Week in Review: Travel Industry News

Man walking in airport
Travel News 10 Apr 2017

For week ending 7 April 2017

In news last week Emirates has followed Qatar Airways' lead and are rolling out their own electronic device loan scheme. Air New Zealand has released details of its new economy class seat design. Virgin Australia has also relaunched services between Melbourne and Los Angeles five times weekly and Singapore Airlines is adding a second daily A350-900 service on its Singapore-Melbourne route.


All this and more in our weekly news round-up brought to you by FCM Travel Solutions.


Qantas free wi-fi activated

Qantas has activated its new in-flight wi-fi on domestic services. Currently available on one B737-800 aircraft, this is the first time the trial has been rolled out for customer use. Trials should be complete by mid-year, after which the technology will be fitted to the carrier’s other B737 and A330 aircraft, with all to be updated by late 2018. Qantas is currently planning to include the service in the price of the fare.


Cathay to serve Betsy Beer on Australian flights

Business class passengers flying from Australia on Cathay Pacific will be offered the carrier’s Betsy Beer. Available from 7-30 April on services from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Cairns, the bottled beer has been specially crafted to offer great flavour at high altitude.


Hilton Sri Lanka expansion

Hilton Worldwide plans to add six new-build properties in Sri Lanka. The company has signed management agreements for three Hilton Hotels & Resorts and three DoubleTree by Hilton hotels. The properties will be located in popular areas, including Kandy, Yala, Kosgoda and Nuwara-Eliya, with the first three are scheduled to open between 2020 and 2021.


China Southern boosts London route 

China Southern plans to add a second daily service on its Guangzhou-London Heathrow route from 1 June. Operating on B787 aircraft, flights CZ603/604 offer connections with flights to Australia.


Emirates’ new laptop solution

In an effort to provide a better solution to the laptop ban on flights to the USA, Emirates is introducing an electronic device loan scheme similar to that recently launched by Qatar Airways. Emirates will offer first and business class passengers a Microsoft Surface tablet for use in flight. The tablets all have Microsoft Office 2016 installed and a USB port for travellers to transfer their work/content onto the tablet. The device loan scheme will run in tandem with the carrier’s current laptop and tablet handling service, which collects devices on boarding for packaging and storing in the hold during flight.


SQ updates app content

Singapore Airlines plans upgrade its airline app. New technology will enable users to access free digital magazines on their devices. Available for both iOS and Android devices, content can be viewed before, during and after flights.


Air NZ’s new neo seats

Air New Zealand has released details of its new economy class seat design. Featuring on its A320/ A321neo fleet, the window and aisle seats will be 1cm wider than the its current international Airbus fleet. The middle seat will be 3cm wider, in an effort to make it more appealing to passengers.


Cathay boosts Manchester

Cathay Pacific plans to increase frequency on its Hong Kong-Manchester route. Effective from 6 December, the carrier will add two weekly services to offer a daily operation on A350-900 aircraft.


SQ Melbourne aircraft changes

Singapore Airlines is adding a second daily A350-900 service on its Singapore-Melbourne route. The aircraft switch means flights SQ208/207 will offer a premium economy option from 11 May. Singapore Airlines also plans to introduce an A380 on flights SQ218/217 from I July, replacing the A350 currently used on route.


Virgin relaunches MEL/LAX

Virgin Australia has relaunched B777-3000ER services between Melbourne and Los Angeles. The service operates five times weekly and features the carrier’s ‘The Business’ cabin.


Hyatt Rameswaram

Hyatt’s new Hyatt Place Rameswaram hotel in now open. Located in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the property features 101 rooms, a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool and 24-hour gym as well as 440sqm of flexible meeting and event space and free wi-fi and remote printing throughout the hotel.


Mercure for Alice Springs

AccorHotels will open a new Mercure-branded property in Alice Springs in July. The Chifley Alice Springs Resort will be rebranded as the Mercure Alice Springs Resort on completion of a $2 million revamp of its pool and gardens.