On Friday 28 November, 100 of Newcastle Airport’s stakeholders attended the Airport’s annual business luncheon.
During his update, Newcastle Airport CEO, Paul Hughes, shared the highs of the past 12 months. In particular he noted that:
- The terminal expansion has commenced and works are on schedule for the new arrivals hall to be opened in the first quarter of 2015.
- The load factor for Newcastle Airport in the past 12 months has remained steady at 74 per cent.
- The number of trips taken by the airport’s catchment continues to be high, with 26 per cent of Newcastle Airport’s passengers taking 11 or more return trips each year.
- Aviation development has been a priority for airport management; research is currently underway for feasibility of direct services to Auckland, New Zealand, and a proposal for future direct services has been submitted to Fiji Airways.
A panel of aviation representatives then discussed modern travel and what each respective company is doing to meet the increasing demands of the modern traveller.
Brett Dann, CEO of Hunter Travel Group (t/a helloworld Newcastle) opened the discussion stating that that the top international destinations sold by his Newcastle-based team are Europe and the USA.
This comment was followed by Scott Barlow of Singapore Airlines announcing that the award-winning airline has introduced common-rate fares for flights starting from Newcastle. This means that it is now possible to book a flight from Newcastle to Europe, Asia and beyond on the Singapore Airlines website and pay the same price you would to fly from Sydney.
Andrew Best of Virgin Australia added to the discussion by making the poignant comment, “you don’t earn frequent flyer points driving down the M1”. He was referencing the fact you can fly Virgin Australia to Brisbane then to anywhere in the world, and earn Velocity Points.
Brett provided a personal example of flying from Newcastle. As a regular flyer for his business he detests the six hours of travel to get to Sydney before even board your flight (M1 and check-in processing time). He added that this additional travel time is also a great stress to his travel agency clients.
The luncheon concluded with the announcement that following 10 years of service the Airport’s chairman John Kindler would be retiring at that afternoon’s AGM. The incoming Chairman is long-term board member Peter Gesling.
Image | (L-R) David Nye, Newcastle Airport (moderator), Scott Darlow, Singapore Airlines, Andrew Best, Virgin Australia and Brett Dann, Hunter Travel Group (t/a helloworld Newcastle)