For week ending 15 July 2016
It's that time of the year again, as Skytrax announced award winners for 2016 with Emirates taking the number one spot as World's Best Airline, read on for the rest of the top 10. Qantas have announced cuts to a number of QantasLink services, affecting Coffs Harbour and Hervey Bay. Meanwhile in hotel news Darling Harbour will be home to a new luxury W Hotel at the site of the current IMAX theatre, the hotel will boast 402 rooms and is scheduled to open in 2019.
All this and more in our weekly news round-up brought to you by FCM Travel Solutions.
CZ A330s Perth-bound
China Southern Airlines plans to switch aircraft on its Guangzhou-Perth route. Between 30 October this year and 25 March next year, the carrier will replace its current B787 Dreamliner service with a wide-body A330-200 aircraft.
The US Department of Transportation has approved a US domestic codeshare between Singapore Airlines and United Airlines. This means that the SQ code will feature on a select UA routes departing Houston, including to Atlanta, Austin, Dallas Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, New Orleans, Orlando and Tampa. The change comes into effect from this month.
Four Points Seminyak
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has opened a new property in the form of the Four Points by Sheraton Bali, Seminyak. The property features 93 rooms and 28 suites and offers a choice of dining venues, a gym, spa and swimming pool as well as 105sqm of meeting space. It is the second Four Points-branded hotel on the island, with a third set to open in Ubud in 2018.
Emirates network changes
Emirates plans to retire its A340-300 fleet ahead of schedule. As a consequence, the carrier is reducing frequencies permanently on a range of routes around the world from next month. Services from Dubai to Rome and Bangkok will drop by one flight per day to two daily and six daily respectively, while services from Dubai to Lisbon will halve from 14 to 7 flights per week. Emirates plans to maintain capacity on its Bangkok route by operating A380 super jumbos on five of its six daily flights from 1 January 2017. An A380 will also be deployed on flights EK95/96 to Rome from 1 September to bolster capacity on that route. Meanwhile, seasonal frequencies cuts will also come into effect with flights to Jakarta dropping from three to two per day. Other aircraft changes include the relaunch of A380 flights to Moscow from 1 October rather than 1 December.
PNG 30-day visa free
Papua New Guinea authorities have revised visa requirements for Australian travellers. Under the new regulations visitors from Australia will be able to obtain a free 30-day tourist visa on arrival.
Skytrax award winners
Emirates won ‘World’s Best Airline’ and ‘Best Inflight Entertainment’ at the 2016 Skytrax World Airline Awards. Fellow Gulf carrier Etihad Airways won ‘World’s Best First Class’, while Qatar Airways was voted ‘World’s Best Business Class’ and Asiana was awarded ‘World’s Best Economy Class’. Closer to home, Qantas was rated ‘Best Airline in Australia/Pacific’, ahead of Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia. The awards are as voted by air travellers.
Top 10 airlines 2016:
- 1 Emirates
- 2 Qatar Airways
- 3 Singapore Airlines
- 4 Cathay Pacific
- 5 ANA All Nippon Airways
- 6 Etihad Airways
- 7 Turkish Airlines
- 8 EVA Air
- 9 Qantas Airways
- 10 Lufthansa
W Hotel for Darling Harbour
Sydney’s Darling Harbour will soon be home to a new luxury hotel. To be built on the site of the current IMAX building, it will feature a 25-storey building, housing a hotel, serviced apartments and retail and entertainment offerings. The hotel will operate under the luxury W Hotels & Resorts brand and will feature 402 rooms. The property is slated to open in 2019.
Hilton Worldwide will takeover management of the Chateau on the Park Christchurch from 1 September. Effective from that date the 192-room property will be rebranded as a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel. The hotel offers a restaurant and bar, 24-hour rooms service, a gym, heated swimming pool and a conference and event centre catering for up to 340 people.
Uganda e-visa requirement
Travellers who require an entry visa to Uganda must now apply electronically prior to arrival. The change, which came into effect from 1 July, requires visitors to upload copies of their passport, a passport sized photo and Yellow Fever certificate as part of the online application. Travellers will then be issued with a notification of acceptance which must be presented to immigration officers on arrival, at which time a US$100 cash payment for the visa will be collected.
QantasLink route cuts
QantasLink is axing non-stop services between Melbourne and Coffs Harbour effective 6 August. Travellers impacted by the change are being offered a refund or re-accommodated on QantasLink services via Sydney. The carrier is also shelving flights between Sydney and Hervey Bay, effective 7 August. Its four daily return services from Brisbane remain unaffected and ticketed travellers affected by the change have been re-accommodated on this service or can obtain a full refund if preferred.