Qantas has launched a new technology platform to enhance the airlines retailing, booking and servicing capabilities for its trade partners and deliver a more personalised experience for customers. The Qantas Distribution Platform (QDP) improves the functionality of indirect agent channels by more closely aligning them with the capabilities currently available via Qantas.com, making it easier for trade partners to sell Qantas products and providing more seamless customer service. Qantas trade partners will have access to richer content relevant to the customer’s journey, including images of cabins and meals and the ability to book extras such as extra legroom seating. It will provide Qantas Frequent Flyer information and tier status at the point of sale. The Qantas Distribution Platform has been developed in partnership with Farelogix Inc. and utilises IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC). The new Qantas platform has been certified to NDC Level 3, IATA’s highest certification.
Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) regional wing, SilkAir, will undergo a significant investment programme to upgrade its cabin products as part of a multi-year initiative that will ultimately see it merged into SIA.
The investment of more than $100 million will upgrade the wholly owned subsidiary’s cabins with new lie-flat seats in Business Class, and the installation of seat-back inflight entertainment systems in both Business Class and Economy Class. This will ensure closer product and service consistency across the SIA Group’s full-service network. Aircraft cabin upgrades are expected to start in 2020 due to lead times required by seat suppliers, including to complete certification processes. The merger will take place only after a sufficient number of aircraft have been fitted with the new cabin products. Specific details will be announced progressively.
The decision to operate the Airbus A350-900 to Christchurch (as reported in a One Minute Memo 14 May) reinforces Singapore Airlines’ commitment to Christchurch and the South Island, according to Simon Turcotte, SIA’s general manager New Zealand. ‘We have very strong support out of Christchurch, both from the trade and the consumer. This move recognises that support.’
The A350 service will start on 7 January 2019 when SQ297 departs Singapore for Christchurch and seats are on sale from today. The aircraft brings Premium Economy Class to the route, meaning customers can experience the cabin from the South Island to destinations such as Paris, London, New Delhi, Johannesburg, Dubai, Barcelona, Hong Kong and more. ‘We are pleased that on 8 January 2019 when the A350-900 lands in SIA: ‘A350 decision reinforces commitment’ Christchurch our customers will have access to an additional premium cabin option, as well as our next generation cabin products in business and economy.’ The A350-900 gas features such as higher ceilings, larger windows, an extra wide body delivering more space and comfort, as well as lighting designed to reduce jetlag.
The arrival of the new aircraft will also provide customers the opportunity to utilise the Singapore Airlines Companion app, which delivers great control over their in flight entertainment (IFE) experience – even before boarding the aircraft regardless of the class of travel. Singapore Airlines has a total of 67 A350- 900 aircraft on firm order and has already taken delivery of 21 since the first of the aircraft entered the fleet in March 2016. Singapore Airlines first touched down at Christchurch International Airport in 1986.
After seven years of partnership, Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia are ending their trans-Tasman alliance and the industry has weighed in.
Brent Thomas House of Travel commercial director says the news will likely add further competition to what is already a very competitive route.
By Ruth Scott
Could the skies above New Zealand once again see the colours of Polynesian Airlines?
This was a question up for discussion at the Samoa Tourism Exchange (STE) held this week in Apia, and it comes at a time a 10-year joint venture (JV) deal between the government of Samoa and Virgin Australia is up
Hawaiian Airways has staved off growing competition from new flight options to the US and is now looking to snatch back a larger percentage of the American mainland-bound market.
Airline president and CEO Mark Dunkerley was in Auckland yesterday celebrating the carrier’s fourth anniversary since it launched its three-times weekly service to New Zealand.
Since 2013, Hawaiian has carried more than 120,000 guests on more than 500 flights from Auckland to Honolulu. Prior to the launch, fewer than 26,000 New Zealand travellers visited Hawai‘i in 2012 but visitor
One year into a three-year transformation programme focused on improving revenue generation and reducing wastage has now progressed to Singapore Airlines moving into a ‘growth phase’ of fleet, capacity and frequency.
