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Old December 16th, 2008, 11:08 AM   #581
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Brief scare on Rex flight bound for Sydney

REX SYDNEY, Dec 16 AAP - Emergency services were put on standby at Sydney airport on Tuesday after a small passenger plane indicated there may be problems with its landing gear.

A spokeswoman for Regional Express (Rex) said a light in the cockpit of the plane, carrying about 20 passengers from Ballina to Sydney, suggested there may be a problem with the landing gear.

"The pilots received an unsafe nose gear indication light in the cockpit, so in accordance with procedures the aircraft conducted a flight path at Sydney airport," the Rex spokeswoman said.

The plane was forced to circle above Sydney domestic airport for about 35 minutes to allow engineers to check the landing gear was extended.

Emergency services were called to the scene, but the flight landed safely about 1pm (AEDT).

"It could be just a problem with the light, but just as a safety precaution they had to conduct a flight path.

"They had to also brief all passengers on emergency landing procedures."
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Old December 17th, 2008, 12:25 AM   #582
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Malaysia Airlines in Qantas partnership talks: Chief
Published: 2008/12/16

MALAYSIA Airlines said yesterday it has begun talks with various carriers, including Australia’s Qantas, to form tie-ups including joint ventures as carriers face a tough economic environment.

The airline’s managing director and CEO Idris Jala had previously denied reports that Malaysian and Australian carriers were in merger talks.

Jala made the latest comments after Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak reportedly said the government was open to a tie-up involving Malaysia Airlines. The government owns more that 90 per cent of the national carrier.

“The present conditions in the world dictate to us to be creative and innovative provided we can agree on the participation of foreigners on a win-win basis,” Najib was quoted as saying in a local newspaper.

Jala said that while Malaysia Airlines would pursue strategic partnerships, the government would have the final say in the decision to go ahead with a tie-up.

“Any partnership that we pursue will require engagement with, and approval by, key stakeholders,” he said.

“Malaysia Airlines is very pleased with the continued strong support from the government. We will do everything possible to fulfill the interests of the airline in line with the aspirations of the nation.”

Jala said that “more details will be announced as and when we have finalised the terms of any of these partnerships. At this stage, we have no further comment.”

Malaysia Airlines has undergone a sweeping turnaround programme, including staff layoffs and route closures, which ended a series of disastrous losses and produced a record profit in 2007.

Last month however, the carrier said net profit for the third quarter shrank 90 per cent to RM38 million (US$10.7 million), from RM364 million in the same period last year due to higher fuel costs.

The International Air Transport Association last week said the aviation industry is expected to post a loss of US$2.5 billion in 2009 due to the economic crisis.

“The outlook is bleak,” said Giovanni Bisignani, the association’s director general and chief executive. - AFP
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Old December 17th, 2008, 04:24 AM   #583
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Jetstar plans a Coast revival - While Japanese visitors to Australia continue to plummet . . .
15 December 2008
The Courier-Mail

WITH Jetstar launching a new route between the Gold Coast and Tokyo this week and the promise of increased services in the new year, the airline says the future for Japanese tourists in Australia is promising despite falling visitor numbers.

On Thursday, the discount carrier will launch its five flights a week Gold Coast to Narita Airport service, which is scheduled to increase to a daily service at the end of March.

Already offering Osaka to Gold Coast routes, general manager corporate relations Simon Westaway said the new services reinforced Jetstar's confidence in the Japanese market.

``The Japanese are one of the great consumers of the world,'' he said.

``Jetstar is actually pretty optimistic about the Japanese market. The industry is obviously quite down about it, and rightly so, but we believe there is some upturn for us.''

According to Jetstar's figures they had a 9 per cent increase in passenger numbers on Japanese flights between April and September this year.

But last week a report out from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found international visitor numbers had fallen significantly during the September quarter, with a huge 19 per cent drop within the Japanese market.

