Airline & Airport News.
Qantas re-deploys A380 to Hong Kong
Qantas’ Sydney-Hong Kong route has welcomed back the A380 aircraft, which will operate the route until 16 August on most QF127/QF128 services. As an extra perk, the A380’s first-class suites will be available to Chairman’s Lounge members, Platinum One and Platinum frequent flyers who are travelling on a business class ticket, as no first-class seats are sold on the Hong Kong route. The suites will offer the same menu and service as business class but provide an added touch of luxury and more space.
Virgin’s SYD-HKG kicks off
Daily Sydney-Hong Kong services have now commenced with Virgin Australia, with the inaugural flight taking off on 2 July 2018. Passengers can enjoy easy access to 17 destinations in China or to London, with Hong Kong serving as an important gateway to key destinations.
New powder requirements for all flights leaving Australia from 30 June 2018
As of 30 June 2018, all international flights leaving Australia are subject to new restrictions to powders in carry-on luggage. These new restrictions for carry-on powders are as follows: There is no Australian Government limit on organic powders, such as food and powdered baby formula; There are quantity restrictions on the amount of inorganic powder that can be carried, such as salt, talcum powder and sand; Inorganic powders must be in containers of 350 millilitres (volume), 350 grams (weight) or less. For flights entering the US this restriction is 340 grams (12oz); The total volume of inorganic powders must not exceed 350 millilitres, 350 grams per person. For flights entering the US this restriction is 340 grams (12oz); Passengers cannot tip powders out to fall under the 350ml threshold as the restriction is calculated on total container volume. For a comprehensive guide to these new Australian Government restrictions and a list of organic and inorganic powders examples please click here.
Qantas shifts to digital lounge and Qantas Club passes
Eligible passengers will no longer need to carry physical Qantas Club and business lounge passes, as the airline and all its credit card partners are now shifting towards digital copies. The digital lounge invitations are stored in your online Qantas Frequent Flyer account and can be shared with fellow frequent flyers by transferring the invite to their QFF account. Qantas has been issuing digital passes to its Silver-tier Frequent Flyers and Qantas Credit card holders for a while now, however the complete transition to digital across its credit card partner network is now in place.
Virgin confirms Etihad lounge for SYD-HKG
With Virgin’s daily Sydney-Hong Kong services taking flight from 2 July, the airline has confirmed that business class passengers, Velocity Platinum and Gold frequent flyers can access the Etihad Airways business lounge at Sydney Airport’s T1 international terminal.
Qantas boosts Singapore, Jakarta, Noumea routes
A third Qantas service between Sydney and Singapore will launch on 14 December 2018 and operate on Mondays, Fridays and Sundays, as demand for travel between Australia and Asia continues to rise. Qantas’ Sydney-Jakarta and Sydney-Noumea routes will also see a boost with an additional flight on Thursdays and Wednesdays respectively.
VA Lounge member access extended to post-flight
Virgin Australia has now extended its domestic lounge access to allow VA Lounge members to visit after arriving on their VA flight, in line with the airline’s business class passengers and Velocity Gold and Platinum frequent flyers. The access will be limited to 60 minutes post-flight for Lounge members and Velocity frequent flyers, while business class travellers can still enjoy the unlimited time restrictions.
Qantas to deploy Boeing 747 on SYD-PER
From late July, Qantas will deploy a Boeing 747 aircraft on the Sydney to Perth route, with Perth to Singapore also getting an upgrade to an Airbus A330 aircraft. The A330 will fly on the PER-SIN route from 22 July until late October, offering the carrier’s famous Business Suite product.
New VA lounge for Adelaide
A brand-new Virgin Australia lounge has been planned for Adelaide Airport, as part of a terminal expansion project expected to be completed by 2021. While the details of the lounge are yet to be released, passengers can look forward to other enhancements in the terminal including more retail and dining options and a dedicated international departure gate.
Virgin Australia and Etihad to enhance partnership
Plans to expand Virgin Australia and Etihad Airways’ strategic partnership have been confirmed, with the Abu Dhabi-based carrier announcing that discussions are underway between the two. The strategic and operational boost of the alliance comes as demand for travel between Australia and Abu Dhabi remains strong.
Qantas launches daily Melbourne-Denpasar service
A new daily Melbourne-Denpasar service has commenced operation with Qantas on a two-class Boeing 737-800. The service is operating in conjunction with the airline’s existing Sydney-Denpasar service, and Jetstar’s Melbourne-Denpasar route.
VA resumes daily MEL-HKG
Virgin Australia has announced it will resume daily flights between Melbourne and Hong Kong from 28 October 2018. Flight VA69 will depart Melbourne at 11am every day, with the return flight VA68 departing Hong Kong at 7:50pm.
Qatar’s Qsuite to Sydney and Canberra
As of 1 July, Qatar Airway’s highly acclaimed Qsuite business class product has launched on Boeing 777-300ER flights to Sydney and Canberra. The Qsuite is offered up to four-times weekly on flights QR906/QR907, with daily Qsuites available from 1 August 2018.
Cathay releases new business class meal service
Cathay Pacific’s Boeing 777 flights to Chicago are the first to receive the airline’s newest business class dining concept, with Sydney to follow in February 2019 and the rest of Australia in May 2019. The new service includes individually-plated meals with three starter choices and up to six main course choices.
