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Old April 7th, 2005, 07:03 AM   #161
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Australia's Qantas warns it may double fuel surcharge

SYDNEY, April 7 (AFP) - Qantas Airways has warned it may double the fuel surcharge on its ticket prices to offset an estimated one billion dollar (760 million US) blowout in fuel costs over the next year.

Qantas chief financial officer Peter Gregg told Australian reporters in remarks published Thursday that the airline was working through the numbers and expected to make a decision by Friday.

But he indicated the airline had no choice but to follow Air New Zealand, which on Wednesday became the first airline in the region to raise the surcharge for the third time since its introduction last May.

"It's highly likely to rise, and if you ask me how high I'd say it could double," Gregg said.

A doubling of the surcharge would mean domestic travellers paying 24 dollars for each flight while the charge for international travellers would rise to 58 dollars.

Greg said at current prices, Qantas' fuel bill for the next financial year beginning in July would be one billion dollars higher than during the current year.

Qantas paid 1.35 billion dollars for fuel in 2003-04 and earlier this year said its costs this financial year were running about 560 million dollars higher.

The warning came as the International Air Transport Association this week predicted international airlines could lose 5.5 billion US dollars in 2005 because of high oil prices.

The cost of Singapore jet fuel is now 80 percent higher than in April last year and 15 percent higher than when the airlines last increased the surcharge in October.

Air New Zealand on Wednesday hiked its surcharge on flights to and from Australia from 11 dollars to 39 dollars.
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Old April 7th, 2005, 01:27 PM   #162
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Business Times - 07 Apr 2005

Virgin Blue announces steep rise in fuel surcharge

SYDNEY, Australia - Australian discount airline Virgin Blue Holdings Ltd said on Thursday it will almost double its fuel surcharge on domestic flights to cover the soaring cost of fuel.

The domestic surcharge will increase to A$19 (US$14.60) from A$10 and the surcharge on international flights will increase to A$35 from A$20.

"We will continue to review our position and while we are loathe to increase the cost of air travel even by a relatively small amount, like all airlines around the world we are currently faced with dramatic increases in costs due to the record price of jet fuel," Chief Executive Brett Godfrey said in a statement.

"If fuel prices stay at current levels, Virgin Blue's fuel bill this year will be A$165 million more than in 2004-05," he said.

The new surcharges will come into effect April 12.

Local rival Qantas Airways Ltd is expected to announce increased fuel surcharges by the end of the week. Crude oil prices earlier in the week hit an intraday high of US$58.28, and remain about US$20 higher than year-ago levels.

Copyright 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old April 7th, 2005, 07:30 PM   #163
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Trans-Tasman on Jetstar's radar
By FELICITY WILLIAMS
8 April 2005
The Advertiser

QANTAS budget-airline subsidiary Jetstar indicated yesterday it wanted to be flying internationally by 2007, with services to New Zealand the most likely option.

"I would be disappointed if Jetstar was not operating some form of international operations within the next two years," Jetstar chief executive Alan Joyce said.

However, Mr Joyce said Jetstar's first priority was improving its coverage of Australia. "I preface this comment on the basis that Jetstar is yet to commence services in past-nominated Australian markets, including those within Western Australia, the Northern Territory and all other parts of the nation, including Queensland," he said.

Jetstar was unperturbed by the high level of competition among airlines on the trans-Tasman route.

"In the domestic market, we've had very heavy competition in terms of Virgin Blue so we're not worried about that," Mr Joyce said.

He added Jetstar was well-equipped to compete on international routes.

"We know we have a very low cost base and we know we can do it very effectively in those routes and we'll only come on if we think we can make some money."

Mr Joyce said Chris Corrigan's new controlling influence would be felt at rival Virgin Blue and this would change the competitive dynamics within the Australian airline industry.

"I think Corrigan will focus in on costs because that is what he's typically done in a number of different areas and they're talking about focusing in on moving towards the business traveller a bit more," he said.

Corrigan-managed port handler Patrick Corporation last month secured control of Virgin Blue's board as part of its takeover battle for the airline.

Meanhwile, Virgin Blue announced last night it would increase its fuel surcharge by $9 to $19 a sector on domestic routes.

Travellers flying on its Pacific Blue international flights will pay $35, up from the previous charge of $20.

The charges will apply from Monday. Qantas is expected to follow suit today.

Shareholders have been told high oil prices could strip $91 million from the carrier's 2005-06 profit.

Qantas chief financial officer Peter Gregg said on Wednesday a decision would be announced by today whether the airline would raise its existing surcharge of $12 per domestic ticket and $29 for international travel.
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Old April 7th, 2005, 07:32 PM   #164
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Knuckling down in bout with costs
Steve Creedy
8 April 2005
The Australian

RISING fuel prices made it imperative for airlines to aggressively tighten controls on whatever costs they could, Jetstar chief executive Alan Joyce said yesterday.

The warning came as Jetstar is expected today to announce fuel surcharge increases that could add up to $10 per sector.

The move comes after Virgin Blue last night almost doubled its domestic surcharge from $10 to $19 per domestic sector and from $20 to $35 on international flights.