Tourism and Transport Forum executive director Olivia Wirth said the fall in numbers meant tourism operators had to be even more vigilant about marketing to foreign travellers.

``There's been a 7.5 per cent drop in the number of people coming to Australia for a holiday in the September quarter compared to last year, which shows the importance of maintaining a presence in overseas markets and continuing to promote Australia internationally as a holiday destination,'' she said.

Mr Westaway said some hard decisions had to be made during 2008 in relation to Japanese routes, including the axing of services between Cairns and Nagoya and Osaka, which took effect this month.

He said the Gold Coast was now used as a hub for Japanese traffic, with tourists able to catch connecting flights to both Cairns and Sydney.

Brisbane-base Nagisa Iwanaga, a Japanese national who is currently on a working-holiday visa, said she had flown the Osaka to Gold Coast route several times.

While enjoying the cheap airfares between the two countries, Ms Iwanaga said the Gold Coast Airport did not give a great first impression for first-time visitors.

``Sometimes you have to wait for a long time but you can't do anything there. At Brisbane Airport you can find lots to do,'' she said.

Mr Westaway said Jetstar had a long-term agreement with Queensland Airports, owner of the Gold Coast Airport, and the airline was looking forward to the conclusion of a series of planned improvements to the site.

Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer Paul Donovan said a $100 million redevelopment of the airport would see the terminal more than double its size to 28,000sq m, expand check-in and bag screening areas and build on its retail capacity.

``The bottom line is people don't fly in because of the airport, they fly in for the destination and this destination is what is driving the great growth,'' he said.

``The Gold Coast, being one of the nation's most iconic tourist destinations means there is huge demand for it.''
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Old December 18th, 2008, 10:11 PM   #584
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Qantas, British Airways ground merger talks
Published: 2008/12/19

SYDNEY/LONDON: Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd and British Airways plc (BA) have called off talks for a US$6.4 billion (US$1 = RM3.48) merger that analysts said could have helped transform an industry grappling with falling demand and volatile fuel prices.

Qantas and BA announced the end of talks in a three-paragraph statement issued to the Australian and London stock markets yesterday, saying they could not agree on key terms for a deal.

"Despite the potential longer-term benefits for Qantas and BA, the airlines have not been able to come to an agreement over the key terms of the merger, at this time," Qantas said.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce had warned last week that the merger faced major hurdles and would only go ahead if Qantas could secure major revenue and cost benefits. He also lamented the fact the talks had been leaked and forced out into the open.

A Qantas-BA marriage faced major challenges, not least the ownership split of the combined business, which was proposed to be formed through a dual-listed merger whereby the two firms would have kept their existing listings but be managed as one.

Yesterday, BA added that it would not agree to Qantas owning more than 50 per cent of the merged entity, though Qantas is the larger firm by market value.

Qantas is worth about US$3.3 billion and BA about US$3.1 billion, based on latest exchange rates and share prices.

A source familiar with Qantas's plan said the Australian carrier was still open to airline mergers, especially in Asia, though it was not in any active talks.

Qantas has had previous dialogue with Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airline System, the source noted, adding: Qantas continues "to work on and keep the door open for discussions with an airline". - Reuters

http://www.btimes.com.my/Current_New.../qaba/Article/
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Old December 19th, 2008, 07:27 AM   #585
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Two killed after planes collide over Sydney
18 December 2008
Agence France Presse

Two women were killed Thursday when their light aircraft slammed into a suburban house in Sydney after a mid-air collision between two flying school planes, officials said.

An instructor and her female student in a Cessna 152 died in the crash, while the other plane managed to land safely at nearby Bankstown Airport, police said.

The second plane's 89-year-old male instructor and 25-year-old student were not hurt and their single-engined Liberty suffered only minor damage, the national AAP news agency reported.

No one was in the house when the Cessna hit but a young mother and her newborn baby had left shortly before the crash, the woman's father said.

"She took the baby for a photo with Santa Claus sometime this morning," said Gino Velerio.

