Airline & Airport News.
QF MEL–SFO direct flights now on sale
Qantas’ new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner flights from Melbourne to San Francisco are now on sale, with the first flight taking off on 1 September 2018. The four-times-weekly service offers QF’s new business class suites, with direct aisle access for every seat and a fully lie-flat bed. The new route will directly connect the two cities for the first time.
SQ’s A380 to London and Hong Kong
Singapore Airline’s newest A380 aircraft will commence operation on SQ’s London and Hong Kong routes from mid-February. From 16 February to 5 April, the A380 will operate on flight SQ322 to London, and will later switch to the SQ317 London service from 7 April 2018. Meanwhile, another A380 aircraft will take over the SQ860 service to Hong Kong from 18 February to 6 April, later switching to the SQ861 flight from 8 April.
Virgin Australia & Air New Zealand partner with Alexa
Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand passengers will soon be able to access their flight status details via Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa. Launching in February 2018, the new technology allows passengers to find out more flight information through voice commands on Amazon Echo and Alexa-enabled devices. VA Velocity members will also be able to link their account with Alexa, with other integrations soon to follow.
Etihad’s new baggage policy
Etihad Airways is introducing a new checked baggage policy effective from 31 January 2018. The new global baggage policy will be based on the total weight of checked baggage, rather than the numbers of pieces. For more information on the new baggage allowances, click here.
Qantas Business Rewards offer
Qantas is offering Qantas Business Rewards members and their employees travelling on eligible Qantas flights for business, the chance to earn double Qantas Points, plus the chance to win a $15,000 business bonus pack. For more information and to enter, click here.
Virgin delays paid Wi-Fi
Virgin Australia has delayed the launch of its paid Wi-Fi service on domestic flights until February 2018. The carrier will offer a two-tier premium model of Standard and High-Speed services on its Boeing 737 aircraft.
QF Indigenous aircraft livery
Qantas’ newest Boeing 787-9 aircraft will feature a special Indigenous livery, becoming the fifth design in Qantas’ flying art series and the second currently in operation. The livery will be unveiled in February 2018, and has been designed in collaboration with Balarinji design studio.
Virgin Australia and Air Canada to strengthen ties
Following the launch of VA’s Melbourne–Vancouver service in December 2017, Air Canada has released a statement saying that they are working on strengthening their partnership with Virgin Australia in the near future. The carriers launched a codeshare partnership in May 2017, and are looking to add a VA codeshare on AC services to Vancouver shortly.
Qantas’ new Dreamliner name
Uniquely Australian and incredibly cute, the Quokka native to Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth is the new name of Qantas’ third Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. With direct flights from Perth to London it is very fitting that the new aircraft is named after a native animal unique to WA.
QFLink upsizes to A320s
In April 2018, two of Jetstar’s Airbus A320s will join the QantasLink fleet, on key routes within Western Australia. The Qantas Group said it had been looking for opportunities to transition two of its A320 aircrafts within the Jetstar Group to operate flights within WA which are currently serviced by Qantas’ 737s.
EK downgrades BNE–DXB
Emirates will temporarily decrease capacity on the Brisbane–Dubai route, by downgrading the existing A380 aircraft to a Boeing 777-200ER. The smaller aircraft will be deployed temporarily from June to late August 2018, following a routine operational review assessing customer demand.
QR boosts Qatar–Perth from May 2018
Qatar Airways has announced plans to increase capacity on the Qatar–Perth route by more than 44% from 1 May 2018, accumulating to an extra 300 seats per day. A 517 seat Airbus A380 aircraft will be deployed on the route, replacing the current Boeing 777-300ER.
Air Canada to boost frequency of Melbourne-Vancouver
A spokesman at Air Canada has said the airline hopes to increase its Vancouver–Melbourne seasonal service to a daily operation at some point. The current thrice-weekly service will resume in June this year.
New ‘stretch-jets’ for Qatar and Singapore Airlines
This year will see the launch of Boeing and Airbus’ latest passenger jets, designed to carry even more travellers in a streamlined body from tip to tail. Later this month Qatar Airways will start flying its Airbus A350-1000, fitted with 327 seats across two cabin classes, including 46 Qsuites in business class. In March, Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 787-10 will be delivered, with capacity for 330 passengers across two cabin classes. The newest addition to the Dreamliner family will see the debut of a brand-new business class seat, featuring a pod-like design with a fully lie-flat bed and direct aisle access.
China Eastern introduces chauffeur service in Australia
China Eastern Airlines has introduced a free chauffeur drive service for its Australian business and first-class passengers. The service is limited to a radius of 35km from Sydney Airport, 45km from Melbourne Airport and 40km from Brisbane Airport.
Sydney-Melbourne world’s second busiest route
Airline statistics released by OAG show that the popular Sydney–Melbourne route is now the world’s second busiest airline route, with 54,519 flights per year. South Korea’s Seoul–Jeju route remains as the world’s busiest, with 64,991 per year to the holiday island. Sydney–Brisbane also made the top 10, ranking as eighth busiest with 33,765 flights per year.
Hobart Airport expects boost in visitors
A review of Hobart Airport’s terminal capacity and infrastructure plans has been called for, with new forecasts estimating approximately three million passengers will pass through the terminal per year by 2022. With the increased capacity, the airport is planning to introduce long-haul services to Asia by 2022, with services to the Americas next to be targeted.
Boeing shifts focus to seats
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has announced a recent partnership with Adient, to enter the airline seating industry. A new range of seating products will be available for installation on new aircraft produced by Boeing and others.
JQ cuts HBA/AVV route
Due to low passenger demand, Jetstar has confirmed that it will terminate its current four-times-weekly Melbourne Avalon to Hobart service from late March 2018. The change will allow for more Sydney & Adelaide services to operate.
BA catering revamp
British Airways passengers travelling in World Traveller Economy class have a new menu to dine on. The multi-million-dollar investment upgrades the usual three course meal to four courses. Magnum ice-creams will be available on daytime flights from London and a Tuck Box on inbound and overnight flights.
United Airlines to launch Premium Plus
United Airlines is due to release a ‘premium economy’ seat to international flights under the Premium Plus label. The premium service will include wider seats with more recline and legroom with the promise of an upgrade to china dinnerware, free alcoholic beverages, a Saks Fifth Avenue blanket and pillow, an amenity kit and more.
Emirates US$16b Airbus deal
Emirates have just placed a huge order for 36 of the Airbus A380 aircraft, worth US$16 billion. The contract adds to Emirates 101-strong A380 fleet and will be replacement for some of the oldest superjumbos.
IHG and CTM offer double points on stays
Nothing is more productive than business travel that comes with rewards! Ramp up the year now with IHG and CTM’s Accelerate double points offer. Book your stays through CTM to earn double points starting from the second stay. Best of all, there’s no cap on points, so earning towards free nights and gifts is now faster than ever. Simply book through CTM for stays at IHG® Hotels and Resorts in Asia Pacific (excluding Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and China), the Middle East, and Africa between now and 30 April 2018.
Mercure Penrith upgrade
AccorHotels’ Mercure Penrith hotel has undergone a $5 million upgrade of its guestrooms and amenities. The refurbishment included extra-long beds, USB charging ports, improved lighting and backlit mirrors in the guestroom bathrooms.
Holiday Inn Express expansion
InterContinental Hotels Group’s Holiday Inn Express brand is set to undergo a major expansion in Australia after successfully raising $500 million through its fundraising partner. Scheduled for opening in 2018 is a new 170- room hotel in Newcastle as well as two new properties in Melbourne. IHG’s EVEN hotel brand is also set to debut in Sydney and Melbourne later this year.