Qantas plane (new logo)

Qantas in world-first ‘zero waste’ flight

MINI Vegemite servings were out and compostable crop starch cutlery was in on what Qantas says was the world’s first zero-waste commercial flight.

Passengers flying from Sydney to Adelaide on Wednesday sipped from water bottles destined for an Adelaide recycling plant and ate meals out of containers made from sugar cane as the Australian carrier trialled an initiative it says will cut 100 million single-use plastics by the end of next year and eliminate 75 per cent of the airline’s waste by the end of 2021.

About 1,000 single-use plastic items were substituted with sustainable alternatives or, in the case of individual Vegemite servings, removed altogether as the Qantas group embarked on its aim to reduce an annual mountain of waste equivalent to 80 fully laden Boeing 747 jumbo jets,

All used in-flight products on the two-hour flight from NSW to SA were separated and will be composted, reused or recycled.

Qantas domestic boss Andrew David said, with the cost of landfill rising and on-board waste the No.1 concern raised by passengers, there was a strong business case for the initiative.

While there will be an initial expense, Mr David said the move will eventually save money by cutting the cost of waste disposal and would not push airfares higher.

“We want to give customers the same level of service they currently enjoy, but without the amount of waste that comes with it,” Mr David said.

“This flight is about testing our products, refining the waste process and getting feedback from our customers.”

The Sydney-to-Adelaide flight alone would normally generate 34kg of waste per flight, and 150 tonnes annually.

But the food containers trialled on Wednesday were made from sugar cane pulp left over from refineries, while the compostable coffee cups were made with plastic made from plant matter rather than oil.

Qantas and Jetstar plan to replace 45 million plastic cups, 30 million cutlery sets, 21 million coffee cups and four million headrest covers with sustainable alternatives.

Food waste from international flights cannot be composted due to legal requirements, but Qantas said it will work with suppliers and government to reduce the volume of this waste.

Federal government says aviation contributes to about three per cent of Australia’s carbon emissions.

Qantas customers already contribute to the aviation industry’s largest carbon offset scheme and the carrier this year will start incentivising travellers to get involved with the scheme by offering frequent flyer points for every dollar spent.

Qantas last year operated the first biofuel flight between Australia and the United States using biofuel processed from mustard seed.

© AAP 2019

Major tourism coup as direct flights from Gold Coast to South Korea launch

Gold Coasters will now be able to fly direct to Seoul, in South Korea, after Jetstar announced its new service this morning.

The partnership with JeJu Air directly links the two countries, and unlocks exciting benefits for the Gold Coast.

Jetstar Group CEO Gareth Evans says it will become the only low coast carrier to fly direct to Seoul from Australia.

“We’ve seen how well it works from an international point of view with our flights to Japan.

“So it’s a destination in it’s own right, a hugely attractive one, also a place where people can connect over, to go either through to the rest of Australia or from the rest of Australia out of the Gold Coast,” Mr Evans said.

The flights will commence in December, and operate three times a week (to start).

More than 50,000 South Koreans are expected to visit annually, injecting more than $170 million into the Gold Coast economy.

South Korea is believed to be a huge market for the Gold Coast, with the latest tourism data revealing South Korean visitors increased by over 50 percent on the Gold Coast and New South Wales north coast.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones says it’s a major coup for the Gold Coast.

“This new partnership with Jetstar, we know, will deliverer thousands more visitors to the Gold Coast.

“We expect that when these flights go live in December, with three flights a week, that up to $176 million will be injected into the local Gold Coast economy,” Minister Jones said.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate is ecstatic for future possibilities, now that the link has been created.

“Apart from additional tourists and 50,000 seats coming through, this opens a market for South Korea.

“One, that our vision will be to harness South Koreans to call the gold coast their second home.

“It’s the way of getting them here and having multiple visits.

“The second one, is that international students from South Korea – you watch this space – that number is going to accelerate,” Mayor Tate said.

Gold Coast Airport

GC Airport claims two major titles at World Airport Awards

Gold Coast Airport has been voted the Best Regional Airport in the Australia Pacific Region for the fourth time in nine years at the World Airport Awards.

The awards, based on 13.5 million passenger surveys conducted at more than 550 airports globally, were handed out in London overnight.

Gold Coast Airport also took out Best Service Staff in the Australia Pacific region.

Gold Coast Airport Chief Operating Officer Marion Charlton said the awards were a credit to the more than 2,200 staff.

“What makes these awards so special is that we don’t self-nominate – the awards are based on surveys by the travelling public,” she said.

“Leading into the 2018 Commonwealth Games, we placed a huge focus on enhancing the experience of our customers and providing the best possible first impression to our visitors from around Australia and the world.