Etihad Airways has revealed that in 2017, it eliminated around 195,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions because of a wide range of fuel-saving initiatives across its network.
The airline was able to reduce the amount of fuel consumed by its aircraft by over 62,000 tonnes of fuel.
Hawaiian Airlines’ New Zealand sales team recently took out the top performing sales team award at Hawaiian Airlines’ Global Sales and Alliances Conference.
Held at the Hilton Waikoloa Village in Kona, the awards were presented by Hawaiian Airlines’ president and CEO Peter Ingram and Theo Panagiotoulias, senior vice president, global sales and alliances in front of over 100
Air New Zealand is making some enhancements to its Economy Skycouch, benefiting the airline’s youngest customers.
The airline is introducing a dedicated infant harness and belt, allowing infants to remain lying down throughout the cruise phase of flight.
Air New Zealand’s latest safety video is shining a spotlight on Antarctica, showcasing the important climate and environmental science underway there.
Building on NZ’s long-standing partnership with Antarctica New Zealand and the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute, the video sees Hollywood actor, lmmaker and environmentalist Adrian Grenier, team up with Scott Base scientists to track penguin populations, study ice core samples and visit early explorer Ernest Shackleton’s
Lufthansa recently revealed its new brand image and new aircraft livery.
‘Lufthansa has changed and is more modern and successful than ever. From now on, this will also be visible to the public through a new design,’ says Carsten Spohr, chairman of the Executive Board of Deutsche Lufthansa
Air New Zealand’s latest safety video will focus on climate change and Antarctica’s part in it all.
The upcoming video builds on Air New Zealand’s partnership with Antarctica New Zealand, which has supported climate and environmental research in the Ross Sea area since 2012.
Air New Zealand general manager global brand and content marketing Jodi Williams, says the video is a glimpse into a part of the world few experience, but which has the greatest potential impact on the planet’s future.
Norwegian has set a new record time for the fastest ever transatlantic flight by a passenger aircraft this week using its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
The Norwegian flight DY7014 from New York JFK to London Gatwick on Monday 15 January completed the full duration of the flight in 5 hours and 13 minutes.
Emirates is resuming flights between Dubai and Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport in June this year.
Emirates flight EK119 will depart Dubai providing connections from Emirates’ A380 flights from Auckland and Christchurch, and arriving in Istanbul.
Kiwi passengers travelling on an SAA ticket-operated by the airline’s low-cost-carrier Mango, on flights within South Africa, can now take advantage of value meal deals.
South African Airways country manager for Australasia, Tim Clyde Smyth, says SAA-ticketed passengers will receive food and drinks to the value of 70 rand at no cost on production of an SAA boarding pass.
Air New Zealand will be flying nearly 6000 extra seats on its seasonal service between Christchurch and Fiji in 2018, an increase of more than 40%.
The airline currently operates two services per week from Christchurch to Nadi International Airport between July and October, increasing to three services per week at peak times.
Philippine Airlines acknowledges more market development and activity is required to encourage New Zealand holiday makers to look at the Philippines as a destination.
The statement comes at a time when the carrier has shown confidence in the Manila – Auckland route by introducing an Airbus A340-300 to the route and flying direct three times a week.
The development, which came into effect late last week, sees the end of the service via Cairns, which was operated by an A320.
On 3 July 2018, Fiji Airways will start direct flights between Nadi and Tokyo Narita three-times a week, subject to regulatory approvals.
The new nine-hour flights will operate from Nadi International Airport to Narita International Airport and will be scheduled for Tuesday, Friday and Sunday each week.
There will be over 80,000 seats per year between Fiji and Japan aboard Fiji Airways’ Airbus A330-200/-300.
American Airlines has upped its service to Canada, with a new flight from Chicago to Calgary and Vancouver.
Daily service to Vancouver begins May 4, 2018, and seasonal service to Calgary begins June 7, 2018.
The airline will also increase frequencies from the U.S. East Coast to Eastern Canada and extend seasonal service to popular Canadian destinations.
Qantas’ new lounge at Heathrow Airport has opened today, welcoming its first lot of customers.
