Carry on: New aviation deals, Air NZ boosts Adelaide and more

Transport Minister Simon Bridges with Cathay Pacific director of sales and marketing Dane Cheng

Nevil Gibson reveals new air services agreements, extra service to Adelaide and other business traveller news

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More countries sign aviation deals

The government signed several more air services agreements, including one with Colombia, bringing the total number of countries and territories to 61. Most of the new agreements are with countries that do not have international airlines in this region, such as Kenya, Botswana, the Dominican Republic and Guyana but they open up opportunities for codeshares with airlines serving those countries.

For example, an amended agreement with Italy has allowed Alitalia to add Christchurch and Queenstown to its codeshare network, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says. Air New Zealand gains a reciprocal one to Milan.

Colombia joins Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay, which already have agreements. New Zealand and Colombian airlines may operate up to 14 passenger services per week, with no limits on the number of cargo services. More air links to South America is a government priority

“Other successful negotiations to expand and enhance air services opportunities were conducted with Belize, Nicaragua and Spain,” Mr Bridges says. “These agreements will further enhance New Zealand’s international air connectivity between Africa and the Americas, bringing both trade and tourism benefits.”

Air New Zealand expands Adelaide service

Air New Zealand is boosting capacity on its Auckland-Adelaide route by introducing a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. This will add 23% more seats over the peak season from October 26 to March 25, 2018. It will also introduce a range of premium seating options with Business Premier and Premium Economy available for the first time. Airbus A320 aircraft will continue to operate on the route with the Dreamliners.

Cathay Pacific boosts popular routes

Cathay Pacific is increasing the frequency of services from Hong Kong to some of its most popular destinations in three continents. San Francisco will be served three times a day with the addition of four flights to its weekly schedule from the end of October 2017. It will be operated by an Airbus A350. At the same time, flights to Los Angeles will be reduced from 28 to 21 a week. The four-times weekly one-stop service to Brisbane via Cairns will be replaced from late October to March with direct flights to both cities. The switch means Brisbane will receive 11 non-stop flights from Hong Kong each week while Cairns will have three non-stop flights a week. An A350 will be scheduled on Brisbane’s existing daily service from March 26. Madrid will see an increase from four to five flights a week from late October, while a sixth weekly flight will operate to Manchester from early December. At the same time, Paris will see the resumption of an 11th weekly service.

Discrimination case against Kuwait

The US-based Lawfare Project has filed a complaint with a German court in a bid to shut down Kuwait Airways' layover flights that link Europe with non-Arab League countries such as India and Thailand, due to its discriminatory policy of refusing to fly Israeli passengers. Past Lawfare Project efforts have already led to Kuwait Airways halting service on US-Europe and inter-European routes. The plaintiff in the latest case booked a ticket on Kuwait Airways to fly from Frankfurt to Bangkok, with a layover in Kuwait. The airline cancelled the ticket after learning the plaintiff held Israeli citizenship.

Boeing builds in China

Construction is due to start in China on Boeing's new 737 completion plant, which will aim to deliver 100 planes a year, with the first expected to take place in 2018. Boeing will operate the plant, the first for the company outside the US, with Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC). It is located in an industrial aviation park in the coastal city of Zhoushan. The plant will install interiors and paint liveries. Airbus already has two plants in China.

Iran gets first A330

Iran Air has taken delivery of the first of an order of 45 Airbus A330-200. In all, the national airline has ordered 100 Airbus aircraft (46 single-aisled and 54 wide-bodied) to renew and expand its fleet with new aircraft in the wake of sanctions being lifted. The A330-200 features a two-class cabin layout, seating 32 passengers in business and 206 in economy.

Korean startup orders A320s

A South Korean startup, KAIR Airlines, has ordered eight A320ceo aircraft to launch its new low-cost operation based in Cheongju. It will focus primarily on services to China, Taiwan and Japan.

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3 Comments & Questions

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NZ could do with a low-cost budget airline, like SQ has offshoots with Scoot and Silk Air. Why can't Air NZ spawn a progeny, to offer a similar service?

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1. Air NZ had a budget airline (Freedom Air) until 2008. Its operations were rolled into Air NZ.
2. Air NZ isn't a full service airline anyway, and already competes with Jetstar (and other low cost carriers) on price.
3. Silk Air is full service regional airline rather than a low cost carrier.

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Why duplicate management, infrastructure, logistics, etc..?
Just introduce LCC pricing like what NZ is doing now for some routes, eg. seat only, seat + bag, works, etc..

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