As Australian domestic airlines wait to see whether lengthy passenger waits caused by enhanced airport security screening will affect business, a major union has warned that high staff turnover at airports is creating an additional security risk.
A nationwide air travel security alert began at the weekend after counter-terrorism squads launched armed raids on four Sydney properties over an alleged “Islamic-inspired” plot to bring down an aircraft – reportedly by using poison gas.
As a result, passengers now need to arrive at Australian airports two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights to allow ample time for screening.
This means that a traveller making a short day-trip for a business meeting – Melbourne to Canberra or Sydney to Brisbane, say – faces spending at least four hours at domestic airports, when their flight may last under 90 minutes or even less than an hour.
There can be no compromise on safety, but some travellers may decide to defer their meetings, use phone links instead – or even drive or use surface transport. Time will tell.
Meanwhile, the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) has cautioned that the high turnover rate of staff at airports, linked to low pay and poor working conditions, is in itself creating a major security risk.
The turnover problem means large numbers of staff do not have full security clearance to operate at airports and do not have the experience or training to spot potential terror threats, the TWU warns.
“On any given day there are many hundreds of people working at our airports with no ASIO or Federal Police security checks,” TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon said.
Airport sleeping quarters for staff. Photo obtained by ABC earlier this year
“ This includes people doing regular work airside from maintenance to ground crew and, most concerning, security personnel. These staff are often on below-award rates, split shifts, forced part-time and are subject to horrific workplace injuries.
“Because of the appalling conditions many airport employees do not stay in jobs long and this high turnover rate is creating a security risk that our Federal Government and airport owners are wilfully turning a blind eye to.”
The TWU says low pay and forced part-time hours are a common feature of the aviation industry.
Media investigations earlier this year exposed instances of staff forced to sleep at Sydney Airport because they couldn’t afford to go home between shifts. See: Staff sleeping in swags by Aussie airport carousels
The TWU said airports and airlines are refusing to take responsibility for the conditions of Aerocare staff who work in their supply chains.
The TWU has also sounded the alarm over what it says is a complete lack of security screening at most regional airports served by QantasLink.
“Screening does not exist at airports at Armidale, Lord Howe Island and Moree in New South Wales, Port Lincoln and Whyalla in South Australia and Charleville, Blackall, Miles and Longreach in Queensland.
“Airport workers and our cabin crew are contacting us because they are concerned about their own safety and the safety of the travelling public given no checks are being done at these airports. Again while the Federal Government and airport owners like to appear to be concerned about security in reality there are gaping holes in operation,” Sheldon said.
The aviation industry is highly profitable. The TWU notes that profits at the four main airports in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane increased to AUD 1.8 billion last year and Qantas is now highly profitable.
“Our airports are clearly making billions of dollars in profit but are not putting funding into security,” Sheldon said.
| An eGlobalTRavelmedia release written by Peter Needham || August 2, 2017 |||
The Connecticut-headquartered engine and aerospace leader will pay compensation to Indian airline IndiGo after not being able to supply enough spare engines that power Airbus A320neo jets.
Pratt & Whitney is paying compensation to Indian airline IndiGo as the manufacturer struggles to fix glitches in engines that power Airbus SE’s new A320neo jets.
“We continue to have a higher number of engine removals, and sufficient spare engines have not been available,” IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh said on a conference call Monday. “The operational disruptions are quite challenging, and we are not happy with that situation.”
The airline, operated by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., was forced to ground as many nine new A320neo jets on some days, Ghosh said. It may be a year or so before Pratt & Whitney implements design changes to the geared turbofan, he said, declining to comment on the amount, mode or the timing of the compensation.
