Industry News August 2014

20 Aug 2014

Etihad to start double daily A380 to LHR 

Etihad will introduce a second daily A380 service on its Abu Dhabi-London Heathrow route. The carrier will launch its first superjumbo service on the route on 27 December, before commencing the double daily A380 services in March 2015.

Virgin Australia's new IFE offering

Virgin Australia has been progressively rolling out its state of the art in-flight entertainment system across its domestic and international short haul fleet on Boeing 737-800 and Embraer 190 aircraft.  Take a sneak peek at what’s on Virgin Australia’s Wireless Entertainment System this August and September at

Qantas Frequent Flyer hub

Qantas has opened a new online hub for its Frequent Flyer members. The new site includes links to Qantas Epiqure, Qantas Cash, Qantas Restaurants, Qantas Golf, Woolworths Everyday Rewards and a new online shopping centre stocked with premium global brands to complement its existing redemption store.

Choice Hotels to expand in China

Choice Hotels has signed a major development agreement for 30 new-build properties across China in the next five years. The first Clarion-branded property is already under construction in Hangzhou.

New USA entry app 

A new app has been launched to help expedite entry into the USA. The Mobile Passport Control (MPC) app enables eligible passengers to submit their passport information and customs declaration form via a smartphone or tablet, prior to inspection by officers. The free app is part of a pilot program between the US Customs and Border Protection service and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. While currently restricted to US citizens and visitors from Canada entering via Atlanta Airport, the app is expected to expand to more airports across the USA later this year. The app is available via the iTunes store, an Android version is also under development.

Singapore Airlines send A380s to NZ 

Singapore Airlines will commence A380 services to Auckland on 27 October. The aircraft will replace the current B777-300ER used on the daily SQ285/286 services. The change represents a 40 per cent increase in seat capacity.

Marriott and Etihad link up for loyalty benefits

Marriott International and Etihad Airways have linked their loyalty programs. Marriott Rewards members can convert their points into Etihad Guest Miles and also earn Miles at any Marriott property across the globe. Two Etihad Guest Miles are earned for every US dollar spent on all qualifying charges at JW Marriott and Autograph Collection hotels and room rates at Ritz-Carlton, EDITION and Gaylord Hotels. Stays, Courtyard by Marriott, AC Hotels and Moxy Hotels will accrue one mile per US dollar based on room rate.

New Brisbane Airport hotels

Brisbane Airport’s Domestic Terminal Precinct will soon boast two new Accor hotels. New Pullman and Ibis Hotels will be part of a $150 million Conference and Meetings Centre project set to begin construction in February 2015. The hotels are scheduled to open in November 2016 with the Pullman property to be Brisbane Airport’s first five star hotel.

Hilton Worldwide goes digital

Hilton Worldwide guests will soon be able to fully automate their stay online. By the end of 2014, Hilton HHonors members will be able to choose their room using their smart-phones from digital floor plans on the day prior to check-in. The new system is expected to be in operation by the end of 2014. Additional services will enable Hilton HHonors members to check in and out using their phones and digital devices. A digitised room key function will also be added to the range of services.