News Briefs – 6th April 2017

    Qantas WiFi technology moves into beta testing phase

    Qantas, via its official Twitter account, announced (05-Apr-2017) initial testing for the new WiFi technology has been completed and it is installed on a single Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which will go into regular service on 07-Apr-2017. The carrier plans to offer the technology on this aircraft for a six month period, before rolling out across the domestic 737 and A330 fleets.

    Airways New Zealand marks 30 years of operations as an air navigation services provider

    Airways New Zealand marked (05-Apr-2017) 30 years of operations as an air navigation services provider. New Zealand Minister for State Owned Enterprises Todd McClay stated Airways New Zealand plays a critical role in “making aviation safe, efficient and sustainable”, providing services to domestic and international air traffic totalling 30 million square kilometres, “one of the largest areas of sovereign airspace in the world”. Over the past five years the organisation has nearly tripled its capital investment and quadrupled its profit. 

    New Plymouth Airport estimated worth USD4.5m

    New Plymouth Airport is valued at around NZD6.5 million (USD4.5 million), as New Plymouth District Council will be borrowing NZD3.25 million (USD2.2 million) to purchase the remaining 50% equity stake of the airport from New Zealand Government (Stuff, 05-Apr-2017). As previously reported by CAPA, the state government agreed to provide the council full ownership of the airport to maximise growth and revenue.  

    Qantas welcomes growth in Chinese market to Australia

    Qantas welcomed continued growth of the Chinese market to Australia as these travellers utilise the carrier’s domestic network (bloomberg.com, 05-Apr-2017). Qantas CEO Alan Joyce stated: “The growth opportunity is the Chinese market, as we see these visitors exploring the entire domestic network. Australia drew 1.2 million Chinese visitors in 2016. In 10 years, that number could snowball to four million if projections bear out”. According to Qantas, Chinese tourists in Australia generally take two or three domestic flights to popular destinations throughout the country. Australia has seen a record number of Chinese visitors due to increased service and price competition from Chinese carriers. 

    Inter Island Airways loses authority to conduct passenger services

    Inter Island Airways advised of loss of certificates of authority from the US Department of Transportation (DoT) and US Federal Aviation Administration (ch-aviation.com, 04-Apr-2017). The DoT stated that as the American Samoa-based carrier had not operated any aircraft for over three years, “its authority to conduct scheduled passenger services as a commuter air carrier would now be revoked”.

    Solomon Airlines reaches milestone for gender equality

    Solomon Airlines announced a new milestone, with two women piloting a commercial aircraft for the first time in the company’s  history (abc.net.au, 05-Apr-2017). Captain Lynda Tito Owen and first officer Patricia Avosa piloted a Twin Otter turboprop aircraft from Honiara to a number of airstrips outside the capital on 29-Mar-2017.

    Air New Zealand London pop-up to showcase onboard highlights and network

    Air New Zealand will have a pop-up in London to showcase onboard highlights and network (eventmagazine.co.uk, 05-Apr-2017). The ‘This Is How We Fly’ pop-up will be at Unit London Gallery from 25-Apr-2017. Air New Zealand GM for the UK Jo Copestake said: “People know Air New Zealand flies to Auckland but what they don’t always realise we also fly direct from London to LA”.

    Wellington Airport suspends operations due to weather affecting airport systems

    Wellington Airport, via its official Twitter account, announced (05/06-Apr-2017) all services were suspended the night of 05-Apr-2017 as “Weather is affecting airport systems”. Airways New Zealand explained surface water on the airfield due to heavy rainfall disrupted signals being sent and received by Instrument Landing System. The issue was resolved by 01:15 on 06-Apr-2017. 

    Babcock International opens new regional headquarters in Adelaide

    Babcock International opened a new regional headquarters in Adelaide on 05-Apr-2017 (afr.com, 05-Apr-2017). The engineering, infrastructure and aviation group, which secured a five-year contract to manage Qantas‘ aviation fleet across 60 locations around Australia in Sep-2016, has increased revenues from Australia and New Zealand, from AUD15 million (USD11.3 million) to AUD250 million (USD188.8 million) in four years.

    Qantas: Airbus and Boeing aircraft real possibility for nonstop Sydney/Melbourne London

    Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the A350-900ULR and Boeing 777-8 are a real possibility for nonstop Sydney-London and Melbourne-London services (smh.com.au, 06-Apr-2017). Airbus advised the range of the A350-900ULR has increased to 17,960kms (9700 nautical miles), while the Sydney-London route is equivalent to 17,780kms (9600 nautical miles).