News Briefs

    Townsville Airport launches dedicated Uber pick up spots

    Townsville Airport, via its official Facebook account, announced (17-Mar-2017) the launch of dedicated Uber pick up spots within its rental car park. Ridesharing service was legalised by Queensland Government on 05-Sep-2016.

    Air Kiribati and Solomon Airlines to offer services from Tarawa to Honiara, Brisbane and Nadi

    Air Kiribati and Solomon Airlines signed (16-Mar-2017) an agreement establishing a new aviation service linking Tarawa with Honiara, Brisbane and Nadi. Solomon Airlines CEO Brett Gerbers described the signing as an important step for both airlines. Service start date and schedules will be announced in the coming weeks with an official launch to be held in Tarawa. The development builds on a new bilateral air services agreement signed in Nov-2016 and an MoU between the Solomon Islands and Kiribati, aimed at promoting aviation between the two countries as one sector.

    Lagardere Travel Retail opens Aelia Duty Free at Cairns Airport T1

    Cairns Airport welcomed (16-Mar-2017) the opening of Aelia Duty Free across terminal 1 arrivals and departures by Lagardere Travel Retail. Lagardere won a 10 year concession to operate the airport’s duty free and specialty stores. The concession covers over 1000sqm of retail space. Products features in the new outlet is also available online on Aelia Duty Free’s website. Lagardere Travel Retail CEO Matthieu Mercier stated: “We believe it can exceed the expectations of both the terminal and passengers”.

    Mareeba Airport conducting major upgrade

    Mareeba Shire Council invited (07-Mar-2017) four companies to undertake major works under Mareeba Airport’s AUD13 million (USD9.9 million) upgrade. The scope of the project includes upgrading, strengthening and lengthening of the runway, the construction of new taxiways and the development of a new aviation commercial precinct. Mayor Tim Gilmore stated the proposed aviation commercial precinct will house MRO and flight training operations (Cairns Post, 17-Mar-2017). The majority of the work is scheduled to complete by late 2017, allowing future operators to move in early 2018.

    ACI confirms Nadi International Airport achieves Level 1 Airport Carbon Accreditation

    Airports Council International confirmed (10-Mar-2017) Nadi International Airport achieved Level 1 Mapping Airport Carbon Accreditation. As previously reported by CAPA, the airport is undergoing a FJD130 million (USD62.7 million) modernisation project to implement more natural lighting within the terminal among other environmental initiatives.

    WA Tourism Council welcomes new tourism minister

    Tourism Council WA welcomed (16-Mar-2017) the appointment of Paul Papalia MLA as Tourism Minister in the new Labor Government. Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said Mr Papalia had been a strong voice for tourism during his time as opposition spokesperson for the industry. “With tourism injecting more than AUD9 billion (USD6.9 billion) into the State economy annually and creating more than 97,000 jobs for Western Australians, it is an incredibly valuable industry for the future of WA which has the potential to replace job losses in other industries as their economic impact declines”, Mr Hall said.

    Cairns Airport plans to further upgrade retail offering in late 2017

    Cairns Airport revealed (16-Mar-2017) plans to further upgrade its retail offering in late 2017. The airport welcomed Lagardere Travel Retail’s Aelia Duty Free store across terminal 1’s arrival and departure on 16-Mar-2017.

    Cairns Airport launches dedicated pick up zones for ridesharing vehicles

    Cairns Airport launched (16-Mar-2017) a dedicated pick up zones for ridesharing vehicles at terminal 1 and 2. The airport officially welcomed Uber and other ridesharing services to operate at the airport.

    Tourism Australia notes power of social media in driving interest in Australia

    Tourism Australia MD John O’Sullivan said the power of social media to drive interest in Australia was “a continuing evolution” (Courier Mail, 17-Mar-2017). “We have about 8.3 million advertising agencies come to this country every year. People who come to this country, take these amazing images and post them on social media are some of the greatest advocates for Australia we have… It’s far more effective than a paid piece of advertising. It’s authenticity cuts through”, he said.

    Facebook: High level of trip planning conducted on mobile device

    Facebook acting MD Australia and New Zealand Paul McCrory stated 85% of the social media site’s 1.6 billion users planned travel on a mobile phone as opposed to 63% who used a desk or laptop computer (Courier Mail, 17-Mar-2017).

