New Zealand's Tourism Minister Stuart Nash and Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi announced (02-May-2022) visitors from approximately 60 visa waiver countries may travel to New Zealand from 02-May-2022. Mr Nash stated: "Thousands of passengers are touching down today on around 25 flights at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch international airports as New Zealand opens up further for business". Services arriving on 02-May-2022 are departing from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Australia, Nadi and Rarotonga. Mr Nash added: "We are currently seeing around 33,000 arrivals per week and we know today's changes will further boost arrivals as interest in travel to New Zealand remains high. International flight searches to NZ are running 19 per cent higher than pre-COVID (March-April 2019)". [more - original PR]
News for The Americas
Avianca and Viva announced (29-Apr-2022) plans to incorporate Viva into the Avianca Group International Limited holding company, pending regulatory approval. Features of the agreement include:
- If approved, both carriers will retain individual branding and strategies;
- Viva founding partner Declan Ryan will join Avianca's board;
- Any transfer of control rights over Viva's operations in Colombia and Peru is subject to obtaining necessary regulatory authorisations.
Avianca chairman Roberto Kriete said: "This new and robust group of airlines will benefit customers by using a more efficient cost structure to offer lower fares, a route network that delivers direct connections between destinations, a strong loyalty program and friendly and efficient service". Viva founding partner Declan Ryan added: "If the authorities approve the management of both groups under the same holding company, it will encourage the growth of the air transport market, promoting low rates for users and good service with the best punctuality". As previously reported by CAPA, Avianca reincorporated as Avianca Group International Limited, a UK based holding company, following the completion of its restructuring process. [more - original PR]
Lufthansa announced (29-Apr-2022) an A350-900 aircraft (D-AIVC, 'Munich') was christened at Munich Airport on 29-Apr-2022 by Bavaria's Minister-President Markus Söder. The aircraft is the first in the carrier's fleet to be equipped with an updated business class, which provides direct aisle access for all business class seats. The aircraft was deployed immediately on routes from Munich to Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. The carrier said the introduction of the new business class "marks beginning of an extensive renewal of Lufthansa's cabins", as it plans to introduce a "new top product" across economy, premium economy, business and first class in 2023. [more - original PR]
Qantas Airways announced (02-May-2022) plans to order 12 A350-1000s to operate non-stop 'Project Sunrise' flights from Australia to cities including New York and London. The 238 seat aircraft will feature first class suites with a separate bed, recliner lounge chair and personal wardrobe, a 'next generation' business class suite, a new premium economy seat pitched at 40 inches, a new economy seat pitched at 33 inches and a 'wellbeing zone' designed for movement, stretching and hydration. The aircraft will have the smallest seat count of any A350-1000 currently in service. Qantas stated travellers can expect more direct routes to Australia and significantly reduced point-to-point travel time. The cabin interior and service design were influenced by medical and scientific research carried out on three Project Sunrise research flights from New York and London to Sydney in 2019. Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce stated: "The first Project Sunrise flights will be from New York and London, but the aircraft will also be able to operate non-stop flights to Australia from destinations such as Paris and Frankfurt". [more - original PR] [more - original PR - II]
Norse Atlantic Airways announced (29-Apr-2022) plans to launch the following services in summer 2022:
- Oslo-New York JFK: Three times weekly from 14-Jun-2022, increasing to daily from 04-Jul-2022;
- Oslo-Fort Lauderdale: Three times weekly from 18-Jun-2022;
- Oslo-Orlando: Three times weekly from 05-Jul-2022;
- Oslo-Los Angeles: Three times weekly from 09-Aug-2022.
CEO Bjorn Tore Larsen said the launches will be "a major milestone", adding: "The introduction of affordable Norse Atlantic Airways point-to-point flights between Europe and the US will benefit both local tourism and businesses. Not only are we directly investing in the countries that we operate by employing local staff we are also supporting job creation across the wider tourism and service industry". All services will be operated with Boeing 787 aircraft. [more - original PR]
Regional Express (Rex), via its official LinkedIn account, stated (02-May-2022) it entered a partnership with Delta Air Lines. Scheduled to commence in late 2022, Rex passengers will be able to connect with Delta's Los Angeles-Sydney service to nearly 50 destinations in the US and Latin America. The final agreement will see Rex and Delta providing reciprocal interline ticketing and baggage services to each other commencing during the third quarter in 2022. [more - original PR]
Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan stated (28-Apr-2022) the carrier is experiencing strong leisure travel bookings for spring and summer 2022, as well as improved business travel revenue, across its network. Mr Jordan added Southwest expects Apr-2022 business travel revenue to be down 30% from Apr-2019 levels, with continued sequential improvement through May/Jun-2022. The carrier's published schedules for 2Q2022 include additional short haul frequencies in business markets to support the anticipated increase and are expected to result in a 5% reduction in average stage length quarter-to-quarter. [more - original PR]
GOL reported (28-Apr-2022) net revenue from passenger transportation of BRL3 billion (USD607.37 million) in 1Q2022, compared to BRL1.4 billion (USD283.44 million) in 1Q2019. Mar-2022 sales exceeded Mar-2019 levels by 60%, boosted by a 63% increase in corporate segment sales and an increase in combined business and leisure travel. The figure was enhanced by an adjustment in ticket prices, driven by higher jet fuel prices. The company increased capacity by 14.7% sequentially over the period, with COO Celso Ferrer stating: "We strongly believe that this new network, carefully studied in recent months and being implemented as we speak, will position us to support ongoing demand growth - particularly in the corporate segment". [more - original PR]
JetBlue Airways president and chief operating officer Joanna Geraghty, via the carrier's 1Q2022 earnings call, reported (26-Apr-2022) business travel bookings for 1Q2022 recovered to 75% of 1Q2019 levels. Ms Geraghty stated the airline expects "a continued acceleration" throughout 2Q2022 and beyond, driven by an enhanced network resulting from the carrier's Northeast Alliance with American Airlines.
Air Canada EVP and chief commercial officer Lucie Guillemette, via the carrier's 1Q2022 earnings call, reported (26-Apr-2022) 1Q2022 business travel was down 50% from 1Q2019 levels. Ms Guillemette added business travel levels are expected to increase by 10pp in 2Q2022, to -40% from pre-pandemic levels.