The groundings, which emerged in recent months, are holding back IndiGo’s push to add capacity to maintain its domestic market share of more than 40% amid a travel boom triggered by an emerging middle-class flying for the first time. The airline, India’s biggest and the world’s top customer for the A320neo, has said in the past it will consider a rival engine manufactured by CFM International, an alliance of General Electric Co. and Safran SA, if glitches persist with the Pratt engines. Pratt Confidence
Pratt, a unit of United Technologies Corp., is confident it’s getting a handle on the problems, saying last week that it still expects to hit a 2017 delivery target of 350 to 400 engines. The company is incorporating revised carbon seals to address a durability issue and should have a fix by October for a separate glitch with the combustor liner, United Technologies Chief Financial Officer Akhil Johri said in a recent interview.
While he acknowledged the issues are affecting customers, Johri said last week that “we feel GTF problems are understood and behind us to a large extent, from a production point of view.”
India has the largest fleet of A320neos and the country’s aviation regulator earlier this year ordered two airline operators to inspect powerplants with more than 1,000 hours of service. Pratt has been working to fix durability issues and production snags that have hampered the debut of the engine, which was selected to power new jets from Airbus, Bombardier Inc. and Embraer SA.
“A320neos have not been delivered as per the plan with Airbus,” Interglobe Aviation Chief Financial Officer Rohit Philip said, adding it is hurting the company’s profitability. “To make up for the shortfall, we had to go to the aircraft-leasing market, and had to enter into short-term leases for used A320s.” A Crucial Market for Pratt
India is a crucial market for both Airbus and Pratt, with IndiGo having ordered 430 of the A320neo jets, of which 22 have been delivered. Go Airlines India Ltd. has five in operation and was awaiting deliveries of 139 more. State-run Air India Ltd. and Vistara, the local affiliate of Singapore Airlines Ltd., also fly A320neos, but they are powered by CFM engines.
IndiGo, controlled by billionaire founders Rahul Bhatia and Rakesh Gangwal, will begin owning aircraft, purchasing them using cash in hand, in a move away from a sale-and-leaseback model it has followed so far, Philip said. New aircraft will be in service for more than the typical six years that the carrier now sees and will enable the airline to cut down on leased planes, the company said.
“We are shifting our fleet acquisition policy to allow us to reduce our operating costs, which will result in higher profitability in the longer term,” Philip said.
IndiGo said it had total cash of 101.8 billion rupees ($1.59 billion) as of June.
Profit for the quarter ended June 30 rose 37% to 8.1 billion rupees ($122.22 million), the company said Monday. IndiGo has made money every year since at least the period starting April 2009, even as the Indian airline industry lost a combined $10 billion over a similar period.
IndiGo shares rose 0.4% to close at 1,290 rupees ($20.10) in Mumbai. They have risen 57% this year, compared with a 22% advance in the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex index.
In a recent white paper, SITAONAIR proposed what will be the second in-flight revolution: the adoption of open architecture and common service provision. This will allow airlines to make passenger connectivity part of the airline brand rather than a lock-in to a supplier’s refresh cycle.
Thought leadership article, authored by SITA.
With airlines embracing connected aircraft, the first in-flight connectivity revolution is clearly in full swing. But we’re now poised for in-flight revolution no.2: open platforms and common standards that will unlock new opportunities for digital service innovation.
By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s airline fleet will be connected – enabling passengers to transfer their entire digital lives seamlessly from ground to air.
At the same time this is bringing significant operational opportunities and benefits for everyone involved in the value chain – from airlines and airports to airframe and engine manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and service suppliers.
The drivers for upgrading to a connected aircraft are fourfold, according to SITA’s 2016 Airline IT Trends Survey: improvements to the passenger experience (46%), maintenance and aircraft health monitoring (15%), benefits for pilots (12%) and improvements for cabin crew activities, such as tablet apps and credit card payments (7%).
This first stage revolution is accelerating in pace. By 2019, two-thirds of the world’s airlines expect to operate fully connected aircraft, up from 37% in 2016.
By the same date, 74% of airlines plan to provide in-flight internet services (33% today), 60% plan to offer mobile phone services in-flight (21% today) and 92% of airlines are focusing on smartphone applications to interact with passengers.
