Following the New South Wales Government announcement today, Air New Zealand has added quarantine free flights from Auckland – Sydney for Australian citizens or permanent residents. Commencing from 5 November, the airline will start with two flights per week on Fridays and Sundays. From 1 December, this will ramp up to six flights per week to deliver Aussies home just in time for Christmas.
Fully vaccinated passengers are eligible to travel quarantine free and can book now. Customers will need to meet the entry requirements set by the Australian Federal and State governments. The New South Wales Government is yet to provide the airline with the number of spaces available to unvaccinated passengers. If customers are unvaccinated and wish to travel, they will need to register their interest with the airline’s customer care team.
Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty says the airline is incredibly excited to have the border to our New South Wales neighbours reopening and that seats have already been selling quickly. “We know there are customers who have been unable to travel back to New South Wales since the bubble burst in August. Today’s announcement will bring relief to many knowing that they will be reconnected with their loved ones in just over two weeks. While the quarantine free travel is only permitted one-way, we are hopeful with the high vaccination rates in New Zealand we will be welcoming Aussies back to our shores before we know it!”
Watch The Airbus A380 makes a vibrant return
Without question, one of the businesses most hit by the pandemic has been the airline industry. The domino effect of people being unable to fly has also significantly influenced the tourism industry in general, but airlines have paid the highest price.
The A380 was designed to outperform and outclass its predecessors. While passengers adore it, the A380 never quite took off with airline purchasers.
Airbus said in January 2019 that it would cease manufacture of the A380 across Europe in 2021, and Emirates took the final delivery just last month. After years of speculation that the superjumbo was doomed, the decision was made. Orders had dwindled in a risk-averse airline industry whose economics and route networks had been adjusted to accommodate smaller two-engine long-haul aircraft.
When Airbus introduced the A380 in 2007, it was ahead of the competition in developing a plane made of lighter materials and far more fuel-efficient, with the potential to deliver significant savings and revenues on routes where carriers could guarantee hundreds of passengers on each journey. It appeared to be the ideal solution for global trunk routes, notably the congested transatlantic corridors, where airlines would compete for scarce and expensive slots at intercontinental hubs like Heathrow.
The 787 Dreamliner, with only two engines, can fly a similar range. This study advanced the use of lightweight composite materials by estimating that long-haul aircraft would require around half the number of passengers, 250 to 300 rather than the standard 550 on an A380, to be economically viable.
The aviation industry’s hub and spokes strategy, in which airlines feed passengers via connecting flights and the larger the long-haul plane, the better, was under fire.
Low-cost aircraft had breathed new life into secondary airports, and passengers had grown accustomed to direct, point-to-point flying. The demand for Airbus’s exorbitantly priced double-decker jumbo jets was dwindling.
Six months after the global grounding of the aircraft, the majority of airlines that operated the A380 announced that the giant of the sky would no longer serve a purpose once travel resumed. Some airlines, such as Air France and Emirates, reporting they would be permanently grounding the aircraft, whilst others, such as Malaysia Airlines, would sell them. Whilst, Qatar Airways said that the A380 was a huge mistake.
Suddenly, the world realises that we have no choice except to learn to live with the virus rather than attempting to eradicate it. As a result, travel is gradually resuming, with promising prospects for a slow but steady recovery.
Airlines that had shifted their tactics to employ dual-engine, fuel-efficient aircraft for long-haul flights are now realising that much smaller aircraft do not have enough seats to meet demand on major trunk routes. Some airlines that had abandoned the A380 are now reintroducing it.
Qatar Airways CEO has described the purchase of A380s as the carrier’s “biggest mistake.” Qatar Airways stated last week that it would reinstate five of its 10 London-Paris routes. What precipitated the change of heart? Qatar Airways recently grounded 13 Airbus A350s following reports that the fuselage surface beneath the paint on these aircraft is eroding at an accelerated rate. The airline has committed to not flying these planes until Airbus develops a permanent solution, which is unknown at this point.
