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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.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Virgin not so Blue

It appears from the recent 1st stage of the Changing the Game launch that Virgin Blue are likely to drop the Blue from their name, with the rebranding focusing on the Virgin name, designer Hans Hulsbosch has revealed.

Mr Hulsbosch told Media that while the Virgin brand would continue to anchor the airline, Blue would no longer be part of the brand.
The rebranding strategy is believed to also bring to an end several Virgin brand extensions in the region, including Pacific Blue, Polynesian Blue and V Australia.
 The rebranding is expected to occur in the second round of the Changing the Game roll out

Read the full comments in The Australian article by Simon Canning HERE

Friday, February 25, 2011

Air New Zealand half year profits soar

Air New Zealands profits for the 6 months to December 9th have soared a massive 75%

Air New Zealand reported a 75 percent rise in half year net profit to $98 million, as passenger numbers, cargo volumes and yields all increased from a year earlier.
Revenue for the six months to the end of December was 9 percent higher than a year earlier at $2.26 billion.
Read the full article from the NZ Herald HERE and Air New Zealand's own media release presentation HERE

Seats to suit takes off

Air New Zealand's seats to suit trans tasman offering has had a better than expected response from the travelling public.  Although Air New Zealand will tweak the leg room in part of the cabin to meet the needs of their high-value customers.

Chief financial officer Rob McDonald said the airline was taking out half a row and would increase seat pitch on one side of the plane back to the exit row to give a 33 to 34-inch pitch.
"That's probably the biggest feedback we've had from high-value customers, the absence of those seats," he said, noting that the more spacious seats would start reappearing next month.
Read the full article from the Australian's aviation writer Steve Creedy HERE

Virgin Uniform

I saw one of the new Virgin uniforms in the flesh today (a perk of working 100m up the road from VB HQ)  It is the female uniform as modeled by the girls in the middle of the photo below.

The red is a lot redder than the pic below makes out.  I am yet to see the male uniform, but from what I have seen of the female uniform it looks good.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Futher Airline earthquake response

Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand is continuing to add additional capacity out of Christchurch to meet the needs of family, friends and emergency services. The flights have seats available at the $50 fare.
On Wednesday the additional services include:
  • Three return Boeing 747-400 (379 seats each) services between Auckland and Christchurch
  • A Boeing 777-200 (313 seats) service from Christchurch to Wellington and Christchurch to Auckland for evacuees at the request of Civil Defence
  • An A320 (171 seats) service from Wellington to Christchurch
  • A return Boeing 737 (133 seats) service between Christchurch and Wellington
On Thursday the additional services currently include:
  • Two additional return Boeing 747-400 services between Christchurch and Auckland, and Air New Zealand is looking at further capacity options.

NZ Domestic
JQ 7276 Queenstown - Christchurch (1030 departure / 1130 arrival)
JQ 7303 Auckland - Christchurch (1200 departure / 1320 arrival)
JQ 7305 Auckland - Christchurch (1230 departure / 1350 arrival)
JQ 7306 Christchurch - Auckland (1420 departure / 1535 arrival)
JQ 7301 Auckland - Queenstown (0700 departure / 0840 arrival)
Trans Tasman
JQ 7101 Melbourne - Christchurch (1430 departure / 1945 arrival)
JQ 7102 Christchurch - Sydney (2045 departure / 2220 arrival)
Trans Tasman cancellations - Wednesday 23 February
JQ 140 Christchurch - Sydney (departure 0635 / arrival 0805)
JQ 172 Christchurch - Brisbane (0615 departure / 0710 arrival)e
JQ 175 Brisbane - Christchurch (0750 departure / 1415 arrival)
New Zealand Domestic cancellations - Wednesday 23 February
JQ 244 Christchurch - Auckland (0640 departure / 0800 arrival)
JQ 247 Auckland - Christchurch (0835 departure / 0955 arrival)
JQ 246 Christchurch - Auckland (1035 departure / 1155 arrival)
JQ 248 Christchurch - Auckland (1135 departure / 1255 arrival)
JQ 251 Auckland - Christchurch (1335 departure / 1455 arrival)
JQ 270 Christchurch - Wellington (0715 departure / 0805 arrival)
JQ 273 Wellington - Christchurch (0835 departure / 0930 arrival)
JQ 245 Auckland - Christchurch (0640 departure / 0800 arrival)
JQ 277 Christchurch - Queenstown (0835 departure / 0930 arrival)

Changing the Game

Virgin Blue have announced some of the changes in their Changing the Game program.  They have announced their new uniform and also in their Half Year profits announcement informed of the upcoming fleet changes.

