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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, August 30, 2011

Tiger seek new CEO

Tiger Airways Australia are seeking a new CEO with news Tony Davis is set to return to Europe in November.  Mr Davis recently returned to the helm of Tiger Australia after the departure of CEO Crawford Rix in relation to the CASA grounding drama.

Mr Davis was CEO of Tiger Australia when it first launched before moving to Singapore as Group CEO and Chairman.  In light of the issues with the grounding he was replaced as group CEO and chairman and was then positioned back to Australia as CEO when Mr Rix resigned and has overseen the resumption of Tiger services.
Tiger is in the process of appointing a new chief executive for Tiger Airways Australia and said an announcement would be made in due course.
Read more about Tony Davis and Tiger Airways Australia HERE and HERE

Skywest positive

Perth based Skywest Airlines are looking at the possibility of growing its FIFO (fly-in, fly-out) charter market, as well as the expected fleet growth associated with the wet-lease deal to fly up to 18 ATR-72s for Virgin Australia.

The airline has announced a 7% growth in net profit and 11% growth in revenue for the financial year ended June 30th.

Skywest this year introduced an A320-200 and are looking at the possibility of adding a second to the fleet.  This places Skywest in a unique position as the A320 is believed to be the biggest of its type operating on FIFO contracts worldwide.

Read more on Skywest from Steve Creedy at HERE

Qantas & Virgin in minimum separation breach

Qantas and Virgin have been involved in a vertical separation breach in the skies over Southern Queensland.

On the morning of July 29th the two 737-800s were in a holding pattern 91km south of Brisbane Airport when one of the jets breached the minimum vertical separation distance.  Qantas has claimed it was the Virgin aircraft that made the breech.

The ATSB are investigating the incident and will report back in around 12 months at which time CASA may take action if they wish.

I now want to take issue with the way this has been reported by the media and in particular the article by Robyn Ironside in the CourierMail

Firstly congratulations to the report for correctly identifying the aircraft involved as a 737-838 for Qantas and 737-8FE for Virgin, although these details could have come directly from the ATSB.

But sadly that's were the congrats end, as I take issue with several things.

The headline this story is running under Qantas-Virgin crash avoided by meters is clearly incorrect and sensationalises the incident, see the rationale below.
TWO commercial passenger jets came within metres of colliding over Coolangatta last month, putting 300 lives at risk.     
This lead paragraph of the article then builds on the sensationalism of the headline.  The jets were not meters from each other, yes they were below minimum safe vertical separation, but they would have still been over 200m apart vertically and there is no indication that lateral separation was breached. This paragraph attempts to make it sound like they were 2 meters apart, and disaster was imminent.

The article then concludes with reference to an incident involving Qantas and Jetstar aircraft near Hamilton Island back in 2004.  The reference then adds to the sensationalism by mentioning that passengers on that flight felt "frightened" after one had to bank sharply.  This has no relevance to the incident this article deals with, and adds nothing to it, other than to try and sensationalise it, once again trying to build on the notion that disaster was narrowly avoided,

Finally just a "cosmetic" complaint - the photo used with this article is of a Qantas Dash-8 and Virgin 737 not a Qantas 737 and Virgin 737.

Read the entire article HERE

Friday, August 26, 2011


Yesterday Virgin Australia announced the changes to their frequent flyer rewards scheme Velocity, which was flagged earlier in the year.

I received the following email from them informing me of the changes

The main points of interest in the changes are

  • New Velocity Platinum Frequent Flyer Level
  • Status matching for other airline FF members
  • Family benefits
  • Earn and Redeem on partner flights around the world
  • Redeem points for any seat on any flight on any airline
Specific articles on these announcements can be found below

For more check out the velocity rewards home page HERE or our good friends at Australian Business Traveller who have several comprehensive reports.

I'll leave you with a look at the new look Velocity rewards card, just the normal one most people will see

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mixed financial results

There have been mixed financial results announced by the airlines in the Australasian region, with the two big ones who quietly go about their business reporting losses, while the outspoken one who claims to be failing has reported a healthy profit.

Qantas bullish after earning $552M
QANTAS officials say demand at the airline remains robust even as it heads into an operating environment that is "challenging and volatile".
Executives yesterday said the domestic market had pulled back on the big capacity growth of last year, but demand remained strong, with seat factors -- the percentage of seats filled by paying passengers -- holding up well.
To me this seems to fly in the face of everything Alan Joyce said last week at the announcement of "a new spirit"
But it is good news for the national carrier, but will add some fuel to the fire that is the current fight with unions, with the unions expected to use the profit as justification for their pay increase demands.

