Air Vanuatu is looking to increase services to New Zealand even further, following the announcement this week that the carrier will add a fourth weekly service to its New Zealand schedule starting 2 November.
Speaking at the Tok Tok trade event, which is being held in Port Vila now, Air Vanuatu’s executive manager commercial, Greg Wilson says that the airline is ‘strongly considering’ direct flights to Christchurch as well as having a fifth VLI-AKL in its sights.
Emirates has marked one of its busiest northern summers, carrying over 14 million passengers with average seat load factors exceeding 80% across its global network between June and August.
Looking at the coming months, Emirates’ booking trends show unabated demand for international travel across its network.
World Journeys advises that Avianca is introducing flights between Cuzco (Peru) and La Paz (Bolivia), commencing November this year.
The route will operate four times a week aboard Avianca’s A320 craft, offering over 5,700 seats per month.
Alison Hopkirk is the new national account manager, based in Auckland, with Delta Air Lines.
She will be responsible for the trade and corporate sectors and joins Delta’s GSA, The Walshe Group, in the lead up to the airline starting a seasonal daily service between LAX and AKL on 28 October.
May 2023 traffic data shows continued strong growth in air travel demand with figures nudging 2019 levels, says the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Total traffic in May 2023 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 39.1% compared to May 2022. Globally, traffic is now at 96.1% of May 2019 (pre-pandemic) levels.
Direct flights between Christchurch and Guangzhou will resume later this year.
The president of China Southern Airlines announced the airline’s return this week and says the service that was paused during the pandemic will re-start on 10 November with three flights a week.
Qantas trade partners are set to benefit from an extension to the airline’s lower pricing initiative when booking fares through Qantas’ next-generation distribution platform.
Qantas has named Alexandra O’Connor as its new regional manager for New Zealand and Pacific Islands, based in Auckland.
O’Connor will steer the commercial, financial and operational performance for Qantas in its markets across New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, including Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.
The strong growth in air travel demand is continuing based on just released February 2023 traffic results, says the International Air Transport Association (IATA)
Total traffic in February 2023 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) rose 55.5% compared to February 2022. Globally, traffic is now at 84.9% of February 2019 levels.
Clients have been quick to embrace Emirates’ A380 premium economy class, say a small group of agents who checked out the cabin (and the new look aircraft it is part of) this month.
Vikas Sarin, of House of Travel Milford, says many of the customers purchasing premium economy have previously experienced that class of travel and have been attracted to the different product, maybe because of connectivity or availability.
Ex Air New Zealander Cam Wallace will join Qantas as CEO of Qantas International and Freight from 1 July 2023. This will include growing Qantas International’s capacity to 100% of pre-Covid levels and beyond, as well as guiding preparations for Project Sunrise through to the first flight in late 2025.
The announcement was made yesterday as part of changes to the carrier’s group management committee.
China Airlines has advised agents it will change its upfront commission from 5% to 2% for tickets issued from 1 February 2023 ex NZ to world destinations (eg AKL-BNE, AKL-TPE and beyond).
In a statement to trade last week, CI notes that the easing of the pandemic and lifting of border restrictions mean that demand for travel is now on the rise again.
New Zealand’s travel retailers are welcoming another link to the all-important USA gateway of LAX, with spokespeople saying there is definitely a need for more capacity on the route.
At the same time, Delta Air Lines has the trade in its sights following the announcement that the carrier will launch daily flights between Auckland and Los Angeles from 30 October on Airbus A350-900 aircraft.
Travellers’ top concerns in the post-Covid crisis period are focused on simplification and convenience, according to the results of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) 2022 Global Passenger Survey (GPS).
Emirates is already receiving significant support from the New Zealand trade for its new premium economy product (available from AKL in January, CHC in March) as well as enthusiasm around the return to this market of the A380, says Chris Lethbridge, regional manager New Zealand for the airline.
Air Tahiti Nui has launched the first non-stop service connecting Seattle to Tahiti. The inaugural flight, TN51, departed Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) at 1230hrs local time on Wednesday 5 October to arrive in Tahiti at 1910hrs local time on Wednesday 5 October.
Batik Air has launched four new weekly services between Perth and Denpasar, increasing to daily flights from October. Flights to Kuala Lumpur will be increased to 14 times a week.
Promotional fares for Perth-Bali start from A$454 return all inclusive, and for Perth-Kuala Lumpur from A$579 return all-inclusive with 20kgs free baggage allowance. Business class services are available on selected flights.
The international travel bounce back is predicted to continue for the rest of the year with global airline seat capacity forecast to be back to 85% of pre-Covid levels by the end of 2022, according to FCM Consulting’s latest Global Quarterly Trend Report.
