Airline & Airport News.
Changes to VA and Air NZ partnership policies
Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand have revealed changes to their partnership policies concerning the cross-earning of frequent flyer points. From 1 November 2017, VA Velocity members will no longer earn Velocity frequent flyer points and status credits on international Air New Zealand operated flights, the same changes also apply to Air NZ’s passengers who are earning Airpoints Dollars and status credits with Virgin. The changes do not apply to trans-Tasman and domestic flights, where members will continue to earn points with both carriers. Furthermore, top-tier Virgin passengers and those with Gold or Platinum card will no longer be eligible for business class check-in, extra baggage and lounge access on international Air New Zealand flights. Please contact your dedicated CTM consultant for further assistance.
QF’s first Dreamliner reaches final phase.
The first Qantas 787-9 Dreamliner has commenced its final phase of assembly, with the aircraft’s major components recently arriving at Boeing’s Everett facility. The final phase is expected to take 18 working days, meaning the aircraft will finish production by the end of August, before heading off to the paint shop. This is the first of eight Qantas Dreamliners on order, with the first delivery planned for mid-October.
Qantas boosts Japan
Qantas will soon launch thrice-weekly flights from Sydney to Osaka as travel between Australia and Japan continues to rise. The seasonal service will run from 14 December 2017 through to 24 March 2018, offering QF’s famous Business Suites featuring lie-flat beds and direct aisle access. Business class passengers and top-tier frequent flyers will receive access to Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge at Osaka’s Kansai Airport to finish off any business before their flight home.
Qantas retires 747s ahead of Dreamliner delivery
With eight Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners scheduled for delivery in October this year, Qantas is making room by retiring five of the airline’s Boeing 747 aircraft. The first to be retired is Qantas’ VH-OJM, which began operation in 1991 and has since carried over four million passengers around the world.
VA Perth-Canberra direct
Virgin Australia’s new direct flight between Perth and Canberra have now commenced operation using Boeing 737 aircraft. The twice-weekly service comes as a response to increased demand for travel to the ACT for Parliamentary sitting weeks.
Air China granted Brisbane-Beijing route
There is now potential for Air China to become the first Chinese carrier to offer non-stop services between Brisbane and Beijing, following approval from Chinese authorities to take on the route. The carrier is currently operating direct flights between Beijing and Melbourne and Sydney.
SYD to replace passports with biometrics
Plans to introduce facial recognition systems at Sydney Airport will speed up the check-in process for international travellers. The first phase of the plan will require passengers to scan their passports at automated check-in kiosks and have their photograph taken, which will be linked to their travel documentation. Passengers would then pass through the terminal and boarding gates by simply scanning their face at each stage, a concept already in action at Brisbane Airport for certain Air New Zealand passengers. SYD is in the process of partnering with an airline to secure the deal.
Changes to Express Path access at SYD
The Express Path measure dedicated to American Express cardholders at Sydney Airport is no longer in place, meaning international travellers holding the AMEX Platinum and Centurion cards will now have to join the queues at passport control and security screening. First Class passengers and top-tier frequent flyers with the AMEX Platinum-grade card can still access the Express Path while AMEX cardholders are still eligible for the express processing in other designated international airports.
New AMEX lounge for MEL
American Express has confirmed plans for a new AMEX lounge at Melbourne International Airport to open later this year. Joining its sister lounge at Sydney Airport, the new lounge will be operated by the Plaza Premium Group and offer barista-made coffee, a self-service food buffet, wi-fi and more.
EK & BMW business class ride
Emirates and BMW Group have recently joined forces to provide Business Class passengers with a luxurious ride to and from airports in the UAE. The upgraded Chauffeur Drive Service will soon feature a fleet of 520i Touring cars, which will be progressively rolled out over the remainder of the year.
Fast track at HKG
Hong Kong International Airport will introduce a ‘fast track’ security screening service this September with the first phase of the service dedicated to departures. The new security service will incur a HK$20 fee to be paid by airlines, but it is likely to become a cost to passengers. Prior to the official launch in September, three carriers are currently undergoing a test run of the new facilities, including Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon and Hong Kong Airlines.
Upgrades to Cairns Convention Centre
The Cairns Convention Centre has announced plans to add a new 3000m2 exhibition space and glass atrium as part of a $176 million renovation project. The new exhibition space, will undergo construction after the Commonwealth Games basketball pool matches which will be hosted at the venue in April 2018. The upgraded centre is expected to facilitate an extra 25 large-scale events and exhibitions annually and attract 25000 more visitors to the site.
SQ to refurbish 14 A380s
Singapore Airlines will reconfigure and refurbish 14 A380 aircraft across all cabin classes. First class seats are expected to be reduced from 12 to between six and eight, and may be relocated to the aircraft’s upper deck.
