First sod turned in airport redevelopment

After years of planning, the first sod was officially turned on the $32 million Nelson Airport redevelopment on Monday afternoon.
Airport officials, board members, contractors and the mayors of both Nelson and Tasman met at the old terminal to mark the occasion, which Nelson Airport CEO Rob Evans described as a “milestone” for the airport. “Our management team have lived and breathed this for the last two years, and today’s milestone is where the rubber will hit the road,” he says.
Nelson Airport’s board chairman Paul Steer says it has taken a long time for the airport to get to this point. “It’s a special day for us, and now the heavy lifting and creativity can begin.”
Nelson mayor Rachel Reese congratulated the team on their hard work, and said she was looking forward to seeing the project progress.
“We’re all climbing on board for this critically important regional project – and it’s no small project. These guys have really understood the value of this infrastructure for the region’s growth,” she says.
The build is expected to take 18 months, and national construction firm Naylor Love will work with Fulton Hogan and local company Gibbons Construction on the build.

By Kate Russell  June 14, 2017
Nelson Weekly News


Michael Meredith joins Peter Gordon as chef for Air New Zealand

Michael Meredith is renowned for innovation and degustation menus.

Air New Zealand passengers will be enjoying fine dining meals designed by award-winning chef Michael Meredith as they quaff bubbles. Only if they're flying business s class, though.

As the airline's newest culinary consultant, the Samoa-born chef known for his degustation menus and adventurous approach will design dishes for 'Business Premier' passengers - Air New Zealand's executive class.

Air New Zealand business class.

"It's a huge privilege to be given the chance to showcase my take on New Zealand cuisine to people from all over the world.

"There's a bit of pressure but I'm also really excited to see what we can do together," Meredith said.

Air New Zealand general manager customer experience Carrie Hurihanganui said Kiwi cuisine was renowned for its fresh, high quality and diverse produce - and its wine.

For many visitors to our country Air New Zealand offers their very first taste of New Zealand and we take this responsibility very seriously.

"Michael will bring a fresh perspective to the table.

"We've long held a farm to plane philosophy where menus are crafted around the best seasonal, fresh produce on offer. Michael has a similar ethos at Meredith's and we're excited to see how he translates his expertise from the restaurant to meals served at altitude".



Last updated 15:57, July 20 2016

Singapore Airlines flies into new territory

Singapore Airlines is counting down to going where no carrier has gone before.

The airline will start its "Capital Express" service in September which will link Wellington, Canberra and Singapore four times a week.

It will be the first time the two Australasian cities have been linked by direct flights and the first ever international services out of Canberra.

Driving the project from New Zealand is Simon Turcotte who arrived as country general manager late last year.

"We've done our sums and we looked at it for many years. I think at this point of time the figures add up - it makes sense for us to do it and there's possibility to do it on a profitable basis and now is the time to make that investment and give it a go.'

The airline will use a 266-seat retrofitted Boeing 777-200 aircraft, with 38 business class seats and 228 economy class seats.

The 35-year-old - who studied finance at university - says the Capital Express is part of a strategy of investing heavily in New Zealand and Australia.

"As a network carrier we're always looking out for opportunities and studying options world wide - we see Southwest Pacific as a key part of our network," he said.

The airline established a joint venture with Air New Zealand in early 2015 which means double daily services between Auckland and Singapore. During summer it uses an Airbus A380 on the route to increase capacity. It also flies daily to Christchurch and when it starts its Wellington service it will be the first non-Tasman carrier to serve three New Zealand cities.

Singapore Airlines New Zealand general manager  Simon Turcotte, Photo /  Doug Sherring

is still in talks with Air New Zealand about a possible code share arrangement out Wellington.

Turcotte said it was expected that much of the traffic would be northbound to Singapore and beyond but there were certain market segments - corporates, politicians diplomats - which would be interested in flying between Canberra and Wellington.

There was also scope to develop a market for leisure travellers and the airline was working with tourism authorities in the Australian capital.

In Wellington, Singapore Airlines was building a team of 11 staff.

We've definately maintained that first class service out of Auckland we still feel there's a market for that and we're keen to serve that.

Its performance is seen as an indicator of the health of Asia's airline industry and in May it reported its full-year profit grew 66 per cent to S$804 million (NZ$832 million) mainly because of lower oil prices. The airline did warn of challenging conditions ahead caused by weak economic activity and rapid increases in capacity across the industy, leading to lower fares.

Turcotte said competition was nothing new to his airline.

"Historically Singapore has been developed as a transportation hub - we've always faced competition in our home market.''

Singapore Airlines has stuck with first class cabins on many of its aircraft and that market was holding up, he said.

"We've definately maintained that first class service out of Auckland we still feel there's a market for that and we're keen to serve that," he said.

"If you look at the floor space on the aircraft that's dedicated to the front cabin it's been expanded year on year - the market is there.'

Turcotte said as a child he had wanted to be a pilot but took a different path and studied for a commercial career.

Simon Turcotte

• Singapore Airlines NZ general manager

• Age: 35

• Born in Montreal, Canada

• Has worked at Singapore Airlines for nine years including in revenue management at the airline's Singapore base and postings to India and most recently Spain where he was country general manager.

Tuesday, 05 July 2016

Grant Bradley

Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald