Australian and New Zealand governments announced (14-Aug-09) they have agreed to the establishment of a ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area, to become effective 01-Jan-2010. The two governments also plan to announce new measures to simplify travel between Australia and New Zealand on 20-Aug-09, reportedly to potentially include the removal of departure taxes and the duplication of customs, quarantine and security checks, and allowing aircraft to utilise domestic terminals (Sydney Morning Herald, 16-Aug-09). Jetstar stated the move could reduce trans-Tasman fares by up to 30%. [more]
ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area announced
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Having built a regional Asian network anchored around mainland China as a source market, HNA Group's Hong Kong Airlines is leveraging its hub capability from short/medium haul connections to long haul transfers, which also reduce CASK. Hong Kong Airlines resumed long haul flying in early 2016 with a service to Cairns and the Gold Coast. Auckland will be added from Nov-2016 and Hong Kong Airlines should be able to break up the Air New Zealand-Cathay Pacific joint venture on the route.
Hong Kong Airlines is restricted from serving major Australian cities due to bilateral limits (Australia and Hong Kong have not been able to agree on increased capacity levels). Hong Kong Airlines' owner HNA has bought into Virgin Australia, which plans to serve the key HNA hubs of Beijing and Hong Kong in 2017, providing access from major Australian cities. Virgin could also help Hong Kong Airlines make viable service to smaller Australian cities.
Hong Kong Airlines is receiving a lift in Australia and New Zealand bookings, attributed to Asian consumers shifting away from travel in Europe, which has repeatedly been impacted by terrorist acts. Hong Kong Airlines believes that passengers are "viewing Australia and New Zealand together as more of a safe-haven status destination".
More rational capacity management has continued after several years of imbalance
In Australia, more rational capacity management has continued after several years of imbalance – at the start of 2016 total year on year capacity growth sat below 2% while market share changes between Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin and Tigerair did not move by more than +/- 1%.