For week ending 17 February 2017
Virgin Hong Kong bound
Virgin Australia plans to introduce flights from Australia to Hong Kong and mainland China. Subject to regulatory approval, services could commence as early as mid-2017. They will operate on an A330 aircraft, which features the ‘The Business’ business class offering. The move comes in tandem with an announcement of a strategic alliances with HNA Aviation, Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express, with codeshare services on these routes likely to operate alongside VA-operated flights. Reciprocal frequent flyer benefits also form part of the agreement.
Accor adds three in Addis Ababa
AccorHotels has plans to build three new properties in Ethiopia. They will be managed under separate brands, with a Mercure hotel opening in 2020, an ibis Styles hotel in 2019 and an ibis hotel in 2021. All will be located in the capital Addis Ababa.
Delta offers free meals on select US routes
Delta Air Lines plans to roll out free meals on some of its longer US domestic flights. Services between New York JFK and Los Angeles/San Francisco will offer free meals from 1 March, with the carrier expanding the free meal service to 10 other major domestic routes from 24 April.
Reserved parking at Sydney International
Sydney Airport is introducing reserved parking at its International P7 car park. From 1 March, travellers will be able to book a spot online prior to arrival, guaranteeing a parking space in a designated area close to the terminal.
Qantas to offer in-flight Netflix & Foxtel
Travellers flying on Qantas domestic services will soon be able to access to Netflix, Foxtel and Spotify on select wi-fi enabled flights. The nbn Sky Muster service, which is currently being tested on one of the carrier’s B737 aircraft, will be activated for passenger use by the end of February. Access to Foxtel via its app will be free for the first three days with no subscription required, while Netflix and Spotify will require passengers to be existing members or to subscribe to access a 30-day free trial of the service. Qantas plans to roll out the wi-fi across its entire domestic B737 and A330 fleet from mid-2017 onwards.
DoubleTree Times Square open
The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New York Times Square West has officially opened. Located in Manhattan, the 612-room hotel features a restaurant, rooftop lounge and fitness centre, as well as meeting room for up to 15 people.
Virgin adds business class routes
Virgin Australia will roll out its domestic business class cabin on 14 new routes from 1 March. The additional routes include services from Brisbane to Proserpine and Rockhampton; Broome, Newman, Kalgoorlie, Port Hedland and Karratha to Perth; Launceston to Sydney and Melbourne; Melbourne to Mildura; and Sydney to Ballina, Coffs Harbour and Hervey Bay. Flights will operate on B737-800 aircraft, featuring eight luxury leather seats in a 2-2 configuration and business class guests will enjoy in-flight dining designed by resident chef Luke Mangan.
DoubleTree for Wellington
Hilton Worldwide is adding a new hotel to its New Zealand portfolio. The 108-room DoubleTree by Hilton Wellington will be located in the heart of the city’s CBD and is set to open by the end of the year. The property will feature a restaurant, bar, boardroom and gym.
BKK Sakura Lounge reopening
Japan Airlines will open it newly renovated Sakura Lounge at Bangkok Airport on 1 March.
Upgrades include a new layout and additional shower suites as well as revamped menus by Japanese restaurant NIPPON-TEI.
Qantas ups change fees
Qantas is increasing name change and cancellation fees on its QF domestic and QantasLink Red eDeal and Flex fares. From 14 March, the fee will rise by $11 to $99 (including GST) and will also apply to Group Saver bookings and those on Qantas corporate fare agreements.
Qatar to roll out new business class seating
Qatar Airways plans to roll out a “revolutionary new patented business class seat”. The next-gen seat will feature suite-like doors for greater privacy and be laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration. It will make its debut on the carrier’s A350 and B777-300ER aircraft, with retrofitting of B777-200LR and A380 aircraft likely to follow in due course.