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Carry on: Airbus' biggest corporate jet, first A330neo for TAP and more

Business travel news also includes an update on Port Vila airport and first night flight out of Queenstown.

Nevil Gibson
Fri, 08 Apr 2016

Chinese tempted with biggest corporate jet
Airbus is meeting demand for larger corporate jets in China with the new ACJ319, which features conference, dining and lounge areas at the front, plus two separate rooms at the rear. 

It is offered for VVIP charter by Comlux and is on display next week at the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (Abace) in Shanghai. It is certificated to transport 19 passengers – more than traditional business jets – and is able to serve a wider range of business needs.

Airbus has about 20 ACJ320 family corporate jets in China, giving it the strongest presence of any business jet at the top-end of the market.

“Airbus corporate jets can fly bigger groups than large traditional bizjets while also delivering  intercontinental range and similar operating costs, and Chinese customers appreciate that capability,” says Airbus chief operating officer, customers, John Leahy.

More than 180 Airbus corporate jets are in service on every continent, including Antarctica.

Portugal gets first A330neo and cabin design
TAP Portugal will be the first airline to fly the Airbus A330neo, a revamped and more fuel-efficient version with new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines. TAP has ordered 14 and they are due to start entering service in late 2017.

TAP will also be the first to get the new A330 cabin layout called "Airspace," which showcased at an aviation interiors event in Hamburg this week. The design allows airlines to add more seats.

The 250-300-seat A330neo was launched in 2014, partly to plug a gap left by disappointing sales of the smallest version of its newer A350 series. The cabin picture (above) shows Trey Urbahn, chief commercial officer at TAP Portugal, and François Caudron, a senior marketing vice-president at Airbus.

Jetstar trumps Air NZ with night flights
Jetstar will begin its night flights at Queenstown Airport a week ahead of Air New Zealand. The daily flights will start on Friday, June 24, from Melbourne and will run for three months. Flight JQ 219 will depart Melbourne at 2.05pm and arrive in Queenstown at 7.20pm. The return service JQ 220 will depart at 8.20pm and arrive at 9.55pm. This timetable coincides with the start of the Queenstown Winter Festival.
Jetstar is the second-biggest airline operator in Queenstown with up to 17 international return services a week from Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast and up to 16 domestic return flights a week from Auckland. Flights are operated using Airbus A320 aircraft.Last year Jetstar boosted its Queenstown winter capacity by more than 25% on the previous year, operating nearly 700 return flights between March and October 2015. Similar capacity will be flown in the same period this year.

Air NZ seeks Port Vila runway assurances
Air New Zealand has asked the director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vanuatu to clarify the circumstances under which it would consider resuming services between Auckland and Port Vila.
Air New Zealand says it will only consider resuming services once a permanent solution for the runway at Bauerfield airfield has been fully funded, designed to a satisfactory standard and contracted to a competent contractor.
Interim repairs are under way but the work does not provide sufficient operational certainty to build a sustainable service on, general manager flight operations, Stephen Hunt says.
Air New Zealand is among several international airlines that have suspended operations to Vanuatu due to the unsafe nature of the airport, caused by a cyclone last year.

Tune into NBR Radio’s Sunday Business with Andrew Patterson on Sunday morning, for analysis and feature-length interviews.

Nevil Gibson
Fri, 08 Apr 2016
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Carry on: Airbus' biggest corporate jet, first A330neo for TAP and more