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Bridget McKenzie Addresses ATAC Future Focus Conference

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Bridget McKenzie Addresses ATAC Future Focus Conference

Bridget McKenzie Addresses ATAC Future Focus Conference. Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie delivered a compelling opening speech at the ATAC Future Focus conference, where she discussed the state of Australian aviation and the dominant position of Qantas.

Bridget McKenzie Insights

McKenzie, who recently led a Senate inquiry into domestic aviation, shared her experiences dealing with Qantas and empathized with travel agents who faced difficulties in their interactions with the airline. She highlighted her inquiry’s challenges, including former Qantas CEO Alan Joyce’s refusal to participate and uncooperative Qantas representatives who appeared unprepared.

Breaking Up Qantas

 Expressing her concerns, McKenzie voiced her desire to see Qantas dismantled, citing the airline’s over 60% market share in the Australian airline industry. She compared this dominance to a supermarket monopoly, emphasizing the need to address the issue. This recommendation was one of the outcomes of her inquiry, aimed at enhancing competition and preventing monopolization.

Read Also: Qantas Issues Warning of Impending Airfare Hikes Amidst Rising Fuel Costs and Global Uncertainty

Agent Struggles

 McKenzie also extended her support to travel agents who had to contend with commission cuts, complex COVID credit systems, and a lack of communication. She highlighted the culture of arrogance that both she and agents had to deal with on a daily basis.

Devaluation of Qantas Points

 Another issue McKenzie raised was the devaluation of Qantas points, leading to clients having to pay high sums for international travel. The decision to block additional capacity for Qatar Airways into Australia, which affected travel to Europe via the Middle East, was mentioned as a significant factor in this issue.

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Acknowledging Industry Efforts

 McKenzie commended the Australian Travel Industry Association (ATIA) for their valuable input into the senate inquiry, particularly highlighting the evidence showing the significant increase in international airfares from Sydney.

Unusual Public Outcry

 The senator noted that the frustration with Qantas extended beyond the travel industry, with regular Australians expressing their grievances about their experiences with the airline in an unusual manner for a Senate inquiry.

Q&A Session

 During the Q&A session, an attendee voiced frustration over Qantas’ commission cuts and their impact on her work. McKenzie acknowledged the challenges travel agents face and the implications for their services.

Call for Advocacy

 McKenzie urged agents to vocalize their concerns with local representatives, emphasizing the potential for change and the importance of collective effort and focus.

Importance of ATAC

 The senator concluded by expressing her frustration over the blocking of Alan Joyce from the Senate inquiry and stressed the significance of the ATAC organization in addressing the issues faced by the aviation industry.

Read Also: The Longest Routes From Auckland Airport This Month

Conclusion

 Bridget McKenzie address at the ATAC Future Focus conference shed light on the challenges facing the Australian aviation industry, especially concerning the dominance of Qantas. Her insights and recommendations provided a valuable perspective for conference attendees.

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Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways Plans to Offer Complimentary Starlink Internet Details Yet to Be Disclosed

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Qatar Airways Plans to Offer Complimentary Starlink Internet Details Yet to Be Disclosed

Qatar Airways Plans to Offer Complimentary Starlink Internet Details Yet to Be Disclosed. In a recent development, Qatar Airways, a long-standing user of Inmarsat-now-Viasat Global Xpress (GX) Ka-band satellite-based inflight connectivity service, has indicated its intention to offer SpaceX’s Starlink Aviation onboard Internet to its passengers on a complimentary basis. This offering will be accessible to passengers with a simple “one-click” process.

Read Also: Air Travel in Australia Senate Inquiry, Qantas, and the Shifting Aviation Landscape

Rollout on Specific Aircraft and Routes

According to an official press release from Qatar Airways, the low-latency In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) service will be introduced on “specific aircraft and routes.” The airline has also mentioned that they are currently in the pre-launch phase of the rollout strategy in collaboration with Starlink. SpaceX Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales, Jonathan Hofeller, has expressed that Starlink is “set to support the entire Qatar Airways fleet.”

This news emerged following the APEX/IFSA Global EXPO event in Long Beach, where Qatar Airways Group’s Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. During this event, Starlink executives met with airline representatives in a nearby hotel.

Changing Landscape in In-Flight Connectivity

The Qatar Airways-Starlink collaboration signifies a shift in the in-flight connectivity landscape. Traditional GEO satellites are being challenged by Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations like SpaceX’s Starlink. For example, Flexjet has announced plans to replace the Viasat hardware on some of its aircraft with Starlink.

Viasat acquisition of Inmarsat, coupled with these changes, has led to some Inmarsat value-added resellers reevaluating their positions. SITA, a service provider to Qatar Airways, has already disclosed its intention to exit the cabin connectivity market by January 2025.

See also  Court Accepts Police Closure Report in Actor Rape Case Against Ex-Qatar Airways Employee

Read Also: Qantas Loyalty Chief Olivia Wirth Resigns Amidst Ongoing Leadership Transition and Controversies

Seeking Clarity from Qatar Airways

Runway Girl Network reached out to Qatar Airways to seek clarification on several points. They inquired about:

  • Qatar Airways plan regarding the replacement of Inmarsat (now Viasat) GX inflight connectivity hardware with Starlink.
  • Whether Starlink will be deployed across Qatar Airways’ entire fleet.
  • Commencement dates for supplemental type certifications and Starlink installations.
  • Which aircraft type will be the first to receive the new hardware.
  • The impact of SITA’s decision to cease being a GX value-added reseller on Qatar Airways’ decision to select Starlink.
  • Qatar Airways’ plans for continuing to roll out Inmarsat GX on its 787-9s.

Qatar Airways Response

In response to these queries, a Qatar Airways spokesperson stated via email that they would keep Runway Girl Network updated on any future operational developments. In a follow-up exchange, when further clarity on the deal was sought, the spokesperson requested the removal of a specific phrase from their press release.

Implications and Future Plans

In the absence of comprehensive details, it seems logical for Qatar Airways to consider introducing Starlink initially on its 787-8s. This fleet has seen recent in-seat In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) upgrades but still lacks true broadband connectivity.

Once Starlink is operational on Qatar Airways aircraft, passengers can anticipate complimentary access to ultra-fast Wi-Fi speeds of up up to 350 Mbps, which can be used for various Internet-based services including video streaming, gaming, web browsing, and more. In contrast, the airline presently charges $10 for inflight access to its ‘Super Wi-Fi.

See also  Qatar Airways to Offer Free High-Speed Inflight WiFi By Starlink

Read Also: Qatar Airways Elevates In-Flight Connectivity with Starlink Partnership

Conclusion

Qatar Airways, in its press release, also proudly asserts its position as “the largest airline to collaborate with Starlink.” Other notable Starlink customers include Part 135 operator JSX, Hawaiian Airlines (launch delayed until early next year), airBaltic, and ZIPAIR.

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