Australian Transport Safety Bureau, via its official Twitter account, announced (23-May-2017) it is investigating an inflight engine shutdown involving a Qantas A380, VH-OQG, near Los Angeles on 20-May-2017. According to the ATSB the No 4 engine thrust reduced to about 45% before being shut down by the flight crew and the aircraft returned to Los Angeles Airport. As part of the investigation, the ATSB will interview the crew, obtain an engineering report and gather additional information, with a final report being released within several months.
News for The Americas
Qantas responded (21-May-2017) to an incident which occurred on 19-May-2017 on an A380 service Los Angeles-Melbourne which was turned back to LA due to an issue with one of the aircraft’s four engines. Qantas stated: "Pilots followed standard procedure, shut down the engine, and the flight landed normally in LA. Reports that the engine was 'on fire' aren’t correct; passengers may have seen some sparks before it was safely shut down by the flight crew". A replacement service departed LA at around 14.30 on Saturday 20-May-2017, and arrived in Melbourne the following evening. [more - original PR]
American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) announced (12-May-2017) six of the top 10 cities outside Asia Pacific for business travel to Australia are US cities. North American cities dominate the top 10 rankings beyond Asia Pacific, with New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco the top three US cities. London, Paris, Amsterdam and Dubai comprise the remaining cities in the top 10 outside of Asia Pacific. According to the results, Australia's strong business ties to the US, particularly San Francisco and New York, continue to remain a key travel driver. In addition a weaker Australian dollar has increased tourism to Australia and resulted in greater connectivity, further enabling business travel. [more - original PR]
Virgin Australia Group announced (18-May-2017) its Q3FY2017 update on the Better Business programme and fleet simplification. Key highlights from the update include:
- Virgin Australia remains on track to cease all Embraer 190 operations by the end of 2017;
- Virgin Australia announced that it will remove all six ATR 72-500 and two ATR 72-600 aircraft from its fleet;
- Virgin Australia remains on track for net free cash flow savings increasing to AUD300 million (USD223.8 million) per annum from the Better Business programme by the end of FY2019. [more - original PR]
Air New Zealand opened an office in Buenos Aires as part of the carrier's South American growth project (Hosteltur, 16-May-2017). Air New Zealand GM for South America Alex Obaditch stated: "Since Air New Zealand entered the market in Dec-2015, there has been a 200% increase in the number of Argentines flying to New Zealand". Air New Zealand operates to Buenos Aires three times weekly, with service moving to four times weekly from Dec-2017 to Mar-2018.
Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull indicated there is consideration of plans for a ban on electronic devices on services to/from Australia (SBS, 16-May-2017). The announcement comes after reports that US Homeland Security believes an expansion was likely. Mr Turnbull stated: "We are taking into account all of the information and advice we're receiving internationally and we're working very closely with our partners".
Air New Zealand plans to introduce a newly refurbished Boeing 777-300ER for five Auckland services during the peak season from 01-Jun-2017 to 05-Sep-2017 (Routes Online, 15-May-2017). The 777-300ER configuration will include 44 business class, 54 premium economy and 244 in economy.
Northrop Grumman Corporation announced (15-May-2017) an investment of AUD50 million (USD37.1 million) to develop an advanced defence electronics maintenance and sustainment centre located in Western Sydney. The centre will be located at Badgerys Creek, where Northrop Grumman will be the anchor tenant for an advanced aerospace and defence industries precinct. Northrop Grumman Australia CEO Ian Irving stated: "This investment in a new centre of excellence is the next step in our partnership with the Australian Defence Force, helping to ensure regional security and mission success". This new centre will support advanced electronics such as communications equipment, electronic warfare equipment and targeting pods. [more - original PR]
Qantas Frequent Flyer is expected to be Qantas Group’s biggest contributor to profit, according to a Bank of America report (Bloomberg, 12-May-2017). The programme's 3Q2017 profit margin of 24% makes it more than three times as profitable as Qantas' international aviation business and almost twice as lucrative as the domestic division.
Air New Zealand plans to introduce a new Boeing 787-9 configuration for Auckland-Houston service during the peak season from Dec-2017 (Routes Online, 11-May-2017). The 787-9 configuration will include 27 business class, 33 premium economy and 215 in economy, rather than the current 787-9 configuration of 18/21/263. The 787-9 will replace the current 777-200ER.