Air New Zealand and United deepen partnership

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Air New Zealand and United plan to expand their partnership to include revenue sharing on New Zealand-US routes.

The move to deepen cooperation comes as United counts down to its return to NZ for the first time since 2003, with nonstop San Francisco-Auckland flights with Boeing 787s due to begin in July.

United vice chairman and chief revenue officer Jim Compton said: “This joint venture will allow us to work more closely with Air New Zealand to optimise our trans-Pacific schedules and offer more convenient flight choices to our customers in both the US and New Zealand.”

“We look forward to continuing to work with Air New Zealand, an industry innovator and leader, to further grow our business in ways that will benefit our mutual customers.”

The two Star Alliance members have been partners since 2001, with extensive codesharing on each other’s networks, as well as cooperation on frequent flyer benefits and distribution. In 2015, the pair signed a Statement of Intent to “deepen and further define” their alliance.

Asked whether the revenue sharing arrangement would require any government approvals from either the US or NZ, an Air NZ spokesperson told Australian Aviation: “Air New Zealand and United Airlines have an existing regulatory approval to cooperate on routes between New Zealand and the USA.”

The revenue sharing agreement is due to kick off when United commences San Francisco-Auckland three times a week from July 1 with 787-8s. United plans to upgauge to the larger 787-9 and move to a daily schedule from November.

The Air NZ spokesperson said United was awaiting its licence from the NZ government to operate between Auckland and San Francisco.

Currently, Air NZ serves five points in North America – Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver – from its Auckland hub. Meanwhile, United flies from Sydney to Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as between Melbourne and Los Angeles.

Air NZ chief executive Christopher Luxon said working more closely with United would support NZ tourism.

“The United States is New Zealand’s third largest tourism source market, contributing almost a billion dollars to our economy in the past financial year,” Luxon said in a statement.

“We know this is just the tip of the iceberg though, with around 30 million Americans actively considering New Zealand as a holiday destination.

“To have a strong home market carrier like United Airlines working with us to grow this market through its extensive sales and distribution channels in the US will provide a significant boost to inbound tourism.”

Air NZ has revenue sharing arrangements with Virgin Australia, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines and Air China.

 

Australian Aviation

Longreach Airport touts benefits of solar panels

A supplied image of solar panels at Longreach Airport. (Longreach Airport)

Longreach Airport says the installation of solar panels will supply almost enough energy to cover its daytime power requirements and help cut greenhouse gas emissions

Taking advantage of the abundance of Central West Queensland sunlight and 30-plus degree temperatures, the airport says the 396 solar panels would lower its power bill between $30,000-$40,000 and “more than satisfies the current peak load requirement of 68 kilowatts”.

There will also be 184.9 tonnes less CO2 emissions produced each year.

“Our current annual energy costs from the coal generated grid is between $40,000 to $50,000 but the installation cost of our solar system is into six figures so even with the considerable financial saving it will take a number of years to recoup the cost,” Longreach Airport chief operating officer Kevin Gill said in a statement.

“But to us the real winner is the environment as we are focused on sustainability. At Longreach our new solar installation will provide 95 per cent of our daytime energy requirements and largely replace our use of fossil generated energy.”

Longreach is one of several Australian airports that have introduced solar panels in recent times, with Adelaide Airport’s 4,500-solar panel system on the roof of the short-term car park expected to be completed by April.

Meanwhile, Mount Isa and Townsville Airports, which like Longreach are operated by Queensland Airports Ltd, are also planning to build solar panels.

“At Mount Isa we expect to start on a new solar covered car park in a couple of months, while we are seriously considering solar at Townsville as part of a major redevelopment,” Gill said.

 

Australian Aviation

Cathay Pacific says weaker AUD has impacted yields on Australian routes

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER B-KQR at Sydney Airport. (Cathay Pacific)

Cathay Pacific has reported a near doubling of full year net profit in 2015 and says its flights to Australia have been “satisfactory” over the past year amid a downturn in the mining sector and a weaker Australian dollar.

