Revised OneSky tender price under evaluation

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Defence has revealed that a new tender price for Australia’s ambitious OneSky program to acquire a joint civil and military air traffic management system is currently under evaluation.

Thales was announced as the successful supplier for the Airservices Australia-led OneSky project at the Avalon Airshow in February 2015. However, negotiations between Airservices and the French-headquartered aerospace and defence company have become increasingly protracted, and an Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report published in April questioned OneSky’s value for money, suggesting Australia could end up paying too much for the project.

“In June last year they [Thales] submitted an offer based on their original tendered offer that had gone through a further negotiation phase,” Rear Admiral Tony Dalton told the Senate’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade committee on Wednesday evening.

“The assessment of that offer in June last year was it didn’t represent value for money,” RADM Dalton, who is now general manager ships at Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) but retains responsibility for Defence’s portion of the OneSky program, told the committee.

“There has been a degree of work done on that offer with Thales in the intervening period that culminated with a revised price being offered by Thales last month. That is currently under assessment.”

Defence’s share of the OneSky program is known as ‘Project AIR 5431 Phase 3 Civil Military Air Traffic Management System’, and was added to the government’s Projects of Concern list of Defence acquisition programs requiring special remediation, in August, a near unprecedented move for a program yet to be contracted.

RADM Dalton explained that the delay in signing contracts was one reason OneSky was added to the Projects of Concern list, and that further delays might force Defence to seek an alternative supplier to replace its existing Australian Defence Air Traffic System (or ADATS).

“Well certainly the timeframe has slipped. That’s been part of the issue and that’s why it’s been elevated to a Project of Concern,” RADM Dalton said.

“But inside our budget, we have some allowances to cater for the obsolescence emerging in the current defence system. That clearly is a concern for us and there is a finite amount of time that the process can go on before we have to look at alternatives.”

Further, RADM Dalton confirmed the cost of Defence’s share of the program could be higher than first expected.

“Our contribution to the overall OneSky program may need to increase. We have made some allowances in the revised Integrated Investment Program to accommodate for that increase. Our negotiations with Airservices have said that there’s a finite amount of money that we’re prepared to increase.

“Part of the discussions that we’ve had with Thales, through the Project of Concern process, has made that abundantly clear to Thales.”


Source  :  Australian Aviation

Qantas forecasts return to profit growth in 2017/18

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Qantas Boeing 787-9 VH-ZNA enters Hangar 96. (Seth Jaworski)

Qantas expects to return to profit growth in the first half of the current financial year amid what chief executive Alan Joyce describes as a “mixed market”.

The airline group said in a trading update on Thursday underlying profit before tax (PBT), which excludes one-off items and which it regards as the best indication of financial performance, is forecast to be in the range of $900-950 million for the six months to December 31 2017.

If the result is in line with guidance, it would represent an improvement of up to 11 per cent from underlying PBT of $852 million in the first half of 2016/17. Qantas posted an 8.4 per cent decline in full-year underlying PBT in 2016/17.

Qantas’s market update said revenue across the airline group for the three months to September 30 was $4.19 billion, up 5.1 per cent from the prior corresponding period.

Meanwhile, revenue per available seat kilometre (RASK), which is a measure of demand, was up 3.1 per cent.

“We’re pleased to see continued strong performance across our portfolio of flying and loyalty businesses in what is a mixed market,” Joyce said.

“We’re making good progress towards our annual target of $400 million in cost and revenue improvements, with the Dreamliner and domestic WI-FI two examples of projects that will make us more efficient and deliver a revenue premium.

“Overall, despite an uptick in fuel costs and the challenges from competitor capacity growth on the international side, the Group remains on track for another strong underlying first half and a successful full year.”

The company’s latest traffic figures showed the airline cut capacity, measured by available seat kilometres (ASK), in the domestic market across its Qantas and Jetstar units by 2.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2017/18.

It has guided the market to a 2-3 per cent reduction in group domestic capacity for the first half, an increase from the forecast one per cent reduction at the company’s full year results presentation in August.

For the first quarter, Qantas’s domestic ASKs were down 3.6 per cent, while RPKs fell 2.3 per cent. As a result, average load factors rose one percentage point to 77.5 per cent.

At Jetstar, which cut domestic capacity by one per cent in the quarter as RPKs fell 0.8 per cent, average load factors for its domestic network were up 0.2 percentage points to 83.4 per cent.

Joyce said the domestic market was healthy but remained very competitive.

“The high rate of revenue growth we’ve seen so far this year is likely to slow when compared with what was a strong second half last year,” Joyce said.

Qantas’s international network reported a 10.8 per cent improvement in total passengers carried, with capacity up 5.4 per cent thanks to recently launched new services such as the return to Beijing in January and the upgauging of some Sydney-Auckland flights to widebodied Airbus A330s that began in July. Average load factors improved 2.2 percentage points to 84.2 per cent.

There are more changes coming in the period ahead, with Boeing 787-9 flights from Melbourne to Los Angeles due to start in December and Melbourne-Perth-London Heathrow nonstop services scheduled to take off from March, replacing the current Melbourne-Dubai-London Heathrow Airbus A380 service.

Qantas is also withdrawing from Dubai by rerouting its Sydney to London Heathrow flightsthrough Singapore, and upgauging one Melbourne-Singapore flight to the A380.

And the airline is adding more trans-Tasman flights from Brisbane and Melbourne to Auckland as Emirates withdraws from those two routes.

Overall, Qantas said its international ASKs would increase about five per cent in the first half, in line with previous guidance, and three per cent in the second half of 2017/18.

This compares with international competitor capacity growth of about three per cent in the first half and 6-7 per cent in the second half, Qantas said.

“There’s been a welcome easing of capacity growth in the international market but the indications are that it is likely to pick up pace again in the second half,” Joyce said.

Qantas said the total fuel cost for the airline group was forecast to be $1.55 billion for the first half, up from $1.49 billion in the prior corresponding period.

The fuel bill for the full 2017/18 year was expected to rise 5.6 per cent to $3.21 billion, from $3.04 billion.


Source  :  Australian Aviation

Thunderstorm alert for Canberra: Giant hailstones predicted

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OCTOBER 26 2017 – 5:27PM

The ACT will suffer severe thunderstorms likely to produce giant hailstones and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and destructive winds over the next several hours, the weather bureau predicts.

A low pressure system is tracking eastwards across New South Wales triggering thunderstorm activity through parts of that state and the ACT.

The State Emergency Service has advised people to move their car under cover or away from trees, secure loose items around their house, yard and balcony and keep at least eight metres from fallen power lines and other energised objects, such as electric fences.

As well, people are asked to keep clear of creeks and storm drains, avoid walking, driving or riding a bike through flood water and unplug their computers and appliances.

Avoid using the phone during the storm and stay indoors and away from windows.

For emergency help in floods and storms, ring the SES on 132 500.

Weatherzone: Canberra radar
Source  :  The Canberra Times