Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has lobbied for New Zealand to be treated as a domestic destination from Australia.
At the inaugural Talking Tourism luncheon, held as part of the Tourism and Transport Forum’s (TTF) annual conference, Joyce agreed with TTF chief executive Margy Osmond that improvements had to be made on seamless travel to and from Australia’s biggest tourism source market.
“We’ve talked about this for a long time and we haven’t made the progress we should have made,” Joyce said.
“If the Irish and English can can do it with their border why can’t the Australians and Kiwis do it,” he added.
Touting huge growth in tourism between both countries as a result, Joyce said Qantas are big supporters.
“The New Zealand market only grew by 3% last year and it’s our largest market in inbound tourism but the smallest growth of all our markets,” Joyce said.
On the finer details, Joyce was unhappy that 737’s – essentially a domestic aircraft – are flying out of Sydney’s international terminal.
“If we could have those aircraft coming to our domestic terminals we’d not have to tow aircraft between the two terminals; not have our engineers specialised on that aircraft and not having all the equipment, catering and resources duplicated.”
Joyce said the cost savings would be huge, resulting in lower airfares and a better passenger experience.
Joyce also aired concerns about the speed of Australia’s infrastructure in a competitive Asia Pacific region.
“Australia is seen as a safe and welcoming place and if we don’t get the on ground infrastructure right we’ll miss that,” he said.
Other countries are building faster and will potentially take those opportunities away from Australia.
“At least with Badgerys Creek it’ll come just in time but it shouldn’t have taken that long to make the call,” Joyce said.
Businesses need certainty and forward planning.
Joyce also aired Qantas’ grievances with the Passenger Movement Charge, and said it is the worst thing you can do to promote tourism.
“Every country that’s put in a PMC tax on tourism has been detrimental and when you lift the tax you get an economic boom that more than covers the loss,” Joyce said.
Joyce referenced the example of The Netherlands and Ireland, the latter of which saw a ‘huge boom’ upon removing the PMC.
Meanwhile, Joyce is optimistic about the aviation industry as a whole.
“In the last three years aviation covered our costs and Warren Buffet is now investing in airlines.”
Joyce sees aircraft technology will allow for Sydney and Melbourne flights to Europe by 2024.
This is the aircraft Qantas has “been waiting our entire existence to have,”’ Joyce said.
“There are only two continents on the globe that don’t have direct aviation links – Australia and Europe,” Joyce said.
Joyce described the direct flights, starting with Perth to London, as the last frontier in aviation.
“We might need to rename the kangaroo route where we have no hops to London,” he added.
Qantas have not taken their eye off China, but other markets have seen significant growth.
“China is a market you can’t ignore and the opportunity is massive… but we can’t forget the other markets.”
“Japan has grown three times from what we had before. The Japanese market is the biggest growth we’ve seen since 80s.
America services have also grown.