United Airlines has acquired an approximate 5% in Azul Brazilian Airlines, Brazil’s third-largest airline, paving the way for the carriers to codeshare flights (subject to government approval), expand connection opportunities on routes between the United States and Brazil, in addition to other points in North and South America, and participate in a joint loyalty programme.
Through a wholly owned subsidiary, United will invest $100 million for its economic stake in Azul, which includes one seat on Azul’s board of directors.
Azul serves more destinations in Brazil than any other Brazilian carrier, including more than 50 daily flights from São Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport.
As a result of the partnership, United and Azul will expand their frequent flyer loyalty agreement. MileagePlus and TudoAzul members will have reciprocal benefits to earn and redeem miles system wide on both airlines.
Qantas will work with its fellow shareholders in Jetstar Hong Kong to review the enterprise, following the Air Transport Licensing Authority’s decision to reject the local carrier’s application to establish an operation in Hong Kong.
Jetstar Hong Kong – a joint venture between Shan Tak Holdings Limited, China Eastern Airlines and the Qantas Group – was announced in March 2012.
Each partner holds a one third economic share while the Hong Kong based Shun Tak Holdings has 51% of the voting rights and ultimate control.
At 31 December 2014 the Qantas Group investment in Jetstar Hong Kong was carried at $10 million.
The carrier’s application for a license to operate scheduled air services has been under consideration by the local licensing authority for over two years.
‘This is as disappointing for the shareholders as it is for the travellers that Jetstar Hong Kong planned to serve,’ says chief executive Qantas Group Alan Joyce expressing disappointment at the decision.
‘It’s the travelling public who have lost out, because the message from this decision is that Hong Kong appears closed to fresh aviation investment even when it is majority locally owned and controlled.’
Singapore Airlines will operate 27 supplementary flights to Christchurch from 2 December 2015 through to 15 February 2016 as a result of strong demand for travel to the South Island over the summer holidays. During this period, Singapore Airlines will increase its daily service to between nine and 10 flights a week and all flights will be operated by the airline’s refitted 777-200ER aircraft.
The supplementary flights represent an additional 7,290 seats into Christchurch.
The additional flights will offer increased connections through Singapore from Christchurch to the broader Singapore Airlines and SilkAir network.
China Airlines has announced a new international service from Taipei to Christchurch via Melbourne for the coming summer.
The addition of this new service increases flights per week between Taipei and Christchurch to six, for a 22 week summer season, three per week via Sydney and three per week via Melbourne.
Chairman of China Airlines, Huang-Hsiang Sun, says last summer’s services was the airlines best performing service on its network at the time.
‘Last summer’s Taipei – Sydney - Christchurch service saw such high demand that we know offering more services for a longer time, through two Australian cities, will be well received.
The South Island is in very high demand as a travel destination for people from Taiwan and Asia, but we also know many other travellers used the trans-Tasman service last summer and expect more to do so next summer.’
Qantas Frequent Flyer and Jetstar have announced a new initiative for New Zealand, with local travellers now able to earn Qantas Points on every Jetstar domestic flight across the country.
Previously, Qantas Frequent Flyer members travelling on Jetstar New Zealand have earned Qantas Points only when adding Plus and Max bundles to their Starter fare.
Now, all Jetstar domestic Starter fares within New Zealand will attract a minimum of 400 Qantas Points.
The initiative will include flights to Jetstar’s four new regional destinations when they go on sale from September.
Qantas Loyalty chief executive, Lesley Grant, says expanding the opportunities to earn is expected to grow the membership of the Qantas Frequent Flyer programme in New Zealand.
New Zealanders can join Qantas Frequent Flyer for free until 31 December 2015.