Newcastle Williamtown Airport commences terminal upgrades to accommodate international services

1 May, 2017

Newcastle Williamtown Airport commenced a AUD850,000 (USD636,102) terminal upgrade project to include enhanced security, customs and immigration facilities in preparation for international service (Daily Telegraph/Newcastle Herald, 01-May-2017). The project is funded via the New South Wales Government's Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund. Airport CEO Peter Cock said the airport is in talks with Australian and New Zealand carriers, eyeing services to Auckland, Bali and Fiji. The airport is expected to be ready to handle international services by late 2017.

Fiji Airways plans changes to Nadi-Adelaide route

1 May, 2017

Fiji Airways revised planned twice weekly Nadi-Adelaide service, set to commence on 30-Jun-2017 (Routes Online, 28-Apr-2017). From 29-Oct-2017 the frequency will reduce to weekly, except between 01-Dec-2017 and 29-Jan-2018 when it will revert to twice weekly. The route is subject to Government approval.

Qantas and UnionPay International sign MoU to expand cooperation

30 April, 2017

Qantas Airways announced (28-Apr-2017) it is the first Australian airline to sign a MoU with UnionPay International, China’s largest payment network provider, to expand the acceptance of UnionPay cards for payment across all Qantas customer touchpoints. The signing of the MoU was witnessed by Qantas International and Freight CEO Gareth Evans and UnionPay International CEO Cai Jianbo. Mr Evans said that the wider acceptance of UnionPay cards will improve the customer payment experience globally. [more - original PR]

Rex warns of grave consequences to regional Australia with new ruling on professional work visa

30 April, 2017

Regional Express (Rex) warned (28-Apr-2017) against the Federal Government's new ruling on professional work visas advising it will gravely affect essential air services to regional Australia. On 18-Apr-2017 the Department of Immigration and Border Protection announced wide-ranging changes to the Australian immigration programme, including abolition of the Temporary Work (skilled) visa (subclass 457). The changes see two occupations utilised by Rex completely removed from the official list of eligible occupations – Aeroplane Pilot and Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Avionics). Rex COO Neville Howell stated: "The removal of pilots and licensed engineers from the skills shortage list has been done without any aviation industry inputs besides the unions. We call upon the Prime Minister and the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection to place an immediate moratorium on the changes to the 457 visa programme until a well-considered replacement list has been formulated reflecting the real needs of our economy".   [more - original PR]

Link PNG receives first quarter airfare subsidy from Enga Provincial Government

30 April, 2017

Enga Provincial Government Governor Sir Peter Ipatas presented (28-Apr-2017) a PGK250,000 (USD78,198) cheque to Link PNG, a subsidiary company of Air Niugini, as part of the government's first quarter airfare subsidy. Sir Peter stated the airline services are vital for the province as they save time and costs for the people and public servants who would normally travel for almost three hours from Wapenamanda to Mt Hagen for Air Niugini services. The services to Wapenamanda airport are operated by Link PNG’s Dash 8 aircraft. Link PNG operates five frequencies a week to Wapenamanda. [more - original PR]

Qantas Regional Lounge opens at Coffs Harbour Airport

30 April, 2017

Qantas announced (28-Apr-2017) the opening of the new Qantas Regional Lounge at Coffs Harbour Airport. The new lounge is 25% larger than the previous lounge, catering for up to 40 customers. Customers have access to generous power and data outlets as well as WiFi throughout the lounge. [more - original PR]

Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport appoints Sara Hales as GM

30 April, 2017

Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport promoted (28-Apr-2017) commercial manager Sara Hales to GM, effective 02-May-2017. [more - original PR]

Emirates announces an all A380 service from Melbourne

28 April, 2017

Emirates announced (27-Apr-2017) it will provide an all A380 service from Melbourne when it upgrades its third daily frequency to an A380 operation from 25-Mar-2018. The change will add 945 seats per week to the Australian city, representing a 10% increase in capacity and seamless 'A380 to A380' connections via Dubai to the UK and Europe. The additional weekly seats coincides with Qantas’ launch of the Melbourne-Perth-London service, replacing Melbourne-Dubai-London. [more - original PR]

CHOICE releases the results of annual International Airline Survey

28 April, 2017

CHOICE released (27-Apr-2017) the results of its annual International Airline Survey, with LCC Jetstar ranked last out of more than 70 competitors from eight different countries. The international survey collected 11,273 responses from eight countries, and was coordinated by 10 consumer advocacy groups including Euroconsumers, Consumers International and CHOICE. Jetstar responded (28-Apr-2017) to the survey, stating the veracity of the report is questionable. Emirates was ranked in first position with the other major Australian carriers, Qantas and Virgin Australia ranking 36 and 51 respectively. [more - original PR]

NZ Government: Tourism spending continues to rise in 2017

27 April, 2017

New Zealand Government Acting Tourism Minister Nicky Wagner announced (27-Apr-2017) tourism spending by both international and domestic visitors continued to grow in 2017. Data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates shows tourism spending is up in all regions in the year to Mar-2017. The fastest growing regions are: the West Coast, increasing 11% to NZD522 million (USD358 million); followed by Nelson, up 10% to NZD343 million (USD235 million); and Tasman, up 10% to NZD303 million (USD208 million). [more - original PR]

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