His daughter Bianca and one-week-old grandson normally spent most of their time in the kitchen at the back of the house near where the plane hit, he said.

Witnesses described watching the aircraft smash into the rear of the house in the suburb of Casula in Sydney's southwest around mid-morning.

"I was going along the M5 and I've just seen this thing coming down," a man told Fairfax Radio.

"The tail was hanging off the back and it's crashed into the back of a house up near Box Road and it's absolutely demolished the back of their house," he said.

Several neighbours said they were in their backyard swimming pools at the time of the crash, while Rabiyah Khan told national radio she was at a barbecue in the same street when the plane came down.

"The whole back side of the house was just torn apart," she said. "Just seeing it actually in real life, it was just really kind of haunting."

An investigation has been launched into the crash.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 11:49 AM   #586
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Zomg runescape money, that sounds heavenly.
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 12:24 AM   #587
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Qantas, British Airways end merger talks
19-12-2008:- by Mark Bendeich & John Bowker

SYDNEY/LONDON: Australia’s Qantas Airways and British Airways called off talks for a US$6.4 billion (RM22.4 billion) merger, leaving the British carrier to consider other combinations with European peers as the sector grapples with falling demand and volatile fuel prices.

Qantas and BA announced the end of talks to the Australian and London stock markets yesterday, saying they could not agree on key terms for a deal, which a BA spokeswoman told Reuters included a Qantas demand for more than 50% of the business.

The BA spokeswoman said the British carrier’s long-running merger talks with Spain’s Iberia were continuing but that it was not planning to take an equity stake in Italy’s Alitalia.

The CAI group that owns Alitalia has said it is looking for a potential airline partner to take an equity stake, but the BA spokeswoman said it was only interested in a commercial deal.

Air France and Lufthansa are also battling for a tie-up with Alitalia.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce had warned last week that a BA merger faced major hurdles and would only go ahead if Qantas could secure major revenue and cost benefits. He also lamented the fact the talks had been leaked and forced out into the open.

A Qantas-BA marriage faced major challenges, not least the ownership split of the combined business, which was proposed to be formed through a dual-listed merger whereby the two firms would have kept their existing listings but be managed as one.

“This is not wholly unexpected considering the hurdles that had to be overcome, for example how you split the company and get round the bilateral issues of foreign ownership,” Jonathan Wober, airlines analyst at Societe Generale, told Reuters.

BA said yesterday it would not agree to Qantas owning more than 50% of the merged entity, though Qantas is the larger company by market value.

Qantas is worth about US$3.3 billion and BA about US$3.1 billion, based on latest exchange rates and share prices. BA was down 4.2% in early London trade, but recovered to be off 1% by 1248 GMT.

“The leak created an expectation about the merger ratio that could not be delivered considering the relative value of the airlines,” a BA spokeswoman said.

Asked if Qantas wanted more than 50% of the combined entity, she added: “Yes”.

Under Australian law, Qantas must remain majority-owned by Australian investors and its head office, stock market listing and major facilities must remain in its home country.

A source familiar with Qantas’ plan said the Australian carrier was still open to airline mergers, especially in Asia, though it was not in any active talks.

Qantas has had previous dialogue with Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airline System (MAS), the source noted, adding: Qantas continues “to work on and keep the door open for discussions with an airline”.

The hurdles to a Qantas-BA deal also included BA’s US$2.2 billion in pension-fund liabilities and also the British carrier’s separate merger talks with Spain’s Iberia.

Qantas had ruled out a three-way merger with BA and Iberia, though this would have created the world’s biggest airline, ahead of American Airlines.

Iberia declined to comment, though chairman Fernando Conte is likely to be heartened by the news. He told journalists in London this month that deals between airlines within regions were more compelling than cross-regional tie-ups.

“On paper, Iberia is a deal that is less complex — we see more synergies. But it depends on whether the two companies can agree on who gets what slice,” Panmure Gordon transport analyst Gert Zonneveld told Reuters.

