News for Asia

MBIE: 9 out of 10 New Zealand visitors report high levels of satisfaction

14 August, 2017

New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MIBE) released (14-Aug-2017) a report providing a snapshot of the experiences of international visitors to New Zealand from 3Q2013 to 1Q2017. Key highlights:

  • A high proportion of visitors say New Zealand met or exceeded their expectations, and satisfaction was consistently high across different amenities;
  • Most visitors were highly satisfied with their visit to New Zealand;
    • Overall, visitors reported high levels of satisfaction with visiting New Zealand, rating their visit on average 9 out of 10.
    • Visitors were most satisfied with the natural and built environment (9.1 out of 10) and with their sense of safety (also 9.1 out of 10);
    • Visitor satisfaction was higher among visitors from the US and UK. The US and the UK had the highest average overall satisfaction scores (9.4 out of 10), with Japan and South Korea having the lowest (8.8 and 8.7);
    • Other characteristics (such as age and gender) did not seem to influence visitor satisfaction;
  • Most visitors said their experience in New Zealand met or exceeded their expectations;
    • Over 95% of visitors said their trip in New Zealand met or exceeded their expectations;
    • Visitors from the US and UK were more likely than visitors from other countries to say New Zealand exceeded their expectations;
    • More than 98% of visitors said New Zealand's environment met or exceeded their expectations. Environmentally conscious visitors were more likely to say the environment exceeded their expectations;
  • Visitors were very likely to recommend New Zealand as a holiday destination;
    • New Zealand had a positive net promoter score of 78% when it comes to visitors recommending New Zealand;
    • More than 80% of visitors were likely to recommend New Zealand, with visitors from the US and UK being the most likely to say this;
  • Among visitors who were less satisfied, common themes appeared in their reasons;
    • Of those visitors who gave lower satisfaction scores (1-7), high prices was a commonly listed reason;
    • Other reasons cited included no free WiFi or internet, and inconsistent quality of facilities, of public transportation and customer service. [more - original PR]

Philippine Airlines to commence Manila-Auckland, suspend Manila-Cairns-Auckland service in Dec-2017

14 August, 2017

Philippine Airlines announced (14-Aug-2017) plans to commence three times weekly nonstop Manila-Auckland service and suspend Manila-Cairns-Auckland service, effective 06-Dec-2017. The carrier will operate Manila-Auckland service with dual class 254 seat A340 equipment, increasing capacity by 60%. The airline operates Manila-Cairns-Auckland service with 156 seat A320 equipment and the new route will reduce travel time to Auckland from 12.15 to 10 hours. [more - original PR]

IASC approves Virgin Australia capacity changes to US, Italy, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu and Samoa

13 August, 2017

Australia's International Air Services Commission (IASC) issued (11-Aug-2017) a series of determinations covering capacity allocations for Italy, New Zealand, the US, Fiji, Vanuatu and Samoa:

  • [2017] IASC 119 allocating Virgin Australia 300 third country codeshare seats per week to Italy covering codeshare services with Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways;
  • [2017] IASC 113 allocating to Virgin Australia unlimited passenger and freight capacity in each direction to New Zealand. The determination also permits the use of capacity by Virgin Australia for the provision of codeshare services with Etihad Airways, Delta Air Lines, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Alitalia, airberlin, Air Canada and Hong Kong Airlines;
  • [2017] IASC 114 allocating to Virgin Australia unlimited passenger and freight capacity in each direction to the US with permission to use the capacity for codeshare services with Delta Air Lines;
  • [2017] IASC 115 allocating to Virgin Australia 1260 seats per week in each direction to Fiji;
  • [2017] IASC 116 allocating to Virgin Australia 180 seats per week in each direction to Fiji;
  • [2017] IASC 117 allocating to Virgin Australia 720 seats of capacity per week in each direction to Vanuatu, and permitting the use of the capacity for codeshare with Singapore Airlines;
  • [2017] IASC 121 allocating to Virgin Australia 180 seats of capacity per week in each direction to Vanuatu, and permitting the use of the capacity for codeshare with Singapore Airlines;
  • [2017] IASC 120 allocating to Virgin Australia 880 seats of capacity per week to Samoa. [more - original PR]

Qantas to open direct online booking presence on Fliggy

10 August, 2017

Qantas announced (11-Aug-2017) a new agreement with Alibaba Group's online travel service platform, Fliggy, which will allow customers to book Qantas flights directly on the site. Qantas International CEO Gareth Evans and Fliggy VP Jerry Hu signed an MoU to establish a strategic relationship which also has scope for joint marketing campaigns to Alibaba Group's 507 million mobile active users. Mr Evans said a partnership with Fliggy makes it easier for a large number of potential customers to purchase Qantas flights. Together with its partners China Eastern and China Southern, Qantas operates more than 130 weekly return services between Australia and China. [more - original PR]

ACCC grants authorisation to Virgin Australia's mainland China and Hong Kong airline alliance

