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.
Fiji Airways is the latest carrier in the Pacific region to go live with Travelport’s Rich Content and Branding technology. The technology will enable Fiji Airways to build recognition and extend its reach to a wider network of agencies outside of the Pacific islands.
Rich Content and Branding enables airlines to market and retail their products more effectively by displaying all of their fares, ancillaries and brand proposition to travel agencies. It includes rich product descriptions and graphics, optional or ancillary products for sale, including fare families, as well as ‘the next product/price point up’ offers to encourage upselling.
Andrew Stanbury, Fiji Airways executive general manager sales and marketing says the move is an opportunity for the airline to extend its reach to the growing numbers of inbound visitors into the region.
There are now more than 160 airlines using the technology.
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.’
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