Airline & Airport News.
Virgin Australia introduces WiFi on NZ flights
Starting 28 October 2018, travellers on Virgin Australia flights will have access to on-board WiFi, starting with a complimentary 15-minute session. The airline has also announced new benefits for its Velocity Frequent Flyer program on short-haul international flights to destinations such as Bali, Fiji, New Zealand and Samoa. Members will be able to earn points based on dollars spent rather than distance travelled.
Emirates to reduce flights to Australia and New Zealand from April 2019
From April through to May 2019, passengers should expect temporary cutbacks on Emirates’ flights to Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Auckland as runway upgrades in Dubai take place. The airline is currently planning on adjusting capacity to these regions with more details to be announced closer to the date.
Qantas deploys 787s for BNE and MEL
Qantas will utilise its Boeing 787 aircraft between Brisbane and Melbourne as part of its pilot training programme ahead of launching its Brisbane to Los Angeles and New York services. The Dreamliner will be in operation on this route until 31 August 2018 with US-bound flights beginning the following day.
Melbourne Airport Rail
Construction on a rail connection for Melbourne Airport could start within the next four years after the Victorian Government pledged to match their Federal counterpart’s $5 billion investment into the project. The route for the rail line is aimed to offer services to regional travellers and cut the journey time from the airport to the CBD down to 15 minutes.
VA redeveloping Melbourne Airport terminal
Virgin Australia has begun the first phase of its terminal redevelopment project at Melbourne Airport. Travellers are advised to arrive at least 60 minutes prior to their departure time and additional ground crew will be on hand to assist. Stage one is expected to be completed by the end of 2018 in anticipation of a record-breaking Christmas and New Year period.
Air NZ opens lounges to top Qantas flyers
Top tier Qantas frequent flyers will be given access to Air New Zealand’s domestic lounge network from late October 2018. As part of the recently announced alliance between both national carriers, members will also be allowed to bring in a fellow passenger on the same flight and earn rewards dependent on their ticket class.
Singapore Airlines non-stop to Los Angeles
From 2 November 2018, Singapore Airlines will begin non-stop flights to Los Angeles three-times-weekly – departing Singapore on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. This will then move to a daily service from 9 November, with three additional services a week from 7 December. The 17-hour flight will be serviced by an A350-900ULR with 67 business class seats and 94 premium economy seats.
Air NZ to replace fleet and reduce Auckland-Adelaide flights
Air New Zealand will phase out all A320 aircraft on its Auckland-Adelaide route from late October 2018 in favour of newer Boeing 787-9s. The change to an all-Dreamliner fleet will also see the airline reduce its frequency on this route to four-five flights per week, down from the current six.
Air Niugini launches China, expands South Pacific routes
Air Niugini will launch services to China and the Marshall Islands from September 2018. The carrier will also add a Micronesia stop on its Tokyo service in an effort to boost tourism in Papua New Guinea (PNG) by connecting East Asia and Queensland to the South Pacific islands. The additional services will also help in reinforcing Air Niugini’s new hub strategy by offering one-stop connections in markets currently underserved by major airlines.
China Southern adds seasonal Cairns flights
China Southern Airlines will increase the frequency of its Guangzhou-Cairns route four times weekly starting 15 December 2018. The airline will operate A330-300 aircraft until 24 February 2019 in an effort to capitalise on an increase in local tourism to the region during the summer season.
Qantas Business Rewards members who earn 500 points on eligible flights can receive 5000 bonus points. Not a member? Sign up today for FREE. Read on for details: Book an eligible flight through your preferred CTM channel to earn 500 QBR points and 5000 bonus points will be credited to your account. Non-members can sign up here for FREE (saving of $89.50). T&Cs here.
Air Canada named best airline in North America
Skytrax has named Air Canada Best Airline in North America at its 2018 World Airline Awards. This is the seventh win in this category of the passenger survey awards for the airline in nine years.