"There are costs within our control and there are costs outside our control and we really have to knuckle down," Mr Joyce said.

"And I think any carrier, certainly at the price-sensitive end of the market, has to maintain its cost base."

Jetstar is aiming for a unit cost of 8c per available seat kilometre after it has fully integrated its Airbus A320 fleet.

Mr Joyce said Jetstar's cost containment programs remained on track for the remainder of the financial year because it was being measured against a target of 8.25c, boosted by start-up costs and the additional expense of operating a mixed fleet.

But he warned that without a sustainable ongoing low cost base, the airline would not be able to offer the low fares that drove its bottom line.

He said the airline recognised the danger that the increased surcharge could affect demand.

"It's always been something at the low end of the market you have concerns about," he said.

"But it's something where, with the way we've seen growth over the last few months, we still think the market's very buoyant and the economy's doing well.

"So hopefully we can keep demand up but we'll certainly keep an eye on it."

Mr Joyce said Jetstar was also offering passengers new benefits aimed at further stimulating air travel.

These included allowing passengers on fully flexible fares to earn frequent flyer points and giving them priority boarding.

The airline was also introducing portable entertainment units on flights and planned to make hot meals available.

However, it remained committed to its unallocated seating.
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Old April 12th, 2005, 03:27 AM   #165
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Qantas tightens thumbscrews
Lisa Allen
11 April 2005
Australian Financial Review

Qantas Airways has been accused of misusing its market power by threatening to withhold air ticket sales commissions from travel agents unless they meet targets for selling holiday packages from its Qantas Holidays unit.

Most travel agents say they are in the middle of reaching new agreements with Qantas, which dominates Australia's air and holiday package tourism sector and will not comment publicly.

But some, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the deals Qantas is trying to strike were a way for the airline to turn around Qantas Holidays, which is performing well in international sales but not as well domestically.

One travel agent said Qantas's aim was to reduce distribution costs, reduce commission, and eventually drive all holiday and air business to Qantas web sites.

Qantas said in a statement that it regularly entered into commercial agreements and reserved the right to offer competitive terms across the entire Qantas group.

"Qantas is in regular negotiation with travel agents in regards to contract arrangements on a number of products across the Qantas group," the carrier said. "We conduct commercial arrangements with a number of travel agent partners, some of which involve other areas of the Qantas group, [including] Australian Airlines [and] Qantas Holidays.

"These arrangements are negotiated against a backdrop of high levels of competition and they comply with all legal requirements," Qantas said. "While we cannot comment on individual specifics, all these arrangements are legally compliant."

Justin Montgomery, the head of Australia's largest independent travel wholesaler, Creative Holidays, which does not sell Qantas air tickets, defended the airline.

"Obviously they are quite aggressive and try to sell both air tickets and Qantas Holidays together," he said.

"I am unsure about targets [but] if you own a large organisation that has big distribution you will try and tie it together to meet targets.

"The commercial pressure of what is going on in the industry is making them more aware," he said.

Mr Montgomery said all carriers had to act aggressively given the recent additional air capacity added to Hong Kong and Europe.

Qantas off-shoot Jetstar has also been at loggerheads with retail chain Flight Centre, which decided to sell Jetstar tickets from its website without first consulting the airline.

"We are aware that Flight Centre have an established an online presence without having a discussion with us. We will have further discussions with that organisation over that," said Jetstar spokesman Simon Westaway. "We are hoping to continue a sound relationship with them [but] we will be having further discussions with Flight Centre over this latest move."
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Old April 12th, 2005, 03:28 AM   #166
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Emirates tops foreigners flying out of Melbourne
STEPHEN DABKOWSKI
11 April 2005
The Age

EMIRATES has become the largest foreign carrier operating out of Melbourne Airport after recently doubling its services from Tullamarine.

Emirates now offers two flights a day to New Zealand (Christchurch and Auckland) and another two flights to Dubai from Tullamarine, which means the airline is now selling more than 1200 seats a day out of Melbourne.

"Melbourne as a destination has been very rewarding for Emirates," said Eddie Lim, Emirates area general manager for Australia and New Zealand. "It was the first port Emirates flew to in Australia and it continues to be very successful."

Emirates hopes to replicate its Melbourne success in Sydney, where it plans to double daily operations from May. It also flies daily out of Perth and Brisbane.

Mr Lim said the arrival of the new super-jumbo Airbus A380 - Emirates will be the second carrier in the world to take possession of the aircraft - signals a new phase in travel to and from Australia.

"While we haven't confirmed when the new A380 Airbus aircraft will be available, we will hopefully be introducing them into Australia early next year," Mr Lim said. Emirates has also announced plans to build flight lounges in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

The new lounge at Melbourne Airport for Emirates frequent flyers is expected to be open at the end of the year.
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Old April 12th, 2005, 07:00 PM   #167
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Window seat: Ozjet scans skies for pilots
Steve Creedy, Aviation writer
12 April 2005
The Australian

RACING identity Paul Stoddart's premium start-up airline, Ozjet, is moving to recruit pilots after setting up a senior management structure to run its operations.

