Australian Airports Association (AAA) expressed (09-May-2017) disappointment in the 2017/18 Federal Budget for not allocating more funds to support regional airports. AAA CEO Caroline Wilkie stated: "The remaining funding available in the Remote Airstrip Upgrade (RAU) programme simply isn’t adequate to address the AUD170 million (USD125 million) shortfall in essential aeronautical infrastructure investment in regional Australia". AAA stated 61% of regional airports reported budget deficits in FY2014/15 and 40% anticipate persistent budget deficits over the next decade. Meanwhile, the cost of operating a regional airport is forecast to rise by 40% over the next 10 years. [more - original PR]
News for South Pacific
New Zealand's Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment launched (11-May-2017) a NZD100 million (USD68.3 million) Tourism Infrastructure Fund as part of a tourism-focused pre-Budget announcement. The Fund will provide up to NZD25 million (USD17 million) per year in co-funding for development of tourism-related infrastructure such as car parks, freedom camping facilities and sewerage and water works. Also announced as part of the tourism infrastructure package is a NZD76 million (USD51.9 million) funding increase for the Department of Conservation to upgrade and develop tourist facilities on conservation land and to expand the great walks network. [more - original PR]
Air New Zealand announced plans to increase capacity to Houston and Buenos Aires during the peak season from Nov-2017 (NZ Herald, 10-May-2017). Increased demand will allow Air New Zealand to upgauge daily Auckland-Houston service to a Boeing 787-9 equipment, as well as increase Auckland-Buenos Aires frequency from three to five times weekly. Air New Zealand CEO Christopher Luxon said premium customers were a focus for the carrier and would be investigating options to reach this market.
Melbourne Airport celebrated (10-May-2017) the launch of Jetstar’s first nonstop service to Ho Chi Minh City which departed on 10-May-2017, operating a 335 seat Boeing 787 aircraft. Melbourne Airport chief of aviation Simon Gandy stated: "We welcome Jetstar Airways' decision to expand into South East Asia making the travel destination more accessible for Victorians. We are committed to working closely with our airline customers to provide a great traveller experience that meets the demands of our growing international services". [more - original PR]
New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) cleared (10-May-2017) New Zealand tech company Paua Interface (Paua) to host drone trials in the country’s newest 874sqkm restricted airspace, dubbed ‘Incredible Skies’. Paua CEO Robyn Kamira stated the space is the first fit-for-purpose test range of its kind in New Zealand. The CAA recently paved the way for New Zealand’s first beyond line of sight flight with a new regulatory framework which has opened NZ airspace to unmanned air vehicles operated by remote, ground based pilots working under strict conditions. CAA senior technical specialist unmanned aircraft and recreational Mark Houston stated “The CAA is keen to ensure the right balance of safety regulation whilst providing support and a focus on the future of this emerging sector. The CAA believes that with appropriate levels of collaboration between industry and the regulator, drone technology has the potential to contribute substantially to a thriving aviation sector, and both regional and national economies". [more - original PR]
Jetstar launched (10-May-2017) a Vietnam service, becoming the only low cost carrier to fly nonstop to Vietnam. The services to Ho Chi Minh City operate three times a week from Melbourne and four times a week from Sydney on Boeing 787 aircraft, with a capacity of 335 passengers, including 21 business seats. Jetstar CEO Australia & New Zealand Dean Salter stated the new flights are a major milestone for the carrier as Vietnam is one of the fastest growing holiday destinations in South East Asia, and until now has been the largest country in the region without a low cost direct link to Australia. [more - original PR]
CAPA - Centre for Aviation chairman Peter Harbison commented (10-May-2017) on the ramifications of increased capacity to the Asia Pacific aviation market stating: "For the time being these markets are typically very competitive and often low yielding, both because of the ubiquitous sixth freedom connections and because the new breed of Asian traveller is extremely price sensitive. This yield issue will remain a challenge, particularly to/from Australia, as more long haul low cost new entrants come into the market. But as trade flows thicken, so the profile of traveller will include more business travellers over the next decade".
CAPA - Centre for Aviation chairman Peter Harbison commented (10-May-2017) on the Asia Pacific aviation market highlighting that as Australia’s economy shifts towards much greater reliance on Asian trade, air services are intertwined in that evolution. Mr Harbison said for Qantas and Virgin Australia alike, partners in the Asian market will be even more important than elsewhere: "The Qantas Group has been investing steadily in the Jetstar family in Asia, which now offers a good springboard for future expansion, we can expect increased capacity to continue".
CAPA - Centre for Aviation chairman Peter Harbison commented (10-May-2017) on the Asia Pacific aviation market stating it will be where the main traffic growth is for the next decade, at least. Mr Harbison believes the US and Europe will remain hard to grow due to US majors protecting their own traffic flows, and competition in Europe from sixth freedom airlines, stating: "Despite coming off an increasingly larger base, double digit growth is continuing in some Asian markets, as new layers of economically enabled travellers emerge. China is the leader in this due to its massive scale, however there are several other Asian countries that will blossom in coming years".
Australia's Federal Government announced (09-May-2017) AUD30 million (USD22 million) will be invested to develop a business case for the Melbourne Tullamarine Airport Rail Link. The process is expected to span across two financial years with AUD15 million (USD11 million) to be awarded in FY2017/18 and the remaining in FY2018/19. As previously reported by CAPA, the rail service is expected to be delivered in 15-30 years and projected to cost around AUD5 billion (USD3.7 billion). [more - original PR]