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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.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Virgin premium lounges

As part of the Game Changing process that has already bought us a new inflight menu, new uniforms, the A330s (to be introduced on Thursday) and most significantly the Virgin Australia name/brand, Virgin have been working on their new premium lounges.

The new lounge in Melbourne has now opened, with Brisbane to open within 6 weeks, and the new two level lounge at Sydney being worked on.

The Sydney lounge will offer panoramic views over both the airport and Botany Bay while offering premium passengers the opportunity to bypass the terminal with a dedicated entry from the kerbside valet.

  • See pictures of the new Melbourne lounge from (Australian Business Traveller) HERE

Jetstar check in charge

In a move set to catapult Jetstar into the ranks of infamous LCCs like Ryanair, EasyJet and Tiger, Jetstar have announced that from November passengers wishing to check in face to face at the airport will now have to pay for the privilege.

The low-cost Qantas offshoot revealed yesterday that all passengers using its 18-port domestic network could now check in using the web, self-service kiosks and its world-first SMS boarding passes as part of a drive to convert all passengers to self service.
Traditional check-in counters will still be available, but passengers wishing to use them after November 1 will pay a "small" fee expected to be about $5 to $10.
Australian Service Workers Union who represents most of the Jetstar check in crew, are worried that this will result in job losses, despite Jetstar saying all staff will be retrained and switched to customer service roles.

At this stage this appears to only affect domestic services in Australia, but I am awaiting confirmation on the effects on New Zealand domestic services.

Read more from aviation writer Steve Creedy HERE

Monday, May 23, 2011

Virgin Australia fare roll out

In a move reminiscent of Air New Zealand's "Seats to Suit", Virgin Australia yesterday rolled out their new "Fares to Fit"

It simplifies airfares into 3 new categories Saver, Flexi & Premium.

Saver:  Is the simplest and cheapest fare, offering the seat + carry on baggage, with the option to pay for checked baggage, entertainment and food.

Flexi:  Offers a full economy service including a food & beverage package, entertainment and 23kgs of checked luggage, while being fully flexible

Premium:  This is the new business class offering all inclusive food and beverage, a whopping 69kgs of luggage, lounge access and much more.

The Premium fare can be used in the new business class seats on the new A330's and will apply to the premium economy seats on the B737sa and the E190s.

All fares will still earn Velocity points, and status credits.

Read more about the fares at HERE

Air New Zealand announce changes in NW11 timetable

Air New Zealand have announced some of the timetable changes that will come into effect with their new Northern Winter 2011 timetable.
PEK, PVG & HKG all get extra services, while NRT & SFO get and aircraft change and services return to KIX.

Beijing (PEK) will receive a 3rd year round service from AKL, with Shanghai (PVG) receiving a 4th year round Boeing 777-219ER service. Hong Kong (HKG) get an increase to 9x weekly up from the current 7.

Tokyo (NRT) and San Francisco (SFO) both have their services changed to a Boeing 747-419ER, while Osaka (KIX) get their services returned to a daily Boeing 767-319ER, which was cut as a result of the earthquake

Read more about the announcement form the HERE

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tiger halts growth

Tiger have halted their planned growth for the coming year due to their $7.1M loss in the financial year to 31 March.
The airline blamed the loss predominantly on the Queensland floods and cyclone, and said it would concentrate on expanding in Asia, where conditions are more buoyant.
Tiger have also had issues this year with on-time performance and they received a "show cause" notice from CASA

Read more about the Tiger announcement from Steve Creedy HERE

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Qantas and the unions

Qantas continues to battle with the unions with both the AIPA and ALAEA, and it looks possible that QF may now be at odds with Ground Staff union the TWA. 

