Airline & Airport News.
Qantas’ Premium Economy revealed
Boasting an extra 10cm in width, a generous recline and five different storage compartments, the final seating puzzle piece to Qantas’ 787-9 Dreamliner configuration has just been revealed. QF’s Premium Economy class will feature on select long-haul flights, including Melbourne – Los Angeles, and later Perth – London when it commences in March 2018. Find out more about the new Premium Economy seat: https://goo.gl/hY3CQz
VA to offer direct flights to Hong Kong
Virgin Australia has announced plans to introduce direct services between Australia and Hong Kong, through a proposed alliance with HNA Aviation, Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express. The services are expected to commence in mid-2017 and will be operated by an A330 aircraft featuring the airline’s award-winning business class.
QF offers passengers free Netflix, Foxtel and Spotify
Passengers flying domestically with Qantas now have free access to Netflix, Foxtel and Spotify, since the airline’s roll-out of its in-flight Wi-Fi on select 737s. Netflix and Spotify will require passengers to sign-up in order to receive the services for a 30-day trial period, whereas passengers can enjoy Foxtel without subscribing, for three consecutive days after every flight. Qantas will continue the roll-out of the services across it entire 737 and A330 fleets, from mid-2017.
QF commences trials of in-flight Wi-Fi
Qantas has completed the first trial of its speedy new in-flight Wi-Fi system, proving to live up to its name. The first trial results show a download speed of 7Mbps – 12 Mbps to each connected device. A planeload of volunteer Qantas staff tested the Wi-Fi by streaming movies, downloading apps, sending emails and so on, from a range of devices including smartphones and laptops.
Non-stop PER/LHR to go on sale soon
Passengers will soon be able to book their non-stop flights to Europe, with Qantas’ PER/LHR route going on sale in only two months’ time. Although flight times are yet to be finalised, the service will operate 14 flights a week – seven in each direction.
QF Brisbane Lounge now open
Qantas has opened the doors of its all-new business class lounge at Brisbane Domestic Airport. The lounge has a distinctly Queensland feel, with the interior design reflecting the colours of Moreton Bay at twilight. With an increased capacity of 30%, the lounge has can accommodate 350 guests and can be directly accessed through QF’s Premium Lounge Entry facilities.
Qatar’s revolutionary new business class
Qatar Airways is making headlines after introducing its all-new ‘QSuite’ at ITB Berlin. The new business class suite offers a four-person seating configuration, complete with double beds and direct aisle access for everyone. QSuite private rooms facilitate business meetings, social conversations and group dining, with the new business class menu now offering shared dishes. Passengers will be able to enjoy this new business class experience from June 2017 on the Doha-London route which will be operated by a Boeing 777-300ER.
SQ deploys A350s to MEL
From 1 April 2017, Singapore Airlines will introduce a new Airbus A350-XWB aircraft on its Singapore – Melbourne route. The A350 will replace the current 777-200ERs used for the SQ207/208 flights on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.
Delta now offers free meals
Delta Airlines is now offering free meals on domestic New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco flights. The airline how announced it will be expanding the service to 10 other domestic markets from 24 April 2017, as an investment in improving customer experience.
Qatar considers Doha-Canberra via Sydney
Qatar Airways may commence flights between Doha and Canberra via Sydney, as early as February 2018. The service would operate daily on an Airbus A350, departing Canberra in the early evening.
The third member of the 787 Dreamliner family makes its debut
Boeing’s third addition to its 787 Dreamliner family has made its debut in South Carolina, with thousands of employees and special guests att
ending the reveal. The all-new 787-10 jet is the largest of the Dreamliner models with capacity for 330 passengers in a two-class configuration. With 149 orders to date, the 787-10 Dreamliner will commence delivery to airlines in 2018.
Qatar amends restrictive baggage policy
Passengers travelling with Qatar Airways on multi-sector journeys will now receive a through-check of their baggage to their final destination, even when the flights are booked under separate bookings. The new rules apply to passengers boarding connecting flights on Qatar and Oneworld member alliances, as long as they meet the airport’s minimum connection time (MCT) of typically two hours.
United Airlines launches Boeing 777 Polaris business-class
UA has commenced services on its brand new Boeing 777-300, featuring a state-of-the-art Polaris business-class cabin. Business travellers are treated to sleeping cubicles, with seats that lie flat to 6-and-a-half feet. The airline is currently operating the 777 on domestic American routes, but will commence international operations from 25 March, with California to Hong Kong.
Cathay increases capacity to Sydney with Boeing 777
From 29 October, Cathay Pacific will replace the current A330 to a Boeing 777-300ER on its CX161/162 Sydney-Hong Kong route. The upgrade comes in response to increased demand, especially for onward flights to Europe and North America, and will offer an additional 90 seats on the service.
Business passengers to receive New Royal Silk Service on Thai
Thai Airways’ Royal Silk Business class passengers will now receive the New Royal Silk Service on international flights. The upgrade includes an all-day dining menu available at any time during the day or night on flights from Bangkok to Europe, and during the day on flights from Bangkok to Australia.
