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Mark Baljak's picture

Melbourne Airport looks to spruce up Virgin Australia terminal

Melbourne Airport will turn its attention to improving Virgin Australia's domestic terminal and may eventually expand its international terminal into some of the domestic space occupied by Qantas now that its T4 budget terminal has opened, says chief executive Lyell Strambi.

"[The Virgin pier improvement] is the next cab off the rank for us," he said on Wednesday after T4, used by Jetstar and Tigerair Australia, was officially opened by Treasurer Scott Morrison. "What we want to do is lay out a set of options for Virgin to really pick and choose from."

Mr Strambi said options for upgrading Virgin's area could include reserving a more dedicated area of T3 for premium customers and making more use of the new T4 precinct for non-premium customers, as well as a revamp of the shops.

After the opening of a new domestic terminal in Perth last month, Virgin chief executive John Borghetti​ said the Melbourne terminal was the only major one in Australia that he wasn't happy with. "Melbourne has been an issue for a long time," he said, but added he was in talks with Mr Strambi about improvement plans.

Mr Strambi, the former head of Qantas Domestic, said Melbourne Airport was also considering the future of the T1 terminal occupied by Qantas domestic now that Jetstar has moved its operations to T4, freeing up space. Qantas holds a lease over the terminal until 2018. The carrier has sold its similar leases at Sydney Airport and Brisbane Airport back to the airport operator, but has not yet done so at Melbourne Airport.

Read more: http://www.afr.com/business/infrastructure/airports/melbourne-airport-lo...

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Qantas743's picture
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Qantas743's picture

Increasingly likely Qantas will announce MEL-DFW in coming months:

Qantas 787-9s said to offer dreamy comfy 235 seat count


There are credible rumours that the seat count in the Qantas Boeing 787-9s due from the end of 2017 will be a low, and comfortable 235, and Melbourne-Dallas will be one of the routes.

Another new route mentioned is Perth-London, presumably via Dubai, although with improved bad weather landing systems at the Perth end, non-stop flights eastbound mightn’t be out of the question.

These are among the details heard in informed gossip. The real announcement is believed to be made this April, at least at this stage, although there is another high visibility option for Qantas to provide details when it announces its anticipated record first half year profit result on 23 February.

According to information the configuration of the 787-9s will be 42 business class seats in a new product, apparently further improved compared to the new J class sleepers now being fitted in the Qantas A330 fleet.

There will be 28 premium economy seats, and 165 in normal economy. It wasn’t known if the economy seats will be the originally intended eight across totally ‘dreamy’ seats Boeing intended for its Dreamliners, or the horrid nine across bum crushers so enthusiastically endorsed by sadistic bean counters for many 787 configurations.

But on a 17 hour flight between Dallas and Melbourne, there is hope, as well as a need on humanitarian grounds, for the seats to as wide as those on the Qantas A380s that fly its Sydney-Dallas Fort Worth dailies.

If such a route was flown today it would be the longest in the world in current operation, just beating the Sydney-DFW route and the soon to begin Emirates 777-200LR Dubai to Panama City route.

However Singapore Airlines intends to reinstate its non-stop services between Singapore and Newark for NYC by late 2017 using the long range version of the Airbus A350-900, and regain by a significant margin the longest non-stop route on earth title.

Japan Airlines flies its long route 787-9s with only 195 seats, comprising 44 in business class, 35 in premium economy and 116 in normal economy, in the original concept eight across format one can only wish for in the Qantas jets.

Air New Zealand flies its three class 787-9s with 302 seats, divided between 18 in business class, 21 in premium economy and 263 in juvenile hobbit sized regular economy seating in the ghastly nine across layout.

However 14 rows of those seat have good seat pitch of 84 cms, which is five cms more than the rest of them and available for sale as Skycouches for couples or very close friends.

The seat pitch in Qantas economy in the Dreamliners will depend on what its comfort engineers can wrangle within their confines no matter how accurate or otherwise the current rumours are.

One thing however is fairly clear. The Qantas product in its 787-9s will be crafted to blow away the United and Air NZ versions of the same Dreamliner model which competes directly or indirectly with Qantas flights to the US and Canada (via connections).