Alongside these changes, the habits of passengers are transforming as they are themselves increasingly connected on the ground – and prepared to use their own devices. That offers the potential not only to deliver better in-flight connectivity and a more tailored passenger experience, but also to consider removing seat-back screens altogether – saving weight and fuel cost.
However, the path to realising these opportunities is full of potential obstacles and constraints. There are operational limitations and incompatibilities across platforms, technologies, fleets and service providers’ own proprietary systems.
In part that’s because technology cycles for aircraft, satellite hardware and infrastructure, onboard communication equipment and mobile devices all evolve at different speeds. As a result, integration, innovation and the unification of the passenger portfolio and passenger experience is complex, time consuming and expensive.
“A lack of interoperability is one of the inhibitors in the growth of in-flight connectivity services across the world’s airline fleets,” says Craig Foster, Senior Consultant at Valour Consultancy.
“Many airlines weren’t even aware this was the case when they made a connectivity investment decision and I expect this will be a topic that grows in awareness and understanding soon.”
In a recent white paper, SITAONAIR proposed what will be the second in-flight revolution: the adoption of open architecture and common service provision. This will allow airlines to make passenger connectivity part of the airline brand rather than a lock-in to a supplier’s refresh cycle.
Fully open-system architecture, the paper suggests, is the only way that airlines can become fully empowered to have choice and flexibility in their in-flight services and optimise the business benefits of high-speed connectivity. Not least it offers the opportunity to separate key duties, so that the same provider is not responsible for both providing the system and performance monitoring.
According to Singapore Airlines’ Vice President of Product Innovation, Yung Han Ng: “Open system developments facilitate the creation of new and innovative ideas, and enable us to develop products/solutions that are platform and device agnostic, and with a shorter time to launch. If suppliers were to adopt open platform solutions in the future, it would be ideal.”
The speed and scale of airline ambitions suggests that an open and common approach is the way forward and in the best interests of the industry as a whole. “The development of software platforms/middleware is obviously important,” comments David Lavorel, SITAONAIR CEO.
“In the broader Internet of Things space, a number of companies have developed connected device platforms and application-enablement platforms that have spurred growth. The airline space should not be any different.”
As passenger connectivity becomes more ubiquitous, providing solutions and systems on an open basis means that consistent passenger experience can be achieved regardless of the technology choices airlines may make or have already made.
Critically, this will promote innovation for airlines and passengers, and bring simplicity at application and user level.
“As OEMs open up their technology platforms,” concludes David Lavorel, “we are ready to work with airlines to maximise the resulting opportunities. We believe this is what airlines want.”
Air New Zealand is gearing up for a bumper summer, adding more flights to its domestic schedule to deliver 180,000 extra seats between November 2017 and March 2018, compared with the same period last year.
The extra flights will use the airline’s existing domestic fleet to meet traveller demand over the summer. Air New Zealand expects to sell up to a million seats for less than $100 over the same period.
Key destinations to receive a boost include the busy Auckland and Queenstown route where there’ll be nearly 60,000 extra seats. The airline is planning to add an average of eight additional return services a week to and from the resort town.
An average of six additional return Auckland-Christchurch services per week will deliver more than 40,000 extra seats on the route.
Moving from two to three daily A320 jet services on the airline’s Auckland-Dunedin route on Tuesday and Thursday will see three jet services operate six days a week resulting in capacity on the route growing by 10% or 12,000 seats, and Auckland-Wellington will gain an extra 10,000 seats.
There will also be significant seat capacity increases across Air New Zealand’s regional network as follows:
Auckland-Nelson 16,500 extra seats
Auckland-Tauranga 13,800 extra seats
Auckland-Napier 12,800 extra seats
Auckland-Palmerston North 7,300 extra seats
Auckland-Kerikeri 4,900 extra seats
Auckland-New Plymouth 2,800 extra seats
Auckland-Taupo 2,100 extra seats
Air New Zealand’s Chief Revenue Officer, Cam Wallace, says the additional seat capacity is in response to growing customer demand.
“We’re responding to growing customer demand with 180,000 more seats across our domestic ports this summer. Not only does this create more flight options for our customers, it means more of our lowest fares will be on offer. In fact we expect to sell up to a million seats for less than $100.
