Week in Review: Travel Industry News

Female Traveller at Airport
Travel News 18 Oct 2017

For week ending 13 October

JFK facial recognition testing

New Yorks’ JFK airport has begun a month-long trial of biometric facial recognition technology at its Terminal 7. Qantas uses Terminal 7 for its JFK-LAX flights. It is also used by British Airways.

SQ sustainable dining

Singapore Airlines is set to roll out a new “From Farm to Plane” dining concept. The new initiative aims to improve the sustainability of its in-flight food and beverage service by supporting local farming communities. The carrier also plans to add more meatless ingredients to its offering. It will be introduced to first class passenger before the end of the year before rolling out to other classes in 2019.

Qantas and Emirates Tasman route rejig

Qantas and Emirates have provided more details on their revised partnership routings. The carriers confirmed that Emirates will suspend daily A380 services from Melbourne and Brisbane to Auckland effective from March next year, having already announced it would no longer operate between Sydney and Auckland. In response, Qantas will boost the frequency of its MEL-AKL and BNE-AKL routes and switch some aircraft operating the routes to wide-body A330s to inject further capacity, with the EK code placed on the new Qantas trans-Tasman services.

Qatar Europe focused

Qatar Airways is adding a new daily Doha-Helsinki service to its route network. Flights will commence on 14 December operating on A320 aircraft. The carrier also has plans to add daily services to St Petersburg, Prague and Warsaw in the near future.

Air NZ Dreamliner premium focus

Air New Zealand has taken delivery of the first of its new-look B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. The reconfigured interior offers more premium seating, with the raising the number of business class seats from 18 to 27 and premium economy seats from 21 to 33.

VA Europcar boost

Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent flyer scheme has increased its Europcar earn rate. The change sees Red members earn from four points per dollar spent, up from three. This means the scheme now matches the Avis earn rate offered by the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.

Air NZ adds in-flight wi-fi

Air New Zealand has commenced an inflight wi-fi service trial on its long-haul B777-300 aircraft. The carrier will fit more aircraft with the technology in the coming months, with plans for in-flight wi-fi to be available across its B777-300 fleet by June next year after commencing roll-out across its B777-200 fleet in April.


Holiday Inn Express Adelaide

The 245-room Holiday Inn Express Adelaide City Centre is now open. Located on Hindley Street, the property features an all-day dining venue, a bar and a 24-hour fitness centre as well as complimentary wi-fi and a boardroom that seats up to 14 people.

Hilton Dual-branded at LAX

Hilton Worldwide has opened a new dual-branded hotel at LAX Airport. The 290-room property will house the Homewood Suites by Hilton Los Angeles International Airport and H Hotel Los Angeles, Curio Collection by Hilton. Located less than 1.5 kilometres from the airport, the property includes 167sqm of flexible meeting space.

IHG Singapore Quayside

The 225-room InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay is now open. It is the first major international luxury hotel brand to open in Singapore’s Quayside area. Located just a few minutes from the CBD, it is ideal for business travellers, with five meeting and event spaces as well as a 24-hour Club InterContinental lounge. Other facilities include a wide range of restaurant and bar options, a lap pool and 24-hour fitness centre.


IHG LA opens

The InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown hotel has opened on floors 31-70 of the Wilshire Grand Center. The 889-room hotel features a sky lobby lounge, a range of dining options, a swimming gpool and more than 8,800sqm of meeting and event space.

Etihad Azerbaijan-bound

Etihad Airways plans to launch a new route between Abu Dhabi and Baku. Commencing on 2 March, the thrice-weekly service will operate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays on two-class A320 aircraft.

Air NZ boosts Houston

Air New Zealand plans to up the frequency of its Auckland-Houston services next year. Between 25 March and 27 October, the current five-times weekly service will operate as a mix of six and seven weekly services.

Le Meridien Suzhou

Marriott International has opened another new property in China. The 285-room Le Meridien Suzhou features a choice of restaurants and bars, a fitness Centre, indoor swimming pool, spa and yoga rooms as well as meeting and event spaces for up to 1,100 guests.


IHG adds another in Dubai

InterContinental Hotels Group has signed a managed deal to develop a new Holiday Inn & Suites property in Dubai Business Bay. The 350-room hotel will be part of a mixed-use development close to Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall. When it opens in 2021, it will boast two restaurants and an entire floor of dedicated meeting rooms.

Marriott Africa Expansion

Marriott International has signed seven new hotels across the Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia and the Cote D’Ivoire. The Renaissance Landmark Lagos Hotel and Marriott Executive Apartments will both open in Lagos, Nigeria in 2020, followed in 2021 by Le Meridien Accra in Ghana and Protea Hotel by Marriott Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. The three properties in the Cote D’Ivoire include the Abidjan Marriott Hotel (set to open in 2021), the Sheraton Abidjan and Four Points by Sheraton Abidjan (both set to open in 2022).


Marriott boosts India

Marriott International has opened a new hotel in India. The 121-room Fairfield by Marriott, Visakhapatnam is located five minutes from the international airport in the capital of Andhra Pradesh state. It features a restaurant, room service, fitness centre and six meeting and event spaces catering for up to 1,000 guests.

Qatar to St Petersburg

Qatar Airways plans to launch a new route between Doha and St Petersburg. Commencing on 19 December, the daily A320 service will 12 flatbed seats in Business class in addition to its economy class offering.