The airline group posted net profit of $HK6 billion for the 12 months to December 31 2015, up 90.5 per cent from $HK3.15 billion in the prior corresponding period.

The result was underpinned by lower fuel prices and strong demand in economy class, Cathay said in its full year results released on Wednesday. On a negative note, demand in its premium cabins was “not as strong as expected on some long-haul routes”, while cargo remained weak.

“The operating environment was better in 2015 than in 2014, but we faced some significant challenges, which we expect to continue in 2016,” Cathay chairman John Slosar said in a statement.

“Strong competition from other airlines in the region, foreign currency movements and weak premium class passenger demand will put pressure on passenger yield.

“Cargo demand will be adversely affected by industry overcapacity.

“Overall passenger demand remains strong and we expect to continue to benefit from low fuel prices.”

Cathay said fuel costs fell 18 per cent in 2015, compared with the prior year, even with some losses from old hedging positions. Meanwhile, passenger numbers rose 7.9 per cent to 34.1 million, and load factors rose 2.4 percentage points to 85.7 per cent.

However, passenger yields, which measure average airfares per passenger, fell 11 per cent in the year.

Cathay’s Australian network includes flights to Adelaide, Cairns, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, as well as seasonal service to the Gold Coast during Chinese New Year.

During the past year, the oneworld alliance member swapped an Airbus A330-300 with a Boeing 777-300ER on a second of its four daily Sydney flights, as well as added a fifth weekly flight to Adelaide.

Cathay said it continued to experience good demand from China to Australia. However, the financial performance of its Australian routes was hit by the weaker Australian dollar.

“The performance of our Australian routes was satisfactory in 2015. Demand for travel between Mainland China and Australia was stable,” Cathay said.

“The value of the Australian dollar fell significantly. This increased demand for travel to Australia but adversely affected yield.

“Business on the Perth route was affected by a downturn in the mining sector in Western Australia.”

Cathay said its Hong Kong-Auckland route, which it operates as part of an alliance with Air New Zealand, was steady in 2015.

In terms of the fleet, Cathay said it expected to receive its first Airbus A350-900 in May. It will be one of 12 A350-900s due for delivery in calendar 2016. The airline already had two A350 simulators for flight training purposes.

“The new Airbus A350XWB aircraft will have new cabins, seats and entertainment systems,” Cathay confirmed in its full year results release.

Revenue service with the A350 was expected to begin in June. The airline has 22 A350-900s and 26 of the larger A350-1000s on order.

Meanwhile, Cathay’s three remaining Boeing 747-400s were due to be retired before the end of 2016, with the last flight set to take place in October. As previously announced, the company has brought forward the retirement of the 747-400s from 2017 to 2016.

 

Australian Aviation

Board of Airline Representatives of Australia calls for collaboration

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The Board of Airline Representatives of Australia (BARA) has called for more collaboration between airports, government and airlines amid some “early warning signs” the nation’s aviation infrastructure is struggling to handle the growing number of travellers into and out of the country.

At a BARA function in Sydney on Wednesday evening, BARA chairman Leanne Geraghty said although the industry was doing well, indicators such as on-time performance, lost baggage numbers, as well as evidence of longer queues at border processing and incidents of jet fuel rationing, highlighted the stress being placed on Australia’s available aviation capacity.

“Given these challenges, in order to continue success and growth, it will be critical over the next few years that all stakeholders work together to find ways of boosting industry capacity and efficiency to continue to provide safe and high quality services,” said Geraghty, who is Air New Zealand general manager for Australia.

BARA represents 32 international airlines that fly into and out of Australia, covering about 90 per cent of all international passenger services. The body has called for an opening up of Australia’s on-airport jet fuel storage and distribution facilities at major international airports opened up to competition.

Further, BARA believed negotiations with airports over the charges and fees for services provided needed use a “consistent” set of performance data “with agreed capital and operating resources”.

And thirdly, Geraghty said improved integration between the airlines, Airservices and the airports, with the sharing of real time and accurate information, would generate efficiencies in the aircraft turnaround process.

“The future industry needs to be a better integrated one. The tools necessary to achieve this are already available to us,” Geraghty said.