SQ upgrades MEL route
Singapore Airlines is introducing its A380 aircraft to Melbourne during Summer, temporarily replacing the existing Boeing 777-330ER. The double-decker aircraft will commence operation from 1 December 2017 and run through to 31 December 2017.
Delta welcomes A350-900 to its fleet
Delta Air Lines has welcomed its first A350-900, offering an extraordinary in-flight experience with a three-class configuration. The aircraft features 32 seats in the Delta One cabin and 48 seats in Delta Premium Select. The A350 offers passengers more fresh air, optimisation of cabin pressure, temperature and humidity to ensure the highest degree of comfort in flight. The carrier will welcome its remaining four new A350-900s by the end of this year.
Apple Watch 3 to have 4G connection
Set to launch later this year, the series 3 Apple Watch is said to have the ability to connect to cellular 4G networks, reducing the device’s reliance on iPhones. Featuring LTE chips, the new smart watches will allow users to use apps and download songs without needing an iPhone in range, a large step in the right direction for wearable technology.
Qantas Business Rewards – 50% Status Credit Offer
Qantas is offering CTM clients 50% more Status Credits when they take off with Qantas Business Rewards (QBR)! Register your business for QBR and book eligible Qantas flights with CTM before 14 August, for travel until 30 September 2017. Register for Qantas Business Rewards here: qantasbusinessrewards.com/CTMFREE
Mantra Group acquires Art Series Hotel Group
Mantra Group has recently announced the $52.5 million acquisition of Australian-owned Art Series Hotel Group, as part of a new agreement with Deague Group. The acquisition includes seven luxury Art Series Hotels across Australia with more than 1,000 rooms added to Mantra’s ever-expanding portfolio. The settlement is expected to be finalised in late 2017, subject to customary completion conditions.
Melbourne to home Australia’s first vertical dual hotel
AccorHotels has announced it will launch Australia’s first vertical dual hotel in Melbourne’s CBD. Expected to open in late 2018, The Novotel and ibis Melbourne Little Lonsdale Street will offer 383 rooms across 36 levels. Both hotels will share public spaces including reception, dining spaces and other facilities such as 10 meeting and event spaces. Car parking will also be available. ibis will occupy the lower section and will have 270 rooms, while the Novotel will be located above with 213 rooms.
Mantra Hotels to welcome new property in Melbourne
Mantra Hotels is on track to welcome its new Peppers Southbank hotel by early 2019, the group’s eleventh property in Melbourne’s CBD. Located on the corner of Clarendon and Haig Streets, the $60M structure will provide 162 rooms across 32 levels, with a meeting room to cater for business travellers. With the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and the shopping and dining options just around the corner, guests can enjoy their stay with both business and leisure amenities all within a short distance.
New Quest property in Perth
Quest Apartment Hotels group revealed its plan to introduce its second property in South Perth in 2019. Located on Mends Street on South Perth’s foreshore, the property constitutes part of the $7.5m Mends Street Connect South project. The new Quest hotel will feature 90 studios, including one- and two-bedroom apartments across seven stories. Details of the property will be released in due course.
Adelaide Casino to undergo $330M redevelopment
A $330 million redevelopment of Adelaide Casino has been given approval as part of a wider rejuvenation project of Adelaide’s Convention Centre and Riverbank precinct. Included in the expansion will be a luxury hotel with 123 rooms, function spaces with capacity for up to 750 guests and various new bars and restaurants. Construction will begin in 2018 and is expected to be completed in late 2020.
New business hotel for Brisbane
Brisbane’s business hotel portfolio has expanded with the addition of a 90-room Quest Apartment Hotel property located in Brisbane Technology Park. Quest Eight Mile Plains offers studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments complete with kitchenettes, and has an onsite business lounge and gym. The hotel is a short 12-minute drive from Brisbane’s CBD and a 20-minute drive to Brisbane Domestic and International airports.
Crowne Plaza becomes first to offer keyless entry
Guests no longer need to worry about losing their room key, with Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley becoming the first hotel in Australia to offer keyless room entry. Instead, mobile keys are uploaded to the hotel’s app, allowing guests to unlock doors by opening the app and waving a smart phone in front of the door. The app also serves as an information hub, providing information on the hotel and Hunter Valley region.
Hertz introduces new loyalty program for business travellers
Hertz has introduced a new free-to-join loyalty program for business travellers. The Gold Plus Rewards scheme offers a range of benefits, including priority and personalised car rental services, the ability to earn points for future redemption of upgrades, add-ons and free rental offers. As an extra perk, members who join the scheme before 30 September can enjoy a complimentary vehicle class upgrade on their next rental. For more information, contact your dedicated CTM consultant.