For week ending 26 August 2016.
As we prepare to say farewell to winter in New Zealand, you can catch up on all the latest travel industry news from here and around the world in our weekly wrap. In Airline news, Air New Zealand have upped the premium seats across their Dreamliner Aircraft fleet, whilst Qantas have announced a new Frequent Flyer partnership with Woolworths. In Car Hire news travellers should be aware of changes impacting Europcar's credit card fee changes.
All this and more in our weekly news round-up brought to you by FCM Travel Solutions.
New Air China routes
Air China is launching new direct service between Sydney and Chengdu. Thrice-weekly flights will commence on 11 November, operating on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday on A330-200 aircraft. The carrier already flies from Sydney and Melbourne to Shanghai and Beijing and also has plans to launch a Shenzhen-Melbourne route at the end of 2016.
Le Meridien Putrajaya
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has opened a new Le Meridien-branded hotel in Malaysia. Located 40 kilometres south of Kuala Lumpur, the 353-room Le Meridien Putrajaya features a choice of restaurants, a club lounge, swimming pool and fitness centre as well as a range of meeting and event spaces including a grand ballroom.
Hilton Worldwide has opened a new property in China. The 241-room Conrad Xiamen is located in the Shimao Straits Tower in the heart of Xiamen’s Siming CBD. It features a choice of dining venues, a Conrad Spa, indoor pool and 24-hour health club as well as more than 2000sqm of flexible meeting and event space.
Air NZ premium seat boost
Air New Zealand plans to introduce a new cabin configuration. Three new Dreamliner aircraft due to be delivered from October 2017 will feature additional Business Premier and Premium Economy seating, up from 18 to 27 and 21 to 33 respectively. The carrier also plans to revamp its B777-300 fleet, refreshing its Business Premier and Economy seats and installing new Premium Economy seats, which will replace the current Spaceseats. The change adds an additional 10 Premium Economy seats, raising the total to 54.
Delta London Heathrow T3 shift
Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic will fully co-locate at Terminal 3 of London’s Heathrow Airport.
Delta’s Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Detroit, Minneapolis and Philadelphia services will relocate from Terminal 4 from 14 September. The carrier’s New York JFK, Boston and Seattle services already operate from Terminal 3. The move aims to provide transatlantic passengers with a seamless service.
British Airways, China Eastern codeshare
British Airways has signed a codeshare agreement with China Eastern Airlines. The British Airways code will now appear on China Eastern flights to Kunming, Xian, Nanjing, Hangzhou and Chongqing, while the MU code will be added to BA flights to Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle.
Hyatt Hotels has debuted its Andaz hotel brand in Canada. The 200-room Andaz Ottawa Byward Market boasts a restaurant and bar, a rooftop lounge, a 24-hour fitness centre and a range of meeting spaces.
Qantas Frequent Flyer partner with Woolies
Qantas Frequent Flyer is renewing its partnership with Woolworths. From 31 August, members will be able to earn points in-store or online at Woolworths supermarkets, as well as at BWS and Caltex Woolworths petrol locations around the country. Frequent Flyers will be able to convert Woolworths rewards points to Qantas Points at an exchange rate of 2,000 Woolworths Points to 870 QF points.
Europcar credit fee changes
In line with required regulatory changes, Europcar will introduce revised credit card fees from 1 September. Those paying by Visa or MasterCard will see a drop in transaction charges from 1.5% down to 1.3%, while American Express and Diners Club cardholders will see their transaction fees rise to 3.4%.
Thai Airways Tehran-bound
Thai Airways International is launching a new service between Bangkok and Tehran. It will operate four times weekly on B777-200/300 aircraft from 1 October.
Emirates boosts Bangkok
Emirates plans to operate a seventh daily Dubai-Bangkok service from 1 December. The carrier will operate the new service on a two-class B777-300ER aircraft.
Starwood Armenia debut
Starwood Hotels & Resorts will open a new hotel in the Armenian capital, Yerevan. The Alexander, a Luxury Collection Hotel is a new-build property set to open in July 2017. The 114-room hotel will feature an all-day dining restaurant and lobby bar as well as an indoor pool, spa and a fitness centre. A variety of meeting and event spaces will include a ballroom and eight meeting rooms.