Following Air New Zealand’s announcement that it will be introducing direct flights to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, Simon Bridges, Minister of Transport, says huge potential lies in a healthy relationship between the two countries.
‘What’s exciting is that in the longer term what will grow hugely is the number of Vietnamese who decide to come to New Zealand.
‘Vietnam is a member of many multinational organisations that we think are most important, including their recent inclusion in TPPA agreements.
‘Also, 90 million people is a very big market, with a number of sectors with very big potential. The obvious ones are agriculture, horticulture, and obviously tourism.’
Air New Zealand's chief strategy, networks and alliance officer Stephen Jones says the airline will be embarking on a number of ventures to raise awareness of New Zealand around Southeast Asia.
‘We’ll be working closely with Tourism New Zealand to raise the awareness of New Zealand as a destination.
‘We’ve already begun talks with Tourism New Zealand delegates across the Asia region, and they’re committed to working with us and developing awareness in these markets.
On Friday morning Air New Zealand announced that it will be flying three times a week between Auckland and Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Soh Naht International Airport.
The route will be operated by a 224 seat 767-300 aircraft initially, but Jones says they will be looking to upgrade to a 300 seat, 787 type aircraft.
Fiji Airways plans to commence twice weekly direct services to Singapore from 5 April 2016.
The flights will operate from Nadi International Airport on Tuesdays and Fridays, with flight times to suit onward connections to India and Southeast Asia.
The airline has a special launch fare from Nadi to Singapore, starting from F$999 all-inclusive.
Fiji Airways managing director and chief executive officer Andre Viljoen says the introduction of direct Singapore flights is excellent news for Fiji Airways customers and all Fijians.
‘We will be flying direct to a destination considered as Asia’s leading hub,’ Viljoen says. “The attractions of Singapore are numerous, from the world’s best airport, Changi, to world-renowned shopping and entertainment. Fijians will now be able to enjoy the comfort of our A330 aircraft on this 10-hour flight, departing Nadi late night and arriving in Singapore fresh in the morning ready to explore all that this bustling metropolitan city-state has to offer.’
He adds that onward connection times to other key destinations would make transiting through Singapore convenient.
New competition in global air travel must not be stamped out by the entrenched interests of the legacy carriers, says James Hogan, president and chief executive officer of Etihad Airways.
Hogan says air travel, which contributes so much to global trade, is stuck with a regulatory system which limits consolidation, competition and consumer choice.
Delivering the 2015 Brabazon Lecture at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London, Hogan said that while the modern globalised economy has seen trade and tourism jump forward in leaps and bounds, the structure of the aviation industry has shuffled forward only a few tiny steps.
‘This is an industry which cries out for new competition, across many different markets; but it is one in which smaller operators can only operate in niche environments.’
To become a competitive global network carrier today is incredibly challenging, says Hogan.
‘More than ever before, scale is the single defining factor behind success for a network carrier. Scale means a network which can compete against the networks of legacy carriers, built up over decades.
‘Scale means the ability to reach consumers with a brand promise across many different markets – profile and visibility that will deliver customers. And scale means the ability to strip down costs to competitive levels, through economies of scale throughout operations.’
Air New Zealand will purchase 15 new ATR72-600 aircraft to operate its regional services.
Four of the new aircraft will allow for further growth on regional Air New Zealand routes while 11 will replace the airline’s ATR72-500 fleet.
At list prices the 15 new aircraft are collectively valued at $US375 million.
In 2012 the airline announced it would add to its ATR fleet with an investment in 14 ATR72-600 aircraft - seven of these have since been delivered with the remaining seven due to join the fleet by mid-2016.
The additional 15 new aircraft will begin arriving from late 2016.
‘The extra four 68 seat ATR72-600 that we are adding to our fleet will enable us to operate up to an additional 600,000 seats into the New Zealand regional market annually. This latest investment will further allow us to maintain our low fare price and high frequency leadership,’ says chief executive officer Chrostopher Luxon.
‘Once these new aircraft arrive we will operate a fleet of 29 ATR aircraft, the third largest ATR fleet in the world which is testament to the breadth and depth of our regional network.’
In addition to ATR aircraft Air New Zealand also currently operates ten 19-seat Beech 1900D and 23 50-seat Bombardier Q300 aircraft types.
Jet2.com is spearheading trials of tamper-proof bags for duty free alcohol at two UK airports in its bid to clamp down on ‘drunken antisocial behaviour’ on board flights.
The airline has joined forces with World Duty Free (WDF) to trial a scheme at Manchester and Glasgow airports.
Jet2 passengers buying alcohol at either airport will have their goods placed in a sealed, tamper-proof bag to deter them from consuming the booze on board.
The move is designed to make it more difficult for passengers to drink duty free alcohol during the flight.