Air New Zealand’s A321neo could bump up trans-Tasman by 25%
Air New Zealand has announced it is looking into configuring its new A321neo fleet to accommodate 214 seats for trans-Tasman flights. The airline’s existing A320ceo aircraft currently offers 171 seats, which would see an increase on the route by 25%. The carrier’s new A320 and A321neo aircraft are due to be operational from late 2018.
United to cut back on Houston-Sydney
United Airlines plans to cut back on its Houston-Sydney frequency from seven to four or five times weekly from 6 August 2018 to 25 September 2018.
Cathay launches in-flight Wi-Fi on 777s
Cathay Pacific is rolling out in-flight Wi-Fi across its Boeing 777-300ER fleet. The first of the jets to be fitted was deployed last month, with the entire international fleet to be fitted by the end of 2020. CX is charging the same pricing as the airline’s Airbus A350s (US$10 – 1 hour, US$13 – six hours, $US20 – entire flight), however the 777s are said to offer a much faster connection for passengers.
United Airlines opens Houston Lounge
The latest United Airlines’ Polaris business class lounge officially opened at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston on Friday 29 June 2018. The Houston lounge is the fourth of the upgraded lounge network, with LAX the next location to receive an upgrade from November 2018.
Sydney Airport App no longer available
The Sydney Airport app has been pulled from the Android and Apple app stores, after a decline in usage led to the airport stating it will no longer develop or support the smartphone software. The app which provided flight status updates and airport guides has been replaced by alternative channels such as the airport’s mobile-friendly website and specific airline apps.
New Zealand Government proposes increased airport security
The New Zealand Government has announced plans to tighten border security at international airports by requiring additional information from most passengers prior to arriving in New Zealand. The new measures will require travellers to apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) for most international visitors who are granted a visa on arrival in New Zealand. A final decision will be made by September 2018.
SYD introduces a flexology centre
Sydney Airport has partnered with Stretch Studio to implement a new flexology centre at T1 International terminal. The initiative has been designed to enhance mobility and wellbeing of passengers through assisted stretching before boarding.
Adelaide Airport upgrade
An $165million expansion is in the works for Adelaide Airport, expected to be completed in 2021. The expansion will include an upgraded international arrival and departure area and a larger retail and dining space. The focus of the upgrade is on international traveller, with larger space for immigration processing, expanded security screening, extended luggage bels and a larger duty-free precinct.
Vancouver Airport multi-billion-dollar expansion
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has announced it will invest C$9.2 billion expanding the airport over the next 20 years. The plan will see 75 major projects completed over the period, including terminal expansions, as well as the construction of new parking and car rental facilities.
IHG launches new upscale hotel brand
InterContinental Hotels Group has announced a brand-new hotel brand to launch from late 2018. The hotel group plans to open more than 200 properties under the ‘voco’ brand over the next 10 years, with Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise one of the first to reopen under the new brand.
Novotel Geelong announces $3.5m upgrade
A $3.5 million upgrade has been announced for Novotel Geelong’s 109 guest rooms, maintaining the waterfront hotel’s prestigious reputation. The renovation project is underway in stages, with the full project expected to be completed in October 2018.
QT Perth to audition new staff
QT Hotels and Resorts’ newest property in Perth is recruiting buskers, street artists and entertainers in partnership with the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). The recruitment drive aims to find staff who represent the QT brand – full of energy, creativity and a customer-centric focus. QT Perth officially opens its doors on 1 August 2018.
Introducing The Park Hotel, Brisbane (Formerly the Watermark)
Event Hospitality & Entertainment has entered into an agreement with Prime Hotels to manage The Park Hotel, Brisbane (formerly The Watermark). As of the 20th June 2018, the hotel has been rebranded to The Park Hotel, Brisbane and managed alongside EVENT’s current collection of hotels and resorts across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Medina Serviced Apartments rebrand to Adina Serviced Apartments
As of 2 July 2018, Medina Serviced Apartments Sydney Martin Place, Medina Serviced Apartments Canberra Kingston and Medina Serviced Apartments Canberra James Court have been rebranded to Adina Serviced Apartments. This rebrand has increased the Adina footprint in Sydney to ten hotels and in Canberra to three hotels, and the addition of Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney and Adina Apartment Hotel Canberra announced to open in 2020, will offer more choices in these two cities.
IHG opens 1000th hotel in EMEA
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®) has reached a global milestone with the opening of their 1000th hotel across the Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa (EMEAA) region. InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort in Vietnam offers 459 luxurious beachfront rooms, suites and villas, with state-of-the-art meeting facilities and six restaurants and bars.
Pullman Adelaide unveils executive lounge
Pullman Adelaide will soon unveil a brand new executive lounge, named The Hindmarsh Club. The lounge will offer business travellers a tranquil space to catch-up on work tasks, meet with clients and colleagues, or simply relax in style. The lounge is set to open by the end of the year.
15% off SKYCITY Auckland with CTM for July
For the month of July, CTM customers who book and stay with SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre for two nights or more will receive 15% off the best available rate! Only valid for bookings made via CTM through your usual booking procedures. Offer ends 31 July 2018.