Qantas lowers fuel surcharges on frequent flyer award tickets

Fuel surcharges imposed on Qantas Frequent Flyer award tickets will fall by up to $130 from tomorrow as the airline rolls the cost of fuel into the base fares on international flights.

As a result, travellers trading their frequent flyer points on an overseas ticket won’t need to pay as much in additional fees.

However, unlike Virgin Australia’s surcharge shift last week, Qantas says there won’t be a reduction in the price of standard fully-paid tickets “as prices advertised to customers already include taxes and charges.”

For frequent flyers, the savings will cut up to $110 from the cost of selected return economy award bookings and up to $130 in premium economy.

However, the separate fuel surcharges currently remain in place for flights on the joint Qantas/Emirates network to the UK and Europe.

Last week saw Virgin Australia roll its $680 fuel surcharge into its base fares on flights from Brisbane and Sydney to Los Angeles, although notably hadn’t been imposing the surcharge on travellers redeeming their Velocity Frequent Flyer points.

“In a highly competitive environment where customers are already paying less than they were several years ago, lower oil prices can help put the industry on a more sustainable footing” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce in announcing the changes.

“It means airlines are in a better position to invest in the new aircraft, new lounges and new routes that ultimately benefit customers.”

The airline also notes that “while global fuel prices have fallen in recent months, international air fares are extremely competitive and are significantly lower than when surcharges were first introduced 10 years ago.”

Using Qantas Frequent Flyer points for international economy travel has long been poor value, with a round trip from Sydney to London currently setting travellers back 128,000 points and $954 in government taxes and carrier surcharges.

To compare, economy sale fares on the same Qantas flights can frequently be found for around $1,600 – giving a mere half a cent of value per point redeemed.


Source : Australian Business Traveller

Air China goes daily on Melbourne flights to Beijing, Shanghai

Air China goes daily on Melbourne flights to Beijing, Shanghai

Air China is ramping up its flights between Melbourne and Beijing with the launch of a new, non-stop service four times each week from June 1 – giving the airline at least one flight each day between Victoria and either Beijing or Shanghai.

Running on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and also on Tuesdays from October 25, CA166 pushes back at 8:40pm in Melbourne to reach Beijing’s Capital Airport at 6:30am the following morning.

On the return, CA165 departs at 2am on the same calendar days before landing in Melbourne at 3:30pm that afternoon.

The current CA178/177 services from Melbourne to Beijing via Shanghai, running on on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, will instead terminate in Shanghai from the same date.

Passengers can then connect onwards to Beijing as they currently do by catching an onwards Air China flight, albeit with a different flight number.

“China is our number one long-haul market and in 2014 alone, passengers between Australia and China grew by more than 20 per cent,” said Melbourne Airport CEO Chris Woodruff.

“The new service means travellers will no longer have to travel through Shanghai, providing more choice and more convenience.”

Whichever flight you choose, you’ll be travelling on a twin-aisle Airbus A330-200 aircraft with lie-flat beds, and individual AC power outlets and either a 12.1” or a 15.1” personal AVOD entertainment system in business class, configured in a 2-2-2 layout:

Or if you’re stuck in economy, you’ll have 32 inches from headrest to headrest, with one AC power outlet shared between every two seats and a personal 9” inflight entertainment screen in the seatback ahead of you – set in a 2-4-2 arrangement and reducing to 2-3-2 towards the rear.

As a Star Alliance airline, Virgin Australia frequent flyers can earn Velocity points on Air China flights by first crediting their miles to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer scheme and then converting them into Velocity points.


Source : Australian Business Traveller

New Zealand Defence Force ordered to pay full $116,400 redundancy after contract error

New Zealand Flag Map

An error in a New Zealand Defence Force finance director’s employment contract has led to him getting $73,000 more than he should in his redundancy payout.

Michael Beauchamp was employed as NZDF financial controller and later as finance director for eight and a half years, but was made redundant in April 2012 after the finance section was restructured.

He was paid $42,778 in redundancy but complained to the Employment Relations Authority because it was significantly less than his individual employment agreement specified.

In the authority’s decision released last Friday, it revealed the Defence Force’s chief admitted there was an error in Beauchamp’s 2008 employment agreement, which was repeated in a subsequent contract in 2011.

His redundancy entitlement was recorded as $116,400 – the amount of his annual salary – when it should have been at most $42,000.

NZDF human resources manager Michelle Thompson said a former manager had prepared the redundancy calculations but found it “hard to accept” that Beauchamp had not noticed the mistake.

“In her view, he had not acted in good faith in not bringing the error to his employer’s attention.”

However, Beauchamp told the authority he was unaware his redundancy compensation was incorrect in his 2008 and 2011 employment contracts, instead thinking it was higher than expected but “plausible”.

“He had not calculated the amount himself and had not asked his employer to provide him with a calculation. He accepted that if he had done the calculation at the time, he would have realised when he received the 2008 letter of offer that the redundancy compensation amount was incorrect,” authority member Trish MacKinnon said in her decision.

“I have also accepted that he was reassured, after mentioning it to an HR advisor, that he had no reason to query the sum.”


When Beauchamp first started working for the Defence Force in 2003, his contract’s redundancy clause stated he would get six weeks pay for the first year of service, two weeks pay for the second and subsequent years’ service up to 19 years, and the total amount should not exceed $42,000.

In 2006, his new individual contract stated that redundancy clause would be frozen at the existing rate and any payout would be the greater of that or three months’ salary at the rate when his position was disestablished.

However, his new job contract in 2008 mistakenly stated his redundancy payout would be the greater of $116,400 instead of the value of his frozen redundancy compensation rate from 2003, or three months’ salary at the rate when he was made redundant.