Ozjet chief executive Hans Van Pelt said yesterday the airline would start advertising for pilots this week and remained confident it would launch in the third quarter of this calendar year.

The niche airline intends to initially operate a fleet of three BAe-146s and two Boeing 737-200 jets, each with 60 business class seats in a two- abreast configuration.

It will provide a business class service at full economy prices that will include the ability to avoid queues by carrying up to three pieces of baggage into the cabin.

Initially serving Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide, Ozjet hopes to double its fleet to 10 by mid-2006 and extend services to Perth, Brisbane and Port Lincoln.

Mr Van Pelt said the airline was pushing along with its application for an air operator's certificate "pretty much on schedule".

He said Ozjet had hired key post holders, including a chief pilot as well as check and training, engineering and safety and audit managers.

The flight attendant management structure was in place and the airline was looking for accounting and commercial executives.

It was also looking for pilots because they would take the longest to train. "We want to get them in the bag early," he said.

One of the airline's 737s is already in Australia and a second is undergoing heavy maintenance in Britain.

Mr Van Pelt said three BAe-146s were also undergoing heavy maintenance checks in Australia.

"So that's our five start-up fleet in the third quarter and then we'll get to 10 as quickly as we can after that, which will give us some efficiencies," he said.

"If we start with five (aircraft) we can concentrate on key markets and then we don't have too big a headache getting through January when there's nothing around."

Ozjet is aiming for a single-digit market share and will be targeting corporate and government business.

It says its market research indicates the new service will be well received and Mr Van Pelt believes it will be able to withstand competition from Virgin Blue and Qantas.

Virgin, in particular, is moving to aggressively court business travellers with flexible fares and perks such as free lounge access and priority check-in. Virgin also plans to introduce a frequent flyer scheme.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 02:44 AM   #168
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Spanner in works at Jetstar
Steve Creedy, Aviation writer
12 April 2005
The Australian

QANTAS low-cost offshoot Jetstar is optimistic it can reach a deal with engineering workers that will allow its proposed maintenance base in Newcastle to proceed.

The project stalled after engineering staff recently rejected an enterprise bargaining agreement and the airline yesterday confirmed it would reopen tenders unless it got a deal.

Spokesman Simon Westaway said Jetstar required the enterprise agreement to be finalised so it had a fixed cost base over the next three years.

"The reason why Newcastle was selected ... was that it was extremely cost-competitive and we need to ensure that it remains a cost-competitive facility for us," he said.

"This is not only so we can undertake the work for our organisation but also compete for other work as well."

Mr Westaway said the Airbus A320 was a popular aircraft and there were numerous organisations that could compete for the maintenance work.

He said a shifting cost base required Jetstar to at least assess what alternatives were available if it could not reach an agreement with its engineering group. But he said the airline's maintenance had been conducted internally to date and its preference was to continue that.

The airline was hopeful it could work with its engineers and reach an agreement.

Meanwhile, Virgin Blue yesterday downplayed the impact of a three-year maintenance deal with Air New Zealand's engineering arm, understood to be worth more than $30 million.

A Virgin spokeswoman said the deal formalised an existing arrangement where Air NZ Engineering Services did work on the airframes of Virgin's Boeing 737-NGs.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 10:23 PM   #169
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Patrick Corp targets costs in Virgin Blue operational shake-up
Tansy Harcourt
26 April 2005
Australian Financial Review

Patrick Corporation has started modifying Virgin Blue operations after grabbing majority control of the budget airline earlier this month.

Patrick chief executive and Virgin Blue chairman Chris Corrigan's first big change was to reduce the frequency of board meetings from monthly to quarterly to save time and costs. The move is understood to be part of a broader operational review now Patrick has lifted its stake from 45 per cent to more than 62 per cent.

Mr Corrigan is looking at ways to reduce expenses at Virgin Blue by extracting better operational efficiencies and is reviewing the airline's treasury department, which is responsible for areas such as debt issues and currency and commodity hedging. Record high oil prices have eroded earnings of airlines around the world and have greatly affected Virgin Blue because it is unhedged. Major competitor Qantas has partial cover.

Analysts and investors are divided on whether Virgin Blue should started hedging the oil price while it remains at a near-record high, or bet that oil prices now have more downside than upside risk. The price of jet kerosene has risen as much as 58 per cent this year, adding $US76 billion ($97.4 billion) to airline fuel bills across the world, a fifth more than 2004, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Virgin Blue is continuing with its aggressive competitive stance against Qantas and its low-cost offshoot, Jetstar. Virgin Blue announced last week that it would start flying to Queensland's Hamilton Island in June, ending a year-long monopoly held by Jetstar. Since Qantas ended Hamilton Island flights last May, leaving only Jetstar, the island's residents have fought to bring back a full-service carrier.

Now Qantas will restart services to the island from mid-year, putting it in direct competition with Virgin Blue.
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Old April 29th, 2005, 02:40 AM   #170
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Delays in air travel
28 April 2005
The Advertiser

QANTAS flights at Adelaide Airport were thrown into chaos yesterday because of a stop-work meeting of baggage handlers in Melbourne.