The airline has spent the past 12 months building the lounge as part of a multi-million dollar investment for customers on its existing London services as well as the landmark Perth-London route starting on 24 March 2018.
It’s the second anniversary of the South Island’s first direct service to mainland China with China Southern, and the route is becoming gaining traction.
Justin Watson, Christchurch Airport chief aeronautical and commercial officer, says the 787 Dreamliner service is proving very popular with both Chinese visitors and South Island residents.
Hawaii Island Air has officially closed operations, as of Saturday 11 November 2017.
Earlier this month, Island Air was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an effort to continue operations following threats of legal action by the Lessors of Island Air’s aircraft to ground and repossess the company’s fleet.
LATAM Airlines’ economy cabin has a new dining concept on its long-haul international flights.
The airline has replaced the traditional tray, with a choice of individual gourmet dishes that are 50% bigger and showcase Latin American, international and vegetarian cuisine.
Honing in on it’s sustainability efforts, Air New Zealand is expanding its long-term Department of Conservation partnership by giving a boost to conservation and biodiversity on DOC’s new Short Walks and Day Hikes network.
The airline has partnered with DOC since 2012 and recently announced it will extend its support out to 2022, funding projects to control pests, restore native wildlife and enhance the visitor experience on a mix of the Great Walks, Short Walks and Day Hikes, and marine reserves, as well as transporting endangered species on its aircraft to safe breeding grounds across the country.
Virgin Atlantic has over 350,000 seats available to book in 2018.
Flights to both New York JFK and Atlanta have been upgraded and will now be operated by the A330 and the Boeing 747, which has 455 seats per aircraft.
Direct seats between Manchester and US airports include complimentary food and drink on board and access to Wi-Fi.
Air New Zealand has announced daily flights to Houston for most of next winter.
This increase comes from a surge in demand for travel between New Zealand and Texas.
Air New Zealand currently operates five services per week to Houston year-round.
Air New Zealand has appointed British ecological economist Professor Tim Jackson and leading carbon emissions policy specialist Dr Suzi Kerr to its Sustainability Advisory Panel.
Air New Zealand chief executive officer, Christopher Luxon, says the panel provides guidance and critique as the airline works to embed sustainable growth, with the new panellists bringing further expertise in social, economic and environmental issues.
British Airways has become the first airline worldwide to introduce high-tech remote-controlled devices to push back aircraft across its short-haul operation.
In partnership with Heathrow Airport, the eco-friendly Mototok tugs will give British Airways staff the tools to prepare aircraft for departure more efficiently.
Air Canada’s direct flights between Melbourne and Vancouver will start from June 2018 with three non-stop services a week, adding over 46,000 seats every year from Canada. Jetstar has also introduced a nonstop service from Zhengzhou – giving Chinese travellers from regional hubs more accessibility to reach Melbourne.
Auckland Airport has welcomed the announcement by Thai Airways that it will increase flights on its Bangkok to Auckland service. From November 2017 Thai Airways will fly daily from Bangkok to Auckland and introduce a new Boeing Dreamliner aircraft on the route.
Air New Zealand is adding flights to its domestic schedule ready for summer to deliver 180,000 extra seats between November 2017 and March 2018, compared with the same period last year. Auckland and Queenstown will receive nearly 60,000 extra seats, an average of eight additional return services a week to and from the resort town.
Cathay Pacific Airways has released their sustainable development report for 2016, illustrating what was a groundbreaking year for the airline. Last year Cathay Pacific said goodbye to the Boeing 747 and welcomed in the Airbus A350-900, which delivers enhanced environmental performance and will accelerate carbon efficiency and reduce emissions going forward.
Cathay Dragon has expanded its codeshare agreement with Shenzhen Airlines that will see the airline add three new destinations to its network in Mainland China. In the strengthened agreement, Cathay Dragon’s ‘KA’ code will be placed on Shenzhen Airlines’ flights between Hong Kong and Yantai, Jinan and Harbin, while Shenzhen Airlines’ ‘ZH’ code will be placed on Cathay Dragon’s services between Hong Kong and Nanjing and Xi’an.
