Travel News

Man at airport
Travel News 30 May 2018

FCM Travel Solutions' latest roundup of travel industry news.

Air updates

Air New Zealand and Qantas codesharing agreement

In the quake of the earlier Air New Zealand and Virgin Austrailia split, a new partnership agreement has been announced. The Air New Zealand and Qantas codeshare agreement is great news for business travellers. Eligible customers will see eligible customers gaining access to a combined total of 36 domestic lounges on both sides of the Tasman when flying on routes..

Air New Zealand boosts business flights to Palmerston North

Air New Zealand will operate an additional 12 one-way business timed services per week between Palmerston North and Auckland from mid-August. The new service will depart Auckland for Palmerston North at 5:50pm Sunday-Friday, with a return service from Palmerston North to Auckland departing at 7:25am Monday-Saturday.

Singapore Airlines Melbourne-Wellington takes off

Singapore Airlines has officially launched its new Melbourne-Wellington service. Flights SQ247/8 operate on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays on B777-200 aircraft.

Air New Zealand introduces Wi-Fi

Air New Zealand expanding their connectivity by offering in-flight Wi-Fi is exciting news for those travellers who are eager to stay connected while in the air and will be particularly good for our business travellers who fly frequently and for long distances. They are currently reviewing their pricing after their initial announcement.

Cathay Pacific Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific's The Wing business class lounge is now open after refurbishment. It is considered one of the best lounges in the world, offering unobstructed views of the airport activities to keep airport enthusiasts occupied. Cathay Business Class automatically entitles you but a range of frequent flyer schemes do as well so check with your Account Manager. 

Fastpass at Dubai International Airport

Dubai International Airport is introducing a new pre-clearance system. The next generation border control system, which will be service arrival and departure points, will see travellers able to clear passport control in as little as 10 seconds. It is also already operational in Terminal 3 and will roll out in Terminals 1 and 2 later this year.

Qantas introduces in-flight meditation

Qantas is introducing in-flight meditation to its in-flight entertainment offering. The meditation video series has been specially designed to bring a sense of calm, offering passengers a new way to relax while in flight. The 10-minute guided meditation is set to aerial footage of some of the most beautiful landscapes around Australia. Customers can choose from scenes including deserts, bushland, coasts and forests. An immersive virtual reality (VR) version can be downloaded before travelling via the Qantas VR App. The video series will be available from June.

Virgin adds in-flight Wi-Fi to LAX route

Travellers flying with Virgin Australia between Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane and Los Angeles can now enjoy Wi-Fi while in flight. The service costs $9 for one hour or $20 for the entire flight. Connection speeds allow for web browsing, email, messaging and social media, but are insufficient for video streaming and services such as Skype and FaceTime are blocked. Another point to note is that service outages may occur at times during the flight, due to lack of satellite availability. Four of the carrier’s five B777-300ERs used on the LAX routes are already fitted with the Wi-Fi technology, with the service rolling out to the last aircraft this month.

Triangle service takes flight for Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines has launched its new daily triangular service to Sydney and Canberra. The move adds a fifth daily service to Sydney and boosts frequency to Canberra, up from four times weekly. Flight SQ288 operates on B777-300ER aircraft adding first and premium economy options to Canberra for the first time, as well as lie-flat seats in business class.

Qatar Airways offers hi-speed Wi-Fi

Qatar Airways has added the latest Wi-Fi technology to its B777 and A380 aircraft. This means their passengers will be among the first to experience high-speed broadband while in the flight. Each guest will receive one hour of free access, with the option to add extra time for a fee.

New British Airways lounge

British Airways has opened its newest lounge, which is located in a newly completed extension of Aberdeen. Next in line to receive a new BA lounge will be New York JFK’s Terminal 7, followed by Geneva, San Francisco, Johannesburg and Chicago.

British Airways TSA Pre-check

Travellers flying with British Airways will now enjoy shorter security queues at US airports. The carrier has signed up to the TSA Precheck program, so approved passengers are no longer required to remove items of clothing at security checkpoints and laptops can remain in hand luggage.