10 August, 2017

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) granted (10-Aug-2017) authorisation to coordinate airline services for five years to Virgin Australia Airlines, the HNA Aviation Group, Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express Airways. The Alliance Framework Agreement may see additional airline services operate between Australia and mainland China, and Australia and Hong Kong. ACCC commissioner Roger Featherston said: "The ACCC considers the alliance will likely realise significant public benefits, primarily through supporting the introduction of new services between Australia and mainland China and Hong Kong including by Virgin... The ACCC considers that the alliance is unlikely to result in any significant public detriment as there was unlikely to have been any material overlap between direct flights operated by Virgin and any of the other airlines in the short to medium term without the alliance in place". Since the ACCC granted interim authorisation in March, Virgin has commenced services between Australia and Hong Kong. Virgin also expects to launch services between Australia and mainland China. The airlines will coordinate their international passenger transport services such as codesharing, frequent flyer programme participation, lounge access, route planning and scheduling. [more - original PR]

Thai Airways to deploy 787 to Auckland in Oct-2017

9 August, 2017

Thai Airways plans to deploy Boeing 787-9 equipment on Auckland service from 29-Oct-2017 (Airline Route, 09-Aug-2017). The airline currently operates five times weekly Bangkok Suvarnabhumi-Auckland service with 777 equipment, according to OAG.

Thai Airways to operate A350 twice daily to Melbourne from Feb-2018

9 August, 2017

Thai Airways plans to operate A350 equipment twice daily on Melbourne service from 01-Feb-2018 (Airline Route, 09-Aug-2017). The airline currently operates twice daily Bangkok Suvarnabhumi-Melbourne service with Boeing 777 equipment, according to OAG, and operates five A350-900 aircraft with seven on order, according to the CAPA Fleet Database.

A4ANZ to meet with airport reps, govt departments and ministers to discuss airport charges

8 August, 2017

Airlines for Australia and New Zealand (A4ANZ) will meet with Australian and New Zealand airport representatives, government departments and ministers in late Aug-2017 to discuss increased airport charges (NZ Herald, 07-Aug-2017). A4ANZ represents Air New Zealand, Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Tigerair. A4ANZ chairman Graeme Samuel stated: "Aeronautical charges are simply imposed and its very difficult to negotiate otherwise. It is essentially because airports are monopolies".

IASC: Update of Virgin Australia applications

8 August, 2017

Australia's International Air Services Commission (IASC), via its official website, updated (04-Aug-2017) the status of a variety of applications from Virgin Australia. These include:

  • An allocation of 300 third country seats per week, to be used to codeshare with Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways on the Italy route. The Commission received further information from the applicant nominating Tiger International Number1 Pty Ltd as the wholly-owned subsidiary of Virgin Australia International Airlines;
  • New Zealand determination [2007] IASC 118, which allocates unlimited passenger and freight capacity. The request for the capacity to be utilised by a wholly-owned subsidiary has been withdrawn;
  • US determination [2008] IASC 110, which allocates unlimited passenger and freight capacity. The Commission received further information from the applicant nominating Tiger International Number1 Pty Ltd as the wholly-owned subsidiary of Virgin Australia International Airlines;
  • Fiji determination [2013] IASC 106, which allocates 1260 seats of capacity per week in each direction. The request for the capacity to be utilised by a wholly-owned subsidiary has been withdrawn;
  • Fiji determination [2013] IASC 107, which allocates 360 seats of capacity per week in each direction. The request for the capacity to be utilised by a wholly-owned subsidiary has been withdrawn;
  • Vanuatu determination [2013] IASC 108, which allocates 720 seats of capacity per week in each direction. The request for the capacity to be utilised by a wholly-owned subsidiary has been withdrawn;
  • Vanuatu determination [2013] IASC 109, which allocates 180 seats of capacity per week in each direction. The request for the capacity to be utilised by a wholly-owned subsidiary has been withdrawn;
  • An allocation of 880 seats per week of passenger capacity on the Samoa route. The Commission received further information from the applicant nominating Tiger International Number1 Pty Ltd as the wholly-owned subsidiary of Virgin Australia International Airlines.

Hong Kong Airlines and Fiji Airways confirm new codeshare agreement

3 August, 2017

Hong Kong Airlines and Fiji Airways signed (03-Aug-2017) a new codeshare agreement, covering Fiji Airways' Nadi-Hong Kong and Nadi-Auckland services and Hong Kong Airlines' services between Hong Kong and Bangkok, Tokyo and Osaka. Fiji Airways MD and CEO Andre Viljoen stated: "This partnership is a key part of our growth and presence in the region, and the three destinations are welcome additions to our network. The arrangement will allow through check in of customers and their luggage all the way to their final destinations, offering convenient transit options in Hong Kong and Nadi". Fiji Airways onboard service will now include Asian menus and availability of Mandarin and Cantonese interpreters on every flight between Hong Kong and Nadi. [more - original PR]

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