For week ending 15 December 2017
Qantas adds new US route
Qantas plans to add a new direct Melbourne-San Francisco route in late 2018. The service will operate on one of the carrier’s new B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, which will be shared with the Melbourne-Los Angeles route. San Francisco is pencilled in for a four times weekly service and Los Angeles a three-times weekly service, complementing the daily A380 service already operating between Melbourne and Los Angeles.
Keyless car hire
Avis Budget Group is trialing a keyless car hire system in the USA that will allow renters to open and start their vehicles using the Avis app on their phone or personal device. It is being tested on select vehicles in Kansas City.
Etihad economy additions
Etihad Airways has introduced a range of new in-flight products for purchase by economy class passengers on selected routes to and from Abu Dhabi, including Australia. Items include Christian Lacroix amenity kits, cotton pyjamas, Piper-Heidsieck Cuvee Brut NV champagne, Coffee Planet cold brew coffee and tasty snack boxes. These are now offered in addition to the carrier’s complimentary in-flight service.
Qatar A380 Perth-bound
Qatar Airways is upgrading its Doha-Perth route. Effective from 1 May next year, the carrier will replace the B777-300ER currently operating the route with a larger capacity A380.
The Vietnamese government has expanded its e-visa system. Australia and New Zealand citizens are among those from more than 40 countries who are eligible to apply for an e-visa to enter the country. Visitors can apply for the 30- day, single-entry e-visa online at a cost of US$25. The applications take three days to process.
Qantas rejigs Singapore
Qantas is rejigging services between Australia and Singapore. The changes come in the lead-up to the carrier resuming its Singapore to London Heathrow route on 25 March. Between 4 and 24 March, there will be aircraft changes and scheduling changes on some flights – check with your travel manager for details. Meanwhile, Qantas’ Perth-Singapore route will operate double daily year-round from 8 April on B737-800 aircraft.
Qantas Osaka route takes flight
Thrice-weekly Qantas services between Sydney and Osaka are now underway. The route operates on A330 aircraft on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays until 26 March, after which the Thursday flight will switch to Wednesdays.
Marriott expansion plans
Marriott International plans to add nearly 40 hotels in 2018. Ranging across eight luxury brands, new additions will include W Hotels in Brisbane, Shanghai, Dubai and Tel Aviv, six new Ritz Carlton properties, including one in Nanjing, China, and JW Marriott properties in Nashville and the Maldives.
Accor adds new brands to Le Club
AccorHotels has plans to add the Raffles, Fairmont and Swissotel brands to its Le Club AccorHotels loyalty program. Effective from 2 July, guests will be able to earn and redeem points at these hotels.
Beijing-Brisbane takes off
Air China has commenced services on its new non-stop Beijing-Brisbane route. Services operate four times weekly on two-class A330-200 aircraft.
Armidale Airport upgrades
Armidale Airport in NSW has unveiled a new terminal following a major expansion. The new terminal features a cafe, retail area, baggage carousel and additional seating. Other airport upgrades mean that the airport can now accommodate larger 74-seat aircraft.
Adelaide Airport green initiatives
Adelaide Airport has added four electric vehicle charging stations in its public car park. The new service will be free f charge for the first 12 months.