Virgin Blue FY loss of $67.8M

VIRGIN Blue Holdings Ltd has reported a full year loss as the airline expects an improvement in financial performance in 2012.
"There are early indications of improving earnings in financial year 2012, with positive trading results in July and continued strengthening in the government and corporate markets,'' chief executive John Borghetti said in a statement today.
Virgin Australia have had a revenue increase but have still reported a loss, but unlike their competitor they still see a future with Australian based labour.

Air NZ profit plunge
Air New Zealand has announced a 45 per cent plunge in profits, thanks to the effects of the Christchurch and Japan earthquakes and ongoing high fuel prices.
While still announcing an overall profit Air NZ have seen a loss compared to the previous year, not a bad result really considering the impact of the CHC earthquake on the domestic market, and their large Japanese market effected by the Japan earthquake.

Regional Express dogged after a rough year
REGIONAL Express says full-year profit has fallen due to high fuel prices, natural disasters and the ending of tax incentives.
Like Air NZ, Rex have still recorded a full year profit despite the figure being well down on the previous year.

 Jetstar ready for growth after another record result
Jetstar's underlying earnings before interest and tax was $169 million, up 29 per cent on the previous year, as capacity grew 19 per cent and passenger numbers soared 14 per cent to 18.8 million.
Jetstar are set for a 19% capacity growth in the current financial year, partly due to the "a new spirit" changes with the vast majority of growth coming in the asian market, including Jetstar Japan, althought Jetstar domestic could see an 11% increase.

There has as yet been no announcement from Tiger but I would suspect they would have continued with the recent for of recording a loss.

Monday, August 22, 2011


The Sunday Times' Karl West has confirmed the widely tipped move, stemming from the changes announced by Qantas last week, that British Airways have announced the axing of their LHR-BKK-SYD (Heathrow-Bangkok-Sydney) flight, instead operating only the LHR-BKK sector before transferring passengers to QF for the BKK-SYD leg.

This of course matches up with the QF announcement last week that it was axing its SYD-BKK-LHR route with passengers flying SYD-BKK before being transferred to BA for the BKK-LHR leg.

BA and QF will only operate LHR-SIN-SYD and SYD-SIN-LHR together with QF using A380 metal and BA upgrading the current B777 to a B747.

Read more about the changes to the flights HERE

QF engineers to enact rolling stoppages

Steve Creedy of reports that ALAEA engineers have confirmed they will begin rolling 1 hour stoppages from next thursday until December 16th.
They will affect Brisbane line maintenance on Monday, Sydney domestic terminal on Tuesday, Adelaide line maintenance on Wednesday, Sydney Aircraft maintenance on Thursday and Melbourne line maintenance on Friday.
The report also mentions that Pilots are set to take a ballot next week which will open the way for protected industrial action to occur. SO Qantas could be in for a torrid time in the coming months.

Read the rest of the report HERE

Friday, August 19, 2011

Virgin - Australian aviation's knight in shining armour?

According to an article in the Virgin Australia is seeking to save the jobs of the 1000 staff to be made redundant from Qantas by offering them positions with VA.

Virgin Group executive Richard Tanner even said the airline was prepared to deal directly with its rival to take the workers off their hands.
"We are keen to ensure that as many as possible of the highly skilled staff being displaced by Qantas are provided the opportunity to be considered for suitable roles at our airline," Mr Tanner said.
Virgin Australia is making all the right moves to remain an Australian airline, while Qantas has said it cannot survive unless it creates ventures overseas (see previous blog posts for these ventures) and therefore there is a risk that Qantas could loose its reputation as "The Spirit of Australia" to Virgin Australia who look to be strongly committed to Australian workers and Australian based jobs.

Read more on the job offers and union responses HERE

Jetstar Japan to grow rapidly

Jetstar CEO Bruce Buchanan has revealed the plans for rapid growth at Jetstar Japan.  With the airline starting with a fleet of just 3 Airbus A320s and a staff of 150 in its first year, expanding to 24 A320s and 800 staff within a few years.
Mr Buchanan said Jetstar already had a team of seven people in place in Japan and the new airline was well advanced in obtaining operational approvals.
Jetstar will offer fares 40% lower than current Japanese full service airlines, with a cost base 50% lower than these traditional carriers, and isnt phased by the competition from the low cost competitor being created by Air Asia and All Nippon Airways.