The two-hour long meeting forced the cancellation of two flights and delays to several others in and out of Adelaide, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded in the terminal.

A Qantas spokesman said ramp staff resumed work about noon and services were able to return to their normal pattern quickly.

Virgin Blue flights were unaffected.
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Old April 29th, 2005, 02:03 PM   #171
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Virgin Blue expected to focus on Australian routes
Zach Coleman
29 April 2005
The Standard

Virgin Blue Airlines is likely to turn its attention away from a proposed venture in Macau in the fight for control of the discount carrier, analysts said.

Patrick Corp, which previously held 45 percent of Virgin Blue's shares, raised its stake this month to a controlling 62 percent through an unsolicited offer to
buy out other shareholders. Given Patrick managing director Chris Corrigan's criticism of Virgin Blue's strategic direction during the struggle, stock analysts believe changes are coming.

"Patrick is pretty much a domestically focused business,'' said Paul Huxford, who tracks transport for Macquarie Research Equities in Sydney. "With the
change in control, I think Virgin Blue is likely to focus more on the Australian market.''

Huxford and his counterpart at another bank in Sydney, who declined to be named, said they see Virgin Blue concentrating its management resources on finding ways to increase the airline's market share with domestic business and government fliers and cope with high fuel prices rather than pursue offshore opportunities.

Virgin Blue is struggling to beat back a challenge posed to its core leisure travel market by Jetstar Airways, the discount carrier launched last year by
dominant Australian player Qantas Airways.

After successfully grabbing a third of Australia's domestic air-travel market, Virgin Blue set up a new arm for flights to New Zealand, Fiji and other Pacific
islands.

It also entered into talks last year with Hong Kong-listed Shun Tak Holdings and Air Macau on setting up a joint venture discount airline in Macau that
would operate under Air Macau's 25-year monopoly concession on local commercial flights.

Those talks do not seem to have gone that far, said Peter Harbison, managing director of the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation consultancy in Sydney. But
Harbison believes Virgin Blue will continue to push for a deal.

"Macau is very much high on the agenda,'' he said, adding the opportunity for profits from flight rights unused by Air Macau is too strong for Virgin Blue to
ignore.

Harbison sees Virgin Blue moving into Macau with at least four jets but perhaps not the Virgin name as Singapore Airlines has a veto over the use of the Virgin name on new international airline ventures.
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Old April 29th, 2005, 02:05 PM   #172
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Emirates goads Qantas to step outside and fight
Steve Creedy
29 April 2005
The Australian

Open skies will benefit all, Flanagan tells Steve Creedy

EMIRATES vice-chairman and group president Maurice Flanagan has challenged Qantas boss Geoff Dixon to "come out from behind the barricades" and take on the Dubai-based carrier in an open market.

While he says he can understand the Australian carrier's desire to protect its dominance on the Pacific market, Mr Flanagan believes Qantas is overstating the negative effect of further liberalising Australia's skies and even argues it may benefit from the move.

"It's time they stopped claiming to be a street fighter," Flanagan told The Australian this week.

"Street fighters don't hide behind the barricades, behind the Government, they come out into the street and fight."

The Emirates executive's jab at the flying kangaroo comes as a high-level delegation heads to Canberra in mid-June to put Dubai's case for increased access to the Australian market and to raise the longer-term prospect of flying across the Pacific.

Australia has proven a good market for Emirates and the airline will argue its presence has opened up trade with the Middle East as well as access to a wide range of destinations beyond Dubai.

Leisure traffic to and from Australia has also grown strongly enough to prompt the airline to establish its hotel on the eastern seaboard.

Emirates is also moving to set up a global network and it sees the trans-Pacific route as a logical expansion of its services to Australia and New Zealand.

The approach is part of a breathtaking growth strategy by the emirate of Dubai and its airline that has seen billions of dollars being poured into new planes and airline infrastructure as Dubai establishes itself as a major global air transport nexus.

Just two decades old, Emirates has already established itself as one of the world's five most profitable carriers and is ranked 15th in terms of revenue
passenger kilometres.

Officials remain confident they can grow the airline into a major global player that will eclipse many of the existing aviation heavyweights.

So far it seems to be succeeding: Emirates grew its capacity in the financial year ending March 31 by 30 per cent and now has a fleet of 76 aircraft, including six freighters.

Surprisingly, it grew while boosting its load factor -- the percentage of seats filled on its aircraft by paying passengers -- by more than one point to 74.6
per cent.

Emirates has the advantage of a young fleet with a mix of Airbus A320-200s, A340-300s and A340-500s, as well as Boeing 777-300s, 777-300ERs and 777-200s recording an average age of 55 months.

A $US19 billion ($24 billion) aircraft order will see its fleet top 150 aircraft -- including 45 of the new A380s, which will make it the world's biggest operator
of the super jumbo -- as new deliveries arrive at the rate of one a month for the next eight years.

Emirates this week also announced its 17th consecutive profit with a new record for the group of $US708 million for the year ending March 31, and revealed it had $US2.2 billion in cash.

That was a 49 per cent increase on the previous year and headlined a slew of double-digit increases ranging from a 36 per cent rise in group revenue to a 27 per cent increase in freight tonnage.

