Singapore Airlines adding more flights to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney in 2017

Singapore Airlines (SIA) is adding extra flights to its already-hefty Australian schedule in 2017, with Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney set to receive more services.

Melbourne will increase to 31 flights a week from July 17 2017, from 28 currently, with a fifth daily service to operate on Monday, Friday and Saturday with Airbus A330-300s as a red-eye from Singapore and lunchtime departure from the Victorian capital.

Meanwhile, SIA is switching one of its four daily Melbourne-Singapore flights to a four-class Boeing 777-300ER featuring first, business, premium economy and economy from January.

On the Brisbane-Singapore route, SIA said it grow its schedule to 28 flights a week, from 24 currently, from August 22 2017.

And the Star Alliance member will have 35 flights a week (or five flights a day) on the Sydney-Singapore route during the peak travel period between June and September 2017. Outside of this peak period, SIA operates 33 times a week between Sydney and Singapore. Separately, SIA said it would have double-daily A380 flights to the NSW capital during the peak winter period.

The planned capacity increases comes after SIA launched its new Capital Express service linking Singapore, Canberra and Wellington in September.

The Virgin Australia shareholder and alliance partner had planned a new Sydney-Jakarta-Singapore flight that was due to launch in November. However, the launch was postponed due to what SIA said was runway maintenance works at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

And the airline has also boosted its premium passenger offering with a new SilverKris lounge at Brisbane Airport.

SIA regional vice president for South West Pacific Tan Tiow Kor noted 2017 marked the airline’s 50th year of operations to Australia.

“We are looking forward to the year ahead and are excited by the prospect of celebrating our 50th anniversary flying to Australia,” Tan said in a statement.

“The increase in services and capacity announced today reinforce our longstanding commitment and investment to Australia and the South West Pacific region.”

Figures from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics showed SIA was Australia’s second largest foreign carrier in the 12 months to June 30 2016 with an 8.4 per cent share of the market in terms of passengers carried.

At its peak, SIA and its regional wing Silkair have 145 flights a week between Singapore and Australia, serving Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Cairns, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.


Australian Aviation

Regional Express adds weekday Cairns-Townsville service

A Regional Express (Rex) Saab 340 aircraft.

Regional Express (Rex) is further expanding its presence in North Queensland with the addition of weekday services on the Cairns-Townsville route from early July.

The airline will offer three flights a day between Cairns and Townsville on weekdays from July 6.

Rex began flying one flight on Saturdays and Sundays between Cairns and Townsville in January 2015. Under the new schedule from July 6, the airline will offer three flights a day on the route on weekdays and maintain its two weekend services.

Currently, QantasLink is the only airline offering weekday flights on the Cairns-Townsville route.

Rex general manager for network strategy and sales Warrick Lodge said the Cairns-Townsville service was expected to result in a $4 million saving in airfares a year for both communities.

“Ever since Virgin Australia exited the Cairns to Townsville route in January 2014, Rex has been heavily solicited by businesses and individuals to start a competitive air service so that the prevailing monopolistic pricing may be broken,” Lodge said.

“In response, Rex undertook a market sounding exercise to gauge business community support for Rex and the level of prevailing dissatisfaction with the incumbent monopoly.”

The move to add weekday flights on the Cairns-Townsville route continues a period of significant expansion for Rex in North Queensland.

The airline started its contract with the Queensland government on five regulated routes on January 1, launched a new Cairns-Bamaga service in March and has just started flights between Cairns and Mount Isa.

Lodge said there airline’s growth plans in Northern Queensland were “exciting and ambitious” and would bring jobs and economic benefits to the region.

“Rex intends to provide other communities of far North Queensland and the Torres Straits with an opportunity to work in partnership with us to ensure that their communities may have a sustainable, reliable and safe air service with affordable fares,” Lodge said.

“I urge everyone to give us a fair go so that the benefits are long lasting and more services can be introduced over time.”

An online comparison of ticket prices for travel from Cairns to Townsville on Monday July 6 and returning a week later showed Rex was charging $246.09, while the flights on QantasLink would cost $250, before any credit card or booking fees were added.


Australian Aviation

Philippine Airlines to serve Cairns and Auckland from December

Philippine Airlines (PAL) will add Cairns as its fifth Australian destination and introduce flights to Auckland from December with Airbus A320s.

