Australia and New Zealand’s major airlines have put competition to one side to set up an industry group to spearhead reform on public policy.
The members of the group, Airlines for Australia and New Zealand (A4ANZ), are Air New Zealand, Qantas, Regional Express (Rex), Tigerair Australia and Virgin Australia.
A4ANZ will enable Air New Zealand, the Qantas Group, Regional Express Holdings and the Virgin Australia Group to contribute to the policy debate on issues that affect Australian and New Zealand travellers, including
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.
Al Baker says the design is a world first. ‘Qatar Airways has revolutionised
the way we serve our business class travellers, enabling our passengers to enjoy a first-class experience in business class,’ Al Baker says.
And to compliment the airlines dine-on-demand service, it will be offering new meal options such as a selection of sharing dishes. It has also launched a next-generation user interface of its inflight entertainment platform Oryx One, which has 3000 entertainment options.
QSuite will be installed in new model 777s and A350s as they start to enter the fleet. It will begin operating between Doha and London by June and rolled out
across existing Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 planes.
The airline kicked off its Auckland to Doha route in February, and Qsuite is expected to be available here by mid-2018.
Qatar Airways’ well-celebrated entry into the New Zealand market on Waitangi Day landed with a bump at the airline's press conference when its CEO accused Air New Zealand of putting the kibosh on its hopes for domestic expansion.
The airline’s chief executive officer, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, told media at the function held at Auckland’s Sofitel Hotel that Air New Zealand had been pressured by its Star Alliance partners and shareholders to cull a longstanding special pro-rate agreement (SPA).
Outspoken Al Baker says the move is proof of the nervousness Qatar creates when it enters a new market, adding the move was ‘hypocrisy on the side of the alliance’.
Auckland Airport’s December 2016 international passengers (excluding transit passengers) were the highest ever for a single month in the
There were 960,861 passengers – 67,000 more than the previous record set in January 2016, and 13.1% higher than December 2015.
The result was driven by capacity increases on North American and Asian routes, which boosted visitor arrivals over summer, as well as by the number of people visiting friends and relatives during the holidays.
Delta and Virgin Australia have partnered to bring agents and their clients in this part of the world more choice with new services between Melbourne and Los Angeles (flights operated by Virgin Australia) starting 4 April.
On the Delta domestic network from Los Angeles travellers can access 49 cities in the US, Canada and Mexico, including 15 times daily to San Francisco and a flight to New York JFK every 90 minutes.
Meantime, Delta SkyMiles is making improvements for Diamond Medallion Members’ Choice Benefits – a loyalty programme feature that Delta provides its elite members.
Philippine Airlines’ relaunch of $499 return travel agents’ fares to Manila for the whole of 2017 is expected to give the destination a much-needed boost in trade profile.
Steve Rice, general manager of Airline Marketing New Zealand, which represents Philippine Airlines (PR) here says the fare was first introduced in July last year.
‘It generated some interest but putting it out in the middle of the year, when many people had already made their travel plans, was not ideal,’ Rice says.
‘Having the fare in the market now for the whole of 2017 should help us to encourage agents to self-famil. We are encouraging as many agents as possible to get up there and see the destination themselves.
World Aviation Systems moves into new premises at 120 Albert Street on Monday following a change of ownership that was announced late last year.
New Zealand trade is expected to benefit from the move, with all calls being handled here all day rather than being diverted to Australia as they were in the past.
Initially the team will be in interim offices close to the existing Airline Marketing New Zealand operation, but a more permanent location in the building is being sought.
Steve Rice of Airline Marketing will be general manager of both companies but says WAS (under the umbrella of Global Aviation Services Australasia Ltd) will run as its own separate entity, with Alan Wilcock retaining his position of manager there.
United Airlines has confirmed it is suspending its Auckland to San Francisco service from 18 April to 30 October, 2017.
However, the carrier advises alternate services will remain available via its joint venture partner, Air New Zealand.
The decision is in response to seasonal variations, United said in a release yesterday.
These changes will also result in the carrier adding three flights per week from 18 December after the daily Auckland to San Francisco service resumes on 31 October. This will increase services to a total of 10 United flights per week during the high season.
Passengers who have United Airlines reservations from Auckland to San Francisco between 18 April to 30 October 30 are being contacted directly by United’s reservations team to make updated flight arrangements to the United States on Air New Zealand.
‘We apologise to customers for any inconvenience and advise that customers will not be out of pocket as a result of this shift in scheduling and will retain all frequent flyer benefits,’ the release said.
United returned to New Zealand in July last year and upped its service from three times a week to daily in November.
Embrace change and brand your product, that was the message airline representatives heard when they attended a Travelport function earlier this week.
Travelport’s product manager, Daniel Rowley introduced a new platform, Rich Content and Branding, at a function attended by about 30 people in central Auckland.
In doing so he says airlines have to differentiate their products and drive it through all channels. ‘Airlines need to extend their sales and market reach. With Rich Content and Branding airlines load their own content, they control it and can tailor to specific agents if necessary.
Hong Kong Airlines is expanding its international routes into Vancouver, London and New York for 2017. This comes just after the airline commenced daily services from Auckland to Hong Kong, positioning itself alongside two well-established airlines on the route.
General manager NZ, Daniel Yuen says HX sees New Zealand as a huge growth market, not only for travellers to Hong Kong, but beyond. ‘We currently fly to popular Kiwi travel destinations including Taipei, Seoul, Chengdu and Bangkok and are in the process of securing future routes to key cities.’
Yuen adds that Hong Kong Airlines will take delivery of eight new aircraft next year including an Airbus A350 midway through 2017 that is expected to operate Hong Kong - London.
An additional Hong Kong Airlines lounge will be operational early next year for passengers departing from the midfield concourse in Hong Kong. The new lounge will be three times larger than the current lounge in Terminal One and be closer to the majority of Hong Kong Airlines’ departing flights.
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).