The Pilots union, the AIPA, have given Qantas until close of business tomorrow to respond to their ultimatum.  Qantas have responded unequivocally NO, and as a result industrial action looks set to occur.
"In case you were in any remaining doubt, the company regards your claim currently entitled Operation and Extension of Employment Contract, which you colloquially refer to as your job security claim, as damaging to the interests of Qantas as a threat to the real, long-term job security of 35,000 employees in the Qantas Group," Captain Wilson (Qantas Chief Pilot) said.
The engineers union, the ALAEA, have according to Qantas made demands described as reckless including
"The engineers, for example, have asked for pay increase and perks that will total $160m over the next three years. They've asked for membership of the Qantas Club for all members, they've asked for an extra week's leave, to take it to six weeks, and they've asked for pay and terms of conditions to be increased by 26 per cent as a minimum over three years." Qantas CEO Alan Joyce
It looks like claim and counter claim, punch and counter punch will continue on for some time yet, and if things dont get better soon then we can expect to see protected industrial action from both unions and possibly also from the TWA.  There is a strong likely hood that the public will suffer the consequences of this as flights are cancelled.

Read more about both unions, both claims, both responses and both potential strikes from's aviation writer Steve Creedy HERE and HERE

Qantas and the fuel prices

It seems Qantas dont share the same optimistic outlook on the aviation world that competitor Emirates do.  While Emirates last week completely scrapped their fuel surcharge, Qantas are mulling over the options of raising theirs, despite the recent drop in the oil price.
"We're still in the territory of going forward looking at further fuel surcharge increases," CEO Alan Joyce said.
Australia's biggest carrier has already raised fuel surcharges three times this year.
The Australian dollar's meteoric rise should have also reduced fuel costs, but this hasn't helped Qantas, who are also looking at the impact the Government's Carbon Tax will have on the airline, and what costs it will mean are passed onto passengers.

Read the article from Dow Jones Newswires reporter Ross Kelly via HERE
And the article from's aviation writer Steve Creedy HERE

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

NZ/DJ(VA) trans-tasman network announced

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia (Pacific Blue) have announced their new joint trans-tasman network.

Some key points
  • WLG-BNE Pacific Blue to operate a double daily return
  • CHC-BNE combined double daily return service
  • ZQN-SYD 1 flight five days a week in peak periods
  • WLG-SYD Air New Zealand to operate a double daily return service
  • Air New Zealand to take over all flying AKL-CNS
  • Pacific Blue to take over all SYD/MEL-DUD peak period services
The biggest winner out of this seems to be Wellington who are now guaranteed a double daily service to both Brisbane and Sydney although Melbourne still isnt served daily.  Christchurch gets a double daily return to all 3 major Australian capitals, while Air New Zealand will also increase flights to Adelaide and Perth from Auckland.

For more about the new network check out the Press Release HERE
__ __ __ __ __

In slightly related news Virgin Australia yesterday rebranded their HQ "Virgin Village" in Brisbane with the new Virgin Australia branding, replacing the branding of the Virgin group airlines, Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue, Polynesian Blue & V Australia.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weekend news roundup

Good news for Qantas and passengers with the ALAEA calling a four week truce with the airline over their protracted contract negotiations.  This prevented the hour long strike on friday, as well as similar ones planned for today and tomorrow.
"For comfort sake, you should also be aware that we do not intend to take action at any time in the next four weeks." ALAEA federal secretary Steve Purvinas
Read more on this from's aviation writer Steve Creedy HERE

__ __ __ __
Qantas are seeking compensation from the TWU after the federal court found they breached the law by engaging in industrial action.
But the union's federal secretary, Tony Sheldon, highlighted the court finding that, contrary to the Qantas claims, the meetings were not organised to cause damage.
Qantas have flagged they will seek more than $1million  in compensation.

Read more from writers Steve Creedy & Ewin Hannan HERE
__ __ __ __
Union officials have warned Qantas that any move to shift Qantas offshore will spark a backlash, after Qantas suggested setting up an Asian based branch of the airline.
Australian and International Pilots Association president Barry Jackson said reports that Qantas wanted to base much of the airline in Asia would set off alarm bells in the community.
 Read more from's aviation writer Steve Creedy HERE

Jetstar are not immune from potential industrial action either with the airline angering pilots and the AIPA, by employing new pilots under a shell company, in what the AIPA describes a s a move to get around the enterprise bargaining agreement.
Describing the move as "cynical and underhanded", the Australian and International Pilots Association said the decision to set up a new Jetstar Group contract was a sign the airline had declared war "on its pilots group, collective bargaining and the industrial relations system".
Read more from Steve Creedy of HERE

Virgin Australia
As mentioned in the post below, Virgin Australia have come to an agreement with Delta Airlines to take on the leases of their E170 aircraft.  As such the first two aircraft VH-ZHA and VH-ZHB have now left Australia on their delivery flights to the States.

