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Business Travel News: February 2020

Airlines/Airports.

Qantas launch Sydney-Ballina service

Qantas has announced plans to launch a seven times weekly Sydney-Ballina service, operating Q300 equipment from 29 March this year. The route will suit business travellers with Ballina services departing in the morning and an evening return from Sydney.

Qantas moves Melbourne-Tokyo flights to Haneda Airport

As of March 2020, Qantas will switch its Melbourne flights to Tokyo from Narita to Haneda Airport. Passengers who have booked to fly to Narita will automatically be moved to Haneda Airport. The new route will be popular with business travellers, who will save more than an hour of transit time to get into the city.

British Airways invests in airport automation

British Airways has announced from 2020 it will trial Al-powered autonomous robots at Heathrow Airport T5 to help customers who travel through the terminal each day. The robots are programmed to interact with passengers in multiple languages using the latest translation technology to answer thousands of questions and real-time flight information. Additionally, using geo-location technology the robot will move around the airport terminal freely and safely, escorting customers to specific locations. Read more

Qantas opens pilot academy in Toowoomba 

On 29 January Qantas opened its new Pilot Academy at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport. The academy will have the capacity to train up to 250 pilots p/a, building a pipeline for Qantas, Jetstar and QantasLink and the broader industry’s needs for skilled aviators. As well as increasing the amount of female and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pilots. The training facilities comprise a 1500sqm hangar, four flight training simulators, classrooms as well as purpose-built pre-flight briefing and flight scheduling areas.

Adelaide Airport confirms stage one terminal expansion to open 

Adelaide Airport confirmed the first section of its expanded terminal is scheduled to open on 26 February 2020, including six new food, beverage and retail concessions as well as the relocation of airlines and regulatory bodies to new offices.

Hotels.

Accor announces Mercure Sunshine Coast Kawana Waters 

Best Western Plus Lake Kawana Waters has been rebranded Mercure Sunshine Coast Kawana Waters. The property will offer 81 suites spanning four floors, a full restaurant and bar along with two separate function rooms (that can be combined) and plenty of parking. The area is set to see an increase in business events with the completion of the $10 million Sunshine Coast Convention Centre, as part of the Novotel Sunshine Coast Resort.

IHG introduces voco brand to Auckland 

IHG will introduce its sustainable lifestyle brand, voco into the New Zealand market for the first time. The brand will debut in Auckland with a newbuild hotel from 2021. voco Auckland City will offer 200 rooms and will sit as part of a dual-branded complex with a 294-room Holiday Inn Express. The sustainable lifestyle focus will see a major presence and focus on recycling.  Beds will be constructed using recycled plastic bottles, locally-sourced food and paperless reception services. Room facilities will also include water-efficient showers with refillable large bathroom amenities, energy-saving lighting and user-friendly technology.

Rydges Sydney Airport

Two new dining facilities and a revamped lobby have been opened at Rydges Sydney Airport as part of a renovation and upgrade project carried out over the past few months. The new signature restaurant, The Ascot, showcases Australian produce such as Northern Territory barramundi and Fremantle octopus as well as locally grown beef. Along with a new bar, Smithy’s, which will serve many locally brewed blends, the new hotel lobby continues the Australian theme, featuring Tasmanian oak timber and Australian marble.