From the publisher April edition

Bruce Piper's take on all the news that happened in March.

Bruce Piper

Excitement is already building towards the 2018 National Travel Industry Awards, with the voting phase having just wrapped up amid concerted lobbying from across the industry. The investment being made by suppliers and travel agents to highlight their NTIA nominations is testament to the high regard in which these awards are held — in turn reflecting the rigorous processes underpinning the selection of winners.

travelBulletin is proud to be involved in the upcoming NTIA judging phase which follows the announcement of finalists early next month. It’s a significant commitment and we see it as an important contribution to the process which culminates in the industry night of nights on Saturday 21 July at Sydney’s International Convention Centre. Tickets go on sale on Friday 4 May and are sure to be snapped up quickly given the overwhelming interest in the event.

MEANWHILE by the time you are reading this Qantas will be operating its new daily 787-9 services direct from Perth to London — eliminating the “hop” in the Kangaroo Route. The innovation has led to significant changes in the Qantas network and indeed its newly re-authorised alliance with Emirates, with QF London passengers from Sydney and Melbourne once again flying via Singapore rather than Dubai.

An interesting new side effect of the QF-EK alliance has been the impact on Tasman operations, where Emirates has suspended all flights from Australia to Auckland. That in turn has seen it align its Tasman offering with that of Qantas, notably by removing travel agent base commission on all of its services to NZ — both codeshares on QF and on its sole remaining Tasman route between Sydney and Christchurch.

FINALLY last month saw a longstanding stoush between Flight Centre’s FCM Travel and a former major client, National Australia Bank, bubble into the public domain. Rumours of a rift had been circulating since September last year but neither party would confirm.

The story finally broke after some months, with Flight Centre MD Graham Turner confirming a “commercial disagreement” when Fairfax Media reported the dumping of FCM in favour of American Express GBT as the bank’s TMC. It’s understood that in the end the bank decided not to pursue further action, with the contract not clearly specifying the fee structure on some types of transactions.

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