NSW government deregulates Sydney to Moruya and Merimbula routes

Rex coul have competition on Sydney-Moruya and Sydney-Merimbula after the NSW government deregulated the two intrastate routes. (Dave Parer)

The NSW Government has opened up two intrastate air routes to competition and has called on Canberra to boost the number of takeoff and landing slots at Sydney Airport dedicated to regional services.

NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said on Monday the Sydney-Moruya and Sydney-Merimbula routes would be deregulated.

Currently, Regional Express (Rex) is the only operator on both routes. However, once deregulated, other carriers would be able to serve those two NSW south coast destinations.

The State Government said the move continued its recent run of deregulation, after it opened up the Cobar, Cooma, Mudgee and Narrabri routes to competition in 2015. Constance noted there were new services on three of those routes since they were deregulated.

The Minister said keeping a route regulated offered no guarantees it would remain in place.

“All it does is add unnecessary red tape for regional operators,” Constance said in a statement.

“I am determined to give regions the fair access to essential services they have been crying out for. Greater choice and more air services will have important flow-on benefits to health, education and employment for everyone who lives here.

”By pursuing deregulation, the NSW Government is doing what it can to increase competition, reduce barriers for new entrants to the market and reduce costs to passengers.”

Constance said the government was considering deregulation on nine more intrastate routes, with discussions with local councils and airlines on flights from Sydney to Bathurst, Broken Hill, Grafton, Moree, Narrandera, Parkes and Taree underway.

Feedback on the question of deregulation was due into local councils by 28 February 2017.

Meanwhile, Constance was pushing for the Federal Government to add five more regional slots at Sydney Airport as part of efforts to boost the number of intrastate flights.

“We are doing everything we can to boost access to the regions, and it is about time Canberra came to the table. It’s time to add five more regional slots at Sydney Airport,” Constance said.

“Regional NSW should not have to cop the loss of 10 per cent of slots since 2001. I want to see our colleagues in Canberra working as hard as the NSW government to make it easier to land and launch more planes to the regions.”

Sydney Airport operates with a cap of 80 aircraft movements an hour, calculated in 15-minute blocks. However, a number of slots, particularly during peak hours, are reserved for intrastate NSW services.

 

Australian Aviation

Navy’s flight trial unit gears up for a busy year

Army’s Tiger ARH will conduct FoCFT in February embarked on HMAS Canberra. Note the LHD’s deck markings painted on the flight lines at 1 Aviation Regiment's, Robertson Barracks, in Darwin. (Paul Sadler)

AMAFTU Officer In Charge Commander David Hutchinson stands in front of a MH-60R Seahawk 'Romeo' at 725 Squadron. (Defence)

 

The Royal Australian Navy’s Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit (AMAFTU), part of Defence’s aircraft test and evaluation capabilities, is preparing to conduct no fewer than seven first of class flight trials (FoCFT) before September.

In January, the Unit will embark on HMAS Melbourne to start the MH-60R Seahawk Romeo’s FoCFT in the Adelaide class FFG guided missile frigates.

From February to April, the Unit will have Army’s Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) and MRH 90 onboard the Canberra class LHD amphibious assault ship HMAS Canberra, conducting FoCFT before hosting the Romeo which will embark in late February to continue its trials.

“For the Romeos we are expanding on the ship helicopter operating limits they have at the moment and we are looking to provide a lily pad capability for the MRH 90 on the Anzac class,” AMAFTU Officer In Charge Commander David Hutchinson told Navy Daily.

“Mid-year, the MRH 90 will conduct first of class flight trials in the Anzac class and in August we will have the unmanned aerial systems [UAS] on the Adelaide class to conduct vertical take-offs and landing trials.

“Navy [does not have] any [UAS] experience with vertical take-off and landing, so the unmanned aerial systems trials in August will be valuable. We are not walking into it thinking it will be a box-ticking exercise. We have also never taken a Tiger helicopter to sea before.”

Then in September, the AMAFTU will conduct FoCFT for Defence’s Helicopter Aircrew Training System’s (HATS) new EC135 T2+ training helicopters.

In 2016, the Unit completed FoCFT for the ScanEagle unmanned aerial system on HMAS Choules and cleared Army’s CH-47F Chinooks to operate from the Navy’s two LHDs, HMAS Adelaide and Canberra.

Based at Naval Air Station Albatross, Nowra,AMAFTU’s small unit of approximately 25 flight test pilots, engineers and systems specialists ensure Navy’s helicopters are safe to operate at sea, their weapon systems do the job and that those systems’ limits are understood.

“The Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit is highly specialised with over 50 years [of] history and experience,” said Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Chris Smallhorn.

“It is one of the crown jewels of the Fleet Air Arm and a key contributor to the war-fighting effect.”

An Army MRH90 (background) and CH-47F (foreground) onboard HMAS Adelaide, as part of first of class flight trials in August 2016. (Defence)

Australian Aviation

Canberra Airport talks up performance of Singapore Airlines international flights

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Canberra Airport has described the first three months of Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) international flights as an “outstanding success”.

SIA’s four times a week Singapore-Canberra-Wellington flights kicked off in late September 2016, returning international service to the Australian capital for the first time in more than a decade.

Canberra Airport said on Monday official figures showed the Boeing 777-200 operated flights achieved average load factors of 83 per cent in September/October 2016.

Further, Canberra Airport head of aviation Matthew Brown said the performance of the route was “even stronger” in November and December.

““This is a remarkably strong performance for a new route. We are very happy with this result, as is Singapore Airlines,” Brown said in a statement.

““Based on these figures, the viability of the route shows that it is well established and becoming more popular”.”

