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).
Outbound, A380 flight EK413 will depart Christchurch at 18:45 hours, touching down in Dubai at 05:15 hours the next day after its stop in Sydney, reducing the journey time to Dubai and Europe by about two hours in each direction. The return flight, EK412, will depart Dubai at 10:15 hours, stopping only in Sydney before arriving in Christchurch at 13:50 hours the next day (local time).
Meantime, the Auckland A380 service flying via Sydney (EK419) will operate via Bangkok, as well as Sydney. It will depart Auckland at 16:30 hours and arrive in Dubai the following morning at 06:45 hours. The return flight, EK418, will depart Dubai at 08:55 hours and arrive in Auckland at 15:55 hours the following day (local time).Emirates to offer first A380 Christchurch services.
Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines have extended their alliance to include travel between Wellington and Singapore.
From 21 September Air New Zealand will be able to codeshare on Singapore Airlines’ new Wellington-Singapore service and Singapore Airlines on Air New Zealand’s domestic network beyond Wellington.
The two carriers first launched an alliance in early 2015, which included the Singapore Airlines’ Singapore-Christchurch service and enabled Air New Zealand to resume operating the Auckland-Singapore route, delivering greater access to Singapore from New Zealand.
Air New Zealand chief strategy, networks and alliances officer Stephen Jones says the launch of our alliance with Singapore Airlines delivered capacity growth of 15% in its first year helping to not only grow visitor arrivals benefiting our tourism industry but also provide convenient travel options to Singapore and beyond.
Singapore Airlines general manager, New Zealand, Simon Turcotte says the extension of the alliance agreement to include the new service will deliver a greater choice to customers looking to travel to and from New Zealand.
The new Wellington-Singapore service will operate four times a week departing Wellington at 20:15 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sundays, arriving in Singapore at 05:50 the next day following a short 85 minute stop-over in Canberra.
Fares for the new service under the alliance agreement will be available on a progressive basis from 1 September in New Zealand, Singapore and Europe.
Air New Zealand is to spend more than $100 million increasing the number of premium seats on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and refurbishing its Boeing 777-300 fleet in response to customer trends.
Increasing demand for premium travel means the three Dreamliners, scheduled to be delivered from October 2017, will arrive with a fresh new cabin configuration that will increase the number of Business Premier seats from 18 to 27 and Premium Economy seats from 21 to 33.
From February 2017, all seven of the airline’s Boeing 777-300s will also progressively complete a refurbishment programme, including the installation of the Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment system customers already enjoy on the Dreamliner fleet, and refreshed seating options.
Each of the 777-300s’ interiors will be refurbished.
The refurbished aircraft will feature refreshed Business Premier and Economy seats as well as Air New Zealand’s luxury leather Premium Economy seat, which debuted on the 787-9 Dreamliner in July 2014. These will replace the Spaceseat and take the number of Premium Economy seats on this aircraft from 44 to 54.
The Boeing 777-300 refurbishment programme is expected to be completed by late November 2017.
Air New Zealand’s general manager customer experience Carrie Hurihanganui says since its introduction on the Dreamliner, the new ink coloured luxury leather Premium Economy seat has become extremely popular with customers.
New Zealand remains underserved by airline capacity from around the word in spite of an influx of new services, according to Auckland Airport.
At a press conference marking Sunday’s inaugural United Airlines service between Auckland and San Francisco, Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood said the US market remained ‘underserved by about 30% even taking the new capacity into account’.
This follows an analysis entitled Growing Travel Markets, presented by the airport’s general manager, aeronautical commercial Norris Carter. It asserts the massive China market is underserved by 39%, Japan by 28% and South Korea by 53%. Even Australia is underserved by 32%, the report claims.
‘This is not a forecast, rather a modelled view of market possibilities which we’ve based on a mix of public and proprietary data,’ says Carter.
‘The modelling we’ve done indicates the US is a strong market for passenger growth. New Zealand is an attractive destination for US travellers. This is why we have seen United and American come on board, and we see room for further growth.’
Dave Hilfman, United’s senior vice president worldwide sales, says the airline is pleased with the early loadings it is seeing on the airline’s Auckland to San Francisco service. The carrier is confident enough to be increasing from three flights a week to daily from 30 October.
He says 70% to 75% of the traffic of the passengers on the service are United States point of sale.
