Hear from the speakers live: 2018 CAPA Canberra Aviation and Corporate Travel Summit

23 March, 2018

The Blue Swan Daily is live at the 2018 CAPA Canberra Aviation and Corporate Travel Summit. Catch up on some of the most thought-provoking discussions and keynotes from the morning sessions. Below is a snap shot of key quotes from some of our honoured guests in attendance to discuss what is affecting the industry in this part of the world.

Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development & Cities Director, International Air Transport, Aviation and Airports Ross Adams, stated:

  • Australia has bilateral agreements with more than 100 countries around the world;
  • Australia's major gateways make up more than 90% of traffic. Mr Adams confirmed, "For the year ending Dec-2017: 39.9 million passengers travelled to and from Australia, up 5.3%; this included more than 60 airlines; and 1.1 million tonnes of freight, up 6%";
  • The Australian Government's Tourism 2020 strategy is looking to spread traffic across Australia, outside of the major gateways. The Government continues to work with aspiring international airports to facilitate their plans into regional airports.

CAPA - Centre for Aviation executive chairman Peter Harbison, stated:

  • LCCs handle 15% of all seats into and out of Australia;
  • Australia's "open skies is assisting tourism in Australia", highlighting the "value of a liberal aviation policy". Mr Harbison compared Australia with Canada, noting that Australia with open skies has service from 10 Chinese airlines and 1.2 million tourists in 2017, compared to Canada, with its bilateral controls, supporting three Chinese airlines and 600,000 tourists. He added that "Australia witnessed AUD5 billion expenditure from China in 2017 versus Canada's AUD2.5 billion";
  • 33.6% of Canberra international passengers had two or more transits to reach their destination. This compares to the national average of 5.5%.

Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron, stated:

  • Canberra Airport support staff wear green to show "we're here to help" and undertake customer service training;
  • The airport is developing a scheme to incentivise airlines for improved cancellation rates;
  • "Fixing up the trans Tasman is a key for Canberra Airport". He added: "We are in discussions with the Australian carriers to launch this route however discussions are also happening with Air New Zealand, which will assist with connections onto North and South America";
  • Cancellation rates have improved to below the national average for all major routes except Canberra-Sydney, which is currently at 3.6%. Mr Byron said: "Our ambition is to have Canberra-Sydney at or below national average of 1.3%. The reason this is so important is because we need to rebuild trust. This result impacts travellers perceptions of this and other routes". The airport also plans on introducing new technology easily advise passengers why cancellations occur;
  • The airport is targeting a Jetstar route to boost capacity domestically. Mr Byron said: "Domestically there is a huge opportunity for growth, especially to destinations like Hobart. It will be interesting to see if Jetstar decides to fly to Canberra. A Jetstar link will be critical as Singapore Airlines is cutting capacity by 1%".

Delta Air Lines GM - Australia/New Zealand & Virgin Australia joint venture Clare Wheatley, stated:

  • "Customers are prepared to pay a little bit extra for us" in reference to the carriers' premium products. Commenting on both Delta and Virgin's premium products, Ms Wheatley added: "As two very different airlines we are both very service focused... We are both offer a forward facing business class product and offer a very similar service".

Department of Finance - Procurement Management Branch assistant secretary Anne Collins:

  • The Government's corporate travel programme includes enough flights to equate to a one-way ticket to Saturn;
  • On the department's policy of not allowing civil servants to accrue loyalty programme benefits on Government business travel. Ms Collins said: "Public servants shouldn't be able to gain a personal benefit on government air travel... We are happy to accrue frequent flyer points for the department to use, however as this is not possible, we continued the suppression [of loyalty benefits]". Ms Collins added: "Clearly we spend a lot of money and we travel a lot... Our goal is to make government travel as efficient as possible and drive efficiencies through our significant buying power".

**Check back soon for more from our speakers**