New restrictions on MacBook Pro laptops
Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar Airways have all banned Apple MacBook Pro laptops from being brought on board as checked baggage following global concerns about recalled batteries. Passengers will now be required to carry laptops as part of their cabin baggage and must be switched off for the duration of the flight. It is not known how long the travel ban will remain in place, however, airline safety regulators in the U.S., Thailand, Singapore and India have also placed a no-fly ban on the 15-inch model from being brought onto the domestic flights either as carry-on or cargo.
Qantas introduces new cabin baggage allowances
New changes to Qantas’ cabin baggage policy will see customers travelling in first, business and premium economy on international services now entitled to the following:
- 1 x 115cm – maximum 10kg; or
- 2 x 105cm – maximum 10kg for one piece and a combined total weight of 14kg; or
- 1 x 105cm – maximum 10kg and one 185cm non-rigid garment bag, with a combined total weight of 14kg.
Qantas to invest in regional discounts
Residents in 16 regional and remote towns across Australia will benefit from a major expansion to Qantas’ discounted fares program after the national carrier announced plans to invest up to $10 million annually in-flight discounts. Qantas currently provides residents flying between their home town and the nearest capital city with discounts of at least 20-30% – with discounted fares starting at $175-$325 per sector when booking return journeys. While these discounts will remain, bigger discounts will now apply to fares booked during busy periods and at the last minute. The maximum residents will pay will be approximately $400 per sector when booking return journeys (approx. $800 return).
Singapore to axe paper forms
Singapore is planning to phase out paperwork for international travellers, shifting instead to a digital arrivals card completed online or through a smartphone app. The trial is currently limited to passengers arriving on Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Jetstar Asia and AirAsia, along with some coach and ferry passengers to the island. Travellers can head here to submit their details within 14 days of arrival in Singapore. Travellers who enter Singapore multiple times in that 14-day period only need to submit one application to cover up to three visits. More information is available here.
Air New Zealand boosts Singapore services
Air New Zealand has confirmed plans to boost capacity on Auckland-Singapore services with Singapore Airlines. The joint venture extension plans for an additional 35,000 seats between March 2020 and October 2020. Air New Zealand also plans to increase frequencies from 12 to 14 times weekly, operating Boeing 787 equipment, with Singapore Airlines replacing its Boeing 777-300 with A380 equipment.
Virgin Australia Brisbane lounge gets an opening date
Virgin Australia’s long-awaited lounge at Brisbane Airport has now opened. The 108-seat space, dubbed “My Lounge” and operated by UK-based No1 Lounges will be located adjacent to Gate 77, towards the end of the international terminal’s northern concourse. Travellers will be provided with a dining area with a grazing menu, barista-pulled coffee and a self-pour bar, in keeping with the operator’s casual vibe. It will be open to Virgin Australia Business Class passengers, Velocity Platinum and Gold frequent flyers, Virgin Australia Lounge program members and other travellers on any airline, at $60 for online pre-bookings or $70 as a walk-up rate at the lounge itself.
Emirates adjusts Australian frequencies
Emirates has announced plans to adjust a number of its services to Australia operating from this November. On the Dubai-Adelaide route: 11 November 2019 to 20 November 2019, reduced from seven to five times weekly; Dubai-Brisbane: 6 November 2019 to 22 November 2019, nonstop service reduces from twice to once daily and Dubai-Sydney 6 November 2019 to 20 November 2019, Boeing 777-300ER replaces A380 once daily, resulting in daily A380 and twice-daily 777-300ER operation.
Sydney Airport reopens express lane
Sydney Airport has reopened the Express Path departures lane at its T1 international terminal after construction work around the area forced it to close down in May 2019. The Express Path was reintroduced at the end of August 2019 for premium and top-tier frequent flyers allowing them to avoid extended wait times and extensive queues when flying out of Sydney.
Air New Zealand increases Taipei
Air New Zealand will increase its Auckland-Taipei Taoyuan frequency from three to four times weekly, between 5 April 2020 and 26 April 2020. The service was launched in November 2018 on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner departing Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Additionally, Air New Zealand will seasonally adjust the equipment on its Auckland-Osaka Kansai service, to a Boeing 777-200ER effective 29 December 2019.
MileagePlus Shopping launches in Australia
United Airlines’ MileagePlus members can now earn extra loyalty miles by shopping online with the launch of MileagePlus Shopping in Australia. MileagePlus members can log in and shop across over 200 participating retailers, with their purchases tracked and the miles applied.
Mercure Sydney Rouse Hill opens
Accor has opened its latest Mercure in Sydney’s north-western suburb of Rouse Hill, cementing its ongoing push into suburban regions of major cities. The newbuild 78-room property is located 45 minutes from Sydney International Airport and Sydney CBD along Windsor Road. It is also directly adjacent to The Fiddler – one of the area’s most established and popular dining and entertainment venues – dating back to the 19th century. The property offers a mix of Deluxe, Family Rooms and Suites along with four accessible rooms over its four floors. Guest can also take advantage of the onsite fitness centre, swimming pool, conference and event spaces, with dining provided by The Fiddler next door.
