For week ending 10 June 2016.
We hope that our travellers and colleagues enjoyed the long weekend for the Queen's Birthday. Last week was another big week full of travel industry news which you can read about below. Top stories include the conversion of the Sydney Four Points to a world class Hyatt Regency. Qantas is set to commence work on a new Premium Lounge at the Brisbane International Airport and Thai A350's are set to commence operating to Melbourne from September.
All this and more in our weekly news round-up brought to you by FCM Travel Solutions.
Hyatt Regency Sydney
Starwood Hotels & Resorts plans to rebrand its Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Darling Harbour property. From 30 November, after a $250 million redevelopment and revamp, it will become the Hyatt Regency Sydney. Upon completion, the hotel will boast a new 24-storey tower, an all-day dining venue, a rooftop bar and a Regency Club lounge as well as 222 more rooms, making it the largest hotel of its class in Australia, with 892 rooms. It will also offer more than 3450sqm of meeting and event spaces, including two ballrooms that can seat more than 1000 people.
Emirates gets sporty
Emirates has added a second dedicated sports channel to its in-flight entertainment system. Sports 24 Extra will be offered on more than 90 of the carrier’s B777 aircraft and will feature live matches from tournaments, including UEFA Euro 2016, NBA, Formula 1, Wimbledon and the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Beijing SkyTeam lounge
Construction is underway on a new SkyTeam lounge at Beijing Capital International Airport. Expected to open towards the end of the year, it will be the airline alliance’s sixth lounge, joining existing facilities at London Heathrow, Istanbul Ataturk, Sydney, Hong Kong and Dubai airports.
Etihad reward seat fees rise
Virgin Australia has increased the cost of Velocity reward seat bookings on Etihad Airways services. From 18 June an Etihad Reward Seat Carrier Charge of US$50 in Economy, US$205 in Business and US$300 in First class will be added to each flight sector.
Emirates axes Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur route
Emirates is dropping its Kuala Lumpur-Melbourne service. From 30 October, flights EK408/409 will operate as non-stop direct services to Dubai rather than travelling via Kuala Lumpur. This three-class B777- 300ER service will complement its existing daily A380 flights (EK406/407). The carriers other daily A380 service from Melbourne to Dubai via Singapore will remain unchanged.
Qantas premium lounge for Brisbane
Work is set to commence on a new Qantas premium lounge at Brisbane International Airport.
The project will see the carrier’s existing First and Business Class Lounges merged into a single space, increasing capacity by more than 25%. Expected to open in October, its design will be similar in style to Qantas’ Hong Kong and Singapore lounges. It will offer Neil Perry-designed seasonal menus, a bar serving Rockpool-designed cocktails and all-day barista coffee by Vittoria. While work is underway, eligible Qantas lounges customers will be offered free access to Brisbane’s Plaza Premium Lounge or vouchers to redeem at food outlets in the terminal.
New Waldorf for Dubai
A new Waldorf Astoria property is planned for Dubai’s financial district. The 247-room Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre is expected to open in Autumn 2017 as part of a mixed-use residential, retail and office-space development. It will feature a range of dining options as well as spa and wellness facilities, while event space will include a grand ballroom and four meeting rooms.
Emirates ups Auckland
Emirates is adding capacity on its non-stop Auckland route. From 30 October, the carrier will switch from B777-200LR aircraft to the larger Airbus A380.
Rydges Sydney Central revamp
Rydges Sydney Central is set to undergo a major revamp. The property is having two new floors of executive and corner suites added. They will feature urban design elements including exposed-brick walls and vibrant colours. Once complete, the property will boast 309 rooms and suites.
Delta free entertainment
Delta Air Lines plans to roll-out free in-flight entertainment on all its two-class aircraft by 1 July. This means that travellers on around 90% of the carrier’s fleet will be able to watch hundreds of TV shows and movies on seat-back screens or streamed to their own devices.
Thai A350s Melbourne-bound
Thai Airways plans to switch aircraft on both of its daily Melbourne-Bangkok flights. The carrier will utilise new Airbus A350 aircraft on the route by September. Business travellers will benefit from THAI’s latest business class cabin product, with 32 lie-flat Royal Silk business class seats, each with direct aisle access, as well as their ‘dine on demand’ meal service and free in-flight internet.