The airline received 240,000 job applications last financial year as it boosted staff levels from 22,500 to 25,000.

Its employees come from 124 counties with more than 100 nationalities represented among 56,000 cabin crew and 60 among its 1135 flight crew.

It is spending $US353 million to build the world's biggest A380 maintenance facility and one of the biggest aviation maintenance facilities in the world.

The new centre will include seven fully airconditioned hangars and a paint shop, each more than twice the size of a soccer field and capable of accommodating the A380's 80m wingspan and giant vertical stabiliser.

All this is backed by a dramatic multi-billion-dollar airport expansion plan and an even more grandiose long-term design to build a six-runway "airport city"
at Jebel Ali, 40km from the existing airport, with a capacity for more than 100 million passengers.

Dubai International Airport recorded 21.7 million passengers in 2004, making it the 12th busiest in the world and left it struggling to keep pace with growth
for the year of more than 20 per cent.

It is now home to 107 airlines connecting to 260 destinations.

With government projections predicting 60 million passengers by 2010, the expansion will more than triple capacity to 70 million passengers and includes
23 gates for A380s.

Flanagan does not believe the projections are over-optimistic.

"It's linked to the sort of place Dubai is," he says.

Passenger traffic is growing at 17 per cent a year because of Dubai's ability to attract business and tourism traffic. "We don't see that changing."

The massive investment flowing from Dubai's determination to establish itself as a major aircraft hub and the fact that Emirates chairman Sheik Ahmed
bin Saeed Al-Maktoum also runs the Civil Aviation Department help fuel the claims by competitors such as Qantas that the airline is reaping the benefits of unfair government support.

The Dubai carrier vehemently denies this, with the officials pointing out that its accounts are independently audited according to international practices.

Flanagan says Sheik Ahmed has already warned the carrier that it would pay for the new work being done at the airport.

Emirates gets no break on handling fees or other airport costs, he says. "There's no subsidy of any sort. Since the airline started, the owner, the
Government, has put in over the 20 years somewhere about $US80 million. We've paid back just about $US300 million in dividends.

"How much has been put into Qantas over the past 20 years by the Government?"

The veteran airline executive says complaints by competitors are a sour grapes story.

"We're just quite smart at running an airline and we don't do it the way anybody else does," he says. "And maybe they should, instead of saying what advantage we have, look at the way they do business and see why they're screwing it up and we're not."

Flanagan does concede one advantage that flows from Emirates's ownership structure. It has, he says, the chemistry of a family business which allows decisions to me made quickly.

But he says it also comes down to keeping things simple and only flying routes which make money.

"We don't employ anybody we don't absolutely need to and we keep looking at management structure all the time -- the way it works, looking for overlaps between jobs, all the boring stuff that you have to do if you want to have a business model that's simple and efficient."

Like all airlines, Emirates is watching fuel prices closely and Sheik Ahmed warned in his annual results presentation that the airline's 2005-06 outlook was clouded by the risk of sustained high fuel prices. However, neither he nor Flanagan believes it will stop the prodigious growth.

Emirates says its fuel is not subsidised, and it has joined other carriers in imposing fuel charges. Flanagan says a fuel management strategy that saved it $US170 million failed to stop fuel costs jumping from about 14 per cent of the total to about 29 per cent now. But he says the effect on traffic of the fuel surcharge is minimal, and takes solace in the reaction to the oil price spikes of the 198Os: "It went up to $US50 a barrel in 1980 prices, that was way above in real terms what fuel is costing now."

Steve Creedy travelled to Dubai courtesy of Emirates.
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Old April 30th, 2005, 02:45 AM   #173
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Runway robberty - How Sydney airport makes a huge profit from passengers
BEN SHARKEY, MATT SUN
30 April 2005
Daily Telegraph

WHETHER you're parking the car for more than two minutes, buying food while waiting for a flight or catching a taxi, Sydney Airport Corporation has its hand in your pocket.

Every aspect of the airport, from car parking, the choice of food shops, retailers and transport, has been deliberately placed to return maximum profit to the owners.

And while customers might feel like a million dollars when they get on the plane and a million less when they get off it, Sydney airport regards every passenger inside a terminal to be worth something: $18.01 to be exact.

However, Julie Maloney, 50, from Campbelltown, felt pretty special at the airport yesterday when she realised the group comprising her daughter Belinda Maloney, 27, and friends Andrea Summerell, 30, and Nicola Winfield, 27, were worth more than average.

They each spent an average of $31.60 at the airport, not including taxi fares to the airport and their plane tickets.

"It is always expensive coming to the airport when you consider the cost of parking, and then all the food and drinks are not cheap either," Mrs Maloney said.

Financial reports released earlier this month by Macquarie Airports -- which holds a 55.5 per cent interest in Sydney airport -- reveal solid revenue increases spearheaded by the introduction of Krispy Kreme and Oporto.

Earlier this month, Sydney airport announced a 15.2 per cent increase in earnings in the nine months to March 31, 2005 to a total of $357.3 million.