“That focus has continued, and it is wonderful to see this recognised.

Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted congratulated the airport team for winning two important customer satisfaction awards.

“The Staff Service awards are a very special honour for airports. The award recognises the combined quality of all customer-facing staff service (attitude, friendliness and efficiency) delivered across front-line positions at Gold Coast Airport,” he said.

“As airports seek to develop and maximise customer loyalty and repeat business, facilities and product standards depend largely on investment, whereas staff service requires motivation, enthusiasm and team work, and clearly this is being well provided at Gold Coast Airport.”

‘Vulgar vans’: End of the road for Wicked Campers

THE Federal Government is doing what it can to drive offensive Wicked Campervans off Australian roads for good.

Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer has written to State and Territory leaders and Transport Ministers, seeking their support to advance a coordinated national approach to force Wicked Campers to comply with community standards.

The multi-pronged strategy aims to ensure the controversial company can no longer expose cross-jurisdictional loopholes to escape accountability and continue displaying outdated, mysogynistic, vulgar and degrading signage.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport Michael McCormack joined Ms Odwyer and urged travellers to help send Wicked Campers a message by choosing to rent vehicles that don’t carry offensive signage.

“These vehicles are offensive and belong in a junkyard not on Australian roads,” Mr McCormack said.

“By choosing to avoid these vehicles, you’re also choosing to ensure parents or grandparents won’t have to explain the vile meaning of these disgusting signs or images to their children or grandchildren while driving on our roads.”

Ms O’Dwyer said Australia was a modern and progressive country but the use of these vehicles contradicted those values and was unacceptable.

“We have no tolerance for sexist, misogynistic and offensive slogans on campervans, or those displayed anywhere else for that matter, no matter how hard some try to justify their existence,” she said.

“That’s why I’ve written to the states and territories to urge them to support a national approach to rid Australia of these offensive vehicles.”

Source: Flickr via Michael Theis [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Mr McCormack said the ‘vulgar’ Campervans contained lewd language or repugnant images which demean women or glorify drug-taking.

For several years, Wicked Campers has failed to comply with Ad Standards’ Community Panel determinations to remove their offensive and degrading images from hire vehicles.

Because the company advertises on what’s effectively deemed their own material, there’s no third party media provider with which Ad Standards can work to achieve compliance.

The Queensland and Tasmanian governments have made efforts to deal with this issue by legislating to give power to motor vehicle registries to deregister any vehicle that doesn’t comply with Ad Standards determinations.

But Wicked Campers has been able to avoid compliance, and enforcement of large fines and penalties, by changing vehicle registration to another jurisdiction, once a complaint has been made.

Enforcing a national approach will ensure the company cannot ‘forum shop’ across jurisdictions, to expose this loophole and retain their offensive slogans.

At a Council meeting last year, the Austroads Registration and Licencing Taskforce was given the green light to progress national adoption of the Queensland Government’s successful approach to the controversial vans.

Gold Coast Airport reaches international emission target

GOLD Coast Airport has been recognised for its commitment to sustainability and achieved Level 2 accreditation under the Airports Council International’s Airport Carbon Accreditation program.

The program is the only independent global standard for carbon management at airports, which recognises and accredits the efforts of airports to manage and reduce emissions.

Gold Coast Airport was awarded Level 1 accreditation in December 2016, which involved mapping the airport’s carbon footprint to identify sources of carbon emissions before formalising a carbon management plan.

Level 2 sees the setting of a carbon reduction target and the carbon management plan finalised and implemented to achieve the carbon emission reduction target.

New LED lightning has been installed across the Gold Coast Airport as part of its commitment to reducing carbon emissions.

Other recent changes include upgrading the drive motors on baggage handling systems, and improving the efficiency of air-conditioning systems.

Chief Operating Officer Marion Charlton said the accreditation was confirmation of the team’s dedication to reducing the airport’s carbon footprint.

“Level 2 carbon accreditation is recognition of our commitment to ensuring we look after our environment and reduce our carbon emissions as much as we can,” Ms Charlton said.

ACI Asia-Pacific Regional Director, Patti Chau, welcomed the announcement.

“Congratulations to Gold Coast Airport!” Mrs Chau said.

“This achievement demonstrates your commitment to operating the airport in an environmentally, sustainable manner which is crucial for the long-term development of our industry.

“Your efforts have not been unnoticed and is an example for others to follow.

“We look forward to Gold Coast Airport’s continued endeavours through our Airport Carbon Accreditation program, which has been effectively helping airport members around the world reduce carbon emissions.”

Globally, the aviation industry contributes approximately two per cent of man-made CO2 emissions, with airport operations accounting for approximately two per cent of this.