Uplink ALPA - The Voice of Aviation

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter. As of April 2020 Uplink ALPA is a 6-monthly publication.

New Zealand aviation news

Changes at the top of Air New Zealand - interim chief executive announced

Air New Zealand has appointed its Chief Financial Officer Jeff McDowall as acting Chief Executive Officer, following last month’s departure of Chief Executive Christopher Luxon.

Jeff McDowall (who did not seek permanent appointment to the top role) will stay in the role until a new Chief Executive starts. 

At last month’s annual shareholders meeting, Chairman Tony Carter stood down and was replaced by board member Dame Therese Walsh, who is leading the Chief Executive search process on behalf of the Board. 

Dame Therese indicated the new Chief Executive might not start until the first quarter of 2020.

Read more HERE.


Air Chathams launches international service

Air Chathams has launched a weekly scheduled service to Norfolk Island, using a Convair 580 aircraft. 

The airline has been making regular charter trips to Norfolk Island for the last couple of years, but this is the first time it has offered a scheduled international service. It will now fly from Auckland to Norfolk Island every Friday morning, and back again the same day. 

The direct flight is just over two hours long. 

Air Chathams is owned by Craig and Marion Emeny and has operated since 1984. Its 15 aircraft include a Cessna 206, three Saab 340s, four Convair 580’s, three Fairchild Metroliners, a DC3 and an ATR-72. 

The airline’s head office is in the Chatham Islands and it has an Auckland operations base and hangar. It flies more than 100,000 people each year to its eight destinations. 

Read more HERE.


Air New Zealand direct flights between Auckland and Invercargill 

Air New Zealand has launched direct flights between Auckland and Invercargill. The single, daily flights operate five days a week and will use an A320 aircraft. 

The service began in late August. 

Read more HERE.


Air New Zealand earnings down 

Air New Zealand has announced its 2019 financial year results, which show $374 million earnings before taxation, compared to $540 million in the prior period. 

Net profit after taxation was $270 million and operating cash flow was $986 million.

In explaining the results, the airline noted operating revenue growth of 5.3 per cent, offset by a $191 million increase in the price of fuel, as well as a temporary increase in operating costs as the airline sought to improve network resilience in the wake of its Rolls Royce engine issues. 

Based on current market conditions and assuming an average jet fuel price of US$75 per barrel, the airline is targeting earnings before taxation to be in the range of $350 million to $450 million. This outlook excludes the impact of the new accounting standard for leases. 

Read more HERE.


Departing Air NZ Chief re-opens Whenuapai debate

Departing Air NZ Chief Executive Christopher Luxon told media last month that the airline was close to deciding whether it wanted to fly domestic services from Whenuapai Air Force base. 

The NZ Herald reports that the longer of Whenuapai’s two runways is 2031m long (similar to the length of Wellington's runway) and could comfortably handle domestic jets and turbo prop aircraft. 

Since Luxon’s comments there has been speculation they were designed as more of a parting shot at Auckland Airport than a genuine proposal.

The NZ Herald states that Forsyth Barr analyst Andy Bowley said it’s unlikely Whenuapai will become a commercial airport – but it can’t be ruled out completely. 

The proposal would require Government support (given it owns the air base and controls the air space) which is likely to lead to it becoming a heated political issue, as it did when the idea was floated more than 10 years ago. Residential housing has been developed around the base since then and more is planned – which is likely to result in opposition based on noise from commercial flight operations. One reason given for advancing the Whenuapai proposal is difficulty of access to Auckland Airport, but development at Whenuapai would likely add to existing traffic congestion around that site.

''We think the likelihood of Whenuapai becoming a commercial reality is low. However, we wouldn't totally rule it out as there is some logic to AIR's (Air NZ's) arguments,'' said Bowley. 

Read more HERE.



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