Bold and beautiful in monochrome.

Air New Zealand’s first Boeing 787-9 registered ZK-NZE. Image: Boeing/Air New Zealand.

Virgin Australia: A decade of international services.

Today marks ten years since Virgin Australia (Blue at the time) launched it’s first international flight, DJ007 between Christchurch and Brisbane on January 29, 2004.

Across the Tasman, Virgin’s competitive bullseye wasn’t locked squarely on the Qantas Group, it was also taking on a newly relaunched and reinvigorated Air New Zealand in its highest yielding market place. Pacific Blue grew quickly, leveraging the opportunity to develop reliable low-cost air services to the remote, developing islands of the Pacific, an area of the world that couldn’t support the high-cost operation of either national carrier.

Virgin’s long-haul ambitions came to fruition in 2009 – the worst time to launch an international airline, but it had little choice – with the launch of V Australia services to the US.

Continue reading “Virgin Australia: A decade of international services.” »

Looking to the sky in 2014.

Our 2013 retrospective, and Airbus breaking with tradition on A350 MSN2 , inspired me to take a look at what this dynamic industry might have in-store for 2014:

A350 MSN2 the first test aircraft to be fitted with a full cabin interior in its new carbon fibre scheme. Image: Airbus SAS.

CASA Regulation
Some big regulatory changes will take place in 2014. In particular, CASA will need to guide the Australia’s airlines on the use of Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) following changes to regulatory legislation by the FAA in the US and EASA in Europe. Currently Australian carriers are self regulating in this respect, but moving independently as a way to gain competitive advantage will only create headaches for crew in enforcing use on-board.

 

Image: Graham Cook

Domestic capacity
The war will continue until the end of the first half, bringing further revenue pressure to the Qantas and Virgin groups. Qantas has invested too much the public rhetoric behind in its strategy, to back away now would look like it was giving in. Not the best market image to present given its current financial position. Expect the Federal Government to make small changes to the level of single foreign ownership to the Qantas Sale Act.

 

 

 

Sydney Airport
The political future of Tony Abbott’s Government depends on their ability to deliver a courageous bipartisan policy decision. With a promise of a decision, a ‘government of no surprises’ will now need to deliver with a real commitment on Badgery’s Creek. This will come as a stage 1 single runway development, with no rail connection, because Abbott’s made it clear he doesn’t like trains. Also expect a change to the slot caps at Sydney Airport, starting with the 05:00-06:00am landing window.

Continue reading “Looking to the sky in 2014.” »

Air New Zealand’s 767s heading south for summer.

Air New Zealand Boeing 767-319ER ZK-NCJ. Image: Les Bushell.

On October 5 Air New Zealand is returning to Antartica. The carrier has been invited by Antartica New Zealand to conduct a Boeing 767-300ER route proving flight from Auckland to the blue ice runway at Pegasus Field, McMurdo Sound in Antartica to test the suitability of potential charter services.

If successful the route proving flight could be followed by an additional two services this summer season.

The Boeing 767 brings a “fundamental change” in capabilities; alongside a higher payload, the 767 is able to operate the approximately 4,500 km route return to Auckland without refueling Continue reading “Air New Zealand’s 767s heading south for summer.” »

Air New Zealand’s new fern takes to the sky.

Air New Zealand has unveiled its first aircraft – an Airbus A320 registered ZK-OXB – to be painted in carrier’s bold new monochromatic fern livery.

The livery is the second iteration of Air New Zealand’s new corporate branding first revealed in July 2012, and part of a substantial NZD$20 million marketing campaign with Tourism New Zealand. The new livery, of which there will eventually also be a black version, features the official New Zealand fern mark in harmony with the airline’s Koru logo.

In a media release Air New Zealand says, “while most of the fleet will sport this white version of the livery, the airline will also continue to have a small number of signature aircraft in an all black version.” Carry-on’s guess? Bet on this being saved for the airline’s first Boeing 787-9 to be delivered in mid-2014.

Air New Zealand’s first aircraft – A320 ZK-OXB – in the new fern livery. Image: Air New Zealand.

 

Another day, another maiden flight: Boeing 787-9.

Updated 18 September

Boeing’s first 787-9 has successfully completed its five hour 16 minute maiden sortie touching down on Boeing Field’s runway 13R at 23:18 GMT.

During the flight BOE001 reached an altitude of 20,400ft and a maximum speed of 250 knots. In challenging weather conditions, the aircraft spent a significant amount of the flight in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC).

Continue reading “Another day, another maiden flight: Boeing 787-9.” »

Results day 1: Air New Zealand, Qantas and REX

Here’s a brief summary of yesterday’s annual results releases:

Air New Zealand

The day started with the flag carrier carrier at the very end of the world announcing it’s best annual result for five years with a underlying pre-tax profit of NZ$256 million, a statutory profit of NZ$183 million a 156 per cent increase on FY2011/12. This was on a slight three per cent increase in revenue to NZ$4.618 billion.

This strong result was supported by ANZ’s strongest load factor results in five years of 83.6 per cent. This was an increase of .8% over last year and came even as the airline grew Available Seat Kilometre (ASK) capacity by 1.7 per cent across its network.

Continue reading “Results day 1: Air New Zealand, Qantas and REX” »

Qantas, the little airline that couldn’t.

When I was young I wanted to be a Qantas pilot. Growing up I was granted the privileged opportunity of being invited into the cockpit for landing in various Qantas aircraft at various airports around Australia. The dedication and enthusiasm with which staff undertook their jobs was an inspiration to me.

20 years later, and I don’t know how I feel about Qantas. Today’s Qantas just goes through the motions. The timid annual result announcement is a reflection of the diminishing presence Qantas is playing in the lives of Australians. It is also a reinforcement of the distinct strategy which Qantas has chosen to follow.

The annual results also show a distinct change in Qantas rhetoric. Gone are the battle cries of a “65% line in the sand”, replaced by “The Group aims to maintain a profit-maximising 65 per cent domestic market share”. Brave faced Qantas executives are worried. Continue reading “Qantas, the little airline that couldn’t.” »

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