Air China suspends flights to Brisbane until 2019
Air China will temporarily halt direct flights between Beijing and Brisbane from September 2018 until 17 January 2019. Passengers will still be able to fly to and from other Australian cities.
New look JFK lounge for Emirates
After being closed for the first half of the year, the Emirates lounge at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport has been officially reopened to its First Class, Business Class and top Skywards Frequent Flyers. The upgraded surroundings boast a fully-equipped business centre, with touch-screen workstations and complimentary WiFi catering for up to 250 guests.
Cathay Pacific partners with Tourism Australia
Cathay Pacific Airways and Tourism Australia have signed a three-year memorandum of understanding to promote the domestic business travel market. It is hoped that the strategic agreement will further increase corporate visitor numbers from China, with last year recording over 106,000 arrivals to Australia.
Delta Airlines to launch new Delta One Business Class Suites
Delta Airlines will launch its enclosed Delta One business class suites on the Sydney-Los Angeles route next year. The suites, which feature first class-style sliding doors, are being updated in one of the airline’s Boeing 777-200LR jets. Exact details of the scheduled launch will be published later.
New boutique hotel for South Australia
The final stage of the $14 million redevelopment of Mount Lofty Estate is approaching expected completion in early 2019. The “Sequoia” stage, which is part of the AccorHotels’ MGallery by Sofitel brand, will add 15 luxury villas with private balconies offering views of the Piccadilly Valley, all within 15 minutes of the Adelaide’s CBD. The property’s Piccadilly Panorama Event Centre is also under redesign and expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Pan Pacific Melbourne opens
Pan Pacific Hotels group has opened its second Australian property, after a 12-month refurbishment of the former Hilton South Wharf Melbourne. The newly rebranded Pan Pacific Melbourne boasts an impressive facelift to most of the existing features and direct access to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, making it a leading choice for event and leisure travel.
FRS joins AccorHotels rewards
The individual rewards and loyalty programs of Raffles, Fairmont and Swissôtel Hotels and Resorts have now officially joined the award-winning Le lub AccorHotels. This is welcome news for members who will now be able to earn points at AccorHotel properties globally. All three brands were initially acquired by the parent group in December 2016.
Goulburn Valley’s new Mitchelton Hotel and Spa joins MGallery by Sofitel
MGallery by Sofitel has added the Mitchelton Hotel and Spa to its network. Located on the banks of the Goulburn Valley, the $16 million hotel is home to 58-rooms, 4-treatment room day spa, restaurant, 20m lap pool and extensive banquet and meeting facilities.
Art Series Hotel brings back The World’s Latest Checkout
From 16 July until 19 September 2018, Art Series Hotel is bringing back their hugely popular World’s Latest Checkout. Guests can extend their check-out time to 1pm, 3pm, early evening or the next day – until the next guest checks in to the room, providing they call reception between 8am and 10am.
Complimentary breakfast at Mantra Tullamarine
Guests at the Mantra Tullamarine will be treated to a complimentary breakfast for bookings until 27 September 2018. The contemporary hotel boasts a fully equipped gym, sauna, restaurant and conferencing facility, all within a four-minute drive from Melbourne Airport. Contact your CTM consultant for more information.
IHG voco Yarra Valley
IHG has signed the second location to their new upscale hotel brand, voco. The 6 story, 170-room new build is set to open in 2021 and will be the first globally-branded, upscale hotel in the Yarra Valley. Its features include an on-site gin distillery, a provedore that serves and sells local Yarra Valley produce, plus large conference and meeting facilities, a gym and onsite bar.
QT Perth opens
Continuing its hotel boom, Perth has welcomed the opening of QT Perth. With a focus on stories of the west, the lobby is filled with local cacti and jarrah floors. Staying true to the region the hotel will serve West Australian wines and produce as well as including distinctive local touches like local wildflowers. QT’s signature black and gold pallet can be found throughout, especially in the Santini bar and grill.