Norfolk Island Airlines has become Auckland International Airport’s 30th commercial passenger airline partner.
The new weekly service is operated by Nauru Airlines for Norfolk Island Airlines, and re-establishes a direct connection between Auckland and the Pacific island which was lost when Air New Zealand ceased its service in May.
Scott Tasker, Auckland Airport’s acting general manager – aeronautical commercial, says that the addition of Norfolk Airlines as the airport’s milestone 30th airline – following hot on the heels of airline number 29, Sichuan Airlines, which commenced its Chengdu service last Tuesday
A partnership with a leading Auckland restaurant, a new office in the city’s Queen Street and a visit this week by chief marketing officer George Liu are all signs of Hong Kong Airlines’ ongoing commitment to New Zealand, says Daniel Yuen, who leads the team in this market.
Yuen says the partnership with Clooney is lifting the business class offering and the restaurant has hired a new chef specifically for the relationship. And Liu’s trip to New Zealand was one his earliest visits to an international market since he landed his new role almost
three months ago. ‘It’s a positive message from Hong Kong Airlines, we are paying a lot of attention to this market.’
Hawaiian Airlines has unveiled an updated brand identity and the freshly painted livery of a Boeing 717, the first of its fleet of more than 50 aircraft that will feature the new design.
The new livery retains Hawaiian’s distinctive colour palette of purple, fuchsia and coral, and the carrier’s icon, Pualani (flower of the sky), still features on the tail of the aircraft, while the female icon will feature more prominently.
In addition to the refreshed livery, the new logo will feature on web and digital assets, airport lobby signage and kiosks, and at boarding gates.
Norfolk Island Airlines has appointed Mike Geary of Eye4Travel as its New Zealand representative ahead of the carrier’s first flight into New Zealand on 17 June.
Geary, who says he has a ‘passion’ for Norfolk Island and has traveled there a number of times for business and holiday, will initially do reservation training with the trade. This starts on Monday.
The weekly service, Saturday to Saturday, will start on 17 June – two weeks later than the original 24 May date.
Cathay Pacific is to continue to serve Betsy Beer – a craft beer brewed to be enjoyed at 35,000 feet.
The flight-loving beer will be offered on flights between Hong Kong and Europe, Canada, the United States, Japan, New Zealand and Tel Aviv throughout the coming months.
The Air New Zealand Board is appointing former prime minister John Key as a director from September 1.
Chairman Tony Carter says the board has been searching for a director with strong international business experience and a deep knowledge of tourism.
‘When John Key announced he was stepping down as prime minister and moving to a new phase of life outside of politics, it became a priority for the board to try to secure his services as a director,’ says Carter.
GOL (G3) met with strong interest at the recent JAWS events for travel agents around the country, says Chris Jones of Discover the World. GOL is the latest airline Discover the World represents here, though it
was established in 2001, initially operating flights within Brazil. ‘The network has grown substantially, and GOL now operates seven international and 63 domestic destinations in South America and the Caribbean,’ says Jones.
Air New Zealand will host expo-style travel trade events for the first time in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland this May.
Air New Zealand senior manager distribution Blair Catton says the events will give trade new insight into product and customer experience innovations – including the airline’s refreshed Boeing 777-300 cabins.
‘With the first of our refitted 777-300s now in service, the expos are an opportunity to bring our trade partners and internal teams together and showcase what’s new.
Air France/KLM was back on radar this week, reminding trade it is a very viable option for flights around Europe.
Members of the carriers’ team were in Auckland overnight introducing themselves to key industry players during a trade function at Harbourside
Ocean Bar Grill.
Qatar Airways has revealed its new business class seat, Qsuite, which the airline believes will brings new luxury to air travel.
The suites were unveiled by the airline’s chief executive officer, Akbar Al Baker, at the ITB Travel Expo in Berlin.
The patented seat – the industry’s first double bed – has been two years in the making. It features privacy panels that allow passengers in adjoining seats to create a private room.
