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Sopwith Pup
27th Oct 2002, 01:26
Australian Airlines has it's first scheduled flight today.......this is from today's Sun Herald:



No-frills airline takes off for Japan

By Debbie Neilson
October 27 2002
The Sun-Herald

Australia's newest international airline, Australian Airlines, will leave for Japan this morning on its inaugural flight from Cairns.

The first of the four newly refitted wide-bodied 767-300 aircraft is expected to touchdown in Nagoya this evening. A second flight will arrive in Osaka soon after.

The aircraft will return to Cairns early tomorrow morning before carrying some transit passengers to the Gold Coast.

New Customs, Immigration and quarantine areas have been set up at Coolangatta Airport to process the arrival of the first stream of international visitors.

The Qantas subsidiary will offer daily return services to Nagoya and Osaka from Cairns, and three return services each week to Fukuoka, Singapore, Taipei and Hong Kong from November 21 and 22
Andrea Staines, Australian Airlines general manager, commercial, said flights from Japan were almost full for the first month, revealing little impact on the airline in the wake of the Bali bombings.

"Australia is still seen as a safe destination," she said.

Australian Airlines plans to increase the frequency of flights from Cairns and add new routes next year. Chinese destinations are being considered.

As well as Queensland, other popular tourism centres such as Sydney, Melbourne and Alice Springs are expected to benefit from the new airline.

The introduction of a fifth plane to the fleet early next year will mean the airline can focus on inbound travellers and also expand its non-stop outbound services.

Ian Thomas, an industry analyst with the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, said this could mean new routes to northern Asia, due to troubles in the region's south-east, or the introduction of services to safer Pacific destinations such as Fiji.

"The possibility of more terrorist attacks and a war in the Middle East will dictate timing on expansion to South-East Asia," Mr Thomas said.

Melbourne is expected to become the airline's second Australian hub, where the new airline is less likely to compete with Qantas's international routes.

While Australian Airlines offers only economy class, Ms Staines said it was not a discount carrier and would provide services like hot meals, snacks and in-flight entertainment to passengers.

Qantas Frequent Flyer members will also be able to redeem points on Australian Airlines flights.

kuldalai
27th Oct 2002, 10:13
There is a great spread of colour photos available via the Sydney Airport Bulletin website under a similar topic heading showing the initial departures from cairns today. Good luck to the re-born Australian Airlines brand, all who fly her and all who fly with her in years to come.

http://www.vpmag.com/cgi-bin/yssy/msgboard/UltraBoard.pl?Session=

Wirraway
27th Oct 2002, 11:10
Dow Jones

CANBERRA, Australia (AP)--Australia's newest airline took off on its maiden flight Sunday from the tourist port of Cairns to Nagoya in Japan on what the carrier and local tourism industry hope will be a new aviation trail into Asia.

Australian Airlines, a subsidiary of Australia's flag carrier Qantas, has a simple mission: make money on tourist routes where its parent - and some of its competitors - couldn't turn a profit.

But the airline's launch coincides with a downturn in Australian travel to Asia following the Oct. 12 Bali bombings which killed 191 people - many of them Australians - and heightened terrorist alerts in some countries in the region.

The carrier initially will connect Cairns, on Australia's tropical northeast coast in Queensland state, with six Asian cities: Nagoya, Fukuoka and Osaka in Japan; Hong Kong, Singapore and the Taiwanese capital, Taipei.

Early in 2003, the carrier aims to open a second hub in a southern Australian city for service to Thailand and Malaysia. The city has yet to be announced. Plans also call for eventually expanding its fleet of Boeing 767-300s from four to 12.

The Queensland state government and resort and travel companies hope the airline will invigorate the local industry, which never fully recovered from a fall in tourist numbers after the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States.

"Today signifies a resurgence of strength in the tourism industry," Queensland state Tourism Minister Steve Bredhauer said at a ceremony Sunday to mark the first flight.

The airline will inject $275 million into the Queensland economy annually, create 300 jobs and bring 350,000 international visitors each year, Bredhauer said.

The carrier's chief executive Denis Adams told The Associated Press last month he will fulfill the airline's mission by focusing on the tourist market and cutting costs by up to 30 percent.

However, Adams says the airline isn't a no-frills carrier like EasyJet in Europe or Southwest in the U.S., which seek to attract budget travelers on mostly short-haul routes.

The airline describes itself as an "international leisure carrier."

Because it flies only so-called "leisure routes," which have few or no business travelers, the airline has stripped out the first and business class sections on its jets. That increases seating from 229 to 271.

Staff are employed under new labor agreements negotiated without unions.

Industry analysts say the airline's new concept has a reasonable chance of keeping it aloft in a competitive market.

"It's a bold new approach - hopefully that boldness will justify the risk," said Peter Harbison of the Center for Asia-Pacific Aviation.

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Copyright 2002 Dow Jones & Company Inc. All rights reserved.