The new four times a week service kicks off on December 1 and will operate via a Manila-Cairns-Auckland routing, the airline said on Wednesday.

Currently, Philippine Airlines serves Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane via Darwin from its Manila hub.

PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said the airline would have pickup rights on the Cairns-Auckland sector and help stimulate travel between Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.

Moreover, PAL would offer the 40,000 Filipinos living in NZ a convenient link to their home country.

“The new service allows PAL to cater to the travel needs of business and leisure travellers and showcase its distinct brand of service marked by Filipino warmth, charm and hospitality,” Bautista said in a statement.

“In the long term, the service will drive traffic between Southeast Asia and New Zealand.”

PAL’s A320s are configured with either 150 seats (12 business and 138 economy) or 156 seats (12 business and 144 economy).

Currently, Cairns Airport receives international service from Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong), Jetstar (Denpasar, Osaka Kansai and Tokyo Narita) and United (Guam).

The airport also has seasonal international service to Auckland with Air New Zealand, while China Eastern and China Southern have also served Cairns on a seasonal from their hubs Shanghai and Guangzhou, respectively.

In addition to PAL’s arrival, Singapore Airlines’ regional wing SilkAir was due to commence flights to Cairns from Singapore on May 30.

Cairns Airport chief executive Kevin Brown said the new PAL service would help boost tourism both in Australia and the Philippines.

“Through Manila the new Philippine Airlines service will offer even more Asian connections for visitors coming to Cairns and Great Barrier Reef,” Brown said in a statement.

“The Auckland service will provide us with year round direct connectivity with New Zealand once again linking us with this important neighbouring tourism market and through connections via Auckland.

“Resort islands such as beautiful Boracay are sure to prove popular with Cairns locals.”


Australian Aviation

Philippine Airlines launches Manila-Cairns-Auckland flights

Cairns residents will gain non-stop flights to Manila and more choice to Auckland come December as Philippine Airlines kicks off its newest route:Manila to Auckland via Cairns.

Running four-times-weekly in each direction, the Cairns stopover allows easy access to the city itself and to the Great Barrier Reef for Filipinos and Kiwis, while Aussies can book trips to either Manila or Auckland without visiting the other city.

On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, PR219 leaves Cairns at 11:30pm to reach Manila at 3:30am the following morning. In reverse,PR218 pushes back in Manila at 11:45pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, touching down in Cairns at 8am the next day.

Auckland bound? You’ll take to the skies at 9am on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays to reach New Zealand at 4pm, with return flights available at 6:30pm on the same days and reaching Cairns at 10:30pm.

Using an Airbus A320, passengers have a choice of either business class or economy on all flights, with those making the full journey from Manila to Auckland enjoying a transit time in Cairns of just one hour.

Competing airline SilkAir is gearing up to launch its own Cairns-Asia flights next week with a new non-stop service to Singapore, and additional Singapore-Darwin flights that will also continue onwards to Cairns.

Australian Business Traveller

Queensland’s climate change refuge

May 3, 2015 – 12:00AM

Jorge Branco


Queensland could be a key to maintaining biodiversity as the climate changes, according to a new study.

Queensland could be a key to maintaining biodiversity as the climate changes, according to a new study. Photo: Carlos Barria

Seventy years from now one area of Queensland could be the country’s best refuge for thousands of animals as it remains relatively untouched by climate change.

Newly released mapping based on data from Far North Queensland-based James Cook University predicts much of the country will suffer a dramatic loss of animal species but large parts of the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range will be much more resilient.

The research, led by Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change director Dr Jeremy VanDerWal, found these less-affected areas would hold on to a greater potential to support “significant wildlife populations”.

“Because of the topography it means that species can move up those slopes to higher elevations,” he said.

“You think of for temperature, they only have to move a couple of hundred metres up a mountain, whereas they have to move tens of kilometres in the outback or savannah.”

Dr VanDerWal said the research had important implications for what areas of land needed to be protected to be used as wildlife refuges in the future.

The National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility-funded study was completed in 2013 and released as open data.

The department of Environment and Heritage Protection used the data to create a climate change heat map.

