Heathrow by Invitation
The Travel Daily: London Heathrow Airport is opening up its exclusive ‘Heathrow By Invitation’ service – normally reserved for royalty, heads-of-state & diplomats – available to discerning travellers. The VIP services provide people with a dedicated private entry to the airport, private lounge for check-in and security procedures as well as personal limo service to the steps of the aircraft moments before the flight’s departure. Pitched as an “exclusive and sophisticated approach to international air travel,” LHR’s commercial director John Holland-Kaye says guests will rarely see another passenger. “The entire experience is personally tailored and utterly enjoyable,” Holland-Kaye said.
Qantas Sydney-Newman Route
Qantas is to launch new once weekly direct return flights from Sydney to the WA mining port of Newman using B737s from 15 May. Regional GM WA Ian Gay said the new route would further meet demand for the Pilbara market.
Brisbane to Port Hedland
Qantas has commenced direct services between Port Hedland and Brisbane, using a Boeing B737-800 aircraft in an all economy class configuration. Flight will operate every Tuesday, QF983 departing 1110 arriving Port Hedland at 1415. QF984 departing Port Hedland 1500 arriving Brisbane 2120. The existing Port Hedland to Melbourne services will continue to operate as scheduled each Tuesday.
Sales Open on Jetstar Japan
BTTB Bytes: Seats on Jetstar’s new domestic airline in Japan have gone on sale ahead of the airline’s first flight, scheduled for 3 July 2012.Jetstar Group CEO Bruce Buchanan says the success of Jetstar’s low-fares model in the Asia Pacific region, combined with its leading role in the burgeoning but largely untapped Japanese LCC market, will help redefine the country’s domestic travel patterns. “Jetstar was the first low-cost carrier to fly to Japan, which gives our brand the benefit of incumbency in this emerging domestic market,” he says.
“Our business model is based around sustainable low fares and across the Asia Pacific we’ve seen the potential this has to unlock new travel demand. This is the start of a far more dynamic domestic market in Japan.”
Jetstar Airways is the largest carrier between Australia and Japan, having flown more than 2million passengers between the two countries since 2007. It operates from Osaka and Tokyo to Cairns, Gold Coast and (via Manila) Darwin. The new domestic routes in Japan strengthen Jetstar’s network offering to its increasing customer base across Asia, including Greater China.
The Qantas Group recently announced plans to invest in Jetstar Hong Kong, which will fly to destinations including Japan from 2013.
Virgin Codeshare with Atlantic on Sale
BTTB Bytes: Virgin Australia has commenced sales of its new codeshare to Hong Kong with Virgin Atlantic, operating directly from Sydney to Hong Kong. Under the agreement, Virgin Australia will codeshare on Virgin Atlantic’s daily direct service, which departs Sydney at 2.25pm and arrives into Hong Kong at 9.55pm. The service is operated by an Airbus 340-600 aircraft and features Virgin Atlantic’s award-winning Upper Class, Premium Economy and Economy configuration. Virgin Australia group executive of alliances, network & yield Merren McArthur says Hong Kong complements “our network strategy to provide access to the most important international business and leisure destinations from Australia”.
“Guests of Virgin Australia will continue to benefit from the reciprocal frequent flyer and lounge access agreement we have had in place with Virgin Atlantic since early 2010. Guests in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class and Gold and Platinum Members of Velocity Frequent Flyer will also be able to enjoy Virgin Atlantic’s ClubHouse located at Hong Kong International Airport,” she says.
Virgin Premium Valet at Brisbane Airport
Virgin Australia has launched its Premium Valet parking at Brisbane Domestic Terminal.Located adjacent to the terminal, the latest DJ Premium Valet offers a valet car park (rates from $55/ hr) and a dedicated check-in desk for guests travelling with carry-on baggage only, and joins similar facilities in Sydney & Melbourne. It’s open daily, from an hour before the first flight of the day & 30mins after the last service, and is positioned off Chloris & Hibiscus Streets at Brisbane Airport.
Virgin Hobart Lounge
Virgin Australia will open a new lounge at Hobart Airport, in addition to a number of other initiatives. The 75-seat lounge will open next year, offering entertainment, a Luke Mangan designed buffet and full business facilities. An additional flight from Melbourne to Hobart will also be offered, commencing in Sep. DJ ceo John Borghetti said of the expansion: “We are committed to becoming the airline of choice in Tasmania.”
Virgin Expands Singapore Airlines Codeshare
Virgin Australia’s alliance with Singapore Airlines has stepped up a notch this month, as it expands beyond the country-state to points in Asia, South Africa & the UK. Virgin passengers can now book and travel on Singapore Airliens SQ codeshare flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin and Adelaide to Singapore and onwards to Beijing and Shanghai in China. Flights are also now available to book for South African cities Cape Town and Johannesburg. Virgin Australia passengers from Perth can also fly to London, via Singapore, under the latest phase of the airline alliance. Virgin will further broaden its Singapore Airlines codesharing to other international destinations in India, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia in coming months.