‘That’s not surprising considering the size of the market but we are also seeing growth out of New Zealand.’
Kevin Bowler, chief executive of Tourism New Zealand, was not prepared to speak directly about the airports anaysis.
‘There’s no doubt though that we're seeing a high level of interest from new and existing airlines to add services, which supports the view that there is considerable potential for new capacity into New Zealand.’
Brent Thomas, commercial director at House of Travel, says that with significant growth in capacities trans-Tasman and in other market’s growth, outbound from New Zealand has definitely grown as well. ‘But not by those figures presented by Auckland Airport, so they are obviously talking inbound.’
However Thomas says extra capacity is welcomed by the trade and clients here. ‘Not only does it bring competitive pricing but also gives a choice of routes and more choice on the preferred travel times. That’s true even in the short-haul markets. If there is more capacity in peak times such as the coming school holidays, then that’s a boon for the customer.’
Dave Hilfman, United Airlines’ senior vice president worldwide sales, has reiterated the importance the carrier places on the trade as it begins nonstop services between Auckland and San Francisco.
At today’s inaugural flight from AKL, Hilfman noted that UA still generates ‘close on 60%’ of its revenue from travel agencies. ‘It’s hard to tell where the ceiling on that is and whether technology will break through any further, but we are still very much focused on both leisure vacation agents and TMC’s (travel management companies). TMCs bring great value for us.’
UA is using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner on the route, which operates three times a week but is set to increase to daily from 30 October. Currently, UA916 departs Auckland on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, arriving in San Francisco at 6.40am the same days. The return flight, UA917, departs San Francisco at 10.45pm on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, arriving in Auckland at 6.55am two days later (all times local).
Hilfman says the timing is ideal for New Zealanders wanting to connect to domestic flights and arrive early to mid-afternoon.
‘San Francisco has so much for visitors, but we know that Kiwis are looking beyond places like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas – they want to go to Portland, Chicago, Nashville and Miami.’
He says the new service further opens the door to the US for Kiwi travellers, providing them with convenient one-stop connections through the SFO hub to more than 44 US cities, including 40 not currently served one-stop by a single carrier.
The launch of the new service marks the start of a joint revenue-sharing agreement between UA and Air New Zealand, deepening the existing partnership between the two Star Alliance member airlines. Under the agreement, the carriers are working together on sales and marketing efforts in order to offer their mutual customers more travel options between the mainland US and New Zealand.
- Dave Hilfman (right) is interviewed in the business section of UA’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner by Gerard Murphy, Bon Voyage TV Dave Hilfman (right) is interviewed in the business section of UA’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner by Gerard Murphy, Bon Voyage TV
- Leanne Cheesman, national sales manager for New Zealand with United Airlines in celebratory mood Leanne Cheesman, national sales manager for New Zealand with United Airlines in celebratory mood
Cathay Pacific's new A350 aircraft will start flying on the Auckland-Hong Kong route from October 31 2016.
The A350-900XWB will service the daily CX198 flight departing at 2:30 pm between 31 October - 1 December 2016 and then the daily CX118 flight, departing at 9 am between 2 December – 1 March 2017.
Cathay Pacific’s specified model of the extra wide aircraft has new Business Class lie flat beds that are now three inches longer than current seats. Both the business and premium economy class seats were designed by Studio F.A.O Porsche for optimal comfort. In economy class, a seat configuration of 3-3-3 provides passengers with more space. In both economy and premium economy a dedicated mobile/tablet dock designed at eye level makes it easy to enjoy entertainment from a passenger’s own device.
New technologies aboard the A350 include WiFi internet for passengers on their personal devices that can be purchased for US$19.95 on flights longer than six hours. Some websites are also provided free including Cathay Pacific and partner’s sites as well as destination guides.
All passengers also have free access to the BBC, CNN, and Euronews live satellite television channels from their entertainment system.
The A350 enhances passenger’s travel experience with 50% quieter noise levels due to the new Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines while a higher cabin pressure supplies more oxygen to lower the effective cabin cruising altitude from 8000ft on current aircraft types to 6000 ft on the A350 reducing passenger fatigue.
Mark Pirihi, Cathay Pacific Country Manager in New Zealand & Pacific Islands, says the A350 will be a major draw card for Kiwi travellers looking for a more comfortable long-haul flight experience.