The report reveals that the top 20 corporate airlines across the world are on the rebound, with a global average of 87% of seats offered in 2022, versus 2019.
Airlines and airports are likely to have sorted out many of their ‘pinch points’ by the time the Australasian cruise season ramps up later this year, says Matt Grimes, senior vice president fleet operations with Viking.
He says that from comments on social media it is evident that it is the air sector that is putting a lot of people off at the moment.
Strong forward bookings out of New Zealand have encouraged Air Canada to increase its Auckland-Vancouver service to five times a week from December – just a matter of weeks after the carrier resumes the service three times a week on 12 November.
Vic Naughton, AC’s general manager Australia and New Zealand, says bookings are ahead of where they were in 2019 when Air Canada last flew the route.
Air Tahiti Nui has added additional weekly services on its ex-Auckland routes. Effective July, three services a week from Auckland-Papeete will connect with services to Los Angeles and Paris.
The July boost will meet the peak winter sun holiday season for the southern hemisphere and then revert to seasonal demand with another boost scheduled to commence in October to meet the peak northern hemisphere travel season.
Air New Zealand expects the demand for premium cabin space to hold for some time yet, says chief sales and customer officer Leanne Geraghty.
Attending the MEETINGS 2022 expo in Christchurch this month, Geraghty says it is clear that pent up demand after two years of restrictions and people wanting more space has obviously contributed to demand for the premium cabins.
Low cost carriers need to differentiate themselves to remain relevant to travellers, delegates at the recent Aviation Festival Asia in Singapore heard recently.
Mike Barrera, vice-president product management, low cost carrier segment with Sabre, says it is no longer enough to simply offer the lowest base-rate fare to attract passengers.
The confirmation that American Airlines, in partnership with Qantas, will restore its New Zealand link, flying daily, non-stop to Dallas Fort Worth between October and March, means five airlines are offering connections from Auckland Airport to eight non-stop destinations across North America over the summer period, says AKL’s general manager aeronautical commercial Scott Tasker.
Auckland Airport is envisaging around 67% of its airline capacity to be back on-stream by December 2022.
Scott Tasker, AKL’s general manager aeronautical, commercial told last week’s virtual TRENZ Hui that by then the airport should have 22 airlines offering direct services to 36 destinations with about 896,000 seats. That compares with 1.2 million seats in March 2019 and represents a steady rise from this month (May 2022), with 16 airlines operating to 28 destinations and offering 360,000 seats.
Singapore Airlines is noticing a marked pick of business from New Zealand and is looking forward to providing more opportunities for agents to sell, says George Robertson, general manager New Zealand with Singapore Airlines.
He says that customer confidence is strong to the extent that the rebound in Kiwi travel has surprised some people in the airline’s head office.
A $300 million-plus development that will transform how travellers arrive and depart from the Auckland Airport terminal, while paving the way for any future mass rapid transit, will get underway in June.
The Transport Hub, to be built in the footprint of the main international carpark, has been designed to allow traffic to flow through its ground floor. Two traffic lanes will enter from Ray Emery Drive into an undercover pick-up and drop-off area with a short covered walk into the terminal.
Bringing the reopening of New Zealand’s border forward for all-comers to 31 July means passengers can finally book with certainty airlines say.
It also means that they can put the final pieces of the puzzle together in terms of routes and capacity for flights to New Zealand.
Qantas has confirmed an order for 12 Airbus A350-1000s to enable non-stop flights to Australia from any other city including New York and London from late 2025.
These direct flights that will cut up to four hours off total travel time compared with one-stop options today.
Air Vanuatu will resume its services to Port Vila from Auckland in July, following Vanuatu’s reopening of its border to international travellers on 1 July 2022.
NF will operate a twice-weekly non-stop Boeing 737 service on (3hr 15 flight duration) from Auckland to Port Vila on Wednesday and Saturday departing 1210, commencing 2 July 2022. Air Vanuatu will also resume flights from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to Port Vila as of 1 July.
Auckland Airport’s international passenger capacity is taking flight, with July seeing available seat capacity hit its highest levels since March 2020.
The removal of all quarantine requirements and reopening of borders to visitors from New Zealand’s major tourism destinations has given airlines the confidence to reopen routes, says Scott Tasker, general manager aeronautical commercial.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says air travel posted a strong rebound in February 2022 compared to January 2022, as Omicron-related impacts moderated outside of Asia. The war in Ukraine, which began on 24 February, did not have a major impact on traffic levels.
Air Canada has announced a strategic expansion of its South Pacific schedule with the return of daily service to Sydney and resumption of services to both Brisbane and Auckland. Air Canada’s Australia and New Zealand flights operate from its trans Pacific hub at Vancouver International Airport which the carrier has built to connect its international network to its North American network.
