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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Hong Kong Airlines to grow in Australia via Virgin Australia partnership. Auckland launches Nov-2016
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".
Cebu Pacific Air reconsiders Melbourne under Tigerair Australia partnership as Sydney route improves
Cebu Pacific Air is again looking at expanding in the Australia market by launching flights to Melbourne. Efforts in recent months to improve Cebu Pacific’s performance in Sydney, which was launched in 2014, are bearing fruit and the airline is confident with Melbourne it can stimulate further demand in the Philippines-Australia market.
The LCC initially added Melbourne to its network plan in 2015 after the Philippines and Australia forged an extended air services agreement. But Cebu Pacific subsequently decided to shelve plans to launch Melbourne, and has instead been using additional A330 capacity to expand in its domestic and regional international market.
Melbourne is now back on the agenda and is the next priority – leapfrogging Honolulu – for Cebu Pacific’s long haul operation. A new partnership with Melbourne-based Tigerair Australia is a key driver in making Manila-Melbourne a viable route, along with the anticipated rapid growth in Australian visitor numbers to the Philippines.