Canberra is SIA’s sixth destination in Australia alongside Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. The airline group’s regional wing Silkair also serves Cairns and Darwin with narrowbody equipment.

It is the first scheduled international passenger service to Canberra since the short-lived Air Pacific (now Fiji Airways) flights to Nadi ended in 2004.

The flight also links the capitals of New Zealand and Australia for the first time.

Brown said the airport was hopeful SIA would add to its current schedule of four flights a week in the period ahead.

“We are in constant dialogue with Singapore Airlines and are pushing for the addition of the fifth service in the near future, but understand that this will be a commercial decision by the airline”,” Brown said.

There might be more international seats to fill out of Canberra from as early as the second half of calendar 2017, with Qatar Airways planning to launch service to the Australian capital.

In November, Qatar named Canberra as one of eight new destinations being added to its fast-growing network.

The oneworld alliance member indicated flights to Canberra would begin some time in the 2017/18 timeframe, without providing any further details, such as frequencies and operating aircraft type.

The Australian capital would be Qatar’s fifth destination in this country. It currently serves Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney nonstop from its Doha hub.

Australian Aviation

Adelaide Airport breaks through 8 million barrier in 2016

China Southern flight CZ663, operated by Airbus A330-200 B-6135 receives an ARFF monitor cross after arriving in Adelaide. (Adelaide Airport/Simon Casson)

Adelaide Airport says it exceeded eight million passengers for the first time in 2016 and is hopeful of further growth in the current year amid new international and domestic flights.

The airport said on Tuesday it handled 8.007 million passengers in the 12 months to December 31 2016, an increase of 2.5 per cent from the prior corresponding period.

International passengers grew 5.9 per cent to 924,000, while the number of domestic and regional travellers at the airport was up 2.1 per cent to 7.083 million.

The airport benefitted from the arrival of Qatar Airways in May 2016 and China Southern in December 2016, while on the domestic front Jetstar commenced nonstop flights from Adelaide to Melbourne Avalon and Sunshine Coast airports.

And there is more new capacity planned for 2017 with Fiji Airways set to link Adelaide and Nadi with twice weekly flights from June using Boeing 737-800 equipment.

Adelaide Airport managing director Mark Young said the airport was on track to reach one million international passengers in 2017.

“Adelaide Airport has come a long way in a relatively short time, particularly since the opening of the new terminal just over a decade ago,” Young said in a statement.

“Our next likely milestone will be to hit one million international passengers per year, and there is a good chance we’ll reach that mark in the course of the 2017/18 financial year.”

Adelaide Airport is building 14 new self-service bag drop and 32 check-in kiosks as part of a technology upgrade and contact extension with technology provider SITA.

Further, a new on-site hotel was expected to open its doors to guest by the end of 2018 as part of the 30-year, $2 billion site development plan that also included expanding Adelaide’s existing domestic and international terminals.

“There are positive signs for future growth, and importantly we are continuing to upgrade facilities to cater for that demand,” Young said.

 

Australian Aviation

Australia, China and Malaysia suspend search for MH370

One year has passed since this a/c lost contact when operating MH370 enroute KUL-PEK on Mar 8 2014, but we still do not have any information for searching this “lost” aircraft, including all the crews & passengers. I never thought it would become a drama when I took this photo that this a/c operating another MH370/371 flight return to KUL.

Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will, for now, remain missing after confirmation from Australia, China and Malaysia that the search effort has ended.

Australian Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, China’s Minister of Transport Li Xiaopeng and Malaysian Minister of Transport Liow Tiong Lai said in a joint-statement on Tuesday the 120,000 square kilometre underwater search in the Indian Ocean has been officially suspended after failing to locate the Boeing 777-200ER, 9M-MRO.

“Today the last search vessel has left the underwater search area,” the ministers’ statement said.

“Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting edge technology, as well as modelling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft.

“Accordingly, the underwater search for MH370 has been suspended.”

The Ministers said the decision to suspend the search “not been taken lightly nor without sadness”.

“Today’s announcement is significant for our three countries, but more importantly for the family and friends of those on board the aircraft,” they said.

“We again take this opportunity to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives and acknowledge the enormous loss felt by their loved ones.”

An Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s (ATSB) report published in November said the flap from the aircraft’s right wing was “most likely in the retracted position at the time it separated from the wing”.

Further, the ATSB said the right flaperon was “probably at, or close to, the neutral position at the time it separated from the wing”.

The findings, alongside additional analysis of the satellite communications data was “consistent with the aircraft being in a high and increasing rate of descent at that time”, the ATSB said.

“Additionally, the wing flap debris analysis reduced the likelihood of end-of-flight scenarios involving flap deployment,” the report said.

The findings suggest it was unlikely the aircraft crashed into the ocean following a controlled rate of descent.

The three countries have previously expressed a willingness to extending the search for aircraft, which disappeared enroute from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014 carrying 239 passengers and crew, if there was credible new evidence which led to the identification of a specific location of the aircraft.

However, Tuesday’s joint statement said there was not enough new data to continue the search.

“Whilst combined scientific studies have continued to refine areas of probability, to date no new information has been discovered to determine the specific location of the aircraft,” the ministers’ said.

“We remain hopeful that new information will come to light and that at some point in the future the aircraft will be located.”

Australian Aviation

TV Record garante que o elenco do Programa do Gugu não sofrerá redução de salários

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Promessa
Por sua vez, a Record garantiu ao pessoal do “Programa Gugu” que ninguém sofrerá qualquer redução em seus salários.

Os valores serão mantidos. Houve até comemoração.

 

Flávio Ricco com colaboração de José Carlos Nery