News Briefs

    Rex cooperating with CASA and the ATSB to investigate propeller loss on Flight ZL768

    Regional Express (Rex) confirmed (17-Mar-2017) flight ZL768, operating from Albury to Sydney, suffered an “event associated with the aircraft’s right propeller assembly”. The aircraft lost a propeller during flight, but landed normally at Sydney Airport. Rex is investigating the cause of the incident, and the matter has been reported to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) as well as the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

    Regional NSW tourism overnight visitors up 6.8% year-on-year to Sep-2016

    Destination NSW reported (17-Mar-2017) Regional NSW received 20.6 million domestic overnight visitors for the year ending Sep-2016, an increase of 6.8% year-on-year. The STR Global Tourist Accommodation Snapshot shows demand for accommodation in Regional NSW grew 6.5% in the period, with 2.2 million room nights sold. Occupancy rate grew 3.8ppts, to 66.4%.

    TTF welcomes appointment of transport and tourism ministers for Western Australia

    Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) welcomed (17-Mar-2017) the appointments of Paul Papalia as Western Australia Minister for Tourism and Rita Saffioti as Western Australia Minister for Transport. TTF stated the promoting tourism by boosting funding for destination and business marketing will help to grow the visitor economy and support more jobs and economic activity right across the state.

    Tourism New Zealand: US is a ‘priority market’

    Tourism New Zealand manager Americas and Europe Bjoern Spreitzer said (18-Mar-2017) the US is a “priority market” for New Zealand, with around 30 million people in the country actively considering a holiday in New Zealand. Tourism New Zealand is deepening its relationship with Travel Leaders Network members, in order to provide training and information on travel from the US to New Zealand.

    Tourism NZ: 90% of tourism activity providers operating 12 months after Kaikoura earthquake

    Tourism New Zealand reported (20-Mar-2017) around 91% of tourism activity providers and more than 83% of accommodation providers in Kaikoura are back operating, following the earthquake in Mar-2016.

    Qantas and Slingshot launch start-up initiative

    Qantas Group launched (20-Mar-2017) ‘AVRO Accelerator’, a business accelerator initiative designed in partnership with Slingshot. The programme will provide start-ups with an opportunity to work with Qantas Group mentors and pitch travel, work, technology and business ideas, along with granting access to Qantas Group operational data, technology platforms and anonymised customer insights. Up to 10 teams will be chosen for the 12-week programme. Participants will receive up to AUD150,000 (USD115,600) of funding from the Slingshot Venture Fund. Start-ups and scale-ups will have the opportunity to gain additional future investment from Qantas and the carrier’s investment partners.

    Sunshine Coast Maroochydore Airport upgrades Airport Carbon Accreditation to Level 3+ Neutrality

    Sunshine Coast Maroochydore Airport upgraded (17-Mar-2017) its Airports Council International Airport Carbon Accreditation to Level 3+ Neutrality. It is the 3rd airport in Asia Pacific region to receive carbon neutral rating and the 29th in world.

    Tourism WA: Chinese arrivals just under 50,000 for 12 months to Sep-2016

    Tourism WA reported (13-Mar-2017) Chinese arrivals to the state for the 12 months ended Sep-2016 were 48,600, with total spend of AUD249 million (USD192 million).

    Tourism WA welcomes jump in holiday and student arrivals in 2016

    Tourism WA CEO Gwyn Dolphin reported (15-Mar-2017) Tourism Research Australia statistics showing tourist arrivals growth of 12.4% year-on-year in 2016, to 954,000 people, were “particularly satisfying”, with the 23.7% increase in holiday arrival showing the state is “gaining traction” as a holiday destination. Another positive result was the 15.6% increase in the number of international students choosing the state as their place of study for 2016.

    Sydney Airport improves strategies to grow retail revenue in 2017

    Sydney Airport announced (17-Mar-2017) the following strategies to drive growth in retail revenues for 2017:

    • New outlets launched in 2016 will transition to regular trading patterns to provide consistent rental
      returns for the retail business;
    • Develop new specialty retail stores at Pier C by mid 2017;
    • Further improve terminal 2 retail precincts, including the refurbishment and expansion of T2’s Pier B.

    Fiji Airways appoints new Fiji Link general manager

    Fiji Airways appointed (17-Mar-2017) Athil Narayan as GM of Fiji Link. Mr Narayan replaces Thomas Robinson, who has been appointed as executive GM engineering for Fiji Airways Group. Mr Narayan has held management positions at Fiji Airways, Galileo, Telstra Clear and Freedom Air. He also has senior management experience at Starwood Hotels (Denarau), ANZ, Westpac and Wormald Fire & Security.

    Regional Express will not ground Saab 340 fleet despite safety incident

    Regional Express (Rex) stated it will continue to operated its Saab 340 turboprop fleet, despite a 17-Mar-2017 incident involving the loss of a propeller from an aircraft while on approach to Sydney Airport (ABC/The Guardian, 18-Mar-2017). According to the CAPA Fleet Database, the airline operates a fleet of 51 Saab 340 family turboprops, with an average age of 23.1 years.

