News Briefs

    Brisbane West Wellcamp celebrates first anniversary of Airnorth Melbourne and Cairns service

    Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport celebrated (14-Mar-2017) the first anniversary of Airnorth’s Toowoomba-Melbourne and Toowoomba-Cairns routes, which launched on 14-Mar-2016 and 15-Mar-2016 respectively. Airnorth announced plans to increase Toowoomba-Melbourne frequency from seven to ten times weekly from 08-May-2017, further increasing to 11 times weekly in Jun-2017. The carrier also plans to increase Toowoomba-Cairns frequency in winter 2017.

    Australian International Aviation College requests to expand training facility at Kempsey Airport

    Kempsey Airport received an application from Australian International Aviation College (AIAC) to conduct an AUD18 million (USD13 million) expansion project on its flight training facility at the airport (Macleay Argus, 14-Mar-2017). The expansion will increase capacity from 90 to 150 students p/a, raising aircraft movement from 11,475-17,212 to 22,950-28,687 movements p/a. The application is currently under review by the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel.

    Gold Coast Airport receives Best Regional Airport Australia/Pacific award by Skytrax again

    Gold Coast Airport received (15-Mar-2017) its third Best Regional Airport Australia/Pacific award by Skytrax. Airport COO Marion Charlton stated the recognition “will help boost the profile of the Gold Coast and northern New South Wales internationally ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games”.

    Victoria Government considers developing new airport in Melbourne

    Victoria Government reportedly committed AUD5 billion (USD3.7 billion) over the next five years to secure the site for a third commercial airport in Melbourne (Herald Sun/The Australian, 14/15-Mar-2017). The proposed airport will reportedly benefit 35% of the Victorian population that lives in the southeast region. Private company Paragon Business Group has offered to develop the airport that is expected to commence operation in 2030.

    Brisbane Airport receives Skytrax Best Airport in Australia/Pacific Region for two consecutive years

    Brisbane Airport was awarded (15-Mar-2017) Best Airport in Australia/Pacific Region by Skytrax for two consecutive years. The airport’s world ranking also rose from 17th to 16th according to Skytrax 2017 World’s Top 100 Airports list.

    Visitor arrivals to Australia up 17% in Jan-2017

    Tourism Australia reported (14-Mar-2017) visitor arrivals to Australia rose 17% in Jan-2017. Details include:

    Visitor arrivals: 725,800, +17.0% year-on-year;

    • China: 166,100, +45.1%;
    • New Zealand: 87,600, -1.0%;
    • UK: 73,600, +2.5%;
    • US: 59,500, +14.4%;
    • Singapore: 19,100, +23.2%.


    Air Niugini confirms plan for Townsville service

    Air Niugini confirmed (14-Mar-2017) it will launch twice weekly Port Moresby-Townsville service, commencing 31-Mar-2017 – see Route Changes Table for more information. The inclusion of Townsville brings the number of Air Niugini nonstop destinations in Australia to four (Brisbane, Sydney, Cairns, Townsville), as well as codeshare services to both Melbourne and Perth. Air Niugini operates to Australia 25 times weekly.

    Qantas Group Travel rolls out updated website

    Qantas Group announced (14-Mar-2017) it has updated its Group Travel website to improve the booking experience. The website offers products to suit a variety of group types, sizes and travel needs.

    Tourism Council WA welcomes 12% increase in international visitors in 2016

    Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall welcomed (14-Mar-2017) the publication of tourism industry statistics showing international arrivals to the state rose 12.4% year-on-year in 2016. Tourism WA stated the tourism industry’s hard work to win back international visitor market share has paid dividends. The growth in visitors included significant increases in leisure (+23.7%) and education (+15.6%) visitors. Mr Hall welcomed the new Labor state government’s commitment of AUD85 million (USD64.2 million) p/a over five years for tourism marketing and events would enable the tourism industry to increase growth and create jobs, winning back more of the lost market share.

    TTF urges new WA Premier to take on tourism portfolio

    Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) urged (14-Mar-2017) new Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan to assume responsibility for the tourism portfolio and for WA Labor to demonstrate a commitment to the tourism sector. TTF CEO Margy Osmond said the slowing of the resources sector meant tourism was now more important than ever to the state.

