Airline & Airport News.
QF in-flight Wi-fi roll-out begins
On Friday 7 April, Qantas commenced the roll-out of its in-flight Wi-Fi service, with one Boeing 737 the first to be fitted. The airline has planned a gradual rollout in order to fine-tune the service but is hoping to complete installation across 80 aircrafts, including Airbus A330s and Boeing 737s, by the end of 2018. Up to 15,000 passengers per month will trial the Wi-Fi in its beta stage, will you be one of them?
VA to launch in-flight Wi-Fi this month
After much anticipation, Virgin has announced that it will launch its in-flight Wi-Fi service from mid-April this year. The service will be offered in partnership with Optus and Gogo, with downloads speeds of up to 70Mbps. The first routes to receive the service are select flights between Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, who will test the service for free during an initial three-month testing period.
QF boosts Sydney-Queenstown route
Qantas has announced that two extra weekly flights between Sydney and Queenstown will operate during July and August this year. The additional flights are a response to higher than expected demand during the ski season and will take total capacity up to 10 flights per week.
VA announces launch date for MEL-HKG
Virgin Australia has announced the launch date for its new direct service between Melbourne and Hong Kong. From 5 July 2017, the flights will run five days a week on an Airbus A330, offering business class travellers spacious seats with direct aisle access for everyone. Tickets will go on sale from 22 March 2017.
QF receives approval for unlimited China route
The Australian Government has granted Qantas unlimited capacity and frequency to China for a ten-year term. Effective 23 March 2017, the agreement also includes Qantas’ low-cost subsidiary JetStar.
VA introduces Economy X
Designed to provide an enhanced travelling experience for Virgin Australia’s passengers, the airline’s new Economy X seating will launch by the end of May this year. In addition to an extra 3 inches of legroom, Economy X passengers will also enjoy priority boarding and priority screening, with guaranteed first meal choice for the longer-haul flights. Over the coming months, VA’s full Boeing 737 fleet will be reconfigured to accommodate up to 30 extra leg room seats. Economy X fares are now on sale.
Air NZ introduces 787 to Adelaide
Air New Zealand will soon introduce a Boeing 787-9 aircraft on its Adelaide-Auckland route, increasing current capacity by 23%. The new Dreamliner will operate thrice-weekly from October 2017, on flights NZ191/192, offering Business Premier and Premium Economy seating for the first time.
VA’s top tier frequent flyers get back LAX lounge access
Velocity Gold and Platinum members once again have lounge access at LAX, thanks to new lounge agreements between Virgin Australia, Etihad Airways and Emirates. From 21 March, Virgin’s Gold frequent flyers have full access to Etihad’s First and Business Class Lounge, while Platinum members will be directed to Emirates First and Business Class Lounge.
SQ deploys A350 on MEL-SIN year-round
Singapore Airlines will deploy its Airbus A350 on the daily Melbourne-Singapore route for a year-round schedule. The A350 features SQ’s latest business class seats with a spacious cabin and generous storage.
EK expands paid access to global lounge network
Some exciting news for those travelling on Emirates flights and codeshare flights! Paid access to Emirates’ global lounge network has been expanded to include guests of Gold or Platinum Skywards members. At a cost of $US100, travellers accompanying top tier Skywards members can visit the lounges for a maximum of four hours.
Cathay A350s to PER and MEL this year
Cathay Pacific will introduce A350 aircrafts on its daily Perth service from 29 October this year, featuring its updated business class and all-new premium economy seats. A second A350 will also be deployed on the airline’s Melbourne leg, commencing on the same day.
Delta changes terminals at LAX
A terminal reshuffle at LAX will see Delta Airlines moving from Terminals 5 and 6 to Terminals 2 and 3. The changeover will take place from 14 – 16 May 2017, allowing faster connections to Delta’s partner airlines, less ramp congestion plus access to new restaurants and facilities.
US and UK ban devices from Middle Eastern and African flights
The US and UK have banned large portable devices such as laptops, tablets, and eBook readers, from carry-on luggage on flights from Middle Eastern and African countries. For more information on what countries are affected by the ban click here.