Iberia’s shares rose 5% on renewed hope for a deal with BA.

Qantas shares rose 7.5% in heavy trade ahead of the announcement, which came after the Australian market had closed.

Aviation analysts had said a Qantas-BA merger would lead to other big marriages in the airline industry, which has been slashing capacity this year as fuel prices rallied to record highs in July.

Fuel prices have tumbled since then, but so has demand for air travel, keeping alive the forces of consolidation.

Germany’s Lufthansa last week signed a deal to buy Austrian Airlines, a move that will make it Europe’s biggest airline.

Qantas and BA remain code-sharing partners in the Oneworld alliance.

Qantas is being advised by Macquarie Group Ltd, while BA is being advised by UBS. — Reuters
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Old December 22nd, 2008, 01:57 PM   #588
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Qantas And Jetstar Cut Fuel Surcharge
December 22, 2008 19:08 PM

MELBOURNE, Dec 22 (Bernama) -- Qantas Airways Ltd has reduced its international and domestic fuel surcharges for the third time in recent months because of falling oil prices.

The new surcharges apply to tickets bought on, or after, Dec 23.

The crude oil price peaked at US$147.27 a barrel in July and has since fallen to US$38 a barrel.

Qantas executive general manager John Borghetti today said the group's fuel bill this financial year would still be A$400 million higher than in 2007/08.

The fuel surcharge for a one-way ticket from Australia to the United Kingdom and Europe has been cut by A$30 to A$160.

The surcharge was cut by A$20 to A$130 for one-way flights to the Americas, South Africa and India.It was reduced by A$10 to A$55 for one-way trips to New Zealand.

Qantas has reduced its Qantas domestic and QantasLink fuel surcharge from A$21 to A$18 for each one-way ticket.

Qantas' wholly owned budget carrier Jetstar, will cut its fuel surcharge by A$10 to A$9 for domestic flights, and by A$30 to A$68 for one-way flights to Asia and Honolulu.

The surcharge has been cut by A$20 to A$25 for flights to New Zealand and by A$20 to A$35 for shorter-haul Asian destinations such as Bali.

The cuts will also take effect from Dec 23.

--BERNAMA

http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/ne....php?id=379919
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 01:18 PM   #589
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Christmas in Australia, but luggage could be anywhere
23 December 2008
The Sydney Morning Herald

MISTAKES and technical problems combined to cripple Qantas's baggage handling operations during Sydney Airport's busiest weekend of the year, leaving scores of passengers without their bags, Christmas presents, and, in one case, two miniature schnauzers.

An English family were told their suitcase full of Christmas gifts was among 750 bags caught up in a baggage glitch that affected flights from London and Los Angeles to Sydney and Melbourne, as Qantas struggled to cope with the Christmas rush.

With about 35,000 passengers flooding through Sydney's international terminal a day from Friday, the Quinn family waited 36 hours to hear if they would receive a suitcase full of Christmas gifts for their two young children that went missing between London and Sydney.

A fault with the baggage handling system in Los Angeles was partly to blame, Sue Quinn was told. "Santa had hid his pressies in my bag and I don't know whether to go shopping and start again or wait for them to tell us if we'll get our bags back this side of Christmas," she said.

The airline said yesterday a technical issue in the cargo hold of a Boeing 747-400 flying from Los Angeles to Melbourne caused an unknown number of suitcases and backpacks to be pushed back on to later flights.

But a spokeswoman would not comment on the experiences of other frustrated passengers made to wait hours at terminals in Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns.

The Quinns' missing suitcase turned up yesterday.

In Melbourne, Jeannette Harrison-Ince and her husband were dismayed to discover their pet miniature schnauzers, Hannah and Zoe, had been left behind in their dog cages at Brisbane Airport.

"[A Qantas officer] simply said, 'We had too much baggage, with Christmas mail and too many bags, so the dogs were left,' " Mrs Harrison-Ince said.

