000;

    Tourism New Zealand CEO Brighid Kelly said the organisation will focus efforts on shoulder season campaigns to spread the visitation year round.


    New Zealand an increasingly popular travel destination for Chinese independent travellers

    Tourism New Zealand reported (07-Mar-2017) increasing popularity with Chinese tourists with over 400,000 Chinese visitors traveling to New Zealand p/a. The comments follow the Chinese online forum Qyer naming New Zealand as its destination of the year. Tourism New Zealand GM Asia David Craig said the Qyer online community is an “increasingly common” way for Chinese free independent travellers to investigate countries to visit, and the award is “a real boost to New Zealand tourism”.


    Air Canada requests US DoT approval to codeshare with Virgin Australia

    Air Canada requested (08-Mar-2017) a statement of authorisation from the US Department of Transportation(DoT) to operate a codeshare agreement with Virgin Australia on services operated between the US and Canada, primarily from Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to Los Angeles.