Tigerair's plans, first London-New York A380, larger Q400 and more

Nevil Gibson discusses the chances of Tigerair Australia entering the New Zealand market along with other aviation news.
Tigerair Australia chief executive Merren McArthur is taking the airline back to basics.

Tigerair gets fourth B737-800
Virgin Australia’s budget subsidiary, Tigerair Australia, will shortly take delivery of a fourth Boeing 737-800 as it moves to an all-Boeing fleet. Tigerair is being tipped as a potential operator to and in New Zealand to beef up its parent’s presence in the transtasman market after the split with Air New Zealand from late October.

Tigerair has a fleet of 12 Airbus A320s and three B737-800s operating on domestic routes. The A320s are being gradually withdrawn as part of a fleet simplification plan. Virgin Australia already uses B737-800s on its services to New Zealand and is supplying Tigerair with the aircraft.

Chief executive Merren McArthur, one of the few women running an airline in the world, says Tigerair is concentrating on its domestic operation rather than international expansion.

“The airline has been through a massive amount of change over the last 18 months and that’s impacted the business performance, so my focus is actually to get it back to basics, back focused on its operational performance,” she told an aviation summit in Sydney.

Norwegian flies first A380 on London-New York
One of the original superjumbos has started flying across the Atlantic on the world’s busiest international route for the first time. 
Norwegian Air Shuttle has replaced its two daily London Gatwick-New York JFK services with an A380 on lease from the Portuguese charter airline Hi Fly. 

The aircraft was the first to be retired from the Singapore Airlines fleet and is replacing Norwegian’s Dreamliners, which have the same engine problems as Air New Zealand’s.

Although London-New York is the world’s busiest international route, no airline has previously deployed an A380, most of which are operated by Emirates. It flies six A380s a day on the Dubai-London route and has just marked the 10th year since it started operating the world’s largest commercial airliner.

Bombardier's new 90-seat Q400 has been certified.
Bombardier's new 90-seat Q400 has been certified.

Q400 boost to 90 seats
Transport Canada has certified Bombardier’s new 90-seat Q400 turboprop – the mainstay of Air New Zealand’s regional fleet. It is the first in-production commercial turboprop in the world to reach that capacity. Bombardier’s Q Series aircraft programme head Todd Young says it has 15% lower cost per seat compared with the previous standard Q400. The launch customer is SpiceJet, which will start taking delivery later this year of its 2017 order of up to 50.

First A350-1000 on US route
Qatar Airways says its Doha-New York JFK route will be operated by the new Airbus A350-1000 from October 28. This will be the first time the largest A350 variant will be used on a commercial route to the US. Qatar took delivery of its first A350-1000 in February and operates it on a daily service Doha-London Heathrow service. The aircraft is configured with two cabins: 46 Qsuite business-class seats and 281 economy seats. 

Regus Auckland Airport offices.

Flexible offices at Auckland Airport
Global co-working space company IWG has opened the Regus Auckland Airport (above) offering 39 offices, 134 workstations and two conference rooms for short- and long-term rental. It occupies a 1000sq m space in the Quad 7 building, 800m from the international terminal. Regus New Zealand country manager Pierre Ferrandon says this latest addition to its 50 million sq ft of office space worldwide reflects a scale and rate of growth that amounts to “a workspace revolution.” He adds: “Many businesses no longer require a complete office fit-out with 10-year lease – as long as there is good coffee and a wi-fi connection, staff are happy and able to work from almost anywhere.”

Air NZ leases Taiwanese airliner
Air New Zealand will lease a Boeing 777-300ER from Star Alliance partner EVA Air on the Auckland-Honolulu route from September 4 to October 27.  The Taiwanese aircraft will be used initially on routes between Auckland and Christchurch, Nadi, Sydney and Vancouver during from late August to September 3.

Flights to Canada suspended
Saudia, the national airline of Saudi Arabia, will suspend flights to Canada from next Monday as a diplomatic dispute escalates. The Canadian ambassador has been expelled from Riyadh and 7000 Saudi students on government scholarships in Canada will be transferred to other countries, including New Zealand. The dispute is over Canadian government disapproval of arrests of dissidents and human rights issues.

Boeing's R&D centre in Kendall Square, Cambridge

Boeing R&D centre focuses on autonomous flight
The new Boeing Aerospace and Autonomy Centre (above) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will focus on autonomous aircraft. Boeing will lease 100,000sq ft of research and lab space in a new 17-level building in Kendall Square. Cambridge. It will be staffed by Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences.

Emirates signs train deal in Italy
Emirates has announced a codeshare agreement with Trenitalia, Italy’s national railway company. This will enable travellers to use a single ticket from Dubai to Milan, Rome, Venice or Bologna and then on to other cities by train. First and business class passengers will automatically be booked in first class on Trenitalia’s trains.

Route news of the week
Aviation entrepreneur Robert Inglis’ Nelson-based airline Originair is adding Napier to its central North Island network. It will introduce a Nelson-Napier service on September 28. The flights will operate on Mondays and Wednesdays through Palmerston North, and on Fridays and Sundays through New Plymouth using the airline’s twin-turbo-prop, 18-seater British Aerospace Jetstream aircraft. Emirates is boosting its Dubai-Amsterdam service. Four extra flights a week will operate from December 1 and a fifth from January 1, 2019, increasing frequency to 19 weekly flights. The extra flights will use a three-class B777-300ER.