The new regional aircraft operated by Skywest in Virgin Blue colours will be ATR 500/600 aircraft with 4 expected to be delivered this year.  They will replace the Embraer E170 aircraft which are for sale and will also open up other regional markets.

The first two of the 4 A330s will arrive in the country this year, as well as deliveries of 3 E190s & 5 738s.  The 738s will begin to receive a Business Class cabin later this year.

The new uniforms are amazing.  Very modern and contemporary, a nice red and royal purple colour, and look good on first impression, unlike some other operators in the region when they have announced new uniforms.

See the full uniform announcement at the Virgin Blue web page HERE

And read the full Half Year Results document as released to the ASX HERE

Air New Zealand Response to Earthquake

Air New Zealand have recommenced domestic flights into and out of Christchurch this morning with International services expected to follow shortly.

In addition they have introduced a Boeing 747-400 onto a double AKL-CHC rotation
  • Depart Auckland 10:30, arrive Christchurch 11:50
  • Depart Christchurch 13:20, arrive Auckland 14:50
this will also be supplemented by an afternoon WLG-CHC A320 service
  • Depart Wellington 13:45, arrive Christchurch 14:30
They have set fares on these flights and all domestic services to/from CHC at $50 one way, and have also announced compassionate international fares for immediate family wishing to travel to or from Christchurch. These fares are available for immediate family only, and can be booked via the Air New Zealand Call Centre.

They are set at $50 for Tasman and Pacific Island flights and $400 for long haul flights.

Read the full media announcement from Air New Zealand HERE

Friday, February 18, 2011

Recent deliveries

Its been a busy time lately for new airliner delivers to the region.  Below is a list of those delivered recently (not exhaustive, please let me know if I've missed any)

List will include rego, type, date arrived at home port, and routing if known

Air New Zealand
ZK-OKM Boeing 777-319ER  24-December-2010 PAE-AKL
ZK-OAB Airbus A320-232  01-February-2011 NAN-AKL
ZK-OKN Boeing 777-319ER 17-February-2011 PAE-AKL
ZK-OJQ Airbus A320-232 due

VH-LQB Bombardier Q400  27-January-2011 as C-GGUK
VH-OQH Airbus A380-842 02-February-2011
ZK-ZQD Boeing 737-838 03-February-2011 HNL-NAN-AKL-MEL
ZK-ZQE Boeing 737-838 17-February-2011 HNL-NAN-MEL
ZK-ZQF Boeing 737-838 due 19-February-2011 HNL-NAN-AKL-MEL

Virgin Blue
VH-VUY Boeing 737-8KG 18-December-2010
VH-VUZ Boeing 737-8FE 08-February-2011
VH-ZPQ Embraer ERJ 190-100 IGW due

VH-JWL Boeing 737-406F 28-January-2011

Qantas fleet announcement

Qantas have put out a press release with an announcement on an increase in fleet numbers.

Key points of the fleet plan update, which covers the period through to the end of FY13:
* the lease of five additional B737-800s, and the extension of leases on two B737-800s, for Qantas
* the lease of 10 additional A320s, and the extension of leases on 11 A320s, for Jetstar
* the lease of one A330-200 for Jetstar
* the purchase of 10 Fokker 100s for Network Aviation
* the lease of two additional B717s for QantasLink
This takes Qantas to a total of 33 737-800s on order.

Read the full announcement on the QF Website HERE

Alan Joyce opinion piece

An interesting opinion piece on the fortunes of Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has been published in the Australian.

IF there were ever any nagging doubts that the affable Irishman running the nation's flagship airline could play tough, they have been well and truly put to rest in a matter of weeks.
The piece goes onto list the fortunes and resolve of the CEO in the face of profit forecasts, the upcoming assault by Virgin, and other factors in the industry. It appears to paint Joyce in a good light, placing him as a tough operator whose hardline and strength is helping Qantas in the tough times.

Read the full piece from The Australian writer Damon Kitney HERE

Virgin shrugs off Qantas move

Virgin have shrugged off the preemptive strike from Qantas as a sign its struggling, while industry observers have described it as an attempt by Qantas to make life hard for Virgin.

Virgin will soon introduce Airbus A330s to their fleet to operate on Perth <--> East Coast services, and Qantas have announced that they will introduce an international configured 747-400 to SYD <--> Perth flights as well as A330s to their MEL/BNE <--> Perth flights.

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

Thursday, February 17, 2011

VB logo jets

Virgin Blue have introduced two new logo jets recently.  These promote their new agreement with the AFL as the official airline of the AFL, and also their sponsorship of the new team the Gold Coast Suns. 