    New Fiji Link GM to lead fleet review, brand refocus and service/team cultural transformation

    Fiji Airways Group executive GM for Fiji Link Shaenaz Voss said the “key attention areas” for the new Fiji Link GM, Athil Narayan, will be to review its Twin Otter fleet operation, “refocus” its brand proposition and “bolster the Fiji Link team” (Fiji Times, 19-Mar-2017). Mr Narayan will also lead the Fiji Airways Group’s service culture transformation within Fiji Link.

    Auckland Airport to review incident surrounding death of Aviation Security Service dog

    Auckland Airport announced (18-Mar-2017) it will review the events surrounding the 17-Mar-2017 incident that led to the death of Aviation Security Service dog Grizz. Auckland Airport stated the Emergency Operations Centre team, which includes representatives from border agencies, airlines, ground handlers and New Zealand Police, made the decision only after all other viable options were exhausted.

    Qantas announces streaming video on demand service agreement with Stan

    Qantas, via its official Twitter account, announced (20-Mar-2017) a streaming video on demand service agreement with Stan. The streaming video service will be available on flights with the carrier’s new broadband WiFi system, which will be rolled out across its short haul fleet from late Mar-2017.

    Qantas Points partners with Jaguar Land Rover for frequent flyer benefits

    Qantas Points announced (20-Mar-2017) a partnership with Jaguar Land Rover Automotive, under which Qantas Frequent Flyer members can earn one Qantas Point per AUD1 (USD0.77) spent – up to a maximum of 100,000 per sale – on eligible new Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles from authorised Australian retailers.

    Flight Centre reports 120% spike in New Zealand business class bookings in 2016

    Flight Centre GM of product Sean Berenson reported business class bookings by New Zealand travellers increased 120% year-on-year in 2016 (NZ Herald, 18-Mar-2017). Mr Berenson said he expects the “rampant” growth in business class travel seen in 2016 to continue through to 2017.

    Qantas CEO notes ‘danger’ for Asian hubs in losing hub status

    Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce said Hong Kong is in danger of losing its role as an international aviation hub amid intense competition from the Middle East and China (South China Morning Post, 19-Mar-2017). “The danger for a lot of the Asian hubs is that they were the premium hubs for a long time and what we are now seeing is the Middle Eastern hubs competing on the West and now the Chinese on the East and North”, Mr Joyce said, adding: “There are now so many hubs, so many carriers operating the same strategy and competing against each other, and that will be a battle that is great for the consumers, and I don’t see any end in sight”.

    Sunair Aviation selected under New Zealand Government travel contract

    Sunair Aviation welcomed its selection as one of 11 air travel suppliers contracted under the New Zealand Government’s All of Government Air Travel Services contract (New Zealand Herald, 17-Mar-2017). Sunair Aviation co-owner and director Bev Power said the contract is “a real coup for us”. Other New Zealand airlines contracted include Air New Zealand and Sounds Air.

    Qantas to offer domestic WiFi streaming service from 27-Mar-2017

    Qantas reportedly plans to start offering in-flight steams WiFi service from 27-Mar-2017 (, 20-Mar-2017). The carrier plans to start the service with a single Boeing 737. It will roll-out the technology across 79 aircraft, including Boeing 737NG and A330 aircraft, from mid-2017. Qantas has entered partnerships with Stan, Netflix, Spotify and Foxtel to offer free access to customers onboard and off the aircraft, for between three days and one month after their Qantas flight.

    Samoa Govt awards Chinese JV apron repair and crack bandaging contracts at Apia Faleolo Airport

    World Bank announced (18-Mar-2017) Samoa Government awarded a joint venture by Shanghai Construction Group and Beijing Gold Construction two development contracts under Apia Faleolo Airport’s runway repairs project. The JV won contracts for apron repair and crack bandaging works, with duration of works lasting 70 days and seven months respectively. As previously reported by CAPA, the airport is undergoing a major redevelopment project that includes a new terminal, land expansion and other airside upgrades.

    Sydney Airport reduces carbon emissions per passenger by 25.6% between 2010 and 2016

    Sydney Airport achieved (17-Mar-2017) 25.6% reduction in carbon emissions per passenger from 2010 to 2016, four years ahead of schedule. The airport also achieved 8% reduction in absolute carbon emission. This was achieved through a variety of implementations including the use of electric vehicles, lighting upgrades and improving the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems to reduce electricity consumption.

    Pionair Australia operates first domestic cargo service at Wellcamp Airport

    Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport, via its official Facebook and Twitter accounts, announced (16/17-Mar-2017) it handled its first domestic cargo service on 17-Mar-2017. Pionair Australia operated the service with a BAe 146-200QT aircraft on behalf of Trackspares and Trackex.

    Pionair Australia to re-enter passenger market with BAe 146QC

    Pionair Australia GM Michael Lee said the airline plans to return to the passenger market with its first BAe 146-200QC aircraft (News Corp Australia, 17-Mar-2017). The aircraft will be delivered in Sydney in Jul-2017.