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).