SEPTEMBER 2023 ISSUE
ONE OF Australia’s most lucrative tourism markets is set to reignite with news that a major overseas carrier is returning to our shores.
China Southern Airlines have announced they will fly to Brisbane four times per week from November 17, growing to daily within two years.
China was Queensland’s biggest tourism earner before COVID-19, contributing $1.61 billion in overnight visitor expenditure. It has been the largest missing link in the international recovery since the pandemic cancelled direct flights in 2020.
Over three years the reignited service will land almost 278,000 inbound seats to Brisbane, generating nearly $441 million for the visitor economy and supporting up to 1,790 Queensland jobs.
The Chinese Government announced recently it was lifting the pandemic suspension of its Approved Destination Status scheme, allowing travel agencies in China to book outbound group travel to Australia.
“Securing China Southern from Guangzhou is a game changer and an incredibly important step in rebuilding Queensland’s international visitor economy after the pandemic,” said Stirling Hinchliffe, Queensland’s Tourism Minister.
“Queensland is Australia’s favourite holiday destination and we’re keen to see Chinese travellers falling in love all over again with our awe-inspiring visitor experiences.
“China is crucial to Tourism and Events Queensland’s Blueprint for growing an $11 billion international visitor economy on our runway to the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
China Southern will operate the new generation Airbus A350 aircraft to Brisbane. The aircraft is designed to be 50 per cent quieter, delivering 25 per cent less fuel burn and CO2 emissions per seat compared to previous generation aircraft.
WELCOME BACK TO A NEW CAL FRIEND
A FAMILIAR face is bringing back an Australian route for the first time in more than three years.
Air Calin will operate three flights per week from Melbourne to Noumea from December 8, with a weekly schedule of return flights on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.
Flights will be operated on new energy-efficient Airbus A320Neo’s which offer state-of-the-art seating and the latest LED HD touch screen TV’s, with an enhanced interactive system offering more than 90 programs.
Under an Aircalin flight number travellers can now also purchase flights with Air Caledonie to the islands of New Caledonia in continuation of their international flight (with a change of airport).
“As Australia’s closest South Pacific neighbour, New Caledonia offers a plethora of activities and holiday options for Victorians and with a flight time of three hours and 35 minutes from Melbourne, you can even visit for a long weekend,” said Chris Thistlethwaite, Aircalin General Manager Australia.
Lorie Argus, Melbourne Airport Chief Executive Officer, said Aircalin’s return was exciting news for Victorian travellers.
“There is huge demand for flights to tropical holiday destinations and given Noumea’s relative proximity to Melbourne, we expect these services will prove very popular.”
FLYING KANGAROO SAYS YES TO INDIGENOUS SUPPORT
OUR NATIONAL airline has thrown its weight behind the ‘Yes’ vote for the upcoming national referendum for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
Qantas has announced that three of its aircraft will feature the ‘Yes23’ campaign logo.
“Qantas has a long history of supporting reconciliation with First Nations people, from the Aboriginal artwork on our inflight magazine in the 1960s and on our aircraft since the 1990s, to our support for constitutional recognition in 2014, public support of the Uluru Statement of the Heart 2019 and our First Nations employment and supplier commitments,” said Alan Joyce, Qantas Group CEO.
“We’re supporting the Yes23 campaign because we believe a formal voice to government will help close the gap for First Nations people in important areas like health, education and employment.
“Like our Flying Art livery aircraft showcasing First Nations culture to a global audience, these aircraft will send a message of support for a Yes vote as they travel the country.”
The three aircraft chosen will be a Qantas Boeing 737, a QantasLink Dash 8 Turboprop and a Jetstar Airbus A320.
In addition to adding the ‘Yes’ livery to three aircraft, the Qantas Group is supporting the campaign and the Uluru Dialogue teams with travel so they can engage with regional and remote Australians ahead of the referendum.
Meanwhile Qantas profits have soared the last financial year to a pretax profit of $2.47 billion ($1.7 billion post tax).
The increase has been supported by growing demand for domestic and international flights, higher airfare prices and lower operating costs.
MATILDAS HONOURED WITH PLANE TRIBUTE
THEY MAY not have won the World Cup but the Matildas will still be flying high over the skies of Australia next year.
Bonza has decided to name their latest aircraft in honour of our women’s football team in recognition of their recent exploits.
The airline has four aircraft named Shazza, Bazza, Sheila and Malc. The fifth plane, due to arrive next year after the Gold Coast base launch, will have ‘Matilda’ proudly painted on its side.
“Like the rest of the nation, our team of legends have been gripped by Matilda Mania thanks to their sportsmanship, mateship with one another and their pride in wearing the green and gold,” said Carly Povey, Chief Commercial Officer at Bonza.