“We are committed to operating a comprehensive schedule throughout New Zealand and have invested significantly in delivering a service which will benefit both visitors and locals over the summer months.”
The additional flights are being progressively released for sale.
Passengers travelling out of major Australian airports should plan their airport arrival to be earlier than usual from today, to allow for increased security screening after police and counter-terrorism agencies foiled a plot at the weekend to “bring down” a plane, reportedly an Australian domestic flight.
Qantas now advises arriving at airports two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights.
Counter-terrorism squads, which launched armed raids on four Sydney properties on Saturday evening over an alleged “Islamic-inspired” plot to blow up an aircraft, arrested four men. Authorities first learned of the alleged plot on Wednesday and stepped up security at Sydney Airport on Thursday.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters yesterday (Sunday) that security-screening measures had been beefed up at all Australian airports – and passengers should arrive early.
“Travellers should arrive at terminals at least two hours before flights to allow ample time for screening.
“They should limit the amount of carry-on and checked baggage, as this will help to ensure that security screening is efficient.”
That’s from the Prime Minister.
Passengers faced significant delays at major airports yesterday and used social media (as above, on Twitter) to let people know that queues were building up at airports around the country.
Qantas placed the following notice on its website yesterday:
Additional security screening at Australian Domestic and International Airports
The Australian Government has introduced additional aviation security measures at international and domestic terminals at Australia’s major airports.
Customers can expect to experience an increased level of security scrutiny at the airport so it may take a little longer than usual to get through the process:
Passengers should arrive at the airport two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights to allow ample time for screening.
Passengers should limit the amount of carry-on and checked baggage they travel with as this will help to ensure security screening is efficient.
There are no changes to what can and cannot be carried on-board the aircraft.
Thank you for your understanding and patience.
Virgin Australia and its budget subsidiary Tigerair Australia advised passengers similarly, adding that customers “should not be concerned about these precautionary measures”.
“As the measures place an additional burden on the screening system, it may take a little longer than usual to get through the process,” Virgin Australia said.
At Adelaide and Sydney airports, some passengers reported delays yesterday of up to 90 minutes before passing through security, with a major police presence at and around the airports.
Turnbull said the plot appeared to have been carefully planned and was probably not the work of a lone wolf but in the category of “quite elaborate conspiracies”.
He said none of the men arrested worked in the airport industry but police believed the plot aimed at the Australian aviation industry at a major airport.
Five properties in Surry Hills, Punchbowl, Wiley Park and Lakemba were raided on Saturday evening. Surry Hills, a diverse and – in parts – very fashionable inner-city suburb, was a surprise. The other suburbs, in south-western Sydney, have significant Muslim populations, giving rise to early suspicions that Saturday’s simultaneous raids were linked to Islamist extremism. This seems to have been confirmed.
“We believe it’s Islamic-inspired terrorism,” Australian federal police commissioner, Andrew Colvin, said. “Exactly what is behind this is something we need to investigate fully.”
ABC News said it had learned that police found materials and items “that could be used to make a homemade bomb” when they raided the house at Surry Hills.
| AneGlobal Media release written by Peter Needham || July 31, 2017 |||
The broadcaster said it understood that authorities believed the group planned to smuggle the device onto a plane and blow it up.
Australia’s national terrorism threat level remains at “probable’, unchanged since 2014.
Air New Zealand has announced it will nearly double capacity on its seasonal Auckland to Denpasar service in 2018 and will also extend the season it flies there by almost two months.
The airline currently operates two services per week from Auckland to Denpasar International Airport between the end of May and mid-October, increasing to three services per week during peak times.
Next year the airline’s Auckland to Bali season will start at the beginning of April with up to five services operating per week using the airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, subject to regulatory approval.
Air New Zealand Chief Revenue Officer Cam Wallace says Bali continues to prove popular with customers.
“The increase in services between Auckland and Bali, as well as the extension to the seasonal service represents year on year growth of more than 90%.”
