Changes to passport renewal
With Australia now no longer issuing 64-page passports to new applicants, there is now an option to purchase a ‘replacement’ passport ($184) instead of renewal ($293). The replacement is a reprint of the existing passport, retaining the same expiry date but with a new passport number. You must still have 2 years remaining until expiry. As it will have a new issue date and passport number it is important to make sure any documentation that has the old passport number is updated and check that any valid visas in your old passport are still able to be used.
New savings for Qantas Business Rewards members
Qantas has announced an improvement for Qantas Business Rewards (QBR) member program for small to medium businesses, including access to flight savings on over 30 partner and interline carriers such as Cathay Pacific Airways, China Eastern, United Airlines and British Airways. With these deals, members can save up to 8% on base fares on select flights to over 200 new destinations worldwide. For more information contact CTM today to find out how your business could benefit.
Virgin Australia opens Wellington Airport lounge
Virgin Australia has opened its newest airport lounge above Gate 48 in the Wellington Airport International Terminal. The private space is open to Business Class guests, Velocity Frequent Flyer Platinum and Gold members and Virgin Australia Lounge members on Virgin Australia operated flights. Lounge guests can expect complimentary WiFi with buffet-style, pre-flight food options supplied by Rydges Wellington Airport Hotel and a selection of self-serve beverages on offer.
Changes to Virgin Australia trans-Tasman schedule
Virgin Australia has advised several upcoming changes to its trans-Tasman services from July 2019 until late September 2019.
Changes to Christchurch – Sydney route
- Operating during the peak tourism season only, from late September to the end of the April school holidays.
- Flights from Sydney to Christchurch cancelled from Monday 1 July 2019 to Wednesday 25 September 2019 (inclusive).
- Flights from Christchurch to Sydney cancelled from Tuesday 2 July 2019 until Thursday 26 September 2019 (inclusive).
Changes to Auckland – Sydney route
- Minor reductions in frequency from 18 return services per week to 15 per week.
Virgin Australia will continue to operate approximately 200 services per week between Australia and New Zealand over the July to September period. The airline will also proactively communicate with affected guests and reaccommodate them on to alternative Virgin Australia flights.
Qantas and China Eastern expand codeshare
Qantas and China Eastern Airlines have expanded their codeshare partnership in the summer of 2019 to cover additional domestic routes in Australia and China. Additional routes operated by Qantas include: Brisbane to Adelaide, Auckland, Canberra, Christchurch, Mackay, Newcastle and Townsville, Melbourne-Perth, and from Sydney to Hobart, Queenstown and Sunshine Coast. Additional routes operated by China Eastern include Shanghai Pudong to Ningbo, Tianjin and Urumqi.
Qantas to provide extra Santiago, Honolulu flights
Qantas will provide additional flights to Hawaii and Chile later this year, in order to meet expected demand for both destinations over the peak Christmas holiday period. From December 2019 to February 2020, the airline will operate daily Sydney-Honolulu flights, up from five per week. Furthermore, it will increase its Sydney-Santiago service from four to six times weekly over the same period.
Cathay increases Christchurch services
Cathay Pacific will increase its nonstop Hong Kong-Christchurch frequency over summer 2019/2020, equating to 19 more flights and 49% more seats offered. The carrier will also commence the seasonal flights from November to February, one month earlier than it has previously operated. Meanwhile, it will also end its Cairns-Hong King service from 27 October 2019, leaving Brisbane as it’s only Queensland operation.
Qantas announced Sydney-Sapporo service
Qantas has announced a seasonal non-stop service from Sydney to Sapporo, Japan from 16 December 2019 to 28 March 2020. The three times weekly service, operating A330 equipment and aims to meet the growing demand for travel to the area, with the addition of over 10,000 seats in total for the season.