It was released to the public this week but has been helping inform the department’s decisions around conservation planning for about 18 months, Dr VanDerWal said, describing the use as an “amazing” result.

A DEHP spokesman said the state faced significant environmental impacts from climate change and robust science was critical in planning for the future.

“The heat mapping is particularly helpful as climate change science reinforces the need for effective conservation across the landscape as a whole,” he said.

“It is therefore recognised that conservation on private lands is also vitally important as these lands form connectivity with protected areas.”

The JCU research investigated four different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios and a host of other factors to estimate the future vulnerability of more than 1700 species.

The data showed even under the most severe climate change scenario, the climate on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range would remain quite stable.

“The Great Dividing Range has been a refuge in the past and will be a refuge in the future,” Dr VanDerWal said.

“Just because that topography allows, with thermal changes, species can move up and down those mountains.

“Because of prevailing winds you usually get more consistent rainfall.”

The map shows the most resilient areas on the west slope of the range between Cairns and Townsville and further south, west of Mackay.


The Brisbane Times

Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast property hotspots: report

March 5, 2015 – 12:00AM

Tony Moore senior reporter

Land value has increased by an average 5.6 per cent in Queensland over the past year.

Land value has increased by an average 5.6 per cent in Queensland over the past year. Photo: Arsineh Houspian

Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Cairns have been prime locations for property value growth, in the past year according to a new state government report.

The 2015 Valuer-General’s Property Market Report shows an average 5.6 per cent growth in land values for Queensland over the past year.

But the land valuations for The Gold Coast (10.7 per cent), Brisbane (9.7 per cent), Cairns (8.9 per cent) and Sunshine Coast (5.8 per cent) will all be increased well above the state average from June 30.

On the other hand Noosa (4.9 per cent), Redland (2.2 per cent), Maranoa (1.5 per cent), Rockhampton (1.2 per cent), Logan (1 per cent) and Ipswich (0.4 per cent) will all have smaller increases in the value of their land.

In Brisbane, suburbs such as Newstead, Bowen Hills, South Brisbane were in high demand in 2014, according to the report.

“This has translated into significant land value rises,” it says.

“The new visions represented by the Kurilpa Riverfront Renewal Draft Master Plan, the new cultural centre redevelopment, and the proximity to South Bank and the central business district (CBD) underpinned strong consumer interest in this exciting redevelopment area.”

The  report also shows renewed interest in relatively cheaper land and properties affected by the 2011 floods.

“In 2014, sales revealed that buyers were purchasing flood impacted land at prices close to the prices being paid for non-flood impacted land,” the report says.

“Flood-impacted suburbs such as Chelmer, Graceville and Sherwood showed large increases in site valuation which previously had included flood impact allowances ranging from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.”

In the inner-city, South Brisbane, West End and Kangaroo Point recorded a 14 per cent increase in overall valuations.


On the back of the report’s arrival, however, Queensland University of Technology property economist, Professor Chris Eves, warned a glut in apartments in Brisbane’s CBD, South Brisbane and West End, would cause a price crash for apartments in 2016.

“I know of one construction company [Hutchinson] that currently has contracts out for 3000 units in those locations and basically when you are looking at those sorts of numbers, you are looking at a serious oversupply, he said.

Professor Eves said research showed there had been a 9 per cent increase in the number of approvals for apartments in inner-city Brisbane in the past year.

“But we are not seeing the same sort of increase in the population,” he said.

The crash will hurt major developers, off-the-plan buyers and some banks, but deliver a bonanza for renters and buyers.

“If we see those approval numbers continue, we are looking at the potential of another Gold Coast/Sunshine Coast glut in the unit market.”

He said the glut in Brisbane CBD, South Brisbane and West End apartments would peak in 2016, causing prices to drop sharply.

Greater Brisbane

In Redland City, the average value increased by 2 per cent. Some Bay island land did decrease in value but, other than some localised market movement, residential land values in general were static.

Logan City land values remained unchanged. Larger homesites in the Cedar Grove area recorded significant increases with a more moderate increase in Chambers Flat and Park Ridge.

Commercial and industrial land values were static with the exception of some localised movements in Slacks Creek and Berrinba.

