Posted on April 2, 2012 by The Corporate Traveller Team
Finnair launches new services
Finnair has begun operating its service to Dubrovnik in Croatia. The route will operate through until 27 October 2012. The carrier will also be introducing flights to Krakow, Venice and Toronto. Finnair has also commenced its year-round four-times-weekly service to Chongqing in China, Finnair's newest port. Flight frequencies to Tokyo, Barcelona, Prague and Budapest are also being increased.
Virgin Australia flies Sydney to Darwin
Virgin Australia has launched its daily service between Sydney and Darwin. The flights connect with SilkAir's four-times-weekly service between Darwin and Singapore. The new route will feature Virgin Australia's new business class product. The carrier has also announced the opening of a new lounge in Darwin in 2013.
British Airways adds year-round service to Venice
British Airways has announced the introduction of a year-round service from London City Airport to Venice. The route will open late 2012, when the carrier's latest Embraer 190 is delivered.
Qantas changes baggage rules
From May, Qantas will change its international baggage rules. Qantas is moving from a weight-based to a piece-based system. The new baggage allowance for international economy includes one piece of luggage weighing up to 23 kilograms; excluding flights to the Americas, where two pieces weighing 23kg each are allowed. Premium economy passengers will be allocated two pieces. Business and first class passengers are allowed three pieces, weighing up to 32 kilograms each. The policy change also means that excess baggage will be charged at a flat rate and customers can buy extra luggage allowance online or at the airport.
Airberlin expands codeshare with Etihad
German-based airline Airberlin has expanded its codeshare agreement with Etihad airlines. Airberlin's code will now appear on Etihad's services to Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Routes included within the expanded codesharing alliance are Abu Dhabi to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane; as well as flights to Colombo, Jakarta, Karachi, Lahore, Kuwait and Muscat.
United Airlines launches new daily services
United Airlines has begun operating its daily non-stop service between Newark Liberty International Airport in New York and Ministro Pistarini International Airport in Buenos Aires. The flights will be operated using a Boeing 767-300 aircraft; with business, economy and premium economy seats available. This new route replaces United's nonstop service between Washington and Buenos Aires.
Swiss air opens Zurich lounge
Switzerland's national airline Swiss Air has opened a new lounge at the arrivals area in the Zurich International Airport. The 700sqm luxury lounge is filled with state-of-the-art entertainment and business equipment. There are showers, three hotel-style bedrooms, an ironing service and a bistro with a buffet. Guests can also use a private telephone cubicle, free wireless internet and work booths. The lounge is open to high-ranking Swiss frequent flyer members, business and first class passengers.
Qantas launches Sydney-Newman route
Qantas will launch its weekly service from Sydney to the mining town of Newman in Western Australia 15 May 2012. The direct return flight will use a B737 aircraft.
Qantas changes group check-in
Qantas has begun implementing changes to its group check-in at Sydney International Airport. Customers that are travelling in a group are now able to check-in at counter D and will be redirected to a faster and more direct check-in area. Organisers of group travel will be contacted 24 hours in advance with specific flight information and check-in details.
SkyTrans adds route between Toowoomba and Sydney
Regional carrier Skytrans will launch a nonstop route between Toowoomba and Sydney from 2 July 2012. The flights will operate once-daily on weekdays, with two return services on Wednesdays. The services will synchronise with domestic and international connecting flights from Sydney.
Qantas increases fuel surcharges
From 5 April 2012 Qantas domestic and QantasLink fares will rise by an average of 5% due to fuel surcharge increases. Qantas will also increase the fuel surcharge for frequent flyer classic award redemption domestic tickets by $4 and by $10 for trans-Tasman flights. From 12 April, Qantas is increasing its fuel surcharges for flights to Asia and Hawaii (Honolulu) by $10, to South Africa (Johannesburg) and South America (Santiago) by $20, United States, UK (London) and Europe (Frankfurt) by $30.
Virgin consolidates frequent flyer programs
Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Australia have further integrated their frequent flyer programs. Virgin customers are now able to redeem frequent flyer points or miles when they fly on any of the sister branded airlines. Previously passengers could earn points across the Virgin group of airlines but they couldn't redeem credits with another carrier.
IHG launches HUALUXE
Intercontinental Hotels Group has developed a new hotel brand specifically for the Chinese market. HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts is an upscale international brand, with 20 project contracts currently under negotiation. The first HUALUXE is expected to open late 2013 or early 2014. IHG has visions to open 100 HUALUXE within China over the next 20 years.
Scoot announces fare structure
Singapore Airlines' no-frills carrier Scoot has announced details of its fare structure. The basic 'Fly' fare includes a seat only, the 'Flybag' fare includes a seat plus 15 kilograms of luggage and the 'FlyBagEat' fare includes a seat, luggage allowance and a hot meal. Passengers can also purchase the 'S-t-r-e-t-c-h' add-on to receive four inches of extra legroom to any of the fare types. The premium economy ScootBiz fare will offer more legroom, seat pitch, a larger luggage allowance, food and beverages. Flights are expected to launch later this year.
Overhaul for Melbourne's domestic airport
Melbourne Airport has unveiled an initial draft of development plans, which include a new domestic terminal. Construction is scheduled to start from October 2012, with the new terminal open by July 2014. The new terminal is designed to hold 20 million passengers annually. The Southern Precinct development will include an extra 35 aircraft parking aprons, new ground transport structures, more parking and an upgrade of the airport's road network.
Plans move ahead for Jetstar Hong Kong
Qantas in partnership with China Eastern Airlines plan to launch new low-cost carrier Jetstar Hong Kong in 2013. The Hong Kong based carrier will offer short-haul routes within Asia, servicing Greater China, Japan, South Korea and other destinations in South East Asia. It will be the first low-cost carrier to be established in Hong Kong. Jetstar Hong Kong is still subject to regulatory approval.
New passenger lounge for Hobart
Virgin Australia will open a new lounge in Hobart next year. The 75-seat lounge will offer a Luke Mangan designed buffet, business and entertainment facilities. An extra Virgin service from Melbourne to Hobart will also be offered from September 2012.
China Airlines boosts Queensland services
From 4 July to 1 August 2012, China Airlines will be adding extra weekly services from Taipei to Cairns and Brisbane. There will be two extra weekly services to Cairns and three extra weekly flights to Brisbane.
Virgin opts for baggage piece system
Virgin Australia is changing its baggage policy by moving away from a weight-based system to a piece-based system from 16 May 2012. The new baggage rules apply only to domestic and short-haul international flights. While the basic Saver fare does not include a luggage allowance, Flexi Fares will now include one piece weighing up to 23kg and those in premium economy or business class can have two pieces weighing up to 32kg each. Passengers can pay online for additional pieces at the rate of $12 per piece for shorter domestic flights or $15 per piece for longer sectors.
Lufthansa unveils new business seats
Lufthansa has unveiled its new business class seats which are debuting on its new Boeing 747-8 aircraft. The business class seat will feature ergonomically improved cushioning, adjustable armrests, an enhanced entertainment system and additional in-seat storage. The seats will also recline to a 1.98 metre fully flat-lying bed. The cabin has the herringbone layout with the two neighbouring seats angled towards one another.