Airline & Airport News.
Qantas free in-flight WiFi starts trials next month
A nine-month proof of concept test has been confirmed by NBN Co, which will allow Qantas to start trials of its free in-flight WiFi as soon as February. The WiFi service connects to the NBN Co’s Sky Muster satellite, and is fast enough to stream live sports and television. The trial will continue until September on domestic Qantas flights, before being accessed for commercialisation.
Air China launches MEL-SZX
After months of push back, Air China has finally launched its Melbourne to Shenzhen four-times-weekly service. Featuring 28 business class seats with lie-flat beds, the service flies on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday evenings.
BA discounts on AU – UK/EU
Discounted airfares are on offer for British Airways’ flights from Australia to Europe and the UK. The promotion includes all cabin classes, and runs until 20 February 2017.
Economy passengers allowed EK DXB lounge access… for a price
Emirates’ Dubai International Airport lounges are opening their doors for Economy class Skyward Blue members, for the first time. For a price of US$100, passengers get up to 4 hours of Emirates Lounge or Business Class Lounge access. The First Class lounge can also be accessed for a price of US$200 for 4 hours.
New baggage rules for EY passengers with connecting flights
From 1 February, Etihad Airways’ passengers who make separate bookings for each leg of their journey must re-check their baggage before boarding connecting flights. Passengers who book under one reservation for the entire journey will have their baggage checked through to their final destination as usual.
JFK to get $10 billion transformation
Plans for a US$10 billion transformation of JFK International Airport have just been unveiled by New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo. The redevelopment aims to create easier access for passengers, and position JFK as a world-class airport in line with London and Dubai. The plan looks at expanding roads to the airport, increasing the AirTrain from two cars to four, and linking the terminals to create an internal passage making business travel much more seamless.
Cathay Pacific opens new lounges in Hong Kong and Singapore
Later this year Cathay Pacific will commence its roll out of two new airport lounges at Hong Kong International Airport and Singapore’s Changi Airport. Hong Kong’s Gate 16 lounge (currently branded as Dragonair), will be re-branded as Cathay Pacific when it reopens at the end of Q2 2017. The newly-built Terminal 4 at Changi Airport will home the airport’s first Cathay Pacific business class lounge, opening in Q3 2017.
Launch date confirmed for Qatar’s super business class
Qatar Airways has finally confirmed a launch date for its highly anticipated ‘super business class’ seating. The proprietary designed business suites will be unveiled at this year’s ITB Berlin travel trade show on 8 March 2017. Although many details of the new design have been kept secretive, certain hints have been dropped such as middle seats to feature a double bed.
Expansion for Dubai’s Al Maktoum International
Al Maktoum International Airport may soon become the world’s largest passenger and cargo hub, with expansion plans likely to be approved this week. An increased capacity would allow 220 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo to pass through the airport each year. Once approved, the $35 billion project would take up to 12 years to complete.
Changi Airport announces $50 million technology programme
Singapore’s Changi Airport will be working with a variety of start-ups as a part of its new five-year incubator programme aiming to find new solutions for airport efficiency. The Living Lab will operate within the airport, and focus on a number of different areas including; automation, data analytics, Internet of Things, security technologies and smart infrastructure management.
CX launches first ever direct route between Barcelona and Hong Kong
From 2 July 2017, Cathay Pacific will commence a four-times weekly service between Barcelona and Hong Kong, the first ever direct route between the two cities. The service will operate seasonally from July through to 27 October on an Airbus A350-900, featuring the newest Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class seating.
Emirates daily flights to Croatia
Emirates is set to introduce a daily service from Dubai to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. The flights will operate from 01 June 2017 on a Boeing 777-300, offering 42 Business Class seats.
CX switches to Terminal 8 at JFK
From 15 January, passengers flying with Cathay Pacific will depart and arrive from Terminal 8 at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport, instead of the current Terminal 7.
MH expands codeshare with AA
Malaysia Airlines’ codeshare pact with American Airlines has expanded, with additional routes now showing the MH code. Those additions include LAX to Hong Kong and London Heathrow; Philadelphia to Boston, Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Kansas City, Miami and London; and Charlotte to Baltimore/Washington, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, London and New York LaGuardia.
Cathay’s Hong Kong–Toronto goes double daily
From 24 June, Cathay Pacific will commence double daily flights on its Hong Kong to Toronto route. The extra services will continue through the summer until 4 September, operating on a Boeing 777-300ER.
EK Dubai – Rome three-times daily
Emirates is expanding its capacity on is Dubai-Rome route by adding a third daily flight. Once launched on 26 March, the new flight will bring capacity up to 1,237 seats on offer daily.
Emirates increases capacity on Dubai-Sao Paulo
Effective 26 March, EK will be offering an extra 959 seats per week in each direction on its Dubai-Sao Paulo route. The airline will be replacing the current Boeing 777-300ERs with Airbus A380s, increasing the capacity and offering 76 Business class seats.
TFE Hotels welcomes Gambaro Hotel Brisbane
The stunning Gambaro Hotel in Brisbane will be joining the TFE Hotels family in February this year, the latest addition to the TFE Hotels Collection portfolio of bespoke hotels. The luxe, beautiful, chic and contemporary hotel features 68 accommodation rooms, valet parking, rooftop terrace and a suite of conferencing options.
AccorHotels hosts Australian Open Player’s Party
In its second year as an Official Australian Open Partner, AccorHotels welcomed the best tennis players and biggest tennis fans at the Australian Open Player’s Party, held at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins last week. Accor is working closely with ambassadors Serena Williams, Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hughes Herbert to promote AccorHotels and Australia as a world-class sporting and travel destination.
IHG adds two new hotels in Mexico
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) have announced an extension of their Staybridge Suites brand with two 120-room hotels opening in Mexico later this year. The Staybridge Suites brand is designed for long-term business travel, featuring 24-hour business and fitness centres. The hotels will be located in the Mexican cities of Irapuato and Silao.
CHOICE Hotels welcomes new addition
Breeze Mooloolaba is the latest addition to the CHOICE Hotels Asia-Pac family, joining as an Ascend Hotel Collection member. The beach-side resort offers 30 self-contained apartments, a pool, spa and recreational areas.