“Today’s news will give leisure travellers more options when it comes to getting to Bali, with more than 1500 seats available per week each way at peak times.”
The additional capacity for the 2018 Bali season is on sale now.
Air New Zealand’s inaugural service to Haneda Tokyo has departed with the Boeing 787-9 aircraft scheduled to touch down in Tokyo at 11.00pm (local time).
The new Haneda service will depart Auckland on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from July - May, offering customers a second point of entry to the Japanese capital alongside the airline’s daily flights to Narita Tokyo Airport.
Air New Zealand Chief Revenue Officer Cam Wallace says demand for travel between the two countries continues to soar and the new Auckland-Haneda direct route will boost annual capacity to Japan by 15%.
“Located just 20 kilometres from downtown Tokyo, Haneda Airport offers great convenience for Kiwis heading to the central city and for Japanese tourists travelling to New Zealand.
“With the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Summer Olympics ahead, we look forward to building on our existing services and further growing demand for travel at both ends of the route.”
Air New Zealand also operates a seasonal service between Auckland and the Japanese city of Osaka between October and March.
Japan is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing outbound travel markets, with the number of Kiwis travelling to Japan up 25% to the year ending May 2017. Japan is New Zealand’s sixth largest tourism market and the number of Japanese visiting New Zealand also grew over this period by 8.5% to 101,616.
| An Aire New Zealand release || July 21, 2017 |||
In another airline inducement for customers to book directly online, Tigerair Australia has decided to let customers freeze their fares – holding a fare price for 48 hours – for a small fee.
The offer is valid only for customers who book online and applies only to routes nominated by Tigerair.
Some other airlines, notably Air New Zealand, offer similar services, although they charge more it than Tigerair will.
For AUD 3 per person per sector, Tigerair customers can put a freeze on an attractive airfare they are viewing. Tierair says this will give them extra time to confirm their travel plans with family and friends or free up funds without worrying about the price increasing.http://travelindustryexpo.com.au/?utm_source=Global%20Travel%20Media&utm_medium=Banners
Fare Freeze applies only to fares that are available more than 27 days from date of departure and have the ‘Fare Freeze’ symbol displayed at the bottom of the online booking page.
Customers will proceed through the booking process as per usual with a AUD 3 fee due at the end to confirm the fare freeze.
Once the customer is ready to purchase their fare, they must return to the Manage My Booking page within 48 hours to finalise their booking. If the customer chooses not to purchase their held flights within 48 hours, the booking will be automatically cancelled.
Tigerair Australia commercial director Andrew Maister says Fare Freeze provides more value and choice for consumers.
“Like many airlines worldwide, our fares are dynamic, and increase as demand increases, closer to the travel date. That’s why we recommend customers plan ahead and book early to secure the best value deals.
“We recognise there are often a number of factors involved when sitting down to book your next holiday and it’s not always as simple as being able to purchase the first airfare you see. Fare Freeze means you can now put a hold on that great value airfare you’ve just spotted for a period of 48 hours, while you lock in your travel plans with family or friends or juggle your finances without the worry of the price changing.”
The Fare Freeze fee of AUD 3 is non-refundable and not a deposit for the booking. It must be paid for using a valid MasterCard or Visa Credit Card, Mastercard, Visa Debit Card or POLi. Fare Freeze is not available on special sale fares.
| A GlobalTravel Media release || July 19, 2017 |||
Auckland Airport has confirmed that a Mott MacDonald-led consortium will spearhead the design of its new integrated terminal.
The consortium, which also includes Grimshaw, Architectus and Holmes Consulting, has been appointed to concept design a combined domestic and international terminal at the New Zealand gateway.
The project forms part of the airport’s Terminal Development Plan, which aims to provide an expanded single terminal to accommodate further growth in international and domestic air travel.
Auckland Airport has experienced significant growth in passenger numbers over recent years and has committed to building a world-class airport that can serve New Zealand in the years to come.