Retail revenue rose from $34.5 million in the corresponding period in 2004 to $39.2 million this year with 27.5 million passengers passing through Sydney airport, an annual increase of 11 per cent, in 2004.

On the other side of the ledger, the airport saved on labour costs by reducing expenditure from $8.6 million to just over $8 million.

The fact that Sydney Airport Corporation was doing rather well on the balance sheet came as no surprise to Mrs Maloney, who was at Sydney airport yesterday to see off her daughter and her friends, who were bound for Thailand.

"It's is a nice airport. A tad expensive but it is nice," she said.

The group was able to avoid the $2 "ground access fee" for taxis taking passengers away from the airport and the $2 trolley hire fee because the girls have strong backs. However Mrs Maloney, who ended up paying $22 for parking, will not be so lucky on the return journey.

"Well I know people who wait in side streets and then drive up the second the person they are waiting for arrives but I like to have a coffee and enjoy the experience so I'll pay for the parking again," she said.

Sydney Airport Corporation corporate affairs manager Rod Gilmore said the perception that the airport had undergone price hikes since it was privatised was incorrect.

"The most significant increase in charges occurred before privatisation. This aeronautical charge increase was in the order of 97 per cent," he said.

"The ACCC in its recent price monitoring report makes it quite clear that the increase in total revenue per passenger [which is effectively the average charge] was less than 1.0 per cent for Sydney airport in the last financial year." Sydney airport also gets its cut from patrons who decide not to drive and catch a taxi after introducing a $2 "ground access fee" in November of last year.

The 2004 airport annual report claims the fee was necessary "to compensate for the airport's substantial infrastructure development and improved facilities".

But last year The Daily Telegraph revealed all the taxi drivers' toilet block really needed was a few coats of paint and some tile grout.

Since then the only increases in aeronautical charges have related to new infrastructure and security, the cost of which is passed on to airlines.

Do you think Sydney airport charges are excessive? dailytelegraph.com.au

Julie Maloney, Belinda Maloney, Andrea Summerell, and Nicola Winfield arrive at airport. Andrea and Nicola caught a taxi from Randwick at the cost of $30 while Julie and Belinda drove from Campbelltown

After checking in, the girls head to WH Smith to pick up some reading material and purchase Instyle Magazine, $7.50, New Woman $6.50, and Madison $7.50

Determined not to go without her mobile phone Belinda looks for an electrical adaptor but is turned off by the $11.50 price tag

Andrea and Nicola both enjoy a meal from Oporto paying $5.98 each for a small Bondi meal, three cents more than usual. Belinda Maloney instead opts for the $3.95 McDonalds Happy Burger (with cheese) Meal

The girls ogle the Duty Free counter but decide to wait until once inside the departure gates to try and find a cheap power converter and film

On the way to the departure gates the girls momentarily wish they had opted for the healthy sushi lunch alternative but baulk at the $9.50 price tag. They buy three rolls of film ($60) and a $3.50 bottle of water plus $3.30 worth of lollies

After seeing the girls off Julie Maloney hands over the $22 parking fee and heads back to Campbelltown
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 03:28 PM   #174
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Qantas crew in fear over hotel change
Steve Creedy, Aviation writer
02 May 2005
The Australian

QANTAS cabin crew staying in Los Angeles say they fear for their safety after the airline moved them to a hotel in the city's crime-prone downtown area.

Angry flight attendants have told their union they feel trapped in the giant Bonaventure Hotel because they are too afraid to venture out after dark on deserted downtown Los Angeles streets. The Flight Attendants Association of Australia said it had been flooded with cabin crew warnings that the area was unsafe. It accused the airline of putting staff in jeopardy to cut costs.

"What we're hearing is that there are so many vagrants and homeless that people are being accosted all the time and asked for money," said FAAA international division secretary Michael Mijatov. "And particularly with women -- half of our flight attendants are women -- they're feeling totally unsafe."

The worst problems so far appear to be cases of aggressive vagrants snatching food or drinks from the trays of Qantas staff visiting a fast-food outlet, but union officials fear a more serious incident.

Crew are also upset the hotel is in a business district that effectively closes down after dark. Qantas previously accommodated crew in three hotels in Pasadena, near Los Angeles, but wanted to consolidate staff in one location.

Qantas executive general manager John Borghetti said the hotel met the airline's stringent security requirements.

"There is no issue with the accommodation as far as comfort is concerned or as far as security is concerned," he said. "Our security people are pretty cautious types of people and they've cleared the hotel and the location."

However, the FAAA said Qantas was believed to be saving about $US20 ($26) per room per night by moving hotels and that it usually booked about 2700 room nights a month.

"It's a lot of money, but if anything happens to someone it will cost them more than that," said FAAA international division assistant secretary Andrew Smedley.

Mr Smedley said the issue was not with the new hotel itself but its location.

He said the FAAA had written to Qantas twice about the Bonaventure change but had been unable to officially review the hotel after the company changed agreed inspection procedures.

The union intended to take the hotel inspections issue to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.
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Old May 2nd, 2005, 03:29 PM   #175
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Airlines told to advertise full fares
Steve Creedy, Aviation writer
02 May 2005
The Australian

EXPECT the cheapest advertised airfares to triple in price next week as proposed government legislation prompts airlines to ditch the dreaded asterisk and fold taxes and charges back into headline prices.