Australia is also set to benefit from the new airline because it will provides a feeder network to Osaka and Tokyo.
"You'll be able to sell in different prefectures and all around the region -- Korea, China -- that will feed into those services and create a much greater catchment area, especially for those long-haul flights," Mr Buchanan said.
Read more of Mr Buchanan's comments thanks to Aviation writer Steve Creedy at HERE

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A New Spirit Video

Qantas have placed the following video on youtube to promote their A new Spirit message - check it out, and look out for the Air New Zealand 767 making a cameo behind Alan Joyce

Links to QF articles

Below is a list of articles published on todays announcement by Qantas CEO Alan Joyce of "A New Spirit"

From The Australian
Qantas job cuts in review inflame tensions with unions 

From Australian Business Traveller
Joyce reveals more about Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum One

Qantas delays A380 to buy 110 A320s, while eyeing first 787

Jetstar Japan is Qantas' new low-cost Asia play

Qantas to axe 1,000 jobs

Qantas to launch premium Asian airline, but it's "not Qantas"

Qantas drops international routes in major restructure
BREAKING NEWS: Qantas announces "A new Spirit"

From Courier Mail
Qantas to axe 1000 jobs and retire four aircraft in bid to win back market share 

From Stuff
'New Qantas' to cut about 1000 jobs 

This is by no means an exhaustive list and Im sure there will be more written in the next few days.

A New Spirit

Today at 10am AEST Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce held a press conference to launch the “a new spirit” concept that is the base for sweeping changes in the way Qantas looks, feels and operates.   

The announcement of these changes have been widely publicised and expected and has now been introduced.

A brief overview of the changes coming up are:
  •   Qantas will axe its SYD-EZE (Buenos Aries) route instead flying to Santiago (SCL) initially 3x weekly 
  •  Qantas will focus its A380s onto services to/from LAX and LHR via SIN
  • Qantas will cut other services to LHR via any intermediary other than SIN (ie BKK, HKG)
  • Qantas will focus on its relationships with fellow OneWorld airlines American Airlines (AA), British Airways (BA) and Malaysian Airlines (MH) offering multiple services on these airlines throughout America and Europe
  • By years end QF will have 12 A380s, Qantas have also deferred the delivery of 6 A380s by 5-6 years, with A380s nuber 15-20 being delivered in the period of 2018-2021 to match up with the retirement of the 744 fleet.
  • 4 747-400s (744) will be retired this year, with the remainder being upgraded to match the product offered on the A380s, with the entire 744 fleet completed by June 2014.
  • New lounges will be opened in SIN, HKG, BKK, LAX
  • There will be a new Platinum 1 tier for frequent flyers with additional benefits for Silver and Gold members
  • A new fleet strategy aimed at a simplified, high flexibility fleet offering lower costs
  • A new order has been placed with Airbus for 110 A320s, of which 28-32 will be the current generation with 78 A320NEO, the NEO options will comprise roughly 50% fleet replacement and 50% new aircraft to meet expected growth
 And the biggest announcement is that of a new Joint Venture Full Service airline to be based in Asia.
  •  New Name – will not be QF
  • New Look
  • New Feel
  • New Brand
  • New Aircraft
  • Will leverage Qantas knowledge and safety
  • 49% stake from QF
  • Base, etc to be announced in the near future
  • Initial fleet of 11 A320s, comprising 8 from the new order and 3 existing aircraft.
  • Will fly throughout Asia and especially China/India as well as flying to Australia.
  • Will provide feed to Qantas and visa versa
More details on the Qantas announcement including links will be blogged later on

Jetstar Japan a goer

Jetstar Japan has been announced with the low cost airline a joint venture between Jetstar (Qantas Group), Japan Airlines and Mitsubishi.  The announcement that has been expected for some days was officially made today by Alan Joyce at the launch of changes to the Qantas brand.

Jetstar Japan will begin domestic flights in Japan by years end, based at Tokyo Narita Aiport, with a fleet size growing to 24 aircraft within a few years.  These aircraft will be funded by the Qantas Groups balance sheet.