It also serves as a way of making their newly delivered all white aircraft less boring.

Virgin aircraft are currently being delivered in an all white scheme until the announcement of the new livery that will accompany the rebranding of the virgin group, as they look to refocus their brand.

First up is VH-VUY in the AFL livery
Photo from Virgin Blue facebook page

Secondly we have VH-VUZ which is now sporting the Gold Coast Suns livery
Photo from Virgin Blue facebook page

See more photos of the new liveries at the Virgin Blue Facebook page

Air New Zealand announce service increase to China

Air New Zealand have announced they will increase services to China during the northern winter. 

The airline said today that it would be adding an Auckland-Beijing return service from December 6 and an Auckland-Shanghai return service during the peak summer season from December 11 to March 18 2012.
This will increase Air New Zealand flights to China to a daily service 3x Beijing and 4x Shanghai. 

They have announced this on the back of an increase of 20% in visitor numbers from China.  But some armchair pundits on the internet will not be happy with this, as this increase is generally in tour groups that fly discount economy, and not the premium seats in which ANZ make their profits on each route.  But if it is working for Air New Zealand and as long as they dont loose money on the routes, I am all for them increasing to a daily service to China.

Read the full article on the increase from the NZ Herald HERE

Air National Woes

Air National seem to be having some serious woes lately with the NZCAA.  The CAA has continued the current grounding of the airline, for another two weeks, while they continue to investigate multiple breaches of safety guidelines and aviation law.

The CAA is so concerned with the operations of Air National they have publicly labeled them NZs highest risk airline operator.
Air National – New Zealand’s largest charter airline and currently grounded for safety reasons – has been revealed as the country’s highest risk airline operator.
Air National operates a fleet of charter aircraft, the most notable being the Jetstream J32s which regularly operate Air New Zealand Link services on charter to the national carrier, and subsidiary Eagle Air.  They also operate a BAe 146 in 84 seat configuration.

Read the full details of the CAA concerns, including a list of some of the breaches, from NBR writer Jock Anderson HERE & HERE (the 2nd may require a paid subscription)

Thanks to fellow blogger Steve (3rd Level New Zealand) for his link to the first article which introduced me to the depth of the problems with Air National, and as Steve points out, the comments on the 1st article are a story in themselves.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Strategic continues to grow in Australia

The relatively new player in the scheduled services market in Australia, Strategic Airlines has announced another new domestic Australian route, in keeping with their current domestic services aimed at the booming resources sector.

The new routing is Brisbane to Gladstone, and will operate double daily flights weekdays with a morning and afternoon rotation BNE-GLT-BNE.

The flight will be operated by one of the company's Airbus A320 aircraft, offering 8 business and 144 economy class seats.

Read the full story from Courier Mail writer James McCullough HERE

Qantas ups anti on domestic

Qantas has upped the anti on the domestic east coast - west coast flights with an announcement aiming to pre-empt the service/capacity increase of rival Virgin Blue.

Qantas have announced aircraft in full international configuration, 747-400s and A330s will operate the cross continent flights.  The 747 will operate SYD-PER flights while the A330s will increase their services on MEL-PER and BNE-PER flights.

Virgin Blue have also got A330s arriving shortly that will operate on trans-continental flights from the east coast to Perth.

To me this announcement shows just how much impact the "new" Virgin Blue under the guidance of  John Borghetti is a worry to Qantas and Alan Joyce.  But of course this has a positive side to it, with travelers now able to enjoy larger more comfortable aircraft on the long trans-continental flights, and not be cramped up on a 737.

Red the full story on the Qantas service/capacity jumps in The Australian by aviation writer Steve Creedy HERE

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Qantas to raise trans-tasman & domestic fares

Qantas have announced that from 25-February-2011 that trans-tasman and domestic fares will rise by 5% due to the rising costs of aviation fuel.
"Domestic, regional and Tasman fares have been under review and, while we have been absorbing higher fuel costs for some time, this increase is an appropriate response to this significant and additional cost to our business. - Alan Joyce Qantas CEO
The full announcement from Mr Joyce can be found in The Australian article by aviation writer Steve Creedy HERE

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Another Q300 Emergancy landing in Blenheim

Once again Woodbourne became the scene of drama today when another Air Nelson Q300 on a flight from Hamilton to Wellington diverted due to a nose wheel failure.

The plane landed safely and all on board escaped without injury, but it will require some repair work to get operational again.

It appears from photos (see below) that the aircraft involved was ZK-NEQ

Read the full article and see all the photos from the Marlborough Express HERE
Photo from Marlborough Express

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