    Data mining the future of tourism: Google Australia

    Google Australia and New Zealand MD Jason Pellegrino stated artificial intelligence had a key role to play in anticipating travellers’ needs, adding that cookie crumbs can anticipate needs ahead of time (Courier Mail, 17-Mar-2017). Mr Pellegrino noted: “These cookie crumbs are what we call micro-moments — where a consumer is putting a signal out that I’m actually in the “dream” phase or “I’m ready to book”… It’s about anticipating someone’s needs before they even know what they want themselves”. Mr Pellegrino said Google had trained more than 12,500 engineers globally, adding: “It means when people are searching for specific destinations, we have a lot of information about them — where they are, what they like, and if they’re open to sharing those data points with us we can deliver them a personalised service… We need to change from a world where we are focused on reaching our audience and converting that into how you as an organisation through marketing can engage and capture the attention of potential tourists and then assist them through the process”.

    Fiji Airways adds three new routes, refreshes product and expands relationships over 2016

    Fiji Airways reported (16-Mar-2017) the following operational highlights for 2016:

    • Launched new routes to Singapore, San Francisco and Vava’u;
    • Increased frequency to Hong Kong from three to five times weekly. Increased seasonal frequencies to Auckland, Apia, Christchurch, Los Angeles, Sydney, Nuku’alofa, Funafuti, Savusavu, Taveuni and Kadavu;
    • Signed an agreement for five new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, arriving in 2018 and 2019;
    • Started long-haul A330-300 operations;
    • Hired 27 pilots and 82 new cabin crew to cater for increased operations;
    • Undertook onboard product refresh, including IFE, meals & wines and a new business class amenity kit;
    • Completed design of new lounge at Nadi International Airport with capacity for 200 guests, to be opened mid-2017.
    • The launch of the UP! Your Service programme to develop and form a new service culture;
    • Introduction of a ‘Premier Services’ team at Nadi and Suva airports, offering concierge services to VVIP passengers;
    • Added dedicated Tabua Club membership programme team;
    • Completed IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) accreditation for Fiji Link;
    • Strengthened codeshare agreement with American Airlines, connecting to 38 destinations in the US;
    • Entered new interline agreement with Jetstar Asia, connecting to more than 21 destinations in Southeast Asia.
    • Launched new aviation academy in Nadi for pilot training, complete with aircraft simulators for both Boeing and Airbus aircraft. The academy will offer ab-initio pilot training for pilots from Fiji and the Pacific region.

    Qantas notes needs for airlines to ‘adapt and change’ to survive

    Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce noted the needs for airlines to continuing adapt to the environment, commenting that current challenges facing Cathay Pacific “is a lesson to all carriers around the globe to adapt and change… That’s the way you survive” (Bloomberg, 16-Mar-2017). Mr Joyce noted that “airlines go through these phases…we’ve gone through it a couple of times in our history… They are going through it now. Cathay have a good management, have got a great brand and a great franchise. Everybody needs to make sure that they allow Cathay to do the right thing and change their business”. He noted a highly challenging competitive situation in global aviation, which is having a negative impact on yield and RASK, noting that Qantas has “survived because we have adapted and changed”.

    Qantas Airways notes need for considerable transformation in the aviation sector

    Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce said transformation in the aviation sector is “ongoing so we never see the airline industry being such that you can rest on your laurels, you have to continuously transform.. to ensure the airline maintains its position” of profitability (Bloomberg, 16-Mar-2017). He said the carrier focuses cost and profit improvements on utilising newer technologies and efficiencies in the business. Mr Joyce also noted the carrier has “been very good at…is generating ancillary revenues through new business”.

    Qantas sees first signs of capacity moderation

    Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce said the carrier is seeing the “first signs” of capacity easing and moderating, which is enabling yields to stabilise (Bloomberg, 16-Mar-2017).

    Fiji Airways to pay-out bonuses of USD1900-USD4350 to staff after record 2016 result

    Fiji Airways announced (16-Mar-2017) the following profit-share and management-bonus arrangements based on its 2016 results:

    • Non-management staff of Fiji Airways and Fiji Link will receive a profit-share payout of FJD4000 (USD1937) each, approximately 20% higher than 2015;
    • Managers will receive a bonus of no less than FJD9000 (USD4358) each, approximately 20% higher than 2015.
      This is in addition to bonuses of up to FJD1200 (USD581) p/a that non-management staff of Fiji Airways and Fiji Link already stand to earn for achievement of key objectives.