“As an airline that is solely focussed on Australia, it seemed fitting to name our next aircraft Matilda.”
Bonza has also announced Tasmania has been added to its network with flights now on sale between Launceston and the Gold Coast. The first flight will be on November 21.
“This new low-cost route is a first to operate year-round and will open up opportunities in both destinations for tourism and trade,” added Ms Povey.
“It’s good news for Aussie travellers and the many small to medium businesses who make up the local tourism and hospitality industries.”
MORE CHOICE ON TASMAN TRAVELS
IT WILL be slightly easier to get across the ditch later this year with Air New Zealand (ANZ) increasing seats on Trans-Tasman routes.
The airline is welcoming two new 214 seat Airbus A321neo aircraft into its fleet from late 2024 which will service Tasman and Pacific Island routes. This will add more than 9,000 seats per week to their network.
From October, ANZ will introduce increased services on routes to and from Australia. Across the Tasman the airline has 22 per cent more seats for northern winter (October 2023 – March 2024) compared with the same period last year.
During this period, the carrier will add 25 per cent more seats on Christchurch-Brisbane and Wellington-Brisbane – that’s 25,000 extra seats between the cities.
Wellington-Melbourne will increase 38 per cent and Wellington-Sydney up seven per cent. More seats will be added from Auckland to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Hobart.
“We’re proud to offer Australians an exceptional experience at competitive fares,” said Leanne Geraghty, Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer.
“For Australians heading across the ditch, the New Zealand experience starts the moment they step onboard with Air New Zealand and receive our world famous manaaki (care).”
EXPANSION IN THE AIR FOR FIJI
FIJI AIRWAYS has welcomed a new A350-900XWB to its fleet, providing more opportunities for Australians to visit the South Pacific destination.
The larger wide body aircraft expands Fiji Airways’ capacity on flights by up to 30,000 seats a month across the network.
Named the Island of Vatulele, the aircraft is the fourth A350 to join the airline’s modern fleet of 20. The national carrier is currently the only airline to be operating the spacious and energy-efficient aircraft direct from Australia to Fiji.
Melbourne residents will now be able to experience the state-of-the-art plane direct to Fiji for the first time, with the aircraft scheduled to fly from the city up to twice a week.
The new aircraft will also service Sydney, increasing capacity from the airline’s most popular Australian port with an A350 now operating the Harbour City to Nadi route at least once a day.
The Island of Beqa will also fly to Auckland, Hong Kong, San Francisco and Vancouver, providing Aussies with more convenient connections to destinations across the globe.
“The A350, with its superior cabin, significant fuel savings and substantial cargo capacity, has fast become the pride of our airline and the joy of our passengers,” said Andre Viljoen, Fiji Airways Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
“As the National Airline we recognise our role is not just to be the bridge to and from the world but to support the growth of tourism and one of the ways we can do this is by introducing new destinations with potential for high tourism opportunities.”
Some possibilities Fiji Airways is continually exploring for the future include Dallas, Seattle, Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul and also Noumea, Wallis, Rarotonga, Port Moresby and several additional destinations in Australia.
BATTLE BEGINS AT 30,000 FEET
THE SKIES above Australia are becoming an airline battleground with another Asian carrier announcing new flights.
Vietnam Airlines has scheduled the launch of a new three-times weekly route between Ho Chi Minh and Perth from December 7.
The move comes shortly after competitor Vietjet announced plans to fly to Perth from Ho Chi Minh twice a week from November 21.
According to a report on airlineratings.com, Vietnam Airlines will utilise the 264-seat Boeing 787-9 aircraft on the new route.
Flights will arrive in Perth at 11.05pm on Monday, Thursday and Saturday and will depart the following morning at 12.50am.
The airline’s 787-9s are configured for 28 business, 25 premium economy and 211 economy seats. It means there will be about 2,750 two-way weekly seats between Ho Chi Minh City and Perth by mid-December.
The latest move follows the national carrier’s launch of a new Hanoi to Melbourne service in June on an Airbus A350, operating twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays.
The growing popularity of Vietnam as a destination for Aussies has been highlighted with recent arrival figures compiled by Vietnam Airlines.
In 2019, Australia was Vietnam’s 12th largest aviation market with a total capacity of nearly 900,000 passengers, of which Vietnam Airlines transported more than 400,000.
By 2022 the number of visitors to and from Australia had risen to the eighth position among the largest markets of Vietnam. Australia is currently ranked fourth among Vietnam Airlines’ most important markets.
According to aviationweek.com, overall capacity between Vietnam and Australia is set to swell to around 35,400 two-way weekly seats by mid-December.