Cathay’s new non-stop to Cairns
Cathay Pacific has announced it will commence a new thrice-weekly direct service to Cairns, from 29 October 2017 through to 24 March 2018. The carrier will also introduce 11 non-stop flights between Brisbane and Hong Kong, which originally included a stop-over in Cairns.
Cathay offers ‘dine on demand’ for business travellers
From 1 May 2017, Cathay Pacific will offer business class passengers a new ‘dine on demand’ service, allowing passengers to choose not only what they want to eat, but when they want to eat it. The service will be offered on a trial basis through to 31 May on London Gatwick flights CX343/CX344, and from 1 June to 30 June on the Hong Kong-Chicago route on flights CX806/CX807.
Fly Delta app upgrade
Delta Airlines has released an update to its Fly Delta app, now offering customers offline access to boarding passes and flight details, eliminating the stress of finding WiFi between connecting flights. Another new feature includes over 20 interactive airport maps, meaning customers can locate their gate, baggage claim and even the closest coffee shop with turn-by-turn walking directions. Fly Delta 4.2 is available for download on iPhones, with the Android version being released over the next few months.
Biometrics at BNE
Australia’s first trial of facial recognition technology has commenced at Brisbane Airport, with Air New Zealand passengers being the first to participate. The SITA Smart Path uses biometrics to check-in passengers at self-service kiosks, without the need for boarding passes, passports or travel documents. The trial will expand across other airlines over the next few months.
You can now reserve a guaranteed space at SYD Intl.
Guests flying out of Sydney International can now reserve a guaranteed carpark prior to travel, with online booking becoming available from 1 March. Guaranteed Spaces are available at the P7 multistory carpark for online bookings only.
Business class lounge on the cards for CBR
With more international flights making their way to Australia’s capital, Canberra Airport is considering opening a premium lounge for its business class travellers. The lounge would be independently run, and may also offer access to economy class passengers for a price.
Shenzhen introduces biometrics
China’s Shenzhen airport has introduced biometrics in the form of fingerprint scanning as a new security measure. Foreign passport holders between the ages of 14 and 70 will have their fingerprints scanned, with the exception of diplomats. The new measures will soon be rolled out across all airports in the county.
Air Niugini schedules new flights to TSV
A new thrice-weekly service between Papua New Guinea Townsville will shortly commence with Air Niugini. The Port Moresby carrier will debut the service on 31 March 2017, operated by a Fokker 70 aircraft.
New entry to SYD T1
Sydney International Airport will be getting a new entry, reducing the volume of traffic merging at the existing Airport Drive/Marsh Street confluence. The new road is part of a $500 million upgrade, which includes new road signage and three new traffic lanes.
Iconic Sydney hotel gets $200m renovation
Sydney’s famous InterContinental hotel is about to get its biggest makeover in three decades, with plans for a $200 million upgrade recently announced. The renovation, if approved, will span across the property’s 509 guestrooms, public spaces and function rooms, as well as its 900m2 event space featuring views of the Sydney Harbour.
A $6 million upgrade for Pullman Melbourne
Pullman Melbourne on the Park has announced a $6 million transformation of its ground floor, which includes the hotel’s reception area, bar and restaurant. The renovation will incorporate large open plan spaces for the bar and restaurant, with semi-private dining areas. The project is expected to reach completion in July 2017
Novotel’s new health and fitness initiative
Novotel Hotels has recently launched InBalance Meetings, an initiative run by pro surfer Sally Fitzgibbons placing health and wellness at the forefront of conferences and events. The program includes a 30-minute virtual work-out session, designed to achieve positive meeting outcomes and drive productivity in guests. The program has been successfully implemented across seven Novotel properties and will continue to roll-out across Australia throughout 2017.
Brisbane’s Holiday Inn Express to open in April
Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) will soon open its second Holiday Inn Express in Australia. The new Brisbane hotel is a big win for business and MICE travellers, designed as an ideal location for meetings and networking events. The sunken lounge area can accommodate up to 50 guests for stand-up functions, and the boardroom can comfortably seat 14 people.
TFE to open new ‘Grand’ hotel in Canberra
TFE Hotels is expanding its Adina brand portfolio, with the addition of a new Canberra hotel set to open in 2020. Adina Grand Apartment Hotel Canberra is forming part of a $300 million development project, that also includes a variety of cafes, restaurants and retail outlets. The hotel will be located on the corner of Constitution Place and London Circuit, and will offer 132 rooms, made up of studio, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments.
Central Sydney next on the list for Holiday Inn
Intercontinental Hotels Group has announced that their newest addition to the Holiday Inn brand will be located at 430 Pitt St in Sydney’s CBD. The 17-storey hotel will offer 305 rooms, making it the largest mid-range property since the city’s hotel building boom. The property features a green waterfall of vertical gardens and is set to open in 2020.
Club Croc revamp
The $5 million refurbishment of Airlie Beach’s Club Croc hotel has finally reached completion, with the hotel rebranding to Mantra Club Croc in the process. The iconic Whitsunday hotel’s 160 guestrooms, restaurant and bar all received a makeover, as well as the large conference area accommodating up to 200 delegates. Club Croc originally opened in 1987, and is situated close to Abell Point Marina.