    Qantas will ‘never IPO Jetstar’

    Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce said the company “will never IPO Jetstar“, adding that “we don’t want them competing against each other” (Bloomberg, 16-Mar-2017).

    Fiji Airways yields under pressure throughout 2016

    Fiji Airways MD and CEO Andre Viljoen reported (16-Mar-2017) yields were under pressure throughout 2016, due to the combination of increased capacity and discounting by competitors, lower fuel prices, and the disruptive effects of Tropical Cyclone Winston in Feb-2016. In the wake of the cyclone, Fiji Airways led action to re-invigorate travel demand by significantly discounting airfares, which cost the company in excess of FJD40 million (USD19.4 million) in lost revenue.

    Qantas Airways has no plans to relaunch LCC plans in Hong Kong

    Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce said there are no plans to relaunch plans for an LCC in Hong Kong, but said the carrier is “very very optimistic about the opportunities we have” with other Jetstar brands in Asia

    China is ‘phenomenal market for us currently and in the future’: Qantas

    Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce said China is a “phenomenal market for us currently and in the future” (Bloomberg, 16-Mar-2017). Mr Joyce said China tourism into Australia is “significant” with growth of over 13% p/a forecast over the next 10 years. He noted the carrier is capitalising on its partnership with China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines and its oneworld partnership in Cathay Pacific. He also said the carrier is “also very big in the freight market” to China with “huge opportunities to grow moving forward”.

    Tourist arrivals to Vanuatu by air up 6% in 2016, tourist spending up 9%

    International Finance Corporation released (16-Mar-2017) the results of an international visitor survey in partnership with Vanuatu‘s Government and undertaken by the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute of Auckland University. The survey measured travel patterns, behaviours and spending by international visitors arriving in Vanuatu by air and shows tourist spending in Vanuatu increased 9% year-on-year to USD145 million in 2016. Arrivals increased 6% and spending per person also increased. Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia accounted for 74% of arrivals and 68% of tourist spending. Vanuatu Tourism Office GM Adela Aru said: “The results show there is still plenty of work to be done to increase visitors from Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia to return numbers to 2014 levels”.

    Qantas ‘very committed’ to oneworld

    Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce stated the oneworld alliance is a “great alliance… you have partnerships there which are really important with us, like American Airlines, like LAN Chile, like JAL… and it allows you to have partnerships outside the oneworld alliance” (Bloomberg, 16-Mar-2017). He said the carrier has no plans to exit the alliance, adding that it is “very committed” to oneworld and partnerships both in and out of the alliance.

    Fiji Airways outlines ‘ambitious goals’ for 2017

    Fiji Airways MD and CEO Andre Viljoen reported (16-Mar-2017) 2017 will be “another busy year” for the airline with “even more ambitious goals for ourselves”. Plans and targets for 2017 include:

    • Further on-board product and service enhancement, to attain a four star Skytrax rating during 2018;
    • Increasing focus on Singapore with a dedicated new sales team;
    • Targeting increase in Indian travellers via codeshare partnership with Jet Airways;
    • Launch of Nadi-Adelaide route in Jun-2017;
    • Extend Nadi-San Francisco operation to year round service;
    • Reinforce pilot progression plan, with future pilot recruitment for Fiji Airways to occur through Fiji Link.

    Tourism Australia: Holiday demand from UK to Australia is near all-time high

    Tourism Australia MD John O’Sullivan said holiday demand from the UK to Australia is near an all-time high (TTGAsia, 16-Mar-2017). Mr O’Sullivan said UK visitors in 2016 were up 4% to around 700,000 and said David Attenborough’s BBC series on the Great Barrier Reef, aired over the Christmas and New Year period, was watched by “around half of the UK”, with strong sales reported as a result. “Not just in the UK but Germany, US and China – so it’s clearly a message that resonates around the world”, Mr O’Sullivan said. He also noted that despite a weaker pound “prices on the ground are good” and fare prices are also reasonable. “There is plenty of capacity on airlift – via the Middle East or Asia or even Chinese carriers now. And since fares are as low as they’ve ever been, it’s not difficult to find a sub-GBP600 return from the UK”, he said.