The move means a Jetstar one-way special between Adelaide and Hobart, now advertised as a $19 fare with an asterisk pointing to taxes and charges of $46, would be advertised at its full cost of $65.

And the headline price of international airfares will rise $200-$300 to more accurately reflect their drain on travellers' pockets.

The push to axe the asterisk comes after the federal Government accepted arguments by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and consumer groups that relegating taxes and charges to the fine print made it harder to compare prices.

Treasurer Peter Costello announced the Government would amend the Trade Practices Act in what he described as an "an excellent outcome for consumers".

The amendment will also apply to other industries that use component pricing, such as car and computer manufacturers, requiring them to prominently display a single-price figure that includes all costs to the consumer.

The proposed legislation prompted Qantas to announce on Friday that it would change its airfare and package holiday advertisements from May 11.

Virgin Blue, which campaigned strongly against "confusing and misleading" component pricing, said it would make the change from May 10.

Virgin chief executive Brett Godfrey said the move back to all-inclusive pricing was a victory for common sense and fairness.

"People want to know that the advertised amount is what they are going to pay and not get any nasty surprises when they get to the end," Mr Godfrey said.

"Travellers shouldn't have to get out their binoculars to read the fine print and calculators to work out the total price of their flight."

Qantas spearheaded the widespread return to airline component pricing late last year after two court cases threw into doubt an ACCC ruling on the issue.

Virgin labelled the Qantas move as lamentable but said it was forced to follow suit so its advertising was not at a competitive disadvantage.

The decision made airfares seem cheaper but meant advertised base fares could understate the actual cost of a flight by as much as $350.

Qantas executive general manager John Borghetti said yesterday his airline led the first move towards all-inclusive pricing, but abandoned the practice after other international carriers and some travel agents failed to adopt it.

"Having heard what the Treasurer said during the week, we agree with him and we want to be the first to move again," Mr Borghetti said.

"This is not just an issue for the airline industry but also industry in general."

Mr Borghetti said he was hopeful the legislation would mean all players in the travel industry would adopt all-inclusive pricing.

AXING THE ASTERISK

* Qantas return from Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane to Los Angeles advertised at $1618 plus $280 taxes and charges becomes $1898 from May 11.

* Jetstar one-way special between Adelaide and Hobart advertised at $19 plus $46 becomes $65.

* Other industries using component pricing, such as car and computer manufacturers, will also have to display a single-price figure that includes all costs.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 05:17 AM   #176
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QANTAS Sees Higher Passenger Numbers in March

SYDNEY, May 2 Asia Pulse - Qantas Airways Ltd (ASX:QAN) today said total passenger numbers rose 12.6 per cent in March, compared to the same month last year.

More than 2.88 million people travelled with the airline, with the majority or 2.08 million taking domestic routes.

The number of domestic passengers flying on Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar rose 15.7 per cent, while capacity grew by 14 per cent.

Jetstar, which started in May last year and competes against Virgin Blue in the low cost market, carried 403,000 passengers.

That was an improvement from February when it carried 363,000 travellers.

Qantas' international passenger number grew 9.1 per cent to 803,000 as capacity expanded by seven per cent.

Total revenue per passenger was up by 11.2 per cent, while capacity rose 9.2 per cent, resulting in a revenue seat factor of 77.9 per cent.
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Old May 4th, 2005, 04:06 AM   #177
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Australia's Qantas says jobs could move offshore as fuel prices rise: report

SYDNEY, May 3 (AFP) - The head of Australian flag carrier Qantas warned jobs could be shifted offshore as the airline moves to reinvent itself in the face of increasing fuel proces, it was reported Tuesday.

Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon told the Australian newspaper that the airline was looking at changes similar to those that followed its privatisation in the mid-1990s and the challenges of the past five years such as the terrorism threat and SARS.

Dixon said Qantas could not guarantee jobs would not go offshore.

"Obviously with oil prices as they are, we're like every other airline, we've got to re-invent ourselves again," Dixon was quoted as saying.

"I can't guarantee there won't be jobs (going) offshore but I will say the overriding determination of the management of Qantas is to keep as many jobs as possible onshore."

Last year, Qantas unveiled plans to establish a new base in London for 400 of its international flight attendants in a move to save the airline around 18 million dollars (12.9 million US) a year.

The airline employs about 30,000 people, mainly in Australia, and Dixon has previously said it would be "silly" not to look at moving some jobs offshore.

It more than doubled a fuel surcharge on international flights to 60 dollars (46.5 US) last month in response to rising oil prices and also introduced hefty hikes to its domestic fuel surcharge.

In February Qantas reported a record interim profit of 458.4 million dollars (357.6 million US).

Qantas shares were down seven cents or 2.2 percent at 3.16 dollars in mid-afternoon trading in a flat overall market.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 01:40 AM   #178
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Runway perimeter at Sydney airport needs major reconstruction

SYDNEY, May 4 (AFP) - The perimeter of Sydney airport's third runway is collapsing and will need major engineering work, Australian media reported Wednesday.