Hannah and Zoe arrived in a "terrified" state 2 1/2 hours after their owners.

Other passengers missed out on Christmas engagements and time with family as they waited for their luggage to arrive.

Kim and Craig Younghusband flew in from South Africa and were meant to depart for Port Macquarie yesterday, but a 6 1/2 hour delay and the loss of one of their bags put a spanner in the works. Qantas and its budget subsidiary, Jetstar, have lowered fuel surcharges on long-haul overseas flights by as much as a third in a belated response to weak oil prices.

Qantas's surcharge on one-way tickets to Europe will fall by $30 to $160 and the fee for flights to North and South America, South Africa and India will drop by $20 to $130.

The surcharge on tickets to Asia, the Pacific and Hawaii will fall by $15 to $95.

Jetstar has also cut its surcharge on long-haul flights to Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and Hawaii by $30 to $68 and the fee on trans-Tasman routes falls from $45 to $25. It has cut the surcharge on domestic flights by $10 and on short-haul Asian ones by $20.

The changes will apply to tickets issued from tomorrow.
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Old December 24th, 2008, 10:05 AM   #590
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Heat on Qantas over fuel levies
24 December 2008
The Australian

QANTAS is facing questions about why its fuel surcharges are as much as 866 per cent higher than they were in 2004, even though oil prices have fallen to similar levels.

The airline introduced the current round of fuel surcharges in May 2004, with a $6 per sector levy on domestic flights and a $15 per sector charge on international flights.

That translated into a $30 charge each way on two-sector flights to Europe and $15 on non-stop flights to the US.

Even with reductions this week of up to $30 per flight, the fuel surcharge on a one-way trip to Europe, at $160, remains five times higher than in 2004.

The $130 levy on a US service is more than eight times higher than four years ago and the $18 per sector domestic surcharge is three times higher.

The higher charges come in the face of a fall in the oil price to about $US40 a barrel -- roughly the same as it was when the surcharge was introduced. The current Aussie-US dollar exchange rate is also similar, at US68.3c. This is about US2c lower than the 20-day average for May 2004, and about US6c lower than at the time of the original announcement.

The discrepancies prompted consumer group Choice to call for greater transparency in fuel surcharges.

Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn said it was impossible for consumers to do the complex arithmetic needed to judge whether surcharges were fair or not.

He said there was a growing suspicion among the travelling public that airline fuel surcharges imposed during the oil price spike had not been reduced as much as they should.

``There's no doubt that while there have been reductions, they haven't been as much as people would have either wanted or expected,'' Mr Zinn said.

``Our best advice is, short of knowing where any regulator stands on this thing, to find the airlines and the prices where the surcharge is less.''

Mr Zinn called on airlines and others who had levied surcharges for increased prices during the oil spike to pass on reductions.

``And again, that is something that competition is supposed to do: drive these things down,'' he said. ``But given the way that some of these things aren't very transparent, it's very hard to know if you are being dudded or not.''

Qantas said fuel costs remained significantly higher than when the surcharge was introduced in 2004 and would this year be $400 million above the 2007-08 figure.

It said it faced increases in the costs of refining jet fuel and that the average cost in December was about $US60.15 a barrel, compared with $45.71 in May 2004. The cost of fuel was also higher because of the lower exchange rate.

``We have absorbed significant amounts of the additional fuel costs in recent years, and our hedging activities meant we were able to limit surcharges to an extent,'' a spokesman said.

``In the short term, prices remain volatile and hedging costs have increased. We will continue to closely monitor the situation.''

