A new national survey in the United States has found that 80% of Americans are ‘satisfied or very satisfied’ with air travel
The survey which was commissioned by Airlines for America (A4A), also found that the affordability of airfare is enabling more people to take to the skies at a younger age and more often.
‘In the early days of commercial aviation, only the most affluent could afford to fly. In contrast, those who took to the skies in 2015 came from all income levels, age groups and ethnicities and increasingly reflect the US population,” said John Heimlich, A4A vice president and chief economist.
The survey, conducted in December 2015 by Ipsos Public Affairs, looked at who was traveling by air, why, where and how often; asked travellers to rate their air travel experience; assessed what factors were considered when purchasing travel, examined which components of the passenger experience were most important to them; and asked about their upcoming travel plans.
Of all 2015 travellers surveyed, 80% said they were satisfied – including 35%who were ‘very satisfied’ – with their overall air travel experience. Price, convenience and reliability are the main reasons people fly and the majority feel that airlines are providing that. Of the remainder, 14% were ‘neutral’, 5% were ‘somewhat dissatisfied’ and 1% were ‘very dissatisfied’.
Los Angeles World Airports and Westfield unveiled a $332 million renovation of LAX’s Terminal 2. The revamp is part of a $US8.5 billion ($12 billion) facelift of five terminals at the airport. The airport has worked alongside global mall developer Westfield to renovate the space over a period of about 20 months. The group transformed nearly 7060sq m of space, which takes in a new dining and retail area. There are around eating houses, including modern seafood shack Slapfish. Terminal 2 services 11 airlines including Hawaiian Air and Virgin Atlantic. It joins Tom Bradley International Terminal and will serve more than 5.2 million passengers annually The revamp was the terminal’s first in 30 years.
Qantas will fly three times per week between Christchurch and Brisbane from 18 June. The airline will also run a fourth weekly service during the school holidays. The route, which operated seasonally during the school break, has increased in demand on both sides of the Tasman. Qantas says the service will allow customers travelling on the airline’s morning Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo services into Brisbane to connect with the Christchurch flight. The route will be operated by a Boeing 737-800.
Air New Zealand has announced its half-year profits have soared a huge 154% to $338 million. Earnings before taxation were up by $457m for the six months ended December 31, 2015, or up 132% on the previous period.
The company says the interim result was driven by exceptionally strong passenger revenue growth, underpinned by more than 16% capacity growth across the network. Meanwhile, operating cash flow was up 43% on the previous period to $541m. The airline says it has continued to benefit from lower jet fuel prices. It has also been leveraging off strong economies of scale and efficiencies from its fleet simplification programme. The strong results mean the board of directors declared a fully imputed interim dividend of 10 cents per share – a 54% hike.
Chairman Tony Carter says the company was delighted to kick off the period with such a ‘stellar’ result. ‘Air New Zealand’s profitability, healthy free cash flow and solid balance sheet reflect the successful execution of the strategic plan by chief executive officer Christopher Luxon and the executive team, which is focused on sustainable and profitable growth,’ says Carter.
CEO Christopher Luxon says the airline will continue to offer more frequency and routes as well as competitive prices throughout New Zealand and the Pacific Rim. The Tasman and Pacific Island markets continue to perform strongly for the airline, he says. ‘New Zealand continues to be not only a destination that is in big demand for Australians but it is also a gateway to North America, South America and the Pacific Islands for travellers from Australia. This traffic is adding to the strength of Air New Zealand’s services to these markets. In recognition of the opportunity, we will continue to build our presence in Australia,’ he says. ‘On the international long-haul network we successfully launched the Houston and Buenos Aires routes in December, and our partner Air China commenced services to Beijing at the same time. We are thrilled with the demand and performance of these routes. Starting in June 2016, we are excited to offer customers yet another new and exciting destination within the Pacific Rim, with seasonal services to Vietnam.’
Air New Zealand’s 25.9% investment in Virgin Australia, together with its share of Christchurch Engine Centre’s earnings, contributed $15 million and $10 million respectively, for the first half of the 2016 financial year.
Emirates will start its first non-stop service from Auckland to Dubai from March. It will bring New Zealand and Europe, Africa and the Middle East via Dubai much closer than at present, with an estimated flight time of just under 16 hours from Dubai to New Zealand and 17 hours, 15 minutes in the other direction.
The new service, operating out of Auckland from 2 March, will be in addition to the airline's existing flights, meaning that Emirates will then have five services daily from New Zealand - three A380 double-decker services from Auckland via Australia, a daily Christchurch service with a Boeing 777-300ER and the new non-stop service operated with a Boeing 777-200LR.
Operating west-bound as flight EK449, the non-stop service will depart Auckland each night (local summer time) at 9.30pm, arriving in Dubai the following morning at 5.45am (local time). Operating east-bound as EK448, the service will depart Dubai at 10.05am and arrive in Auckland the following day at 11.00am.