When he was made redundant nearly two years ago, he was only paid the lower amount because the Defence Force realised his contract contained the wrong figure.

MacKinnon said she accepted the Defence Force intended the redundancy clause from his 2003 employment contract to continue to apply but ordered it to pay the difference between the amount it paid him and $116,400.

– The Dominion Post


Source : Stuff logo

Australia 2 – 0 United Arab Emirates: Match Stats

Newcastle: Australia have joined Korea Republic in the AFC Asian Cup final after defeating the UAE 2-0 in Newcastle.

Trent Sainsbury scored the opening after just two minutes before Jason Davidson scored his side’s second on 14 minutes.

The Socceroos will now face off against Korea Republic in Saturday’s final in Sydney.

Australia v UAE
Australia reached their second consecutive AFC Asian Cup final in only their third appearance in the tournament. They made the quarter-finals of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup before going down to Japan in 2011’s final.

The Socceroos have scored more goals in the tournament with 12 in their opening five matches. The only match in which they did not score was their group clash with their final opponents Korea Republic.

Australia have had ten different goal scorers in the tournament with Tim Cahill (3), Massimo Luongo (1), Mile Jedinak (1), Robbie Kruse (1), Mark Milligan (1), James Troisi (1), MattMcKay (1), Tomi Juric, Trent Sainsbury (1), Jason Davidson (1).

Ange Postecoglou’s men also lead the tournament with shots on target with 35. They did however only have three against the UAE.

Despite not scoring, UAE’s Ali Mabkhout maintains his position as the joint-leader on the goal scoring charts with four alongside Jordan’s Hamza Al Dardour.

Australia completed 83.4% of their 525 passes with the UAE completing 78% of their 468 passes.

The Socceroos had the edge with possession (53.5%) and territory (56%).

Photo: WSG

Source : Asian Football Confederation Website

Ange Postecoglou: Australia’s celebrations will have to wait

Newcastle: Australia are keeping the champagne on ice, according to coach Ange Postecoglou, despite the Socceroos securing a place in the final of the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 with a 2-0 win over the United Arab Emirates in Tuesday’s semi-final.

Defenders Trent Sainsbury and Jason Davidson, with their first international goals, scored inside the first 15 minutes at a damp Newcastle Stadium as Australia secured a second consecutive AFC Asian Cup final appearance.

But having lost 1-0 to Japan after extra-time in the 2011 final, Postecoglou insists Australia are firmly focused on landing a maiden continental title on Saturday against Korea Republic at Stadium Australia.

“The players have worked very hard to get this spot and I want them to enjoy the week, it is going to be a great few days and it is all part of getting to a final, you need to embrace it and look forward to it,” said Postecoglou.

“But walking into the dressing room, there are no champagne corks being popped and they are already in recovery mode and doing the right things as they have done all tournament.

“It is a massive game. We made the final four years ago which was great for our nation. We have been in Asia for a while now and we haven’t won anything in the men’s game, but this gives us an opportunity at a national level to achieve something.”

Australia have now scored 12 goals in their five games, while only conceding twice, with the goals from Sainsbury and Davidson meaning 10 different players have now scored for Postecoglou’s side during the campaign.

“I think we have been very good the whole tournament. There haven’t been too many periods in any games where I have felt we’ve been dominated, so for the most part we have been pretty solid,” added Postecoglou.

“The players have got real belief now and they are getting the rewards, so hopefully that means they keep progressing and challenging themselves to be better.”

Saturday’s final also represents the chance for Australia to gain revenge for a 1-0 defeat by two-time winners Korea, who beat Iraq 2-0 on Monday in their semi-final, at the end of the group stage.

“We have to score. We didn’t score last time and we had a number of opportunities to do it, but we had a different line-up that day,” said Postecoglou.

“After that game we were quite pleased with the performance and we thought we dominated that game even though we didn’t win. There certainly wasn’t anything negative coming out of it from our perspective.”

Photo: WSG

Source : Asian Football Confederation Website

Korea Republic 2 – 0 Iraq:Match Stats

Sydney: Korea Republic are the first team through to the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 final after they defeated Iraq 2-0 on a wet night in Sydney.

Lee Jeong-hyeop opened the scoring on 20 minutes before Kim Young-gwon sealed the victory for Uli Stielike’s men in the 70th minute.

The Taeguk Warriors will face the winners of Tuesday night’s second semi-final between hosts Australia and the UAE in Newcastle.

Match Statistics

Korea Republic are still yet to concede a goal at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. They’ve so far defeated Oman 1-0, Kuwait 1-0, Australia 1-0, Uzbekistan 2-0 (aet) and Iraq (2-0).

The win ensured Korea Republic reach their first AFC Asian Cup final since 1988. They will now look to win their first continental title since 1960.

Despite going into the match with three more yellow cards than any other side, not one Iraqi player received a yellow card in the wet conditions in Sydney. They did however commit 19 fouls to Korea Republic’s seven in the match.

Korea Republic dominated possession in the first half with 65.8% of the ball, while Iraq took control in the second half with 59.6% of the ball. The overall possession finished 53.1% – 46.9% in Korea Republic’s favour.

Korea Republic kept up their tournament leading shooting accuracy putting seven of their nine attempts on target. Iraq had only two shots on target with another six missing the mark.

Lee Jeong-hyeop scored his second goal of the tournament, and his international career, for Korea Republic. The 23-year-old debuted for Korea Republic in his side’s AFC Asian Cup opener against Oman and has played a part in every match since.​

Photo: WSG

Source : Asian Football Confederation Website