Qantas expands Brisbane lounge
Qantas has expanded its Brisbane Airport Business class lounge to three-levels with capacity for close to 400 people. This new space, located on the ground level, comes with its own kitchen offering a “premium hot and cold buffet”, Quench hydration station and a full bar with barista between 7.30AM and 11AM. The lounge also features a business centre, Wi-Fi, showers and a Sofitel service experience.
New X-ray system for Adelaide Airport
Adelaide Airport plans to trial 2D X-ray scanners ahead of a wider rollout of the technology later in this year. The new scanner utilises computed tomography to generate a 3D image, providing a significantly enhanced view of items being screened compared with the current X-ray equipment. The automated tray return system is expected to speed up passenger screening and allow them to be on their way much quicker.
Singapore Airlines to replace 777-200ER
Singapore Airlines plans to replace 777-200ER with an A350-900 aircraft on a single daily route Singapore-Perth from 3 June 2019. The carrier also operates Boeing 787 and A330-300 equipment on the route.
Dreamliner to replace 747 on San Francisco service
From 4 December 2019, Qantas customers between Sydney and San Francisco will experience the Dreamliner’s next generation of Economy, Premium Economy and Business cabins as part of plans to replace the Boeing 747 aircraft on the airline’s international network by the end of 2020. The Dreamliner carries 236 passengers across three cabins. This includes the latest version of the Business Suite, nicknamed “mini First Class”, as well as a next generation Premium Economy seat and a significantly improved Economy seat with extra storage compartments and more legroom.
Mount Gambier begins airport upgrade
Mount Gambier Regional Airport will commence a $9.2 million upgrade project to develop the main airport area. The airport is a major gateway to the Limestone Coast and Western Victoria with 80,000 people flying in and out annually. Project details include a runway extension, construction of a heavy aircraft apron scheduled for completion in October 2019; terminal expansion due to commence late 2019 and an airfield ground lighting upgrade. The entire project due for completion in December 2020.
Qantas reaches a ‘zero waste’ milestone
On 8 May 2019, Qantas completed the world’s first zero-waste commercial flight, flying from Sydney to Adelaide in a move expected to cut 100 million single-use plastics by the end of next year and eliminate 75 per cent of the airline’s waste by the end of 2021. About 1,000 single-use plastic items were substituted with sustainable alternatives such as sugar cane pulp and plant matter. All in-flight products used during the two-hour flight were separated to be composted, reused or recycled. Food waste from international flights cannot be composted due to legal requirements, but the airline said it is willing to work with suppliers and governments to reduce the volume of waste.
China Southern Airlines cuts Australian services
China Southern Airlines will reduce its seasonal service capacity for flights to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. From 2 -15 September 2019, Guangzhou-Brisbane services will reduce from daily to six times weekly. Meanwhile, between July and October 2019 weekly flights into Melbourne and Sydney will also be limited to 10-12 weekly, down from a double daily.
Qantas launches ‘Points Plane’.
Qantas has announced its first dedicated ‘Points Plane’, an exclusive service operating from Melbourne to Tokyo Narita on 21 October 2019. The service, onboard an A380 aircraft, will be available to members redeeming Frequent Flyer points and offer unique inflight services such as a bespoke cocktail and meal service, signature pyjamas and giveaways. The return Points Plane service will be available on 26 October 2019 with hopes to operate more regular Frequent Flyer only flights to other international and domestic destinations soon.
Pullman launches in Fiji
On 19 April 2019, the Pullman brand made its debut in Fiji with the launch of the Pullman Nadi Bay Resort & Spa – a vibrant new destination for local culture to connects with all things contemporary. The multi-million-dollar Resort & Spa sits is in a directly secluded corner of Wailoaloa Beach on Nadi Bay. Guests can stay in one of 236 rooms and suites, all with balconies or patios, Pure Fiji toiletries and high-speed Wi-Fi. The resort’s Soqoni Ballroom can cater for up to 500 people (theatre style) with two additional private meeting rooms that can cater for smaller meetings.