New Avani hotel for Adelaide
Two years after the entry of the Avani brand into Australia and New Zealand, Minor Hotels has announced the opening of a hotel in Adelaide and a second apartment hotel in Melbourne last month. Avani Adelaide Residences is set to feature 76 studios and multi-bedroom apartments, each with kitchen and laundry facilities. The property also features a heated swimming pool, cinema, library, fitness centre with steam room, sauna and golf simulator. Meanwhile, the Avani Melbourne Box Hill Residences will offer 75 one and two-bedroom apartments with full kitchens as well as a heated infinity pool, sauna and rooftop recreation facilities with views over the Dandenong Ranges. This property is conveniently located near a number of local institutions as well as the Monash and Melbourne universities.
Novotel Geelong upgrades
Novotel Geelong has revealed its new, locally-inspired upgrade featuring reflections of the surrounding ocean and art across the four-star property. All 109 guest rooms have been refurbished with a new paint scheme, carpet, curtains, chaise lounges, feature walls, smart TVs and furnishings at a cost of $3.8 million. The hotel provides guests with free Wi-Fi, an indoor pool, fitness centre and 24/7 reception, all 20 minutes from Avalon Airport or 60 minutes from Melbourne.
Oaks Wellington opening in September 2019
The newest property within the Oaks Hotels and Resorts’ portfolio will begin welcoming guests in Wellington from September 2019. The newbuild, nine-storey property will feature 226 rooms with guest facilities including a fitness centre, meeting rooms, restaurant and bar. This opening takes the total New Zealand portfolio to five, in addition to the two properties currently in operation in both Auckland and Queenstown.
Next opens Melbourne Southbank hotel
Next Story Group has officially unveiled its latest portfolio addition with the opening of the brand-new 167 Hotel Melbourne Southbank last week. With 162 rooms across four room types, 24-hour Grab & Go bar, free Wi-Fi and secure offsite parking, the property is an ideal pick for business travellers looking to stay close to the CBD.
Atura’s Adelaide Airport to open
Adelaide Airport will be the first Australian airport to welcome the Atura Hotel brand, the property will feature 165 guest rooms and will integrate seamlessly with the airport plaza and terminal. There is a business centre as well as eight flexible function and meeting spaces, plus a passageway for guest drop off and collection. Ensuring they’re across the needs of modern business and leisure travellers Atura will have 24-hour reception and free Wi-Fi as well as all rooms being furnished with EVENT’s signature Dream Beds.
Sydney boutique hotel, The Ultimo
Freshly refurbished, modern accommodation in the vibrant Chinatown district, The Ultimo is the latest in boutique hotels from Event Hospitality and Entertainment. Featuring 95 rooms, complimentary Wi-Fi, a self-service laundry and lobby lounge, the property is a short walk from the bus and light rail stop. It’s only a 5-minute walk from the Central Train Station, making it easy to get around Sydney.
Accor’s dual-branded, The Hive begins construction
Construction has broken ground for Melbourne Airport‘s first hotel since 2002 with a dual-branded Accor hotel. The property will offer 248 rooms under the four-star Novotel Hotels brand and 216 marketed as the three-star Ibis Styles in an L-shape building, conveniently located within a brand new precinct known as ‘The Hive’ near Terminal 4. The hotel will also provide conference and meeting rooms, café, bar and combined restaurant facilities once open in early 2021.
The Pensione Hotel Perth
Set in the Perth CBD, the newly refurbished budget boutique hotel is located moments away from Perth’s major shopping centre, Elizabeth Quay, Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre and a short walk to the Swan River, Northbridge and Chinatown. The hotel provides onsite parking and guest laundry, complimentary Wi-Fi and 24-hour reception.
MEETINGS 2021 confirmed for Christchurch
The 2021 instalment of MEETINGS, New Zealand’s annual business events showcase, will be held in Christchurch for the first time in 13 years. MEETINGS 2021 will take place at the city’s new convention centre, Te Pae Christchurch, from 12-14 May 2021 following a welcome function at Christchurch Town Hall hosted by Vbase. Meanwhile, the 2020 showcase has been confirmed for Auckland next April with potential exhibitors already demonstrating strong advance interest.
Work begins on Wellington centre
Construction has begun on the brand new Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre (WCEC) that also combines public space with a public exhibition gallery and cafes. The three-storey purpose-built venue will provide around 17,750 sqm of floor space, and is expected to be completed by 2022. Figures released by WellingtonNZ say the convention centre in its current form will attract 272,000 people, deliver an annual $44.6m benefit to the city and a $30.2m benefit to the wider region every year.
Cvent officially announces a new partnership
Event technology provider Cvent has officially announced its partnership with the New Zealand Events Association following the provision of solutions to simplify and streamline event registrations for the popular NZEA seminar series since the beginning of the year.