News for South Pacific

Bonza aircraft arrival 'slightly later than first expected'

18 May, 2022

Bonza CCO Carly Povey stated (May-2022) Bonza received confirmation of when its first aircraft will arrive in Australia, noting it is "slightly later than first expected". Ms Povey added: "I can confirm that you shouldn't wait for us to lock in your essential July and August travel plans. Whilst we can't wait to save you "the long car ride or the need to holiday at home, we'd rather be upfront. If we have more positive news to share sooner, we will". [more - original PR]

Queenstown Airport to resume international services on 23-May-2022

16 May, 2022

Queenstown Airport announced (16-May-2022) after 330 days without a scheduled international service, Qantas plans to resume Sydney-Queenstown service on 23-May-2022. Qantas is the first airline returning to the Queenstown trans-Tasman route, followed by Jetstar on 02-Jun-2022 and Air New Zealand on 24-Jun-2022. Virgin Australia is planning to re-start services to Queenstown in Nov-2022. Queenstown Airport CEO Glen Sowry says the airlines are seeing strong demand from Australia and activity into Queenstown was predicted to ramp up significantly as winter approaches. Mr Sowry says winter capacity on domestic routes is similar to 2021. [more - original PR]

ACCC grants interim authorisation for proposed Virgin Australia/United Airlines codeshare

12 May, 2022

Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) granted (12-May-2022) interim authorisation for a proposed codeshare pricing arrangement between Virgin Australia and United Airlines. Interim authorisation allows United Airlines to set the fares at which Virgin Australia may sell the services operated by United Airlines, whether those services are sold as a standalone itinerary or as part of an itinerary that includes flight segments operated by Virgin Australia. ACCC commissioner Stephen Ridgeway stated: "The ACCC's preliminary view is that this proposed codeshare arrangement with United Airlines is likely to result in a public benefit as it will help Virgin Australia re-establish its international network… it appears that Virgin Australia is unlikely to be able to operate its own long haul international services in the short term". [more - original PR]

Cook Islands Tourism Corporation outlines amendments in travel restrictions

12 May, 2022

Cook Islands Tourism Corporation, via its official website, stated (10-May-2022) from 01-May-2022, pre-departure testing has been removed for arrivals, as well as pre departure testing for Rarotonga-Aitutaki service. In addition, requirements to be vaccinated on the Rarotonga-Aitutaki service was also removed on 01-May-2022, with domestic travel resuming between Rarotonga and the Outer Islands resuming on 01-May-2022.

Fiji Airways to resume Nadi-Adelaide service

12 May, 2022

Fiji Airways announced (11-May-2022) plans to resume Nadi-Adelaide service on a twice weekly basis from 04-Jul-2022. The resumption marks the fourth Australian route for the airline after Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. [more - original PR]

Air Caledonie: Noumea Tontouta Airport works continue

12 May, 2022

Air Caledonie stated (110May-2022) runway resurfacing works continue at Noumea Tontouta Airport. Air Caledonie as a result suspended select frequencies and amended further frequencies to the airport. [more - original PR - French]

New Zealand's Government brings forward border reopening

11 May, 2022

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced (11-May-2022) an early opening of New Zealand's border and a simplification of immigration settings, plans to address the immediate skill shortages in New Zealand and speed up the economic recovery from coronavirus. New Zealand's border is scheduled to open from 23:59 on 31-Jul-2022. The Government has also announced new rebalanced immigration settings which will help businesses access the key skills they need while ensuring wages and working conditions are improved. Ms Ardern stated: "The cornerstone of our rebalance is the new Green List which will incentivise and attract high skilled migrants to New Zealand, by providing a new streamlined pathway to residency for those globally hard to fill roles". The new Green List that includes over 85 hard to fill roles created to attract and retain high-skilled workers to fill skill shortages. The Green List will provide streamlined and prioritised pathway to residency incentivising high skilled healthcare, engineers, trade and tech sector workers to relocate to New Zealand long term. New Zealand's Government also announced visa extensions for approximately 20,000 migrants already in New Zealand to ensure skilled workers stay in country. Cruise ships able to return with the opening of the maritime border from 31 July, and a full resumption of international education is scheduled from 31-Jul-2022. [more - original PR]

Qantas to resume Sydney-Santiago de Chile service

11 May, 2022

Qantas Airways plans to resume Sydney-Santiago de Chile service from 31-Oct-2022, operating four times weekly with Boeing 787-9 equipment, as per a 10-May-2022 GDS inventory and timetable display.

Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways enter new strategic partnership

10 May, 2022

Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways entered (10-May-2022) a new strategic partnership that will significantly expand both airlines' networks, lounges and loyalty programmes. The partnership, to commence later in 2022, will give travellers greater access, unparalleled customer experience and unique benefits when travelling between Australia and Qatar Airways' global network, with transit options across Qatar Airways' Australian gateways and key Virgin Australia hubs, including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The strategic alliance will provide a critical trade and tourism boost for Australia, while opening new travel opportunities for both airline's customers. Due to the new codeshare agreement, Qatar Airways' passengers will be able to travel to 35 destinations on Virgin Australia's extensive domestic network. Qatar Airways' passengers will also have access to Virgin Australia's short haul international markets. Virgin Australia customers and members of the airline's Velocity Frequent Flyer loyalty programme, will be able to directly access Qatar Airways' route network of more than 140 worldwide destinations. The strategic partnership will include reciprocal loyalty benefits allowing Qatar Airways Privilege Club members to earn and redeem Avios when flying on Virgin Australia, with similar benefits for Velocity members when travelling on Qatar Airways' services. Privilege Club and Velocity members will also enjoy a wide range of other unique benefits, depending on status tier. [more - original PR]

Emirates to launch premium economy on London, Paris and Sydney A380 services in summer 2022

10 May, 2022

Emirates Airline launched (09-May-2022) its full premium economy offering for deployment on high traffic A380 routes serving London, Paris and Sydney effective 01-Aug-2022. Sales for the onboard and ground product will launch effective 01-Jun-2022, with rollout expanding to Christchurch service in Dec-2022. Emirates president Tim Clark stated initial deployment is limited to six A380s currently fitted with premium economy, adding: "Our intention is to offer this experience to many more markets", and confirming plans to retrofit a further 67 A380s and 53 Boeing 777s, as previously reported by CAPA. The programme will bring Emirates' total premium economy fitted fleet to 126 aircraft and will be delivered alongside other cabin modernisation projects. Sir Tim also stated "the positive response and demand has been tremendous" following the release of the seating class in Jan-2021. [more - original PR]

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