The delivery flight's are taking the following track
Cairns-Saipan-Osaka-Yelizovo-Anchorage-Grand Falls
With VH-ZHA already in Grand Falls and VH-ZHB having recently arrived in Anchorage

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Virgin secure next step in alliance plan

Virgin Australia have secured the next step in their global airline partner plan, with the US DOT giving the Virgin/Delta Airlines alliance antitrust immunity.

This means the two airlines can now codeshare on services across the pacific as well as each others domestic services, and will also allow seamless flight integration from point to point.
"The Delta alliance is a key plank in Virgin Australia's strategy to build an international network of airline partners that offers global coverage," Virgin chief executive John Borghetti said.
With this third part of the strategy now in place Virgin Australia now has coverage of the South Pacific and connections onto the US & UK with Air New Zealand, the Middle East and into Europe with Etihad and now North America with Delta.

Virgin Australia are now looking to expand their partner alliance even further while looking for possibly a number of partners in the Asia region.

The link with Delta has also provided the opportunity for Virgin to onsell their remaining lease agreements for their E170 aircraft, which will begin leaving the fleet immediately bound for operations with Delta in the USA.

Have a read of the stories relating to the Virgin/Delta agreement and the search for Asian partners from HERE, & HERE

Black Friday chaos for Qantas & related stories

Qantas have cancelled 31 peak hour flights and delayed a further 46 tomorrow as they prepare for the peak hour (0800-0900) strike by engineers.
About 1600 union members will stop work for an hour at all airports from 8am local time tomorrow, effectively causing the delays to extend over several hours, according to the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA). The move comes after enterprise bargaining negotiations stalled.
Read about the strike and its effects HERE

In related news Qantas pilots are planning a stop work meeting and threatening strike action after their job security demands have not been met.
The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) says it has "drawn a line in the sand" because Qantas management is not negotiating seriously.
It says if Qantas does not signal a change of intent by close of business on Thursday next week (May 19), the union will take the first steps toward protected industrial action.
 Read more about the Pilots industrial issues HERE

In further related news the painting of Jetconnect Boeing 737-800 ZK-ZQF in Wallabies colours has further heightened the divide between pilots and Qantas as pilots see it as evidence of outsourcing operations.

Read the full story HERE

See ZK-ZQF in Wallabies colours at fellow blogs MRC Aviation HERE and 3rd Level New Zealand HERE

JQ add Dunedin

In a move set to gain them a small slice of the lucrative Rugby World Cup market, Jetstar have added a daily AKL-DUD-AKL flight timed to coincide with the world cup games in Dunedin.  The new flight will also break the Air New Zealand monopoly at Dunedin

Jetstar have launched the route with a Jet Saver Light fare sale of just $5 one way.  In response Air New Zealand have used their site to offer a limited number of $1 flights on the AKL-DUD, CHC-DUD and WLG-DUD routes, which of course were snapped up within minutes.

The article also reports JQ CEO Bruce Buchanan as saying the airline is exploring "further possibilities" around the airlines Queenstown flights

New flights
JQ283 AKL-DUD Daily 0905-1100
JQ282 DUD-AKL Daily 1130-1310

Read a full article on the new flights from the HERE

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Rough day in Kiwi skies

Air2There Piper Chieftain ZK-MYS made an emergency landing in NSN this afternoon after the two pilots on board on a test flight noticed a problem with the nose wheel.  The plane landed without its nose wheel and slid along the runway for a couple of hundred meters
Read the full story from the Nelson Mail ( HERE

A Jetconnect Boeing 737-800 was hit by lightning this afternoon while operating QF26 AKL-MEL and elected to make a return to AKL as a precaution.  No damage has been reported.
See the report HERE

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Qantas engineering stoppages to commence

Now that I have finally got blogger working again

Qantas engineers who belong to the ALAEA union will this week begin work stoppages, after they 'hit a brick wall" in their negotiations with Qantas.
Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) federal secretary Steve Purvinas said concerns about job security had not been allayed by Qantas.

