For week ending 23 September 2016.
Welcome to the latest edition of FCM's weekly travel industry news. This week Virgin Australia and THAI announced the launch of new international routes while Qatar has boosted capacity on the Sydney - Doha route by introducing their A380 aircraft. We were excited to hear that Hilton have opened their very first property in Montenegro, featuring an impressive meeting and event space.
All this and more in our weekly news round-up brought to you by FCM Travel Solutions.
SQ use VA lounge in Canberra
Business class, PPS Club and KrisFlyer Elite Gold members flying from Canberra to Singapore or Wellington with Singapore Airlines can use the Virgin Australia lounge before their flight. However, travellers should be aware that the lounge is not located in the international section of the terminal and as such should allow ample time to clear customs and immigration before boarding. The lounge will not be available to transit passengers travelling between Singapore and Wellington.
Canada eTA leniency
The Canadian Government has extended its leniency period for those travelling to Canada without an electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA). Set to come into full force on 29 September, this has been pushed back to 9 November, allowing visa-exempt travellers to board flights without an eTA. However, travellers are urged to apply for their eTA in advance of booking their flight. You can apply online at www.cic.gc.ca. The eTA costs just CA$7.
New long-haul Virgin routes
Virgin Australia is adding two new international routes to its network. The carrier plans to operate a non-stop A330-200 service between Perth and Abu Dhabi from 9 June next year. These will replace its current thrice-weekly Sydney-Abu Dhabi services, which will instead be operated by airline partner Etihad in the same time slots from 6 February. The move will raise Etihad’s frequency on its Sydney route to a double daily operation. Meanwhile, on 4 April 2017, Virgin Australia will introduce five weekly non-stop flights between Melbourne and Los Angeles on B777-300ER aircraft.
Hilton Worldwide has opened its first property in Montenegro. The 180-room Hilton Podgorica Crna Gora is located in the heart of the city and a short walk to government offices, embassies and the downtown area. The hotel features a choice of restaurants and bars as well as 24-hour room service. There is also an Executive Lounge, a spa, an indoor swimming pool, 24-hour fitness centre and meeting and event space for up to 435 guests.
Qatar aircraft switch boosts Sydney
Qatar Airways has upped capacity on its Doha-Sydney route. The carrier is now operating an A380 aircraft on the route, boosting daily capacity by 44%. The carrier’s superjumbo offers eight first class, 48 business class and 461 economy class seats.
THAI re-launches two routes
Thai Airways International plans to reinstate two routes. The carrier will offer thrice weekly services between Bangkok and Tehran from 1 October and four times weekly services from Bangkok to Moscow from 15 December 2016.