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Sometimes there just isn't enough time in the day to write a full blog post, but that doesn't mean it's not covered. Often its covered on the NZ Aviation Notes Facebook page.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Annoyance at DJ policy

Its not often that I blog about my experiences (except for the odd trip report) and not on something newsworthy in the aviation scene, but this has me slightly annoyed, so I want to whinge and guess what, you get to hear all about it.

I have had my flights with Pacific Blue back to NZ for Classic Fighters 2011 booked for sometime now, and yesterday I got an email from Pacific Blue informing me that my flights had been changed.

We'd like to thank you for making a booking with Pacific Blue and let you know that your Travel Plan has been altered since you made your booking, as a result of changes to our Pacific Blue schedule. (Schedule changes may occur as a result of Pacific Blue's expanding network, addition of new planes to our fleet, our uncompromising commitment to safety in the air.) This change will affect all Guests travelling on the reservation number below. We apologise in advance if this causes you inconvenience.
 So they had canceled the outbound morning flight I had booked on and moved me to the afternoon flight that wasn't convenient for me, and also changed the departure time of my return flight.  They suggested that I contact the call centre if the flights weren't convenient.

The return flight was only adjusted by 35 minutes so wasn't an issue, but I have NZ domestic flights later in the afternoon, so leaving Brisbane on an afternoon flight isn't an option.

So today I rang the call centre and spoke to a gentleman who was very polite but very inflexible with the support he was able to give me.  The only changes I was able to make were switching to flights the previous or following day, and then only certain flights.

Ideally I would like to have taken the first flight of the morning out of Brisbane to Melbourne then caught the morning Melbourne to Christchurch flight, but despite this perfectly fitting my schedule, it wasn't an option and I have been forced to take the direct evening flight the previous evening, which means I have had to cancel my plans for that night, and I will also have to leave work early to head out and check in at the airport.

While I understand that changes in schedules do occur, I am annoyed that Pacific Blue's re-booking policy is so rigid and inflexible, and they were unable to accommodate me on valid flights that suited my schedule and as a result I am now forced to arrive in Christchurch 14 odd hours earlier than scheduled and spend a night there before my NZ domestic flights later in the afternoon of the day I was supposed to arrive.

So anyway with these trivial issues vented, rant over, I apologise to regular readers of this blog and advise that regular scheduled services will resume shortly.

Jetstar set sights on joining Oneworld

Jetstar look set to join their parent company Qantas in the Oneworld alliance.  The announcement comes from an interview with JQ CEO Bruce Buchanan in an interview with Reuters.

Jetstar are also looking to go head to head with another Asian budget carrier Air Asia X on long haul routes from Asia, although Air Asia X is Malaysian and JQ are setting up their Asian hub in Singapore.

Asia Pacific budget carrier Jetstar is aiming to grow its Asian business by at least 30 per cent this year and is looking to open routes to Europe and North America when it takes delivery of the long-delayed Boeing 787 Dreamliner in 2012.
"We want to grow our business by at least 30 per cent in this region," Mr Buchanan said.
Jetstar currently fly to China and Australia from Singapore and as previously reported here will soon launch flights from Auckland to Singapore.

Read the full Reuters interview/article courtesy of HERE

Friday, January 21, 2011

NZ complete their stake in DJ

Air New Zealand have announced this morning that they have completed their 14.9% stake in Virgin Blue, having bought the shares off market overnight.

Air New Zealand, which announced last it night had acquired a stake of at least 5 per cent of Virgin Blue, said this morning that it had bought more shares off-market overnight, raising its stake to 14.9 per cent. Virgin Blue operates as Pacific Blue on the Tasman. 
This completes NZ's interest (to date) in the acquisition of Virgin.

Read the full business day story by Hamish Rutherford & Roland Van Den Bergh HERE

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Air New Zealand acquires stake in Virgin Blue

Air New Zealand have announced to the NXZ and ASX that they have acquired more than 5% of share in Virgin Blue and intends to hold between 10% & 14.99%. 

This announcement comes as a surprise for some, but some armchair pundits have often speculated on the option of NZ investing in DJ.
Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe said his airline had no intention of making a takeover bid for Virgin Blue. He told Virgin Blue's chief executive, John Borghetti, this in a telephone call today.

"The investment in Virgin Blue is part of Air New Zealand's strategy to develop scale and reach in this region. The Tasman alliance with Virgin Blue was the first step in this strategy.

Air New Zealand intends to make a further announcement about the shareholding to the NZX and ASX before the commencement of market trading tomorrow.
Read more on this announcement from the article HERE

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Virign Blue on track despite flooding setbacks

Virgin Blue are still on track for their re-branding and assault on the Australian domestic market, despite the flooding that has affected 75% of Queensland, including the VB HQ, in the first few weeks of 2011.

Queensland accounts for about 30 per cent of the Brisbane-based airline's domestic business and travel to and from the state has been badly slowed by the floods.
The re-branding is expected to include uniforms, corporate image, aircraft livery, a new business class offering, as well as refurbishments to the lounges in SYD. MEL & BNE.