Emirates’ offers laptop handling service
In response to the UK and US portable device travel ban, Emirates is offering passengers a laptop handling and collection service pre-boarding. The service allows travellers to use their devices in the terminal until shortly before boarding, where they will be collected by the airline and stored in the hold for the duration of the flight. The collection service gives travellers more time with their devices in the terminal, rather than departing with them when they check-in their luggage.
In-flight solution to device ban
In response to the UK and US devices ban, Emirates and Qatar airlines have introduced electronic loan services to minimise the impact of the ban to business travellers during their flights. The airlines are offering laptops and tablets to use in-flight, equipped with Microsoft Office and USB ports, allowing passengers to download their work to the device and continue working during their journey.
EK boosts Dubai-Bali
From 2 July 2017, Emirates will be adding a second daily flight between Dubai and Bali, in response to growing demand for the service. The flights EK360/361 will operate on Boeing 777-300ERs.
BA introduces biometrics at Heathrow
Travellers flying with British Airways can now fast-track their airport security checks at London Heathrow, with facial recognition technology replacing traditional passport and boarding pass scans. Three gates at the airport’s Terminal 5 are now using the system with another 33 planned to roll-out in the next few months.
SQ adjusts MEL-SIN route
Singapore Airlines will shuffle operations of its Melbourne-Singapore route by replacing the current Boeing 777-200s with Airbus A350-900s from 11 May 2017. The airline will later deploy its A380s on the route from 30 June 2017, on flights SQ218/217.
SQ celebrates 50 years in Australia
On 5 April 1967, Singapore Airlines (then known as Malaysia-Singapore Airlines) commenced its inaugural services to Australia, touching down in Perth and Sydney. The aircraft carried a total of 70 passengers across a two-class configuration. Today, on its 50-year anniversary, Singapore Airlines will operate 36 flights in and out of Australia, carrying a total of 10,470 passengers.
BA releases more details about the new Club World business seat
British Airways has revealed more details about its new Club World business seat, which will make its debut in 2019. With fully-lie flat functionality, extra storage compartments and direct aisle access for all, the business seats will be fitted on the carrier’s Airbus A350s and Boeing 787-10s from 2019, and may be fitted on some of BA’s existing fleet later on.
China Southern adds second daily flight to LHR
From 1 June 2017, China Southern will add a second daily service to London Heathrow from Guanghou, as part of its Canton Route service. The new flights will provide further connections to Australia and New Zealand, operating on the new Boeing 787s.
Melbourne welcomes new Adina Hotel
TFE Hotels has announced the opening of a new Adina Grand Apartment Hotel in Melbourne’s West End. With 92-apartments across seven levels, the hotel is one of several hotels to open over the next five years within the Adina brand. The property is expected to open in late 2019.
New Generation Vibe for Sydney
TFE has revealed plans to develop a new property in Sydney’s CBD under the hotel’s Vibe brand. Vibe Hotel Darling Harbour will offer 145 rooms and suites, with a rooftop bar and infinity edge pool. Expected to open in 2019, the 4.5-star hotel is part of the brand refresh project, joining two other new-generation Vibe Hotels opening in North Sydney and Central Hobart.
BNE Airport hotels a win for business travellers
Accor’s Ibis and Pullman hotels at Brisbane Airport will be taking bookings from May 2017, with both hotels on track for their scheduled opening on 1 October 2017. The properties are located within walking distance to the Brisbane Domestic Terminal, and are connected by the Brisbane Airport Conference and Meeting Centre, boasting 1,735m2 of event space with capacity for up to 600 guests.
Mecure Alice Springs upgrade
The Chifley Alice Springs Resort will soon be rebranded as Mecure Alice Springs Resort, following a $2 million upgrade of its pool and gardens. The new addition to AccorHotel’s portfolio is scheduled for completion in July 2017.
Best Western opens new hotel in Tokyo
Best Western hotels are set to open the Best Western Tokyo Nishikasai Grande on Saturday 1 April 2017. The 105-room hotel is a perfect stop for business travellers, located near the central districts of Marunouchi and Ginza and featuring a 24-hour business centre.