News Briefs

    New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority targeting accidents caused by carelessness with fuel

    New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority reported (13-Mar-2017) it is targeting the high rate of air accidents occurring nationwide due to carelessness with fuel, including issues such as polluted fuel, insufficient fuel or blocked fuel lines. The CAA is holding a series of information seminars across the country from mid-Mar-2017.

    Australian aviation workforce skills study emphasises role of government training, funding & support

    Australia‘s Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development released (Mar-2017) the Aviation Workforce Skills Study, intended to identify the industry’s workforce and skill needs and the actions that can be taken by industry to meet those needs. Key findings include:

    • Strong evidence of a need for an industry-wide approach to aviation workforce planning and development, supported by streamlined policy and regulation;
    • Costs barriers faced by individuals and businesses are well understood. However, there is a need for the industry to invest more in its current and future workforce through public and private funding mechanisms;
    • Around 70% of aviation training delivery is not subsidised by government funding. Vocational aviation students bear four times the fees of the average student, with costs located in the 99th percentile of the student population;
    • 66% of 2015 Aeroskills Training Package attracted government funding, with the remainder funded by industry. This needs to be considered against a general backdrop of a significant reduction in the amount of training delivered;
    • Government funding for the Aeroskills Training Package training reduces from 2011 onwards and there is evidence of a consequent upswing in industry-funded training delivery;
    • Since the introduction of fee help in 2009, the number of aviation students using government loans has risen each year, but the number of licences issued has not;
    • Average post-subsidy debt per student has steadily increased, along with the popularity of the qualifications while upfront payments have fallen slightly. Aviation degrees are heavily subsidised at a Commonwealth and State/Territory level;
    • Aviation workforce gender distribution is unlikely to change in the short term, and unlikely to change in the medium to long term in the absence of targeted initiatives from the industry;
    • Aviation safety regulatory reform in Australia and the potential impact of these on key occupation involved in the reforms at the employer and individual level are key issues. Industry stakeholders questioned the cost/benefit ratio of the reforms for the industry with the potential outcome being even less budget available for staff training in the future;
    • Perceived need for greater centralisation and co-ordination in workforce planning across the aviation industry, to better inform regulatory and policy decisions that may affect the industry in the future;
    • Access to a wide range of data sources related to aviation occupations, licencing data and publicly-funded tertiary and VET funding information is critical for policy makers. The role of government training funding and support was consistently highlighted as critical to the long-term survivability of the industry.

    QAC: NASA commits to use Wanaka Airport as balloon launch base for next 10 years

    Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC), in its Mar-2017 ‘ZQN news’ newsletter, announced (Mar-2017) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) confirmed its commitment to utilise Wanaka Airport as one of its global balloon launch base for the next 10 years. NASA will be developing a dedicated launch pad as part of long term investment into this facility.

    Air New Zealand-Air China codeshare covers seven additional domestic China routes

    Air New Zealand expanded codeshare partnership with Air China to include seven additional city pairs within China, including service from Beijing to Lanzhou, Taiyuan and Yantai and from Shanghai Pudong to Changchun, Harbin, Lanzhou and Xian, effective from around 27-Feb-2017 (Routes Online, 13-Mar-2017). Air New Zealand has 24 codeshare partnership, including Air China, All Nippon AirwaysAsiana Airlines and Cathay Pacific in North Asia, according to OAG.

    Auckland Airport launches first Australian bond issuance

    Auckland International Airport completed (10-Mar-2017) its inaugural bond issuance in Australia, releasing AUD150 million (USD113 million) Australian Medium Term Note (AMTN) of 10.5 year fixed rate bonds due 23-Sep-2027. The issue was open to institutional investors only, using the company’s new wholesale AMTN programme. Earnings from this transaction will be invested into its capital investment programme that will support the Airport’s 30-year vision. Auckland Airport CFO Phil Neutze said “The Australian market was a logical extension” for its offshore issues and this transaction showed “very strong demand”.

    Malindo Air opens bookings for Brisbane service

    Malindo Air opened (13-Mar-2017) bookings for daily Kuala Lumpur-Denpasar-Brisbane service, scheduled to commence on 31-Mar-2017 – see Route Changes Table for more information. The airline will operate the route with Boeing 737-900ER equipment configured with 12 business class and 168 economy seats. The carrier expects the route to attract travellers from the visiting family and relatives, business, diplomatic services and tourism sectors. Brisbane will be the airline’s second destination in Australia after Perth. Malindo Air CEO Chandran Rama Muthy said: “There are immense opportunities for future growth associated with this new connectivity as Brisbane is a significant commercial business hub and tourism gateway… We will certainly work on building beneficial relationships with Malaysian and Australian tourism players and Brisbane Airport authorities, to ensure the success of this new route”.

    Busselton Airport plans to establish service to Melbourne, Sydney, Asia

    Tourism Western Australia chief executive Gwyn Dolphin revealed plans for direct service from Busselton Airport to Melbourne and Sydney, before expanding to Asian markets such asSingapore and Indonesia (Business News, 13-Mar-2017). Mr Dolphin stated Busselton “won’t have any of the traditional fly-in, fly-out elements, so we have to support it in other ways, and that’s got to be leisure and agriculture”.

    Flight Centre Travel Group: Fares from Australia to the UK down 25% in 12 months

    Flight Centre Travel Group MD Graham Turner commented that Sydney-London airfares have declined 25% over the past 12 months (travelweekly.com.au, 14-Mar-2017). Mr Turner said Australians considered the UK a “budget holiday” destination, thanks to the combination of lower fares and the decline in the value of the GBP relative to the AUD since the Brexit vote.

    Air New Zealand to increase Auckland-Buenos Aires-Ezeiza frequency

    Air New Zealand plans to increase Auckland-Buenos Aires-Ezeiza frequency from four to five times weekly from 09-Dec-2017, operating with Boeing 787-9 aircraft, as per a 13-Mar-2017 GDS and inventory timetable display – see Route Changes Table for more information. A fourth weekly service scheduled to be added on 11-Dec-2017 will also now move forward to 06-Nov-2017.