‘From October 31 Kiwis will have the option to travel to both Asia and Europe in the comfort of this all new aircraft featuring the latest in entertainment technology and cabin design.’
Malaysia Airlines new retrofitted lie flat business class seats are now available on its daily services between Auckland and Kuala Lumpur. Each of the 27 seats transform into a 76-inch fully lie flat bed at the push of a button. There are three seat configurations, across six rows, within the new layout (1-2-2 or 1-2-1). All seats on the left side of the cabin are single, the middle row are two – with each direct aisle access and the right side alternate between one or two seats.
Agents on the recent Malaysia Airlines famil to Kuala Lumpur test drove the new seats and had no complaints. The consensus was there was enough privacy between the seats if you wanted to switch off; the seats reclined seamlessly and they liked the three discreet lights so no other passengers need be disturbed. A good selection of beverages was offered and everyone said the satay starters were the best.
For inflight entertainment, the latest release movies, tv series and Asian/Indian options as are available for viewing from the 16-inch touch screen. The headphones are not noise cancelling, so it’s still best to take your own if you really want total immersion.
Milena Bossa, Malaysia Airlines sales executive, took the group into the KLIA Satellite business class lounge at Kuala Lumpur airport. Overlooking the tarmac, the expansive area has a separate bar area, barista coffees, a buffet serving hot and cold meal options, prayer room, plenty of showers and a spa treatment room (charges apply).
The lounge is to undergo a complete refurbishment/upgrade before the end of the year. Full details of the layout, style and if the lounge will continue to remain open or be relocated during the refurbishment are still to come.
- Milena Bossa, Malaysia Airlines and Brad Jacobsen, CWT test drive the new business class seats on display at Malaysia Airlines business class lounge Milena Bossa, Malaysia Airlines and Brad Jacobsen, CWT test drive the new business class seats on display at Malaysia Airlines business class lounge
- The new cabin layout, 1-2-2 or 1-2-1, seating configuration for the Airbus A330 The new cabin layout, 1-2-2 or 1-2-1, seating configuration for the Airbus A330
Solomon Airlines has announced the temporary suspension of its Sydney to Honiara service from 22 February to 25 April while the carrier’s flagship Airbus A-320 undergoes maintenance in Singapore.
All passengers affected by the suspension will be flown between Brisbane and Honiara via the airline’s four direct services, which the airline will operate using a Boeing B737-800 aircraft leased from codeshare partner Qantas Airways.
Apologising for inconvenience, Solomon Airlines general manager operations and commercial, Gus Kraus said the airline was ‘extremely grateful’ to Qantas for stepping in to assist the airline.
‘All passengers holding confirmed tickets will be re-routed ex-Sydney to Brisbane to connect with either the airline’s Monday or Wednesday services,’ he says.
‘Passengers holding confirmed tickets ex-Honiara to Sydney will be similarly accommodated.’
During the maintenance period, Solomon Airlines will operate a same day return service between Brisbane and Honiara on Mondays.
Solomon Airlines’ services to Nadi and Port Vila will not be affected by the schedule change.
The Airbus A-320 is expected to return to full operation on 26 April.
Etihad Airways has launched daily nonstop flights between Brisbane and Abu Dhabi.
The new nonstop flights are operated by Etihad Airways’ new three class Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner which features the airline’s First Suite, Business Studio and Economy Smart Seat.
The Dreamliner flights offer First Class on the Brisbane – Abu Dhabi route for the first time, and will replace the daily one stop services which the airline previously operated via Singapore with a two class Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
Etihad Airways’ president and chief executive officer, James Hogan, says the flights are a reflection of Etihad Airways’ commitment to the Queensland travel market and the strong performance of the Brisbane route.
‘The commencement of daily non-stop Dreamliner services enables us to offer our strongest ever customer proposition on the Brisbane – Abu Dhabi route and represents a significant investment in the Queensland market.
‘By retiming our Brisbane-Abu Dhabi flights with evening departures in both directions and removing the stop in Singapore, we can now offer guests the convenience of shorter travel times and two-way connectivity to more than 30 destinations in the GCC, Middle East, Africa and Europe.’
Stephen Tanner and Gareth Williamson from
Walshes World attended the launch of Etihad
Airways B787 in Brisbane