Airline & Airport News.
Queenstown night flights take off
Same-day business travel is now a possibility for Queenstown trans-Tasman travellers, with night flights between the New Zealand hub and Australia taking off for the first time on 23 June 2017. Virgin Australia is operating night services from Queenstown to Brisbane on Friday and Sunday, while Air New Zealand is operating nightly weekend services to Sydney. Together the two carriers are offering 38 return trans-Tasman services each week over the 2017 ski period.
Air NZ app now offers smart passport service
Recent updates to Air New Zealand’s mobile app allow passengers to scan and store their passport information and sends reminders when expiry dates are nearing. The new features hope to deliver a smarter digital travel experience, streamlining the check-in process and ensuring passport details are correct at the time of booking.
New underpass now open at CHC
The New Zealand Transport Agency has opened a new underpass at Christchurch Airport, relieving road congestion by separating traffic heading to the CHC passenger terminal and the freight terminal. Other road improvements include an overhead bridge bypassing Memorial Avenue, which will directly connect State Highway 1 to the airport when it opens in early 2018.
Changes to Air NZ AKL-HND
Air New Zealand has adjusted the flights between Auckland and Tokyo Haneda, to accommodate more passengers travelling to Tokyo Haneda for the northern winter 2017/18 season. Instead of operating the Boeing 787-9s, the carrier will utilise its Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, offering more Premium Economy and Business Class seating.
Australia cuts Outgoing Passenger Cards
As of 1st July 2017, outbound travellers from Australia no longer need to complete an Outgoing Passenger Card upon departure. This new paperless measure aims to facilitate a more seamless and automated traveller experience, removing unnecessary manual entries with all passenger information electronically stored within the Advance Passenger Information System. The phase out of the Incoming Passenger Card is set to follow, with the Government focused on automated border clearance processes and technologies to manage the 50 million travellers annually by 2020.
New business rewards scheme for Singapore Airlines
Businesses with up to 30 travellers can earn points for every dollar spent on their traveller’s tickets, with Singapore Airlines’ new HighFlyer rewards scheme. HighFlyer points are awarded across all seat classes, as long as the traveller has also linked their personal KrisFlyer membership number to the reservation. The points earned are in addition to the traveller’s personal KrisFlyer miles accrued, and cannot be converted into KrisFlyer miles. For more information on Singapore Airlines’ new HighFlyer rewards scheme, contact your dedicated CTM consultant.
Upgrades to Hong Kong International
Authorities at Hong Kong International Airport have announced plans to upgrade passenger services over the coming months. A new ‘HKG MyFlight App’ will enable passengers to check parking availability, book long-term parking spaces, pay parking fees and access real-time information about traffic conditions at the airport. Free shower facilities and an additional 900 charging points for electronic devices will also be introduced as part of the airport upgrades.
Changes to EY chauffeur service
Etihad Airways has revised its chauffeur policy and will no longer offer free chauffeur services to business class and first class travellers at international destinations. Instead, the new policy offers the services for a small fee to all passenger classes but does not affect any tickets issued before 3 July. Passengers travelling in Etihad’s premium The Residence cabins on A380 services will still receive the free chauffeur service as well as passengers arriving/departing the carrier’s home base, Abu Dhabi.
Beijing’s mega-airport to enable seamless flight connections
Set to open in 2019, Beijing’s new mega-airport will soon become the world’s largest aviation hub, accommodating around 100 million passengers a year with up to seven runways. Business travellers will benefit from seamless flight connections, with the new airport designated as a hub for Sky Alliance members, bringing together China’s three biggest players, Air China, China Eastern and China Southern.
Tighter security measures for US flights
Passengers flying to the USA can expect tougher security checks for laptops, tablets and other portable devices before boarding their flights. New measures introduced by the US Department of Homeland Security have been enforced globally, with overall laptop bans threatened for airlines that do not comply. The tighter security standards aim to raise the global baseline of aviation security and reduce threats to passengers’ safety.
EK introduces new technology at Dubai Int’l Airport
Emirates has introduced a new Smart Wallet system at Dubai International Airport, eliminating the need for travellers to present their passports for arrivals, check-in or departures. The Smart Wallet comes in the form of an app, which travellers can download onto their smartphone. The app integrates information such as the traveller’s personal data, EK ID, passport information and e-gate card data. This world-first technology hopes to enable efficient passenger movements at the airport, reducing departure clearance time to approximately 9-12 seconds per passenger. Furthermore, EK is looking to build biometric technology into the Smart Wallets, allowing travellers to check in to the airline’s First and Business Class lounges through an automated facial recognition process.