Emirates boosts Heathrow

Emirates is upping the frequency of its Dubai-London Heathrow route. The carrier will add a seventh daily flight on Saturdays over July and August. The three-class service will operate on B777-300ER aircraft.

Emirates Edinburgh-bound

Emirates plans to launch daily non-stop services between Dubai and Edinburgh. The move aims to complement the carrier’s existing double daily services to Glasgow. The new route will launch on 1 October operating on three-class B777-300ER aircraft.

United Airlines boosts US East Coast

United Airlines is boosting US East Coast services. The carrier plans to add new destinations from its hubs in New York/Newark and Washington-Dulles, as well as upping existing route frequencies and boosting capacity by operating larger aircraft on select routes. From 4 October, non-stop services from New York/Newark to Memphis and New Orleans will rise to four times daily and Orlando to nine times daily. Meanwhile, a new non-stop route to Palm Springs will operate between 19 December 2018 and 30 March 2019. At Washington-Dulles Airport, services to Ithaca and Scranton will rise to twice daily.

Land updates

AccorHotels acquires Movenpick

AccorHotels has signed a deal to acquire the Movenpick Hotels & Resorts portfolio, subject to regulatory approval. The deal covers 84 properties in 27 countries, mostly in Europe and the Middle East, but includes a further 42 hotels set to open over the next three years, including properties in the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific.

Hilton expansion

Hilton Worldwide has signed two new Tapestry Collection properties in Peru. The 117-room Hotel Bel’Arte Lima and 86-room Hotel Museo de Osma will both open in 2021. The hotel group has also recently opened the 162-key Embassy Suites by Hilton Montreal Airport.

IHG China expansion

InterContinental Hotels Group has signed deals for 10 new properties Western China. Spanning seven of the groups brands, the properties are located in Chengdu, Mianyang High-Tech Zone, Jiuzhai, Puzhehei, Guiyang Financial City, Chongqing, Xian High-Tech Zone, Lanzhou, Guilin and Meishan.

DoubleTree Malaysia debut

Hilton Worldwide has opened its first DoubleTree Resort in Malaysia. The 316-room DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang is located on Penang’s north coast overlooking the Indian Ocean. The hotel features a choice of dining venues, a fitness centre, swimming pool and flexible meeting space for up to 120 delegates and a spacious ballroom with a capacity of 550 guests.

IHG Bulgaria debut

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has opened its first property in Bulgaria. Located in the city centre of the country’s capital, the 194-room InterContinental Sofia features an on-site restaurant and meeting and event space for up to 300 guests.

Park Inn Istanbul

The Radisson Hotel Group has opened a new property in Turkey. The 97-room Park Inn by Radisson, Istanbul Odayeri is located 10 minutes from the city’s new airport, which is due to open later this year. It features an on-site restaurant, lobby lounge and four meeting rooms accommodating up to 90 guests.

Marriott Mali debut

Marriott International has opened its first hotel in Mali, West Africa. Located close to Modibo Keita International Airport, the 200-room Sheraton Bamako Hotel offers easy access to the city centre, major embassies, corporate offices and government buildings. The property’s club rooms and suites come with exclusive access to the Club Lounge and the hotel also features a choice of dining venues and bars, a 24-hour fitness centre, spa and outdoor swimming pool as well as a range of meeting and event spaces, including a Grand Ballroom.

IHG Indigo London

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has opened a new Hotel Indigo in London. The 95-room Hotel Indigo London – 1 Leicester, which is located in the city’s theatre district, boasts an onsite restaurant and an offsite fitness centre.

Reminder: Increased security screening for flights to the USA from 21 April 2018

In 2017, the US Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced additional security processes for all flights travelling to the USA to be introduced in a staged approach. This means that extra security measures will be in place for customers flying to the USA from 21 April 2018.

Airport check-in and bag drop for US-bound flights from Auckland, Rarotonga and London Heathrow will open four hours prior to departure, so please allow additional time to complete check-in formalities and proceed through security. Customers are strongly advised to allow extra time to complete all check-in, security and boarding requirements and to be aware these may cause additional congestion. Customers will also be required to carry a printed or digital copy of their flight ticket, and may also be asked to switch on all electronic devices, so we ask that these are fully charged prior to any US-bound flight.