The scope of the design project covers building works over the next 10 years. This includes the new integrated domestic terminal, a significant expansion of border processing and the integration of extensive new transport and car parking facilities. aucklandweb The concept design of the terminal is expected to be completed in early 2018.
Mott MacDonald will be responsible for the overall airport planning and design leadership, as well as all engineering disciplines, with structural and fire engineering provided in partnership with Holmes Consulting.
Grimshaw and Architectus will act as a single architectural provider to the team.
Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood, says: “The selected consortium’s experience covers over 1000 aviation projects in 120 countries across 260 airports.
"In addition to specialist experience and knowledge, the consortium’s architects have a proven record of successfully bringing local cultural influence into the fabric of their passenger focused design.
"This is a significant factor for us as we build a world class airport with a uniquely New Zealand feel.” image001 copy Ian Guy, Mott MacDonald’s head of aviation for Australia and New Zealand, comments: “This is a tremendously exciting project that will further enhance Auckland Airport's standing as a key hub in the Asia-Pacific region and the gateway to New Zealand.
"To deliver this concept design, we will draw on our experience at other strategically important airports such as London Heathrow, Hong Kong International Airport and Changi Airport in Singapore.
"We have brought together a multitalented consortium that can’t wait to apply its collective creativity to design an airport that New Zealanders will be proud of and visitors will admire.”
This Auckland Airport commission builds on Mott MacDonald’s contribution to major projects in New Zealand over the last five years.
Major schemes the consultancy has worked on include Auckland City Rail Link, the 85 Customs Street mixed-use development and the Rosedale wastewater treatment plant upgrade.
Emirates and flydubai have unveiled an extensive partnership which will see the two Dubai-based airlines join forces to offer customers unmatched travel options.
Both airlines will continue to be managed independently, but will leverage each other’s network to scale up their operations and accelerate growth.
The innovative partnership goes beyond code-sharing and includes integrated network collaboration with coordinated scheduling. The new model will give flydubai customers seamless connectivity to Emirates’ worldwide destinations spanning six continents. For Emirates’ customers, it opens up flydubai’s robust regional network.
The two airlines will also further develop their hub at Dubai International, aligning their systems and operations to ensure a seamless travel experience through the ultra-modern airport; currently the world’s busiest for international passengers.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group and Chairman of flydubai, said: "This is an exciting and significant development for Emirates, flydubai, and Dubai aviation. Both airlines have grown independently and successfully over the years, and this new partnership will unlock the immense value that the complementary models of both companies can bring to consumers, each airline, and to Dubai.”
Emirates, which flies A380s four times daily from New Zealand to Dubai and beyond, today has a wide-body fleet of 259 aircraft, flying to 157 destinations (including 16 cargo-only points). flydubai operates 58 New-Generation Boeing 737 aircraft to 95 destinations. The current combined network comprises 216 unique destination points.
The partnership is working to optimise the networks and schedules of both airlines, to open up new city-pair connections offering consumers greater choice. Additionally, this will help both airlines feed more traffic into each other’s complementary networks. By 2022, the combined network of Emirates and flydubai is expected to reach 240 destinations, served by a combined fleet of 380 aircraft.
The Emirates and flydubai teams are working together on a number of initiatives spanning commercial, network planning, airport operations, customer journey, and frequent flyer programmes alignment.
The partnership will be rolled out over the coming months, with the first enhanced code-sharing arrangements starting in the last quarter of 2017. Further details will be communicated as they become available.
Fully owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), both Emirates and flydubai are operated independently and under separate management teams.
Since launching its operations in 2009, flydubai has:
Created a network of more than 90 destinations in 44 countries.
Opened up 63 new routes that did not previously have direct air links to Dubai or were not served by a UAE national carrier from Dubai.
Operates a single fleet type of 58 Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft and will take delivery of more than 100 aircraft by the end of 2023.
In addition, flydubai’s agility and flexibility as a young airline has enhanced Dubai’s economic development, in line with the Government of Dubai’s vision, by creating trade and tourism flows in previously underserved markets.