The Federal Government has this week got the Aviation Legislation Amendment (Liability and Insurance) Bill 2012 through Parliament, increasing the cap on domestic air accident compensation payouts from $500,000 to $725,000. This is the first adjustment of the cap since 1994. The level of mandatory insurance for airlines is also being increased by the same amount to ensure that adequate funds are available for proper compensation of air accident victims and their families.


Qantas is to "refresh" 16 B767 aircraft with new cabin interiors and individual in-flight entertainment units as part of wider investment in "the domestic customer experience". Another move in that absorbing domestic market chess game with rival Virgin Australia.


And, in relation to that, the Geelong Advertiser reports that local MP Richard Marles will join union leaders in lobbying for some of the refurbishment work on the Qantas B767s to be carrried out at Avalon Airport. However there is a wider consensus that the work will be carried out in Brisbane.


BITRE stats released this week show that the number of passengers carried on domestic flights in Australia in the year ending June 2012 was 54.98 million, an increase of 0.4 per cent on the year ending June 2011. With passenger traffic increasing at a faster rate than capacity, the industry wide load factor increased from 77.5 per cent in June 2011 to 77.8 per cent in June 2012.


Also from BITRE this week, the news that on-time performance over all routes operated by participating domestic airlines averaged 79.1 per cent for on-time departures, and 77.2 per cent for on-time arrivals. Cancellations represented 2.2 per cent of all scheduled flights. Of the major domestic airlines, Qantas achieved the highest level of on-time departures for July at 82.1 per cent, followed by Virgin Australia at 81.8 per cent, Tiger Airways at 79.6 per cent and Jetstar at 76.8 per cent. 


Air New Zealand is to have a new home at Los Angeles International Airport. After nearly 20 years based in Terminal 2, the airline will in early 2014 move to the Tom Bradley International Terminal which is currently undergoing a US$1.7 billion make-over. In a first for the airline, Air New Zealand has also been appointed to design and operate a brand new Star Alliance lounge in the terminal.


Airservices has opened a new $20 million projects and engineering building at its Melbourne Airport compound, consolidating staff into one central location to improve service delivery to industry and ensuring technical staff have a working environment tailored to their requirements. The new facility is part of the rebuilding of Airservices involving a capital works program of $942 million over the next five years.


Airports Council International has reported that Asia-Pacific airports showed a remarkable rebound, recording a strong 8.5 per cent increase in passenger traffic in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period last year. While the Middle East outperformed other regions in the world with growth of 13.2 per cent year-on-year in passenger traffic. Beijing handled more than 39.3 million passengers in the first half of this year, making it the second busiest airport in the world after Atlanta.


The latest Willis airline insurance report says that losses so far for 2012 remain at record low levels, “with just US$141 million of hull losses and no major liability losses reported”. The report goes on to say that, “This excellent performance means it is now three years since the last major catastrophe. The Air France loss in June 2009 provided only a short blip in the downward trend of the market. It is therefore likely that it will take a number of major losses to have any impact on market direction.”


The Corporate Reception Chalets at next year’s Avalon Airshow are up for grabs. Located in the hospitality precinct adjacent to the Gold Pass Enclosure and facing the runway, the Corporate Reception Chalets can each entertain up to 40 guests (inside) in comfort, with great views of the flying display from the external courtyard. And there’s a wide variety of gourmet dining options, tailor made to suit specific preferences. More details from


Airbiz has opened its new Sydney office, with Floor Verhoeven, Anthony Le, Alice Brightwell and Andy Lee now operating out of Suite 3.14, 247 Coward Street, Mascot 2020.


Dominic Perret has been appointed Cathay Pacific Airways General Manager, Southwest Pacific. Prior to this appointment Perret was Cathay Pacific’s Manager of Corporate Sales, based at the company’s headquarters in Hong Kong, and responsible for the airline’s global strategy and performance in corporate sales.

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