Friday, 12 December 2014

Ticket Prices To Fall In 2015 Amid Lower Fuel Costs

Air travel looks set to be more affordable in 2015 as the recent fall in fuel prices leads to lower ticket prices, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says.

IATA’s Global Economic Outlook report, released on Wednesday, says average return air fares, which exclude surcharges and taxes, are tipped to fall by 5.1 per cent to US$458 in 2015, after adjusting for inflation.

IATA chief economist Brian Pearce says lower fuel prices are “unambiguously good” for the travelling public.

“There is going to be a major benefit for consumers,” Pearce told reporters at IATA’s media day in Geneva on Wednesday.

However, Pearce cautioned that the recent reduction in the price of fuel may take some time to flow through to airfares given the hedging contracts in place at many carriers.

But history showed that airfares and cargo rates “ultimately reflected the cost of providing those services”, Pearce said.

“It is a very competitive market, airlines compete on the total travel cost to passengers so you should expect that total travel cost including surcharges to come down in line with what we are saying here about the underlying fare,” Pearce said.

Oil prices have fallen about 40 per cent since June, and were sitting at close to five-year lows at about $US66 per barrel. But despite the recent slide, both Australia’s two major carriers Qantas and Virgin Australia had no plans to reduce their fuel surcharges on ticket prices for certain international destinations.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce told reporters on Monday the airline needed to see a sustained level of lower fuel costs before it would consider changes to its fuel surcharge.

“We are long way away from seeing sustainable fuel price reductions that would allow us to start alleviating and pulling back on the surcharges,” Joyce said.

Virgin chief executive John Borghetti said on November 19 it was “a little bit early for people to jump to conclusions that the world has changed dramatically on fuel”.

IATA chief executive Tony Tyler said fuel surcharges imposed by airlines often did not cover the full impact of any increases in the cost of fuel.

“The mechanism of the fuel surcharge has been an effective one for the airlines obviously to help cover the increase in fuel cost although it hasn’t by any means covered all of it,” Tyler said.

“But also, it does make fares flexible to costs in the relatively short term.”

IATA said passenger traffic was expected to increase seven per cent in 2015, above the 5.5 per cent trend growth rate of the past two decades. Meanwhile, capacity was forecast to rise an even higher 7.3 per cent in 2015.

The rise in air travel was reflected in the number of city-pair connections rising above 16,000 for the first time in 2014, having nearly doubled over the previous 10 years.

IATA, which represents the world’s airlines, has about 250 carriers as members covering about 84 per cent of global air traffic.

Monday, 24 November 2014

QANTAS Launches "Retrojet"

Qantas’ newest jet is a blast from Australia’s aviation past: a factory-fresh Boeing 737-800 painted in a ‘flying kangaroo’ retro-livery from the 1970s.

The RetroRoo jet was unveilled today in Seattle, on the 94th anniversary of Qantas being founded as the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service.

The tail includes the iconic winged kangaroo, was adapted from the original 1947 version designed by Gert Sellheim. But a more noticeable signature element of the livery is the ochre band around the window line of the aircraft. The colour was chosen to reflect the palette of the Australian outback where Qantas was established in 1920. In contrast to today's largely white-with-red colour scheme, the underside of the fuselage is painted in grey.

This is a nod to the metallic undercarriage of the Qantas fleet during the lifetime of the original livery.

The ‘back to the future’ effect is completed by the older and fatter Qantas logotype plus the full Qantas Australia branding. The original 1971–1984 'heritage' livery was created by freelance designer Harry Rogers, and included this unique typefrace created by Rogers for the project and called Cyclone. The plane itself is Qantas' 75th Boeing 737-800 and named James Strong in honour of the former Qantas CEO who passed away in 2013.

Qantas ambassador, pilot and aviation enthusiast John Travolta attended the unveilling and said the retro livery brought back plenty of memories for him.

“It’s great to see a piece of Qantas history flying in the sky today,” Travolta said. “I have enjoyed many wonderful experiences with Qantas over the years, from getting my 747 wings to having my own 707 painted in the original 1960s Qantas livery."

"This is a great celebration of the brand’s heritage and incredible reputation over the years."

Travolta was joined by Qantas cabin crew wearing the bright uniforms of the era designed by Emilio Pucci.

We have to admit, the newest Qantas kit cut by Martin Grant doesn't look at all out of place next to this 40 year old livery.

That alone is testament to the brilliance of Grant's design, which carefully references those 'golden olden days' of flying with the uniform's jaunty trilby cap, trenchcoat and scarf.

“It’s a bit of a time warp having a 1970s livery on one of our brand new Boeing 737 aircraft" observed Qantas Group Executive for Brand, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Olivia Wirth, "but it’s the perfect way to highlight the years of experience behind the contemporary airline Qantas is today."

“Qantas holds a special place in the Australian psyche, and we know for many of our customers this livery will inspire a fond trip down memory lane."