----- SKY HIGH -----

Qantas fuel surcharge

THEN (May 11-12, 2004)

International ............................. $15 per sector

Direct flight to the US ............... $15

Flight to Europe via Singapore ... $30

Domestic ................................. $6 per sector

Crude oil price .......................... $US40.77

AUD = ..................................... US70.38 cents

NOW

Britain and Europe ................................................................. $160

Mainland US, Canada, South America, South Africa and India ... $130

Asia Pacific, Honolulu ............................................................ $95

Domestic .............................................................................. $18

Crude oil price ....................................................................... $US39.90

AUD = .................................................................................. US68.39 cents
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Old December 25th, 2008, 05:16 AM   #591
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International visitors smash Melbourne Airport record
23 December 2008
Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News

Melbourne Airport says it has just experienced its busiest pre-Christmas weekend on record in terms of international departures and arrivals.

Just over 32,800 international visitors went through the airport last weekend, 2,065 more than the same time last year.

Airport chief executive Chris Woodruff says more direct services between Melbourne and the world have proved popular with travellers both inbound and outbound.

"What this is demonstrating is that this Victorian market is really resilient right now," he said.

"We are bucking the trend of the rest of Australia. Our airlines are showing confidence in our market, they've put on more flights to more places at keener prices."

Mr Woodruff says despite the global financial crisis, Melbourne Airport remains a popular destination among 24 airlines, partly because it has no curfew.

"Many more airlines coming here, many more seats, lower prices and Victorians can now travel directly to their chosen destination rather than having to traipse through another port in Australia and have a very bad experience," he said.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 01:10 PM   #592
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Flyer's market as airfares plummet
Steve Creedy, Aviation writer | January 03, 2009
The Australian
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au...-23349,00.html

TRAVELLERS are reaping the benefits of the downturn in the airline industry, as carriers slash prices to some of the lowest levels in years and engage in a price war on the US route.

With the Christmas peak coming to an end, carriers enter one of the quietest periods of the year next month and are desperate to stimulate travel.

Lower fuel prices - at least for now - have prompted Virgin and Qantas to remove fuel surcharges on domestic flights for the first time since 2004 and reduce them on international routes.

But the biggest driver behind the deals has been a fall in demand that is keeping overseas visitors away from Australia and led to airline passenger traffic in the Asia-Pacific in November last year being down almost 10per cent compared with the same month in 2007.

A number of airlines are offering sharp deals on international routes and savvy travellers are able to combine these with accommodation bargains such as free extra nights to gain remarkably cheap overseas holidays.

The US route, which this year will see new entrants V Australia and Delta Air Lines double the number of carriers flying non-stop to the west coast, is looking particularly competitive for economy travellers.

V Australia, due to launch on February 27, has been offering $1199 all-inclusive return fares to the west coast of the US. Website travel.com.au shows both major competitors, Qantas and United Airlines, beating that with fares as low as $1166.

Flights to Europe are also good value with several airlines offering return flights for less than $2000 and Korean carrier Asiana offering tax-inclusive economy Sydney to London fares from $1534 return in March.

At the pointy end, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad is advertising $6317 all-inclusive business-class fares to London and an $8317 first-class return fare.

Low-cost carriers Tiger Airways and AirAsiaX continue to provide low-cost international alternatives to the full-service carriers with Tiger offering a $206.95 one-way Melbourne-Singapore fare and AirAsiaX a $199 one-way ticket to Kuala Lumpur from its Australian ports. Jetstar is offering a $199 one-way ticket to Honolulu.

Domestic deals include all-inclusive flights as low as $29 one way. While the sub-$10 sales of last year have not been seen, Virgin Blue spokesman Amanda Bolger said sales such as the current "Not Deer" promotion offered wider deals across the airline's network.

The Virgin Blue sale offers discounts of up to 35 per cent for travel during the quiet period, including a one-way Sydney to Perth fare of $149 and flights between Melbourne and Sydney for $60 one way.

Tourism and Transport Forum executive director Olivia Wirth said the deals were the cheapest for several years. "All indications are showing that 2009 is really going to be a buyer's market and there going to be great deals available," she said.

How big a bargain travellers get depends on a number of factors such as routing, the time of week they travel and whether they choose to stop en route.