Ipswich City land values also remained unchanged overall. The strongest market in the local government area was the greater Springfield area comprising Springfield, Springfield Lakes, Augustine Heights and Brookwater where small increases in land value were recorded. Development has continued in the Deebing Heights and Ripley area, but the value has remained static.

Gold Coast

In the past 12 months the Gold Coast property market has continued to improve with an overall increase of 10.7 per cent.

The residential land market has shown significant recovery with median value in Bundall increasing by 38 per cent.

Other waterfront residential land recorded moderate-to-large increases, while beachfront land had only a minor increase.

Generally, residential land in the coastal area increased and land value west of the motorway was static.

Rural residential land value in the Currumbin Valley and Tallebudgera Valley areas recorded minor increases and remained static elsewhere.

Regional Queensland summary

Regional Queensland has had mixed results, with a decrease in values in centres influenced by the downturn in the mining industry, and tourism centres such as Cairns showing an upswing in values caused by improvement in the tourism sector. Centres that do not rely on tourism or mining have been stable.

The mining and gas industries continue to influence the property market as the resources sector moves from an exploration and construction phase towards a production and export phase. This slowdown in activity is affecting centres such as Gladstone, Wandoan, Mackay, and townships within the Bowen Basin and Central Highlands.

North Queensland summary

In Cairns, the property market is showing signs of growth, particularly within the residential sector. Values in all other sectors, including industrial and commercial, are stabilising.

Tourism figures are beginning to improve, with international passenger numbers to Cairns increasing by about 5 per cent, with growth in domestic visitors of about 4 per cent.

Median property prices for houses in Cairns have risen by 5.6 per cent over the past 12 months to reach $380,000 in October 2014. This is back to the levels seen in the peak of 2007–2008.

In Townsville, the residential market was “subdued”, with limited growth in the city’s northern suburbs, and inner-city suburbs maintaining their values.

Changing economy

Queensland’s Valuer-General Neil Bray said the Queensland economy was adjusting to the end of the construction phase of the liquefied natural gas projects and a slowdown in population growth.

“Overall the Queensland economy is in a period of transition, as construction of the liquefied natural gas projects near completion ahead of the production and export phase,” Mr Bray said.

While investment in homes and units increased 4.5 per cent in 2013-14 – after six years of declining investment – resource and agricultural exports however declined.

“A slowdown in population growth is a further constraint on overall growth.”

In Brisbane, low interest rates, helped access to finance which will see total residential land values rise by 10.9 per cent, the Valuer-General’s report says.


Source : The Brisbane Times

Blind woman wins record payout from Cairns GP

February 6, 2015 – 4:48PM

Patient wins $6.7 million in damages in legal battle over treatment.

Patient wins $6.7 million in damages in legal battle over treatment. Photo: Jim Rice

A woman left blind and deaf by a fungal disease has won a record $6.7 million in damages after an appeals court found her GP should have referred her to a specialist.

When Cairns woman Nancy “Lee” Mules visited her doctor in June 2008 complaining of rushes of blood to the head and dizziness, she claims her GP suggested it was the onset of menopause.

Three months later, the 43-year-old returned with worsened symptoms as well as headaches and neck pain.

She was sent home with pain medication and told to stay in bed for a week.

Within a week, Ms Mules was admitted to hospital with crippling pain, and was finally diagnosed with the deadly fungal infection cryptococcal meningitis.

The former hotel manager survived, but the diagnosis came too late to save her eyesight and hearing.

The disease, which attacks the central nervous system, is rare in healthy people but fatal if left untreated.

Ms Mules sued GP Kaylene Joy Ferguson for negligence in 2013 but the claim, worth $6.7 million, was dismissed in the Queensland Supreme Court.

However, the ruling was overturned by the Court of Appeal on Friday, which ruled Dr Ferguson should have referred Ms Mules for specialist assessment.

Shine Lawyers medical law department manager Bill King, for Ms Mules, said it was the highest award of damages in a personal injury case in Queensland history.

“(Ms Mules) is ecstatic about the result and the recognition that the treatment provided to her was below the required standard of care,” Mr King said.

“It’s been a long journey for Lee and it’s her own persistence and determination that’s enabled her to get this result.”

Dr Ferguson can seek leave to appeal the decision in the High Court.



Source : The Brisbane Times