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Mark Baljak's picture


Air China Plans Daily Shenzhen-Melbourne Service in October

Air China has submitted an application to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) for launching a nonstop daily service from Shenzhen to Melbourne, Australia in October 2016.

Pending government approval, the flag carrier will operate the daily Shenzhen-Melbourne service using Airbus A330-200 aircraft, according to an announcement released Friday on the CAAC's official website.

Air China launched its first international service from the city on Feb. 1 - Shenzhen-Beijing-Los Angeles route.

The Air Transportation Department of CAAC is soliciting public comments on the application until Feb. 24, 2016.


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Qantas743's picture

Capital Airlines Announces Australia Debut on September 29


Beijing Capital Airlines Thursday announced it will officially launch its Shenyang-Qingdao-Melbourne on September 29.

The Beijing-based carrier will operate the Shenyang-Qingdao-Melbourne service thrice weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, using Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

It is acknowledged as the first nonstop intercontinental flight departing from Qingdao to Melbourne, accelerating the internationalization process of the city.

Chief Staffs from Qingdao municipal government, Qingdao Liuting International Airport and Hainan Airlines Tourism Group attended a press conference on June 16.

Vice President of HNA, Hu Mingbo, expressed his gratitude for all the support from every relevant institutions and units. Qingdao, boasting traditional cultures, soaring economy and tourism, will be one of the key hubs for the Beijing-based carrier in East China.

Also, Hu said, Capital Airlines promised a 12-hour comfortable nonstop intercontinental service with preference ticket price as low as 880 yuan (tax excluded) for a round trip.

Now, Capital Airlines operates 64 aircraft on over 200 domestic and international routes, comprising 34 Airbus A320s, 21 A320s, two A330-200s and seven A321s. According to the carrier, it is scheduled to take delivery of 12 Airbus aircraft this year and expand its fleet size to more than 150 by 2020.

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Qantas743's picture

Also I have heard from multiple sources that Qantas are looking very closely at MEL-JNB with the 787.

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Mark Baljak's picture

^^ that would be interesting, and I think 3-4 weekly on the 789 would work

So Tianjin is likely the next mainland carrier to drop in

>>> from last month
China's Tianjin Airlines adds maiden widebody

Tianjin Airlines (GS, Tianjin) has taken delivery of its maiden widebody jet, B-6089 (cn 919), formerly in service with parent carrier Hainan Airlines (HU, Haikou).

The aircraft has already been deployed into commercial operation on domestic flights between Tianjin, Chengdu, and Kunming Changshui. It is expected to make its international debut on June 6 with flights to London Gatwick and Moscow Sheremetyevo.

Alongside an undisclosed number of A350s, Tianjin Airlines plans to operate a fleet of over ten A330s over the next few years in line with plans to open up new international stations including: Los Angeles Int'l, San Francisco, CA, Melbourne Tullamarine, Phuket and Ulaanbaatar.

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Mark Baljak's picture

nothing too new

Boosting Chinese Visitation To Victoria

Victoria’s Chinese visitation stocks are set for another big boost as Beijing Capital Airlines becomes the latest international carrier to fly into Melbourne.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren today joined Beijing Capital Airlines’ President and Chief Executive Xu Jun to announce a tri-weekly service between Shenyang, Qingdao and Melbourne would begin later this year.

Beijing Capital Airlines is one of China’s largest carriers, providing domestic and international services with its fleet of 59 Airbus aircraft. The airline’s arrival is another boost for Victoria’s visitor economy and a vote of confidence in our tourism industry.

Victoria’s visitor economy is the envy of the nation, and our significant Chinese visitation is one of the key reasons why.

Visitors from China are drawn to our great events, brilliant wildlife and cosmopolitan culture. More than 530,000 Chinese nationals visited Victoria in the year ending March 2016, providing $2.3 billion in expenditure, and helping support the 200,000 Victorian jobs in the tourism sector.

Chinese visitor expenditure accounts for a third of total visitor expenditure in Victoria, and is more lucrative than our next six markets combined.