Pitfalls include websites and travel agencies that advertise cheap fares but do not include hefty taxes and charges.

These can sometimes be more expensive than the fare. A $954 Malaysia Airlines return fare to London touted online, for example, attracted taxes and charges from $1059. Similarly, a $227 Air Vanuatu fare attracted taxes and charges of $378.

------------------------

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Old January 3rd, 2009, 01:16 PM   #593
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Delta to boost tourism Down Under
Steve Creedy, Aviation writer | December 19, 2008
The Australian
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au...-23349,00.html

TOURISM and airport officials today welcomed confirmation by US mega-carrier Delta Air Lines that it would start daily non-stop Boeing 777-200LR flights between Sydney and Los Angeles in July.

The move and the launch of V Australia next year effectively doubles the number of airlines flying non-stop between Australia and the US West Coast.

Delta's flights will continue to its Atlanta hub.

The Sydney route is part of Delta’s wider strategy to expand operations at Los Angeles International Airport and to grow its overseas operations.

The airline said yesterday the addition of Sydney would make Delta the only US airline to fly to six continents.

Its new service will include full lie-flat beds, video on demand, a five-course chef-designed menu and a new wine program.

The move will bring to the route for the first time a third major airline alliance, Skyteam.

Skyteam, which also includes European juggernaut Air France-KLM, is the major competitor for oneworld, to which Qantas belongs, and the Star Alliance, which includes United.

Tourism and Transport Forum executive director Olivia Wirth said more flights from the US to Australia will give tourists more choice.

“Another airline joining the trans-Pacific route is great news for Australian tourism operators because extra flights mean more seats and more chances for Americans to take advantage of the buying power of the greenback down under.” she said.

“Travellers will be the big winners, not only through more choice of carrier, but also increased fare competition.

“The Delta services, combined with the V Australia flights also commencing in early 2009, will add welcome capacity to the US-Australia route.”

Ms Wirth said the latest statistics showed a substantial fall in the number of American tourists.

“October saw a drop of nearly 5000 American visitors to Australia on last year, so we hope the increased capacity and competition could help turn that around,” she said.

Sydney Airport chief executive Russell Balding said the announcement was a real win for Sydney and would boost tourism to the NSW capital.

“Sydney is Australia’s largest tourist attraction and this announcement is good news for everyone working in the tourism, hospitality and related industries,” he said.

------------------------

Mark.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 07:36 PM   #594
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I wonder if doubling capacity is even sustainable, and forcing fares to drop to below profitability.
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Old January 4th, 2009, 04:37 AM   #595
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I dont know about Business or First, but the economy seats are amost always full by the time the plane departs. I took a BNE-LAX Qantas flight, it was completely full despite a quiet period, so extra capacity is indeed needed. How much, in the current economic climate, is another question. Two extra airlines would stimulate a lot more tourist and business travel, particularly since it involves one as a budget airline, and another as part of a new alliance. Might also force some to consider other airports, I live near Brisbane, so I would prefer flights from BNE.

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I wonder if doubling capacity is even sustainable, and forcing fares to drop to below profitability.
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Old January 4th, 2009, 06:25 AM   #596
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I dont know about Business or First, but the economy seats are amost always full by the time the plane departs. I took a BNE-LAX Qantas flight, it was completely full despite a quiet period, so extra capacity is indeed needed. How much, in the current economic climate, is another question. Two extra airlines would stimulate a lot more tourist and business travel, particularly since it involves one as a budget airline, and another as part of a new alliance. Might also force some to consider other airports, I live near Brisbane, so I would prefer flights from BNE.

Mark.
But the fact that seats are full does not mean the flight is profitable. That's exactly the problem I'm talking about. Airlines now have to sell at cheaper prices with so much more competition on the route to the point that they are no longer making money. Capacity increase does not stimulate business travel either. It's the economic environment, in general, that primarily determines the amount of business traffic. If there's no business to be made, then even a cheap J class fare won't entice businesspeople to travel more.
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Old January 4th, 2009, 09:35 AM   #597
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Quote:
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I wonder if doubling capacity is even sustainable, and forcing fares to drop to below profitability.
It's not doubling of capacity. I'ts doubling of carriers.