Jetstar Japan will then target international flights from Japan to China and other South East Asian destinations.

Qantas see this as a win as they will get a new domestic feed to their services to Australia, and this will be a big boost for the current Jetstar international routes from Japan to both Cairns and the Gold Coast.

Read more from the preview of this airline at HERE or one of the links to todays press conference which will be posted later.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Strategic move?

Brisbane based full service airline Strategic Airlines has won US DOT approval and has been issued with a foreign carrier permit, with authorisation to fly between Australia and the US.
They have released details on their website of services from Brisbane and Melbourne to Honolulu Hawaii commencing on 14-December-2011, with fares available for sale from Monday 14-August-2011.  Fares begin at $499 ex Brisbane and $599 ex Melbourne.
Strategic are also set to rebrand themselves from Sunday 30-October-2011 as Air Australia.  With the rebranding Air Australia will also move to a new low-cost model. 

In addition to the launch of the Brisbane and Melbourne to Honolulu flights Strategic will also launch on the Brisbane-Melbourne domestic route.  Other changes to the Strategic route structure include the conclusion of services today Friday 12-August-2011 on the Brisbane-Gladstone route, the conclusion of the Brisbane-Townsville-Denpasar and Perth-Denpasar routes, while boosting services on Brisbane-Bali and flights to Phuket from both Brisbane and Melbourne.
Strategic targeted Brisbane and Melbourne as underserviced markets and said early this year it planned to move to seven leased A330s over the next three years, with the fleet growing to three by the first quarter of next year. An additional A320 aircraft will come to Australia later this year to bolster the three planes already here and a fifth could be added early next year.
Also as part of its expansion, Strategic have announced the creation of a Brisbane engineering base to service its Airbus fleet.

Read more from HERE and check out the Strategic Airlines website HERE

Thursday, August 11, 2011

New Blog

I have set up a second blog for non aviation posts.  Its somewhere I can post my thoughts, opinions, questions, comments etc on a vast range of topics that aren't aviation.

NZOM Pilot's Musings

If you're interested check it out HERE

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tiger to return to the air (sort of)

CASA have allowed Tiger to resume flying under strict conditions, a maximum of 18 sectors/day for the remainder of august.  Although this will let tiger return to the air, the maximum sector cap will severely crimp the routes and frequency that they can fly.
The air safety regulator has ordered additional training for pilots, improved pilot rostering and fatigue management systems, and changes to Tiger's safety management system.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) today lifted its suspension order after grounding the airline on July 1.
Read more from the HERE

On their website Tiger are advertising fares on the Melbourne (Tullamarine) - Sydney route, and it looks like they will resume flying on this route on Friday 12-August-2011.  A quick search of fares on other routes suggest they wont be available until CASA lifts the sector cap, which Tiger can apply for in September.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tragedy at Woodbourne

Tragedy today at Woodbourne as a SAFE Air engineer was killed during a routine engine testing procedure.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this man and all staff of SAFE Air and associated businesses/people in the close-knit Marlborough Aviation Scene.

For more on this tragic story follow the Marlborough Express coverage HERE

Friday, August 5, 2011

JQ to hub in HKG?

Reports out of China suggest that Jetstar may setup shop in Hong Kong.  The reports suggest the new Jetstar branded LCC will be based there and operate through China.
The Chinese language Apple Daily said yesterday the airline had begun talks with the city's government to apply for an air operator's certificate to launch an airline focused on mainland China routes.
Jetstar CEO Bruce Buchanan has previously signalled the airlines intentions to expand into China, and to date this has been happening from their Singapore base.

Read the full story from's Steve Creedy HERE

Tiger still waiting

Australian Low Cost Carrier Tiger Airways remains grounded with CASA now requiring changes to documentation to bring it up to standard.

CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said last night that the regulator had identified deficiencies in some of Tiger's documentation.
"These need to be addressed by Tiger and resubmitted for review before CASA can complete its assessment. This will necessarily take some more time," Mr Gibson said. "Progress is essentially dependent on Tiger providing complete, correct and up-to-date documentation to CASA."
CASA has now kept Tiger grounded since the beginning of July.

Read the full report from Steve Creedy of HERE
Tiger have also reported that their financial report for the year ending March 2011 will be significantly effected by both fuel prices and the grounding of the Australian operation
It said the Australian operations were likely to report a net loss for the financial year ending March.

Read more from HERE

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