Tourism is a key pillar of Victoria’s economy. It’s why the Andrews Labor Government has established Visit Victoria, the state’s world-leading entity charged with keeping us number one for tourism and major events.

More than 33 million people passed through Melbourne Airport in 2015, including 8.7 million international travellers.

The Beijing Capital Airlines tri-weekly service begins in September.


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Mark Baljak's picture

Air China up to 3 times daily on certain days over summer with new Shenzhen flight. What happened to their planned Wuhan service?

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Qantas743's picture

Hainan to launch Xian-MEL from November plus several more new routes/airlines to be announced shortly.

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Mark Baljak's picture

^^ nice, any ideas?

Hainan Airlines plans Melbourne-Xi'an flights

China’s Hainan Airlines will link Melbourne with Xi’an from November as it commences return non-stop flights on two days each week.
Using an Airbus A330-200 aircraft, guests can stretch out in one of 36 fully-flat business class beds, configured in a 2-2-2 layout…

From Wednesday November 2, flight HU7902 is wheels-up in Melbourne at 9am on Wednesdays and Saturdays, touching down in Xi’an at 5:30pm that same evening after an 11.5-hour journey.
On the return, HU7901 takes to the skies on Tuesdays and Fridays from November 1, pushing back at 4:30pm for a 7am arrival into Melbourne the following morning.
At the time of writing these flights are not yet open for booking, although do appear in the airline’s latest flight schedules:


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Qantas743's picture

Lots of chatter re JL.

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Qantas743's picture

Cathay upgrading 2 out 3 MEL flights to A350 and 777.


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Mark Baljak's picture

Hainan Changsa flights from November


HU483 CSX1745 – 0700+1MEL 330 37
HU484 MEL0900 – 1620CSX 330 14

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Qantas743's picture

The good news keeps on flowing!

- New QF daily MEL-NRT
- New 5 x weekly Virgin MEL-LAX
- Air India increasing to 5 x weekly

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Mark Baljak's picture

Nice numbers

Melbourne Airport breaks August passenger records

More than 2.8 million passengers travelled through Melbourne Airport during August, a 2.5 per cent increase compared to August 2015.

International passengers increased by 6.6 per cent year-on-year, to 777,690 international travellers passing through the doors during the month.

Domestic passengers grew by 1.0 per cent to 2,024,166 for August, and total passengers increased by 2.5 per cent to 2,801,856 for the month.

The latest figures released by Melbourne Airport are the highest ever passenger numbers for the month of August, and follow a 12-month period in which three new airlines were welcomed to Melbourne.

Growth continued to be driven by the Asian and US markets with the North East Asia market recording 17.8 per cent growth, the South East Asia market recording 13.3 per cent growth and the USA recording 7.2 per cent.

The North East Asia market was dominated by Taiwan (150.3%), Hong Kong (18.9%), China (9.6%) and Japan (9.6%). The South East Asia market was dominated by India (15.1%), Singapore (14.0%), Malaysia (11.2%) and Indonesia (4.9%).

Other strong performing markets included Italy (10.5%), France (8.6%), Netherlands (8.6%), Canada (6.9%) and UK (3.7%).

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Alastair Taylor's picture
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Qantas743's picture

A very disappointing presentation overall.

So basically no plan for major terminal expansion until it's evident the system is on the verge of overload and collapse. Great strategy.

Bring back Chris Woodruff!

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Mark Baljak's picture

Melb Airport pic

Tullamarine - News, Projects & Construction

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Mark Baljak's picture

First Hainan A330-300 arrival this morning - MelAir pic

Tullamarine - News, Projects & Construction

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Qantas743's picture

Singapore Airlines redeploying the A380 to MEL on a permanent basis:


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Mark Baljak's picture

What of this mooted new international carrier by the year's end?

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Qantas743's picture

Still don't know what it is, but if it was AA (which many were tipping), that's now been killed off by the US DoT's decision on the QF/AA tie up.

Now that JL and AA are both off the radar I don't know what else it could be.

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Qantas743's picture

LATAM to launch MEL-Santiago from next October!!


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Alastair Taylor's picture

Hola Santiago.

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