Even considering only direct flights SYD-LAX, Qantas flys 16x while United flys 7x, for a total of 23 flights per week. Combined V Australia and Delta will be offering 14 flights (on smaller planes).

If this is too much, one of the carriers would drop out: my moneys on UA due to it's poor product/service. Pan Am, Continental, Northwest have quit over the years.

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But the fact that seats are full does not mean the flight is profitable. That's exactly the problem I'm talking about. Airlines now have to sell at cheaper prices with so much more competition on the route to the point that they are no longer making money.
It's true that high loads don't equal profit (US bound route aren't that that high anyway, with about 78% seat utilisation compared with 90% for the UK routes), but currently there are high profit margins on these flights for Qantas. We'll just have to see how the competition affects this.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 07:13 AM   #598
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Personally, I think the 4 carriers would do just fine since there is alot more demand than supply to fly between Australia and the US.

I disagree that United will drop out. With domestic feed out of LAX and a large Star Alliance FFP clientele, people may still stick with United even if it has poor service.

Don't underestimate the power of alliances and FFPs.

The one I think may drop out is V Australia. V Australia will have to rely all on Australian traffic and for their sake, I hope it's alot. It belongs to neither alliance and since it's interlining agreement with Northwest is void, it remains to be seen how will they sustain Aus-USA services.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 11:01 AM   #599
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I disagree that United will drop out. With domestic feed out of LAX and a large Star Alliance FFP clientele, people may still stick with United even if it has poor service.

Don't underestimate the power of alliances and FFPs.
UA's new-ish premium cabins and their Star Alliance membership are the only things keeping them on the route currently: Already it is a problematic service - it has the worst seat utilisation of the major carriers (64% in September). The increased competition that Delta and V Australia, not to mention Qantas and it's A380s, bring will damage the route further.

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The one I think may drop out is V Australia. V Australia will have to rely all on Australian traffic and for their sake, I hope it's alot. It belongs to neither alliance and since it's interlining agreement with Northwest is void, it remains to be seen how will they sustain Aus-USA services.
You wouldn't be the only one, but i'm quietly confident.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 04:32 PM   #600
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Australia aviation regulator probes military link to emergencies
2 January 2009
Agence France Presse

Australia's air safety regulator will examine whether interference from military radio signals prompted a second aircraft emergency over the country's northwest.

A Singapore-bound Qantas jet carrying 277 passengers was forced to turn back to the west-coast city of Perth early on December 27 2008, after the aircraft's auto pilot disconnected.

The plane was about 260 nautical miles (416 kilometres) north-west of Perth when the malfunction occurred, disrupting the supply of key information to flight control computers.

The Air Transport Safety Bureau announced late Friday that it would combine the investigation into the incident with a probe into a similar emergency in October.

"As it appears to be a similar event to a previous event involving an A330 aircraft on 7 Oct 2008 it will be included as part of the earlier investigation," the bureau said.

"The ATSB investigation will explore all aspects of the operation of the aircraft, including examination of recorded data, and any commonalities with past occurrences."

A Qantas Airbus A330 from Singapore to Perth was cruising at 37,000 feet west of the Australian town of Learmonth on October 7 when it abruptly plunged twice.

Many of the more than 300 people on board were hurt, including 13 passengers and a flight attendant who were seriously injured as they were thrown about the cabin.

The ATSB has provisionally indicated a computer glitch on that occasion caused the auto pilot to shut down, and said it was exploring possible interference from a nearby naval communications station.

The station, at Exmouth, transmits high-powered radio signals to submarines and naval vessels around the world.

An interim report on both incidents is expected midway through next month.
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