Art Series launches large – little exhibition
Art Series Hotels has launched its ‘Art in Micro’ exhibition – one of the world’s biggest (smallest) art exhibitions. From 12 April to 31 July 2019, guests who stay at any of the eight Art Series hotels will be given a magnifying glass at check-in and encouraged to search for over 40 pieces of micro-art pieces around the hotel. While the concept is still relatively new in Australia, micro-art has been making waves in the art industry for the last 15 years.
Second voco hotel opens
Following the completion of a refresh and rebrand to IHG’s newest upscale offering, the voco Kirkton Park Hunter Valley has officially been opened. The 70-room property, which is Australia’s second voco hotel, is situated on 70 acres of rolling countryside and scenic mountain views, just minutes away from the region’s most popular wineries. Each room features the brand’s signature luxury comforts including high-speed Wi-Fi to cosy bedding, offering travellers a chance to fully relax in their surroundings.
Best Western adds new properties for economy brand
Best Western’s economy and upper-economy ‘SureStay’ collection will welcome four hotels in Western Australia and two in regional NSW as part of its initial portfolio. Each property will offer essential comforts and exceptional value including free Wi-Fi and on-site dining options. The new properties include the Karinga Motel in Lismore (NSW), Blue Diamond Motor Inn in Dubbo (NSW), Hospitality Carnarvon (WA), Hospitality Kalgoorlie (WA), Hospitality Esperance (WA), Hospitality Geraldton (WA).
Art Series announces ninth hotel
Accor will open its ninth Art Series hotel in Perth’s CBD in October 2019, marking the arrival of the brand in Western Australia. The 27-storey, $90 million-dollar property, located at 900 Hay Street, will feature 250-rooms with custom contemporary furnishings and original artworks by the yet-to-be-named artist. In another first for Western Australia, the art-inspired hotel will also become a chic new international hospitality destination, serving Mediterranean cuisine and the city’s best cocktails.
Holiday Inn set for Queenstown Remarkables
Destined to become the flagship property for Holiday Inn in New Zealand, the 182-room newbuild will be constructed in Remarkables Park in Queenstown. It will be positioned close to Queenstown Airport and the Remarkables Ski Field. Guests will have access to facilities including a fitness centre, an all-day dining and bar as well as multiple large and flexible meeting facilities.
QT Hotel coming to Newcastle
Event Hospitality has entered into a management agreement for a QT Hotel in Newcastle, within walking distance to the city’s harbour and surf beaches. Featuring 106 rooms, boutique rooftop bar and a signature dining concept/bar in the former David Jones building along Hunter Mall, the property will sit in the heart of a major precinct redevelopment in Australia’s largest regional centre.
Return to Sunshine State for Hyatt brand
Hyatt will return to Brisbane for the first time in 10 years, with the opening of the 170-room Hyatt Place Brisbane South City Square in 2023. The property will form part of the $700 million South City Square precinct in Woolloongabba, also featuring a rooftop pool and bar. Hyatt Place Brisbane South City Square will cater to guests looking for comfortable accommodation experiences to suit their lifestyles and familiar routines.
New look for Townsville conventions
Townsville’s Rydges Southbank Conference Centre has unveiled a new look, state-of-the-art upgrade paying homage to the colonial style of the building and the history of the region. The facility can accommodate a range of events, from board meetings to large conferences and cocktail parties in the Grand Ballroom which has been brightened with white-panelled walls, feature wall lighting and a breathtaking grand chandelier. The adjoining hotel, Rydges Southbank, offers 98 modern, stylish rooms for event guests choosing to extend their stay, with a 24-hour reception, pool and spa as well as free onsite parking.
MCEC opens skyfarm
The Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre will manage a brand new a 2000 square metre space opening 2020 that takes its sustainability efforts to new levels. The space will feature a rooftop farm with orchard and beekeeping, environmental education centre and design hub, and a 90-seat licensed café with an elevated terrace and event space. The farm is expected to grow more than five tonnes of fresh produce per annum.