Qantas and Jetstar have adjusted flying levels to better match travel demand in light of the growth in Covid-19 cases in Australia.
The Qantas Group now expects domestic capacity for the third quarter of FY22 to be at around 70% of pre-Covid levels, down from the 102% that had been planned.
The immediate challenge for airlines as the world starts to move again is to get aircraft fixed and services running at pace, according to a presenter at the recent CAPA Live virtual event.
Javid Malik, chief operating officer at Air Asia Berhad says ‘everyone is trying to get their aircraft, that have been mothballed, back into the air.’
A Qatar Airways Airbus A380 took to the skies for the first time in more than 18 months earlier this week, positioning the aircraft from Doha International Airport (DIA) to Hamad International Airport (HIA) after the airline reluctantly brought the fleet back into operation due to ongoing capacity shortage.
It is anticipated that at least five of the airline’s 10 A380s will be brought back into service on a temporary basis over the coming weeks to support fleet capacity on key winter routes, including London Heathrow (LHR) and Paris (CDG), from 15 December 2021.
SITA will make its Digital Travel Declaration solution – which allows passengers to share required travel and health documentation with governments ahead of travel – available to governments free of charge globally. The company says this is aimed at addressing the challenge of submitting and verifying health documentation which remains a major impediment to the recovery of the global travel industry.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced a moderate rebound in air travel in September 2021 compared to August’s performance. This was driven by recovery in domestic markets, in particular China, where some travel curbs were lifted following the Covid-19 outbreaks in August. International demand slipped slightly compared to the previous month.
Total demand for air travel in September 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) was down 53.4% compared to September 2019. This was up from August, when demand was 56.0% below August 2019 levels.
Demand from Kiwis for private jet travel to Australia – particularly on a one way basis – is ‘going through the roof’, according to Christchurch-headquartered GCH Aviation.
The company’s group marketing manager, Caroline Blanchfield says that as the eastern states of Australia open up New Zealanders are heading across the Tasman for work, to relocate with permanent jobs or to resume life there.
With limited commercial capacity, as well as a desire to stay in their own bubble, people who can afford it are increasingly attracted do the private jet option.
Airlines have had a week of positivity as more markets relax their Covid-19 restrictions and start to look forward to reopening their hotel doors, says OAG’s chief analyst John Grant.
However he says that airlines are increasingly cautious of adding capacity back too quickly, despite the market positivity, especially through the coming winter season.
The aviation sector’s road to recovery is not likely to be dialled back as nations and states begin to make it clear they are prepared to live with Covid-19 and reconnect, says Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas.
Speaking at Flight Centre Corporate’s virtual event, Illuminate, yesterday Joyce outlined immediate and post Christmas plans for the airline.
‘We are in a different space than we were six months ago. Our largest (most populated) states are opening up, while still having protections.’
The key to Australia’s newest airline will be where it flies to – concentrating on domestic routes that are not currently operated.
Founder and CEO of Bonza, Tim Jordan, told CAPA Live this week that where there is a double up Bonza will be there to stimulate the low cost model without interfering with an existing carrier’s offering.
The Australian Government’s latest announcement on reopening is a is a step forward, but more can still be done,’ according to Philip Goh, International Air Transport Association’s (IATA’s ) regional vice president for Asia Pacific.
‘The announcement of the November timeline and the removal of the international arrival caps are positive steps forward.
‘The reduction of quarantine period and introduction of home quarantine for vaccinated Australians are also steps in the right direction. We welcome the use of rapid antigen tests for international travel.’
Fiji Airports is ramping up its Nadi International Airport operations in expectation and anticipation of the re-opening of Fiji’s borders.
Fiji Airports acting CEO, Isei Tudreu says as an airport it is encouraging to see airlines taking bookings for a Fiji holiday in December.
Local GOL representative, Discover the World, advises the airline has recently partnered with Avolon, a leasing company, and committed to purchase or lease up to 250 eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) flying taxis.
The VA-X4 is a piloted eVTOL vehicle and completely electric. It will be capable of travelling at over 200 miles per hour with a range of over 100 miles. It will have the capacity to carry four passengers and a pilot. It’s vertical landing and take-off capabilities will allow the VA-X4 to operate in and out of cities and other confined locations. firstname.lastname@example.org
New research from ForwardKeys shows that international flights to European destinations in July and August reached 39.9% of pre-pandemic levels. This is significantly better than last year (which was 26.6%), when the Covid-19 pandemic caused widespread lockdowns; and vaccines were not yet approved.
However, the picture was mixed, with some destinations doing considerably better than others. Also, the outlook is not improving, as bookings slowed towards the end of the summer period.