Read the full article by The Australian aviation writer Steve Creedy HERE

As mentioned the Virgin HQ building was affected by the flooding
The airline was forced to abandon its Brisbane headquarters when water filled underground carparks.
By yesterday, the company had moved back into one building and was awaiting repairs to the other three.
As posted previously I work a few buildings further up the road and took this photo of the VB HQ, Thursday 13-January-2011

More bad news for 787 operators

Bad news for Qantas, Jetstar and also Air New Zealand with Boeing announcing another EIS delay, for the new 787 dreamliner.
BOEING has again delayed delivery of the 787 liner, destined to be the widebody workhorse at Qantas, until the third quarter of this year.
The Boeing 787, already three years late, had been due to fly this quarter and the latest delay is its seventh.
This will impact Qantas and Jetstar with their 787-8's being delayed, and also looks likely to impact Air New Zealand the launch customer of the stretched 787-9, although there hasn't been an announced delay to this as yet.

Read The Australian aviation writer Steve Creedy's full take on this HERE

Friday, January 14, 2011

ZK-OAB comes closer to service

With the first of Air New Zealands new domestic Airbus A320's ZK-OAB drawing closer to delivery, due to arrive in AKL on January 31st, Air New Zealand have released some YouTube videos of the making and painting of ZK-OAB.

ZK-OAB is in a promotional livery for Air New Zealand's support of Rugby, Crazy about Rugby, which is fitting as the aircraft will be flying domestically during this years IRB Rugby World Cup.  You may also notice the custom rego ZK-OAllBlacks instead of the standard registration which would've been ZK-OJP.

There are two YouTube videos from Air New Zealand a 90sec montage of the process and a 5min video of the full process of creating and painting ZK-OAB.

The differing fortunes on NZ Domestic

Pacific Blue and Jetstar had very differing fortunes on the domestic NZ network in 2010.  As previously reported Pacific Blue exited the domestic market in October to focus on trans tasman and short haul flights from Australia.

Pacific Blue's exit was spurred by a $19.8M net loss for the 12 months to June 2010.  In the same period Jetstar made an after tax profit of $938, 458.

Read about Pacific Blue's loss thanks to the NZ Herald HERE

And Jetstar's profit thanks to  HERE

Virgin Blue launch new regional network partnership

Virgin Blue and regional airline Skywest have announced a new 10 year partnership which will see up to 18 new turboprop aircraft operated by Skywest in Virgin Blue colours, flying into regional Australia, in direct competition to the Qantas Link monopoly.
“The first aircraft will arrive mid 2011 with four Virgin Blue branded aircraft in operation by the end of the year. These modern aircraft will have excellent fuel efficiencies, allowing us to keep airfares low for our customers.”
Speculation remains as to whether these new aircraft will be Q400s or ATR72s, one thing we do know is Skywest are also set to order these same aircraft as a fleet upgrade for its current F50 fleet.  Speculation also rages that these aircraft will be based out of Brisbane and service regional QLD, although no announcements on routes have been made.

Read the full media release from Virign Blue HERE

Holiday/Flooding delay

Regular readers will know that NZ Aviation Notes has been based in Brisbane for the past 2 years.  I would like to take this opportunity to let you know that updates have been delayed so far this year, due to holidays and now also the flooding.

NZ Aviation Notes and the blogger have not suffered any personal damage/loss from the flooding.  I send out my thoughts, prayers and support to all readers, friends and Queenslanders who have been affected by this disaster.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Etihad Airways for donating $1M to the Premier's flood appeal.  Virgin Blue and Qantas have also donated to the appeal, and both airlines have waived change/cancellation fees on all tickets to/from QLD or for people affected by the floods.

I work a few doors up the road from the Virgin Blue HQ in Bowen Hills and am unable to work due to there being no power in the area.  We were unaffected by the flooding but the Virgin HQ wasnt as lucky, and as a result the building remains closed with staff unable to return to work.  The below photo was taken yesterday.  I took it with my mobile so I apologise now for the quality.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Interesting interview with John Borghetti

Steve Creedy from The Australian has published an interesting interview with Virgin Blue group CEO John Borghetti, which focuses on the changes that are going to occur to the airline(s) this year.

JOHN Borghetti's new year message is simple.

His revamped Virgin Blue will be the sexy, fresh and contemporary new kid on the block in Australian domestic aviation with a premium offering aimed at today's travellers.

It will stand in stark contrast to Qantas, a stuffy, establishment operator mired in the past, he says. And Borghetti's offering will be at a significantly lower price.
Read the full interview HERE

Monday, January 3, 2011

Qantas-Jetconnect fleet update

Jetconnect are set to take delivery of their next 3 new 738s in February.    

ZK-ZQD will be delivered Monday 07-Feb-2011, ZK-ZQE is set for delivery on Thursday 17-Feb-2011, and finally ZK-ZQF on Friday 25-Feb-2011

B737-476 ZK-JTS will be retired on Sunday 30-Jan-2011 and will then head to CHC for a C-check before returning to Qantas Mainline service as VH-TJZ. (This appears to tie in with the information in my earlier fleet post

Former Jetconnect B737-376 ZK-JNC has survived the  wreckers and looks likely to have a new lease of life as a corporate (VIP) jet.

It has been registered as N249AG to Skybus LLC of Indianapolis IN. Which is the American arm of European Skybus (part of the European Aviation group, which included the former airlines European Air Charter, and Ozjet)

Between 18 and 20 December 2010 it ferried out of storage in Tucson Arizona over the following route TUS-IND-YYR-KEF-BOH (Tucson-Indianapolis-Goose Bay-Keflavik-Bournemouth)

It is now sitting in Bournemouth in England where it is awaiting conversion to a VIP aircraft.

Photo from yorky22

For more on ZK-JNC please follow these links

A big thank you to Andrew Russell for pointing me in the direction of this information on ZK-JNC

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