For week ending 3 March 2016
It’s been a big news week for airlines with Star Alliance introducing their express service globally, Air China adding five new routes and Qantas raising the frequency of its Sydney-Denpasar route. Growth is also happening in the hotel industry with Preferred Hotels & Resorts expanding their portfolio by 26 new properties this year.
All this and more in our weekly news round-up brought to you by FCM Travel Solutions.
New Vietnam Airlines route
Vietnam Airlines’ new thrice-weekly Sydney-Hanoi services commence on 29 March 2017. Flights will operate on B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Bangkok runway repairs
Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport will undergo runway repairs from 3 March to 5 May 2017. Passengers are advised to spare extra time for connecting flights. Passengers traveling on all THAI flights will be looked after with extra care to ensure maximum comfort and convenience.
Manila runway repairs
Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport is undergoing runway maintenance work from 6-11 March 2017. As a result, some international and domestic flights from the airport are being cancelled or re-scheduled. Travellers likely to be affected should check with their airline prior to travel.
SQ fuel levy changes
Singapore Airlines will incorporate fuel surcharges into its base fares from 23 March.
Preferred Hotels expands
Preferred Hotels & Resorts plans to open 26 new properties this year. Among them are hotels in Busan, Montreal and Tuscany, opening in March, properties in New Orleans and Savannah, opening in June and August respectively and a hotel in Rome opening later in the year.
Air China adds new routes
Air China is adding five new routes to its global network. The carrier plans to launch services from Beijing to Zurich, Astana and Jakarta, from Shanghai to Barcelona and from Shenzhen to Los Angeles.
Star Alliance express
Star Alliance has introduced an express service at more than 100 airports worldwide. The Gold Track system, which allows Star Alliance gold status holders and Star Alliance customer flying First or Business class to fast track through security, is being rolled out at airport security points globally. There are also plans to extend the fast track service to immigration processes in the near future. The service is currently available at Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports.
Mercure Kuala Lumpur
AccorHotels has opened its first Mercure property in Kuala Lumpur. Located on the fringe of the city’s Bukit Bintang shopping belt, the 213-room Mercure Kuala Lumpur Shaw Parade features an all-day dining restaurant, a Lobby Lounge, rooftop pool bar and fitness centre as well as meeting and event space catering for up to 60 guests.
Thai extends visa-free
The Thai Government has extended its visa-fee waiver and fee reduction for visas on arrival by six months to 31 August 2017. The initiative applies to tourists from 21 countries and eliminates fees for travellers applying for tourist visas at Royal Thai Embassies or Thai Consulates abroad and reduces the fees for visas on arrival from 2,000 Baht to 1,000 Baht per person.
Qantas Denpasar boost
Qantas plans to raise the frequency of its Sydney-Denpasar route. From 26 March 2017, it will operate as a daily service until 27 April, when it will drop to four time weekly until 28 May, then resume daily operations from 29 May. New services will operate on B737-800 aircraft.
Virgin ditches planned PER/AUH route
Virgin Australia has cancelled the launch of thrice-weekly service between Perth and Abu Dhabi. Customers booked on the Perth-Abu Dhabi service will be reaccommodated onto services operated by alliance partner Etihad Airways. The carrier is waiving change and refund fees for affected travellers.
Air China to Astana
Air China is launching a new Beijing-Astana route on 1 June 2017. Flights will operate thrice weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.