While Qantas intends to bring them all back, British Airways announced yesterday that it will bring back five of its 12 A380 aircraft. They will initially be used on short-haul flights between London Heathrow and Frankfurt and Madrid before being deployed on key US routes beginning in early December.
So, does it make sense to bring them back?
A larger jet would provide more space for passengers to interact and stretch their legs, making it more appealing for long flights.
Economic considerations continue to make the A380 concept appealing to carriers. The A380 can transport more passengers simultaneously (853 in all-economy configuration), consume less fuel per seat than any other aircraft, and generate the highest revenue per kilometre in airline jargon (RPK).
Storing this giant of the sky was not easy or inexpensive, first and foremost in terms of locating space with a suitable climate for long-term storage, and secondly in terms of the constant maintenance that these aircraft required while in storage to guarantee that they could be safely re-deployed.
As an A380 enthusiast, I’m always keen to find out when the planes have a little more life left in them. As a result, I’m thrilled to see this beautiful aircraft coming back.
Watch Australia a big enough market
Bonza promises to be the independent low-cost airline that many Australian consumers have wished for. Still, some are sceptical that the market can support another operator.
Bonza, funded by the US private investment group 777 Partners, stated that it would begin flying next year, using Boeing 737-8 planes.
According to CEO Tim Jordan, the company’s objective would be to provide routes into leisure destinations where connections generally constrain travel via big cities.
However, breaking into Australia’s duopoly airline business is a far easier process than it appears.
Strategic Aviation Solutions’ chairman is Neil Hansford. He has almost 40 years of experience assessing airline business plans and believes that focusing solely on flying vacationers is unsustainable.
“The problem is that no one in Australia can thrive only on the leisure market. To generate a sufficient yield from your passengers, you need a component of the business market, “Mr Hansford told 9News.com.au.
Bonza CEO Tim Jordan told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that the airline will cater to Australia’s ‘tradies, teachers, kids, and caretakers’ and will focus on expanding to new places rather than only Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.
Existing carriers do not already serve the majority of the routes indicated by Bonza.
“We’re targeting the everyday Australian…we’re not going to have the bells and whistles like lounges and frequent flyer programmes,” Mr Jordan explained.
Mr Jordan has been in the aviation sector for over 25 years. It has spent the last decade working on the establishment of an Australian low-fare airline. With the potential of interstate travel finally becoming a reality, Mr Jordan believes there is room for an independent domestic carrier to build a name for itself.
Tigerair, founded in 2007 by Singapore-based Tiger Airways, was a full-service budget airline before becoming a part of Virgin Australia in 2013. According to Mr Jordan, the move left a gap in the market that has never been filled.
“There has always been an opportunity, but it has taken a different form.” “Since Tiger’s original takeover, the opportunity has increased in size, while the economies of regional centres have grown in importance,” he said.
“Countries with the most aviation growth are those having independent, low-cost operators who can create new markets that would otherwise not exist if full-service carriers operated them.”
Bonza has been under development for several years and will call over 45 Australian airports this week to gauge early interest in the service while it awaits regulatory approval.
Mr Jordan stated that the airline is eager to capitalise on the anticipated rise in demand once pandemic restrictions are eased across Australia.
“I believe that when international restrictions are abolished, there will be a period of lower international travel rates locally.” “The rest of the world has proved that when given the opportunity, Australia’s domestic markets recover quickly,” he said.
Mr Jordan is the creator of Kazakhstan airline FlyArystan. The central Asian group experienced a 37% increase in the first six months of 2021 compared to the corresponding time before the pandemic.
Bonza is the most recent addition to 777’s portfolio of aviation interests, which already includes Canada’s only independent low-cost carrier, Flair Airlines, and the South-East Asian-based Value Alliance.
Josh Wander, the managing partner of 777 Partners, believes the moment has come to revive Australia’s independent aviation industry. “There is a big chance to both do well and do well by democratising air travel through lower pricing,” he says. We want to expand customer choice while also making travel more inexpensive and accessible to all.