Two new destinations get QR’s Qsuite business class
Paris and New York have been confirmed as the next destinations to experience Qatar Airway’s latest Qsuite business class seating. The Doha-Paris and Doha-New York flights will soon offer 42 Qsuites, which will be fitted into the carrier’s Boeing 777 aircraft at the rate of one plane per month. The suites feature sliding doors for privacy and middle seats that can convert into a ‘quad’ of four facing seats for in-flight meetings.
US Laptop ban lifted for EY, EK & QR flights from home airports
Three carriers have recently announced that the US laptop ban has been lifted on flights departing their base airports. Passengers flying with Etihad Airways, Emirates and Qatar Airways can now travel with laptops and other electronic devices as carry-on items, when flying from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha respectively. As a condition of the exemption, passengers will need to undergo enhanced immigration and customs inspections prior to boarding, instead of after arrival.
UA introduces new routes for Premium Business Class
United Airlines will offer its Polaris Premium Business Class seating on its newly-established long haul routes, which are operated by the Boeing 777-300ERs. The routes include San Francisco – Beijing and San Francisco – Frankfurt which will commence on 5 October 2017, and Newark – Narita on 28 October 2017. The Boeing 777-300ER will feature 60 Polaris seats in a 1-2-1 configuration with direct aisle access from all seats and 102 Economy Plus seats.
AUH-LHR an all-A380 operation
Etihad has confirmed its Abu Dhabi-London Heathrow services will become an all-A380 operation from 12 July 2017, meaning business class travellers will fly comfortably in the airline’s famous Business Studio seating. Earlier this month, Etihad moved its New York flights to an all-superjumbo operation, while flights to Sydney to be the carrier’s third all-A380 route from October 2017.
Holiday Inn Auckland Airport undergoing refurbishment
Holiday Inn Auckland Airport is undergoing a full refurbishment of the hotel’s public spaces. Once completed in January 2018, the NZ$3 million project will transform the hotel’s restaurants, function rooms, lobby and swimming pool into a modern contemporary feel.
Crowne Plaza returns to Christchurch
After series of large-scale refurbishment work, Crowne Plaza Christchurch officially reopened on 30 June 2017. Located in the CBD on the corner of Colombo and Armagh Streets, the hotel features a modern interior design in its meeting rooms and 204 hotel rooms, with unlimited free Wi-Fi and nearby conference facilities to be completed by 2020.
First 5-Star Pullman for Rotorua
AccorHotels, the largest hotel operator in New Zealand is expanding its market share with a new five-star Pullman Hotel in Rotorua, set to open in early 2019. The hotel will transform a 9-storey, former government building into a 130-room structure with panoramic views overlooking the city and lake area. Business travellers can take advantage of the business lounge and meeting rooms for conferences and events.
Another Holiday Inn Express in Auckland CBD
A mega tower in Auckland’s CBD has been proposed to home a joint Holiday Inn Express and Even Hotel property. The two InterContinental brands would occupy the 37-storey building, with Holiday Inn Express on the lower levels and Even Hotel on the upper. This expansion will see New Zealand welcome its first Even Hotel, which is currently operating solely in US.
Mantra Group introduces new Masterbrand
Mantra Group has consolidated its 128 hotels across New Zealand, Australia, Bali and Hawaii into a new Masterbrand, Mantra Hotels. Representing the Group’s three brands, Peppers, Mantra and Breakfree, Mantra Hotels has launched an all-inclusive website to showcase the company’s full portfolio and suite of experiences. While each brand will still operate their standalone sites, MantraHotels.com conveniently provides curious connected travellers with the experiences they seek in one location and is reflective of the company’s ongoing expansion strategy into new international markets.
Dubai welcomes new Sofitel hotel
Officially opening its doors in 2019, the Sofitel Dubai Wafi Hotel is set to become an iconic landmark in Dubai’s famous skyline. As the largest Sofitel in the Middle East, the hotel will feature 501 rooms with 86 suites and 97 serviced extended-stay residences. The structure consists of a day spa, in-house gym, and 10 meeting rooms to cater for business travellers from all over the world. The property is located within a convenient distance to The Dubai International Financial Centre, Healthcare City and the city’s International Conference and Exhibition Centre.