Finnair launched (15-Nov-2017) ticket sales via its official WeChat account in China. Finnair customers are now able to search for Finnair tickets, book flights and complete purchases with WeChat Pay. Finnair CCO Juha Järvinen stated: "China is one of our most important markets, and we want to be where our customers are. Enabling ticket sales through WeChat and enabling WeChat Pay are important steps in better serving our customers in this rapidly growing market". Finnair is the first European airline to utilise the Chinese payment platform. [more - original PR]
News for Asia
Finnair launches ticket sales via its official WeChat account in China
Rifa Jair Company to delist Airwork from New Zealand Stock Exchange
Rifa Jair Company Limited reported (08-Nov-2017) the final day of trading for Airwork Holdings Limited (Airwork) on the New Zealand Stock Exchange will be 10-Nov-2017. As previously reported by CAPA, Rifa filed to acquire the remaining 25% of shares in Airwork in late Sep-2017 and announced its intent to delist the company. Rifa released a compulsory acquisition notice to the outstanding shareholders of Airwork on 03-Nov-2017. The company will be delisted and its ordinary shares will cease trading from 15-Nov-2017. [more - original PR]
Tourism New Zealand and Philippine Airlines sign MoU to support carrier's new nonstop route
Philippine Airlines and Tourism New Zealand signed (14-Nov-2017) an MoU outlining activity to be delivered to support the carrier's new direct Manila-Auckland route, which is due to commence from 06-Dec-2017. Tourism New Zealand also entered JV partnerships with three Manila-based travel agents to support Filipino travel to New Zealand and extended its 'New Zealand Specialist Programme' to the region. The direct Manila-Auckland route replaces the previous Manila-Cairns-Auckland route. Tourism New Zealand CEO Stephen England-Hall said the addition of the direct route "marks a step-change for the market, making New Zealand more accessible than ever before" and the body is "confident it will immediately accelerate visitor numbers in both directions, as well as having broader benefits for business and trade." [more - original PR]
CAPA: Qatar Airways unlikely to become major strategic influence on Cathay Pacific
CAPA - Centre for Aviation, in a report entitled: 'Cathay Pacific: While Qatar Airways takes 10%, status quo prevails. Air China is long term partner', stated (14-Nov-2017) Qatar Airways is unlikely to become a major influence on Cathay Pacific's long term strategy or compel Cathay to make sweeping changes in the medium term as a result of its recent acquisition of a 9.61% stake in the Hong Kong carrier. Air China and Swire Pacific hold a combined 74.99% stake in Cathay, while Qatar has a minority less than 10% stake and no seat on the carrier's board. The USD662 million Qatar Airways invested to acquire its minority stake is roughly equal to the cost of purchasing several widebody aircraft and thus a relatively minor expenditure for an airline which has ordered hundreds of such aircraft. Qatar's Cathay stake likely brings more opportunity than its stake in LATAM, but less than its stake in IAG and is of far less strategic significance to the Gulf carrier than an stake with American Airlines would have been. The most likely outcome of the acquisition is a continuation of the status quo for Cathay Pacific. [more - CAPA Analysis]
Beijing Capital Airlines interested in Cape Verde services
China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated (06-Nov-2017) it would seek to enhance mutually beneficial cooperations with Cape Verde on five key areas including tourism. Meanwhile, Beijing Capital Airlines is interested in operating to Cape Verde, with an agreement being negotiated between Cape Verde and China for such a service, according to Cape Verde Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence Luís Filipe Tavares (Inforpress/expressodasilhas.sapo.cv, 10-Nov-2017). "On air transport there is the possibility of an air agreement with China to allow a Chinese company, Capital Airlines, to fly to take tourists to Cape Verde, just as the international TACV would fly to China to come and get Chinese tourists", the Minister said. Negotiations have already begun and are expected to be completed by mid-2018, providing TACV the potential to operate to China. [more - original PR]
Norwegian Group refused permit to overfly Russia to eastern markets
Russia refused Norwegian Group a permit to operate services in Russian airspace (takeoff.dk/Dagens Naeringsliv, 10-Nov-2017). Norwegian communications manager Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen stated: "We are disappointed that Norwegian authorities have not done more to ensure that a Norwegian company has the same rights as a Swedish to fly the fastest way to China, South Korea and Japan". Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos, speaking on CAPA TV in Oct-2017, confirmed the airline is interested in expanding its network to eastern markets but cannot do so without overflying permits from Russia.
Wellington Airport, CSCEC and China Express to partner on runway extension
Wellington International Airport signed an MoU with China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) and China Express to collaborate on the airport's NZD300 million (USD208 million) runway extension project (Stuff, 13-Nov-2017). The scope of the MoU also comprises development of the wider airport area, including hotels and other infrastructure, while CSCEC and China Express plan to market Wellington to Government tour operators. Wellington Airport deputy CEO Matt Clarke clarified: "The MoU says we will work with CSCEC on the project as a partner but the selection of any final main contractor will be decided later".
Travel Service to increase leadership through acquisition of CSA Czech Airlines
CAPA - Centre for Aviation, in a report entitled: 'Travel Service: purchase of majority stake in CSA Czech Airlines shows fast growing group's ambition' stated (09-Nov-2017) Travel Service's leadership in the Czech Republic is set to increase further through acquisition of CSA Czech Airlines, in which it has owned a 34% stake since 2015. In Oct-2017 Travel Service reached an agreement to acquire Korean Air's 44% stake and the 19.7% stake held by PRISKO. The transaction will increase Travel Service's holding to 97.7%, although PRISKO has an option to withdraw from the deal, which would leave Travel service with 78% of CSA Czech Airlines. Travel Service's increase in its holding of CSA is subject to competition authority approval, which is expected within three months. [more - CAPA Analysis]
IASC approves Qantas and LATAM codeshare between Australia and Singapore
Australia's International Air Service Commission (IASC) announced (09-Nov-2017) a variation to Determination  IASC 116 to permit the use of the capacity to Singapore for codeshare operations between Qantas and LATAM Airlines. The permission is valid for the duration of the determination commencing 09-Nov-2017. The carriers' proposal is for LATAM to offer codeshare services on flights operated by Qantas between Singapore and Australia and vice versa from 01-Dec-2017. [more - original PR]
Virgin Australia Melbourne-Hong Kong frequency increase to provide 'timely boost' to support demand
Virgin Atlantic Cargo noted cargo volumes and cargo capacity demand on Virgin Australia's five times weekly Melbourne-Hong Kong service have steadily increased in both directions since its Jul-2017 launch and said the carrier's plans to increase frequency to daily from 12-Nov-2017 will provide a "timely boost" to support growing demand during the peak perishables season (Air Cargo News/AJOT/Lloyd's Loading List, 09-Nov-2017). Virgin Atlantic Cargo reported the service has generated more than 1200 tonnes of cargo and courier traffic since Jul-2017, and Virgin Atlantic regional sales manager Australia and New Zealand Pip Palmer stated "Our freight forwarder and courier customers are absolutely delighted that Virgin Australia is increasing its commitment to the Melbourne-Hong Kong route". Ms Palmer added: "There are a series of positive business indicators that show not only a consistent level of demand from our current customers but also opportunities for new traffic like we have started to generate from Tasmania".