“The challenge, therefore, is to continue to break down the barriers and obstacles faced by different suppliers and get everyone focused on delivering higher quality and more efficient outcomes.

“Like many industries, international aviation faces some considerable infrastructure challenges and collectively we need to continue to drive specific infrastructure improvements.”

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development Secretary Mike Mrdak, who also spoke at Wednesday night’s BARA function, noted infrastructure capacity issues were a significant concern across the region.

“Throughout this Asia Pacific region, the one big constraint that everyone is worried about is not about the capacity of the aviation industry to create new product, to do marketing or to buy the aircraft for the future, it is actually the physical infrastructure,” Mrdak said.

“Both the airports and also the airways infrastructure is the number one critical constraint for the future of our industry.”

Mrdak has had two new ministers responsible for the Department’s work sworn in following the retirement of Warren Truss, whose previous portfolio of Infrastructure and Regional Development has been split in two with Senator Fiona Nash the new Minister for Regional Development and Darren Chester the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

“We have new ministers right across the portfolios, they take time to start to learn and absorb the issues that this industry has to deal with,” Mrdak said.

“But the one thing that I think stands us in good stead in the industry is that there is largely bipartisan support for the policy directions that this industry deals with.

“We’ve had successive Australian governments who have been committed to ongoing liberalisation, committed to a sensible approach where we grow our markets, we grow Australian carrier participation in global markets and we look to ways in which we can get the right balance between the growth of our industry and the growth of the tourist traffic and also Australian travellers out.”

Mrdak reaffirmed previous indications from the government and Sydney Airport that the offer contract for the proposed airport at Badgerys Creek would be released by mid-2016.

“By the middle of this year our intention is to provide essentially what is the terms of offer that the Australian government will provide to the owners of Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, who have first right of refusal to build and operate the Western Sydney Airport,” Mrdak said.

 

Source : Australian Aviation

Only in DXB: high street brands and the tailors

Cyril Zammit/Dubai
Filed on March 12, 2016

Lina El Saheb, Managing Partner of Hint Hunt Dubai. Supplied photo

I don’t shop online, no, zero. I need to see and feel the fabric. I like to mix up my wardrobe. So I go to Satwa and Deira to look for fabrics.

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“There’s no doubt about it – Dubai is definitely the shopping capital in the GCC. You can find everything here, from super expensive to very affordable. And that’s why the city is such a platform of convergence – a phrase I use for Design Days Dubai; but it applies as much for Dubai. You can really create your own style in this city, one piece from here, one piece from there.

I have quite a few favourite shops in Dubai. I travel a fair bit. But at least 40 per cent of my wardrobe is from Dubai. It’s a pity that (the store) Mahani – between Emirates Towers – has shut down. They used to have really unique clothes. Of my current favourites, I like Carven in Citywalk, and I like Hackett. I try to not go to malls too much because I get overwhelmed in crowded spaces for more than 30 minutes. But I went to Dubai Mall last week and spent half-an-hour there. I went at 10 am on a Friday morning. I knew exactly what I wanted, I knew the colours, so I tried on the trousers, made the marks for alteration, and I was out of there.

If I am in a good mood, and if I have a bit of time, I might rely on shopping assistants, after first testing them to see if they’re giving me honest feedback or just trying to make a sale.

I don’t shop online, no, zero. I need to see and feel the fabric. I like to mix up my wardrobe. So I go to Satwa and Deira to look for fabrics. You get different flavours, different options, and you find some amazing stuff. I also go to Sharjah and Ajman to have a look around. I have a tailor who can make me stuff, and even make alterations on some designer stuff. Often people are impatient with tailors, but a good one can make all the difference. You can try something that’s not too much of a risk. Maybe give him copy a favourite shirt and see how it turns out. It helps really create your own style. The idea is to be comfortable, and happy. If you wear something you like, it’s timeless.”

(As told to Nivriti Butalia)

Cyril is from France. He’s the fair director, Design Days Dubai.

He’s lived in Dubai since 2011.

Source : Khaleej Times