Airline & Airport News.
Qantas unveils first Boeing Dreamliner
Qantas has revealed its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, Great Southern Land, at a ceremony at the Boeing factory in Seattle. The game-changing aircraft features next-generation Business Class seating, and is more fuel efficient providing new opportunities for long-haul routes. The Dreamliner arrived in Sydney on Friday 20 October, after a celebratory flyover of Sydney Harbour.
Singapore Airlines reveals A380 Business Class
After much anticipation, Singapore Airlines has revealed its new Airbus A380 business class seats at Singapore’s Suntec Convention Centre. The second-generation seats will be fitted in a 1-2-1 configuration, and convert into fully lie-flat beds spanning 1.98m. Special features include a ‘sun deck’ reclining position for watching entertainment, a 45cm touchscreen monitor, and for seats 11D/F, 91D/F and 96D/F, the ability to convert into a double bed layout. The upgrades come as a result of a four-year development program, and will be deployed across 19 of SQ’s A380 aircraft.
VA’s in-flight Wi-Fi to launch this month on US flights
In-flight Wi-Fi will soon be available on select Virgin Australia flights to Los Angeles. The airline’s first Boeing 777-300ER to be fitted with the service will be shared between the Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to Los Angeles routes from late November 2017. The remainder of the Boeing 777-300ER fleet will complete installation by April 2018.
Qantas to deploy 787-9 on BNE-LAX
Qantas has announced it plans to deploy its Boeing 787-9 aircraft on its Brisbane-Los Angeles route by the end of 2018, which will then continue to New York. This will be the 787’s third international route, including the Melbourne-Los Angeles route to launch from 12 December 2017, and Perth-London from 24 March 2018.
VA plans for second A330 route to Asia
Virgin Australia is aiming to launch a second route to Asia on its Airbus A330 by the end of 2018. The carrier is working hard for additional slots in cities such as Hong Kong or in mainland China, however, Beijing is not on the list. Following the success of its Melbourne-Hong Kong route launched in July 2017, VA is considering Sydney-Hong Kong and Brisbane-Hong Kong.
QF London lounge preparing for opening
Qantas’ brand new lounge at London Heathrow is nearing completion, with the airline announcing it will be cutting the ribbon in the next few weeks. The two-level lounge will be the first dedicated Qantas lounge at LHR, and will be available to QF’s first and business class passengers on flights QF2 to Sydney and QF9 to Perth. Qantas Platinum and Gold frequent flyers will also have access and top-tier passengers flying with Oneworld partner airlines.
EK launches new menu for Australian business class
Inspired by Australia’s multicultural flavours and cuisine, Emirates has launched a brand-new menu for first and business class passengers. After 14 months of reviewing and testing, the airline has created a high-quality menu including Cold Smoked Huon Ocean Trout, Grain Fed Beef Fillet, a hand Selected Australian and International Cheese Selection and Coconut Cake.
Qantas 787 schedule
Qantas has released deployment details for its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner which will operate domestic flights ahead of its launch on the MEL-LAX route from 15 December 2017. The aircraft will fly between Melbourne and Perth & Sydney from Monday to Friday until 14 December. On weekends, it will operate morning and afternoon services between SYD and MEL. Flights are subject to regulatory approval and may be operated by an A330 if required.
Air New Zealand wants to lead the digital revolution
Air New Zealand chief revenue officer Cam Wallace has voiced Air New Zealand’s focus and key priority to lead the digital revolution at CAPA-ACTE New Zealand Aviation and Corporate Travel Summit recently in Auckland. The airline has a major focus on four key digital innovations: Chip, the robot personal assistant, in collaboration with Commonwealth Bank of Australia; HoloLens, a personalised tool for crew to assist with traveller personal preferences; Oscar, an AI bot recently launched and receiving about 1000 requests per day; and further personalisation of IFE.
Biofuel for Qantas
Qantas has announced that from 2020, it will power its Los Angeles based aircraft with biofuel, reducing the airline’s carbon emissions on US-AU services. Over 30 million litres of renewable jet fuel will be purchased over the next ten years, made from 50% renewable jet fuel produced from non-food plant oils, blended with 50% traditional jet fuel.
Thai Airways to upgrade Sydney service
Thai Airways is looking to introduce the A350-900 on the Bangkok-Sydney route in 2018 and upgrade the service to double daily. There are currently 11 weekly flights using 747-400s. Thai Airways VP Alliances and Commercial Strategy Krittaphon Chantalitanon said that Sydney is included in the deployment plan for the five A350-900s which Thai Airways is due to receive in 1H2018. The transition into the double daily flight is estimated to start at the beginning of the next southern summer season in late March 2018.
SQ A350s to BNE
Singapore Airlines’ brand new A350-900 was welcomed into Brisbane Airport last month. Passengers and guests were treated to a champagne breakfast and walk-through of the plane. The A350-900 is the first of the upgraded Airbus services for three out of four BNE-SIN flights.
China Southern to operate three-times-weekly Guangzhou-Cairns
Cairns will become the sixth destination for China Southern Airlines in Australia from 4 December 2017. The new route will operate three times weekly. The airline confirmed the route as they celebrated the 10th anniversary of operations on the Delhi-Guangzhou route.