Trade can expect ongoing price stimulation between Auckland and Hong Kong now that Hong Kong Airlines has become number three on the route along with Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific, says Andrew Clark, regional director Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific with Hong Kong Tourism Board.
‘As I’ve seen in other markets, once you get a third carrier on a route air fares become somewhat more competitive, ‘ he says.
Clark was one of the dignitaries at Auckland International Airport following the arrival of the inaugural HX021 service at 7.17am (13 minutes early) on Friday. It departed at 10.30am as HX022.
Hong Kong Airlines is now flying daily between the two cities but recently announced that the frequency will increase to 10 times a week between 9 December 2016 and 27 February as a direct result of forward bookings.
Asia Pacific travellers are among the least likely splash out for airline ancillary services – and they take a little while longer to plan their travels too.
That is according to a Sabre Corporation survey looking into how much people are willing to pay for services such as seats, bags and food when travelling.
The survey, which covered travellers from 20 countries, revealed 80% of travellers purchased air extras on their last trip, spending an average of US$62. When asked if they would spend more to personalise their trip, the answer was ‘yes’ – up to US$99 if it improved the travel experience.
But that didn’t include Asia Pacific travellers, it seems. The region currently spends US$63, but passengers were only willing to spend up to US$76 – the lowest among all areas.
Cathay Pacific will add a new route to network – Hong Kong to Tel Aviv, from March 2017.
Cathay Pacific Airways will expand its global network with the launch of a new four-times weekly service between Hong Kong and Tel Aviv from 26 March 2017 (subject to government approval).
New Zealand passengers can conveniently connect with the flight via CX198 from Auckland to Hong Kong, arriving at 9:00pm, with CX675 departing Hong Kong for Tel Aviv at 1:00am.
Cathay Pacific chief executive Ivan Chu says Tel Aviv has established itself as a culturally rich and technologically-advanced business capital. ‘As an important market in the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, Israel offers tremendous potential for business and leisure travel. Together with the recent launch of our Madrid and Gatwick operations, this new service to Tel Aviv reflects our commitment to growing the Cathay Pacific network and further strengthening Hong Kong's position as one of the world's great international aviation hubs.’
Cathay Pacific’s Airbus A350-900 aircraft will operate the new service.
As inflight wifi becomes more prevalent, travel agents and their clients are being warned that extra care should be taken when going online in the air.
October is Cyber Security Awareness Month and international company NordVPN has released a document outlining issues with inflight internet.
‘The dangers of public wifi are already well known but the security issues of inflight internet connection are still somewhat obscure. In 2015, there were already 52 airlines worldwide offering in-flight internet,’ the company says. (Air New Zealand has signalled its intention to introduce the service next year.)
It points out there is no password protection on the wifi connection so anyone can intercept all data that is being transmitted on the wireless network.
Singapore Airlines’ Capital Express service, linking Wellington for the first time with Singapore via Canberra, is being heralded a game changer.
The inaugural flight arrived at Wellington Airport on Wednesday to a celebration and much fanfare, attended by officials, industry representatives and excited passengers. The flight was ushered in with a water cannon salute and powhiri. Singapore Airlines executive vice president commercial Mak Swee Wah, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Wellington Airport CEO Steve Sanderson then made speeches before a cake-cutting ceremony.
Singapore Airlines general manager New Zealand Simon Turcotte, who has driven the project, was at the celebration, and admits pride at having helped bring the service to the capital. ‘Not many get to do this – I feel very privileged.’
Emirates A380s will fly between New Zealand and Dubai five times daily from 30 October with the introduction of the airline’s double-decker flagship aircraft on Christchurch services.
Emirates will be the first airline to offer regular scheduled A380 services to and from Christchurch with the upgrade of the current daily Christchurch service from Boeing 777-300ERs, along with the removal of the en-route stop in Bangkok which will enable passengers to travel all the way between Christchurch and Dubai, with just one stop in Sydney.
The launch of the Christchurch A380 flights will coincide with the introduction of the A380 on Emirates’ daily non-stop route between Auckland and Dubai. Emirates currently also operates three other daily A380 services between Auckland and Dubai and beyond via Australia (Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane).