Gavin "Don't Rape Me" King was boasting today about discussions with Tiger Air to start servicing Cairns, and how this was all made possible "due to the LNP $8M growing tourism fund". This is a load of bullshit. As everyone knows, Tiger was already servicing Cairns when their whole operation went pear shaped and was shut down by the regulators with safety concerns. Why would it take cash from the LNP Qld government to get them to restart service to Cairns? ONLY BECAUSE TIGER, AND EVERY OTHER AIRLINE, KNOWS THE MONEY IS ON OFFER NOW. Tiger had made clear long before the QLD state election that Melbourne-Cairns service would be restarted, as well as Sydney-Cairns service. But those clever managers at Tiger Air are now demanding cash from Campbell and Gavin to do what they were going to do anyway. A masterstroke of business management!
To understand what happened to our tourism service in 2008-2009, one has to understand not the global economy, but what went wrong at the airlines, like Qantas.
|UNITED AIRLINES FIRST |
However both aircraft experienced serious delays, requiring QF and other companies to make a decision. Pay for expensive "D-Checks" (overhauls) on some of the fleet including all the elderly 767's. This was not something Qantas was prepared to do, as the recession began, and they sold off these 767's. This was the reason Australian Airlines, set up to hub in Cairns, disappeared. At the time Australian Airlines was closed down, it was profitable and even with the recession had good loads going forward.
Other airlines were in a similar situation. With fewer aircraft available, the airlines began shutting down service to less-profitable destinations like Cairns. And the accuracy of this observation is born out by the fact that during this period of service cutbacks to Cairns, Cathay Pacific continued to ADD service! Why? Because Cathay isn't on the same aircraft cycle as is Qantas, JAL, ANA, and others in our region. So they have continued to bring heavy loads of tourists into Cairns!
As the flood of new airplane deliveries finally starts, the airlines who've ordered these planes have no choice but to expand service - and this expansion will primarily occur to less-profitable tourism destinations like Cairns that were discontinued during the aircraft shortage. Why? Because you make NOTHING from aircraft sitting on the ground - better you make something. And "route profitability" is a difficult thing to quantify - when a destination is feeding traffic into an airlines total route system, a loss-making destination can have the effect of pushing other routes into profitability.
The result? Big aircraft deliveries to Chinese airlines will see one or more of them begin service to Cairns. Likewise Singapore service, as well as increased Japanese service. All of these among the first to start receiving 787's, the replacement aircraft of choice in Asia. (ANA and JAL both have received their first 787's). Even United Airlines (which has taken over Continental and the CO service from Guam) is getting 787's - with their first use scheduled to be Houston Texas to Auckland, a route never before flown! Can San Francisco - Cairns be far behind?
The LNP is going to take credit for new service into Cairns with their "Attracting Aviation Fund", when in fact it's just the natural course of events that will have occurred no matter who was in government! $8M of our money is going to be "gifted" to the airlines to get these services started - services that the airlines have long been planning anyway. The real gains, which should have been realised by Kevin Rudd's announced "forced triangulation" plan for new Australian service, were never seen anywhere because no one had the balls to enforce it. The $8M should go to reducing the airline charges for all the airlines, not as "bonuses" by political leeches.