Biometric Screening Melbourne Airport
Airports globally are uniting to develop a biometric screening process. The aim of this rollout is to minimise a number of people standing around and to limit any potential security risks. Melbourne Airport has announced it is hoping the new technology will enhance the traveller experience by providing a safe environment to process passengers as fast as possible.
Sydney Airport Terminal 2 revamp
Sydney Airport’s Terminal 2, which is primarily used by Virgin Australia and Jetstar, will be expanded and redesigned with upgraded flooring, lighting, ceiling finishes and contemporary furniture. The welcomed upgrade will create an easier passage for passengers and reduce crowds and clutter. The update is expected to be finished by the end of 2018.
ADL plans terminal expansion
Planning and designing has commenced for Adelaide Airport’s Terminal 1 International expansion project. The project aims to improve the passenger experience at the airport by upgrading the baggage facilities, processing areas and food & beverage options.
Gold Coast lounge
As the Gold Coast prepares the for 2018 Commonwealth Games, the Gold Coast Airport has announced a new plan to create a purpose-built lounge for athletes and games officials. The lounge will feature a beach and rainforest aesthetic that will include performances from local artists, Australian wildlife presentations and food and beverages.
AMEX lounge at Melbourne Airport
The opening of American Express’ new lounge at Melbourne Airport’s International T2 terminal is scheduled to open early 2018. This will mark their second lounge in Australia, with the first being the popular Sydney Airport lounge.
Biometrics at CBR
Canberra Airport has taken on a new contactless border control system project, which uses biometric facial recognition to verify passengers’ identities, enabling them to clear the border without needing to present travel documents. The project aims to trial the technology before implementing it at all arrivals SmartGates by 2018.
CX to open its Hong Kong lounge in January
After a year-long makeover, Cathay Pacific will re-open its Hong Kong lounge, The Deck, in January 2018. Located above gates 16 through to 19, The Deck will feature Cathay’s signature Noodle Bar and an L-shaped terrace for guests to relax ‘outside’. The announcement came after the opening of CX’s new Singapore T4 lounge.
JFK facial recognition
New York’s JFK airport has begun a 30-day trial of facial recognition biometric technology at a TSA international checkpoint in Terminal 7. The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are conducting the tests, which are similar to those being used at other US airports. Terminal 7 is used for Qantas JFK-LAX flights and British Airways flights.
Eighth Art Series Hotel opening soon
Art Series Hotels Group will open their eighth hotel on Wednesday 22 November, in Melbourne’s Box Hill. The art-inspired hotel has been named after Chinese-Australian artist Zhong Chen, and features his bold and fun art pieces throughout the 100 hotel suites, onsite restaurants and cafes, and events centre. The Chen also has a rooftop pool, gymnasium and entertainment deck.
Holiday Inn Express Adelaide
Adelaide’s first Holiday Inn Express has opened, located on the corner of Hindley Street and Blyth Street. The 245-room hotel is the third of its kind in Australia, with the brand’s other two hotels located in Sydney and Brisbane.
Mantra MacArthur Hotel, Canberra
In Canberra, Mantra Group unveiled its new Mantra MacArthur Hotel on Northbourne Ave. The new 176-room, $19 million retrofit of a former office tower is part of the movement to redevelop and renew Canberra’s ageing infrastructure.
Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane 2018
In February 2018, the new Adina Apartment Hotel at 171 George Street in Brisbane will open. Featuring 220 apartments in a restored heritage building, a signature restaurant and bar the hotel will pay homage to its Art Deco origin. The hotel will offer guests spacious apartments with their own kitchen, laundry and living, or a studio equipped with a kitchenette. Also included is 24-hour reception and a fitness centre.
Mantra Group Launceston’s Silo Hotel
Due to open in April 2018 is Mantra Group’s Peppers Silo Hotel. The hotel is a renovation of the Kings Wharf grain silos in Launceston, Tasmania. It will include 108 rooms, including 52 in the barrels of the former silo. The hotel overlooks key nearby tourist destinations Seaport, Royal Park, the Tamar River Basin and Cataract Gorge. Peppers Silo Hotel will include a restaurant, cocktail bar and large meeting room on the first floor and four large apartments on the top.
Mantra Group’s record property growth
Mantra Group has achieved a record year of growth in 2017, adding 13 properties to its portfolio across almost every Australian state. With the acquisition of Art Series Hotel Group in November, Mantra is excited to announce several new acquisitions in 2018 including Mantra on City Road Melbourne to open in March 2018 and Mantra at Sharks Southport to open in April 2018 in time for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Best Western new brand
A new brand has been announced for Best Western Hotels & Resorts, becoming the eleventh brand under the Best Western name. BW Signature Collection by Best Western hopes to see plans for at least 100 hotels added to the portfolio by 2020, and will be positioned as an upper mid-scale offering. The first two hotels to join the collection are the Killington Mountain Lodge in Vermont and Brooklyn Way Hotel in Brooklyn, New York.
IHG LA opening
InterContinental’s Los Angeles Downtown hotel has opened its doors, offering 889 guests rooms spanning across 39 levels. The hotel is part of the Wilshire Grand Center – the tallest building west of Chicago and is located in the city’s historic financial and arts district.