    Qantas Group CEO urges seamless international travel between Australia and New Zealand

    Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said there is no reason why international travel between Australia and New Zealand “should be not like travel within New Zealand” (AAP, 14-Mar-2017). Seamless international travel between the two countries would require simplified border arrangements. For Qantas, it would “improve our efficiency dramatically” from an infrastructure perspective as it would allow the carrier to use domestic terminals.

    Solomon Airlines suspends service to Santa Cruz

    Solomon Airlines suspended twice Honiara-Santa Cruz service, citing landowner disputes related to claims of ownership for local airstrips (Radio New Zealand, 14-Mar-2017). Solomon Airlines spokesperson Colin Sigimanu said the carrier is waiting for the resolution of a dispute between the claimants of the land where the airstrip is located and the government.

    Qatar Airways to increase Doha-Adelaide service to daily frequency

    Qatar Airways plans to increase Doha-Adelaide service from five times weekly to daily, effective 02-Dec-2017 – see Route Changes Table for more information (Routes Online, 14-Mar-2017). The carrier is the sole operator on the route. The carrier will deploy A350-900 equipment on a route.

    New Zealand and China enter bilateral air services agreement negotiations

    New Zealand Transport Minister Simon Bridges confirmed the country has entered bilateral air services agreement negotiations with China, and Chinese carriers are “banging on the door” for more capacity into New Zealand

    ATSB reiterates lithium battery warnings following incident with battery powered headphones

    Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) reiterated (15-Mar-2017) lithium battery warnings, following an incident involving battery operated headphones on a flight from Beijing to Melbourne. ATSB stated:

    • Batteries should be kept in an approved stowage, unless in use;
    • Spare batteries must be in carry-on baggage and not checked baggage;
    • If a passenger’s smart phone or other device has fallen into the seat gap, devices should be located before moving powered seats. If a passenger cannot locate their device, they should refrain from moving their seat and contact cabin crew.

    New Zealand tourism stakeholders project USD956m needed in basic common infrastructure investment

    Local Government New Zealand, Tourism Industry Aotearoa, Air New Zealand and Wellington and Christchurch airports released a costing estimate, projecting New Zealand requires NZD1.38 billion (USD956.1 million) in investment in basic infrastructure to allow local communities to keep up with the increasing tourist numbers (, 14-Mar-2017). The estimate outlines 683 projects, including public amenities, vehicle parking, camping areas, public WiFi and other common use infrastructure. The report called for the infrastructure spending to be financed by central and local government, and private tourism operators.

    New Zealand and Colombia sign bilateral air services agreement

    New Zealand Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced New Zealand and Colombia signed new a bilateral air services agreement, allowing carriers from each country to operate up to 14 weekly frequencies between each other, and unlimited cargo services (NZ Herald, 15-Mar-2017). Mr Bridges said New Zealand is “well placed as a stop-over point between South America and Asia” and the agreement with Colombia “broadens opportunities for people to explore New Zealand before continuing their travel elsewhere”.

    Tourism Research Australia projects Queensland tourism will add 20,000 workers over three years

    Tourism Research Australia estimated tourism employment in Queensland will increase from 230,000 to 250,000 within three years (The Courier-Mail, 14-Mar-2017).

    A4ANZ to focus on taxes, airport charges and border processes

    Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the new Airlines for Australia and New Zealand (A4ANZ) lobby group plans to focus on three key areas: airport charges, taxation, and border processes and controls (Australian Financial Review, 14-Mar-2017).

    Air New Zealand to deploy Boeing 787-9 on Auckland-Adelaide

    Air New Zealand announced (15-Mar-2017) it will operate Boeing 787-9 equipment on Auckland-Adelaide service from Oct-2017, replacing A320 equipment on three times weekly frequency and increasing seat capacity by 23%. A320 equipment will operate an additional three times weekly service during the peak season. The carrier will deploy the 787 on the route from 26-Oct-2017 to 25-Mar-2018. With 787 deployment, Air New Zealand will offer its premium economy and ‘Business Premier’ cabins on the route for the first time.