After only 10 years in operation the runway's sand base is seeping through the retaining sea wall into Botany Bay, the Daily Telegraph said.

The paper said potholes and cracks on the roadway near the edge of the runway have been detected but were not posing any safety problems.

In addition, workers have unearthed a previously unknown reef system at the end of the runway.

The paper said fisheries officials suspect the system may house endangered species of sea horses and fish, meaning that repair work may have to take the protection of the reef into account.

Subsidence problems were identified in 2001 and the company which built the 200-million-dollar (154 million US) runway is planning major engineering work.

Sydney Airport Corporation confirmed a project was planned to repair the sea wall.

"Field trials are being carried out to prepare the final stages of design for a repair program to the sea wall that runs along the third runway," a spokesman said.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority said the problem posed no problems for aircraft, with the runway itself and the taxiway unaffected.

Meanwhile, the airport in Australia's second city Melbourne reopened its main runway Wednesday after a 50-million-dollar upgrade to prepare for flights by the Airbus A380.

The runway was widened by 15 meters (50 feet) to accommodate the plane, which will be the world's largest airliner when it goes into service.

Melbourne Airport is the first in Australia able to accommodate the A380.

Its chief executive Chris Barlow said this phase of an overall 220-million-dollar expansion was completed ahead of schedule and in time for the Commonwealth Games in the city next year.

National carrier Qantas will receive 12 A380s over a two-year period from October next year. The plane can carry 550 passengers on two decks, 100 more than the largest 747.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 09:14 PM   #179
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Ansett name to fly again in North Queensland
5 May 2005
The Cairns Post

THE Ansett name is set to fly again - as a regional carrier in North Queensland.

A Townsville businessman has registered the name and hopes to launch passenger and freight services by August.

Terry Byrt has even adapted the old Ansett logo and red, black and white colours used by the airline in the late 1960s.

The new carrier will be formed by merging existing small carriers and the purchase of five 50-seat Fokker Friendships.

Mr Byrt said he was using the Ansett name "because everyone knows what it is".

Mr Byrt, who has a background in mining and fishing industries, has formed a private consortium, backed by $20 million funding.

"It's no joke and we haven't treated it like that," he said.

The names Ansett Airways, Ansett Air Freight and Ansett Airways Holdings were registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission five weeks ago.

"We've purchased five existing airlines in charter and RPT (regular public transport) operations. Just small ones."

One of the airlines already holds a flying licence for high-density flights, he said. The contracts would be settled after regulatory approval, he said.

Former Ansett staff had already contacted him with their opinions about the proposal, he said.

"A lot of them are saying congratulations, it'll be great to see the Ansett name back in the air.

"Others are a bit more sceptical. We don't propose to be anywhere near the size of Ansett."

Mr Byrt said he hoped the carrier would fly routes to Gladstone, Mackay, Hamilton Island, Townsville, Mt Isa, Cairns, Brisbane and Horn Island in the Torres Strait.

Ansett, founded by Sir Reginald Ansett in 1936, collapsed in September 2001 with massive debts.
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Old May 7th, 2005, 03:54 AM   #180
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Angry agents divert clients around Qantas
Jamie Freed
7 May 2005
The Sydney Morning Herald

Qantas's cut in base commission fees paid to travel agents on the trans-Tasman route had resulted in agencies directing bookings to rivals such as Emirates and Air New Zealand, Flight Centre managing director Graham Turner said on Friday.

Qantas dropped its base commission rate on trans-Tasman flights to 1 per cent in January from 5 per cent, and will lower its domestic payouts by the same amount from July 1.

"Obviously we are booking elsewhere," Mr Turner said. "I think every travel agent would be."

Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics statistics showed Qantas's market share and the number of passengers carried on the trans-Tasman route declined in January compared with the previous year. Air NZ overtook Qantas as the number one passenger carrier on the route.

But on July 1, Air NZ will follow Qantas and reduce its base commission to 1 per cent. In contrast, Emirates pays a 9 per cent base commission to travel agents.

In a research note, Credit Suisse First Boston analysts said the cuts would transfer a key distribution channel to carriers such as Emirates if the trend continued.

"While we expect this will initially be focused on leisure traffic, this could be seen as an initial move by Emirates to increasingly compete with Qantas internationally, prior to the delivery of its 43 A380 aircraft and a more general attack on the business market," the analysts said.

Qantas and Air NZ maintain a key advantage over Emirates: frequency. And while the base commission rate has been cut - hurting smaller agents with little negotiating power - the larger agencies have individual contracts with airlines that include incentives and other forms of payment.

"We're very comfortable with our contractual arrangement with Qantas," Corporate Travel Management managing director Jamie Pherous said.

Jetstar offered no commissions and Virgin Blue and Pacific Blue had moved to an all-incentive model, so Qantas's domestic cuts should have little effect when they are introduced on July 1, analysts said.

"There's always been a love-hate relationship between agents and airlines," Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation managing director Peter Harbison said.

"Airlines had to toe the line in the past because agents sold the tickets. But because of online buying, the reliance on agents has become smaller."
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