DJ daily Sydney-Darwin
This month Virgin Australia operated its inaugural daily Sydney-Darwin flight. The DJ product includes the new Business Class cabin, with the carrier also set to open a new Lounge at Darwin’s airport in 2013. The service will connect with the new Silk Air four times weekly Singapore-Darwin flights.
Virgin SilkAir Codeshare
Virgin Australia is continuing to expand its relationship with alliance partner SingaporeAirlines, with the formal addition of seven more codeshare SilkAir India routes. Services to Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuran will all soon carry the Virgin code, subject to regulatory approval.
Virgin Atlantic Debuts New ‘Upper Class Dream Suite’
Virgin Atlantic revealed its new ‘Upper Class Dream Suite’ business class seats, ahead of the cabin’s first flight on the daily London – New York (VS003/004) service from April 21st. Sources at Virgin Atlantic confirmed the launch date to Australian Business Traveller, with April 21st tied to the debut of Virgin Atlantic’s newest Airbus A330. This will be Virgin’s first A330 fitted with business class, and will sport 33 seats over nine rows (in a mosty 1-2-1 layout) in the same space where the current A330s have 59 premium economy seats (arranged 2-3-2). Read more here: http://www.ausbt.com.au/virgin-atlantic-debuts-new-upper-class-dream-suite-on-april-21
Skytrans Sydney Services
Qld regional carrier Skytrans has confirmed it will launch weekday nonstop services between Toowoomba and Sydney from 02 Jul. Flights are timed to support connections to or from domestic and international destinations from Sydney, Skytrans said. Two return services will operate each Wed to suit business travellers requiring a full day in the NSW capital.
The airline says its Dash 8 service, which are subject to final regulatory approval, will trim up to six hours off the roadtrip from Toowoomba to Brisbane and onwards to Sydney.
Singapore Airlines News:
Singapore Airlines’ third London flight goes A380 in June
Australian Business Traveller: Singapore Airlines will upgrade a third Singapore-London return flight to the Airbus A380 from June 1, when the daily SQ308/319 service swaps from a Boeing 777-300ER to the A380 — bringing all the airline’s Heathrow flights up to the superjumbo standard.
SQ308 leaves Singapore at 0905, arriving in London at 1530. The plane then departs Heathrow as SQ319 at 1830, arriving back in Singapore at 1420.
If you’ve got tickets booked on this flight, make sure you’ve picked the best seats for your now A380-enhanced journey using our best seat guides to the A380′s all-business class upper deck cabin or the business class version with economy at the back upstairs.
Business class passengers can look forward to the quieter, more exclusive A380 upper deck. The seats are the same popular fully flat beds as the 777-300ER, in a 1-2-1 configuration that gives direct aisle access to everyone in the cabin.
There’ll be more business class seats on offer too, up from 42 on the 777-300ER to either 60 or 86 on the A380, depending on whether Singapore Airlines uses its all-business class upper deck superjumbos.
Cathay Pacific News:
Cathay Adds Premium Economy
BTTB Bytes: Cathay Pacific has launched Premium Economy Class in Australia, boasting wider, longer seats with deeper recline. The service also includes dedicated check-in counters and priority boarding. Onboard, there’s an enhanced meal selection, additional snack choices, larger pillows, environmentally friendly amenity kits, noise-cancelling headsets, a 10.6-inch touchscreen television, an in-seat power outlet as well as a multi-port connector for personal devices and extra personal storage space. Premium economy passengers also get an increase in baggage allowance. The new class is available on flights from Sydney to Hong Kong and selected destinations around the world. Premium economy will be introduced in Perth in August 2012, in Adelaide and Melbourne in September 2012 and in Brisbane in January 2013. Australia was the first country after Cathay Pacific’s Hong Kong home base to see the new Premium Economy class.
British Airways News:
BA Enhances Qantas Ties
British Airways has changed its daily Singapore to London service from the B777 to a B747 aircraft in a move aimed at strengthening ties with Qantas by offering improved passenger comfort on the leg, in addition to increased investments in premium lounges.
Aerolineas Argentina News:
Aerolineas Argentinas to Operate Five Weekly Sydney-Buenos Aires Nonstop Flights
Aerolineas Argentinas has confirmed its new non-stop route between Australia (Sydney) and Argentina (Buenos Aires), with the current intermediate stop in Auckland to be dropped effective 01 Jul. The carrier will also increase the Sydney-Buenos Aires services from the current thrice weekly operation to five times a week from December, with all frequencies to be operated using an Airbus A340. The move sees Aerolineas take on the former Qantas South America non-stop route, which was recently switched to Sydney-Santiago.
Starwood Perth Return
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has announced that the existing Citigate Perth hotel will become the new Four Points by Sheraton Perth from 01 Jun.
The move will see Starwood return to the WA capital after an 18 month absence.
Quest Brighton on the Bay Offer
Corporate Saver Package: Choose to stay at Quest Brighton on the Bay on your next business trip and take advantage of their Special Corporate Offer and enjoy great benefits. Their special offer includes overnight accommodation in a Superior Room, complimentary welcome drink in their Lounge Bar, Express Breakfast at Verve Restaurant, free internet and complimentary upgrade (subject to availability). Enquire with your Voyager consultant for details.