One such stoppage will take place at BNE on Friday 13-May-2011 0800-0900

Read more about the planned stoppages from HERE

Monday, May 9, 2011

Air New Zealand Engine Issues

Air New Zealand have been in the news the last few days after a couple off issues with aircraft engines.

Yesterday Sunday 08-May-2011 an Air New Zealand Boeing 737-3U3 ZK-NGD operating NZ417 AKL-WLG diverted to HLZ landing on only one engine, after the other was shut down in flight.

Today reports have emerged that a second Air New Zealand aircraft - a Raytheon Beech 1900D from Eagle Air - Air New Zealand Link also made an emergency return landing at GIS yesterday on a flight from GIS-AKL, with one engine shut down mid flight.

I'm not going to link to any news reports on these landings as they are too sensationalistic, as these two events were handled in the most professional ways by the crew involved and both aircraft landed uneventfully with no injuries or other dramas.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Virgin Australia coverage

Check out more from the Virgin Australia launch at any of these great locations

* from aviation writer Steve Creedy HERE

* by Wings Down Under blogger Will Horton HERE

* Australian Business Traveller HERE

* - HERE - pages 5-6 of the thread have the launch



* HERE contains video

this is by no means a complete or exhaustive list - if there are any other site you have found great coverage on please let me know

Virgin update #3

* The entire rebranding exercise will cost the same as a single new Boeing 737-800

* Turn over of aircraft (returns to lessors) is helping to keep the costs down

*  There will be 20+ aircraft in the new livery by years end

* Premium Economy is certainly a possibility that Virgin Australia is exploring

* New Adverts that look remarkably similar to the Virgin Atlantic ones will begin screening on Australian TV tonight (see below)

* A new low fare sale will hit the website and newspapers tomorrow

Check out the new website

Virgin update #2

* Singapore Airlines agrees to use of Virgin Australia name internationally

* Borghetti refuses to say if Virgin had to pay SQ to use it

* ASX release points to new lounges and new look terminals coming soon

* Former Pacific Blue to have a 'Premium Class' but not specific details

* Bold claims from Borghetti that the new Virgin Business Class is better than Qantas

* Borghetti says they are working on exciting new IFE solution but no announcement yet

* Entire rebranding to Virgin Australia will cost the same as a single new Boeing 737-800

Virgin Australia updates

Blogging as news from the launch arrives

read the Virgin Australia ASX release HERE

Points of interest from ASX
* Virgin Australia brand to replace Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue & V Australia by years end
* Velocity rewards will be relaunched later this year with more options

Other points of interest
It has been noted at the launch that all aircraft will now be named after iconic Australian destinations, with Boeing 737-800 VH-YFC named Bondi Beach and Airbus A330 VH-XFB named Cable Beach


Virgin Australia the "new" number two carrier in Australian skies will launch in 30 mins at SYD.

Unfortunately after all the hype and everything that has proceeded it, the new livery for Virgin Australia is um well a complete let down.

Im sorry Virgin Australia but Im am completely underwhelmed by your new look, and certainly hope that your new product & service will be good, cause your new look isnt going to grab that much desired market share.

The below photo is from Tim W from - taken as VH-YFC taxied at CHC on departure to SYD for the unveiling.

Read more about the Virgin rebranding from's aviation writer Steve Creedy HERE

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Virgin news

New Brand
As mentioned in the post below the launch of the new Virgin Australia brand will occur at 0900 tomorrow Wednesday 4-May-2011 in SYD, with VH-YFC expected to arrive direct from the paint shop at CHC to launch the brand.
As of now (0825 3/5/11 there has been no movement to change or remove the old Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue, Polynesian Blue, V Australia branding on the Virgin group HQ building)

Delta Codeshare
The Virgin Blue Group has expanded its codeshare with Delta Airlines as it waits for US DOT approval for a closer alliance.  This means the Delta code will now appear on flights from Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Auckland and Christchurch.
Read more from's aviation writer Steve Creedy HERE

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