For week ending 9 March 2018
Emirates refits B777-200LR fleet
Emirates has unveiled a new business class cabin configuration for its B777- 200LR aircraft. New wider seats are laid out in a 2-2-2 configuration, which ensures aisle access for all. While similar in design and shape to their latest business class seats, the 38 fully lie-flat seats are two inches wider and offer a 72-inch seat pitch. Travellers can expect touchscreen controls for the seat and in-flight entertainment as well as privacy panels between seats, a shoe stowage area, footrest and personal mini-bar. Overhead lockers in the centre of the cabin have been removed for a more spacious feel and the cabin also features a new mini lounge area where travellers can help themselves to snacks and drinks during the flight. The carrier plans to refit all 10 existing B777-200LR aircraft in its fleet over the course of the year. The first will debut on its Fort Lauderdale route, with other destinations added as the roll out continues.
Biometric trial in Sydney
Sydney International Airport will commence a new biometric trial from May to speed up the security process. The aim is for travellers to navigate the six steps of check-in showing their passport only once. The trial phase will be limited to Qantas passengers who opt in to using the new biometric tech.
Qantas plan Sydney lounge expansion
Qantas plans to revamp its Sydney International Business Lounge. The aim is to increase capacity by at least 30% and add a new Neil Perry dining experience. Work will begin towards the end of 2018 and be completed by the end of 2019. The work will be managed in stages to maintain lounge access while work is underway.
SQ B787-10 Perth-bound
Singapore Airlines plans to operate its new B787-10 Dreamliner aircraft on its Perth route from May.
Emirates double Lisbon
Emirates will again offer a second daily service between Dubai and Lisbon from 1 June. The new non-stop flights to the Portuguese capital will operate on B777-300 ER aircraft.
Etihad adds Baku
Etihad Airways has added a new route from Abu Dhabi to Baku in Azerbaijan. The thrice weekly service operates on A320 aircraft.
Recharge at Crowne Plaza hotels
InterContinental Hotels Group has added Tesla Destination Chargers to Crowne Plaza properties across Australia. This means that Tesla owners can now plug in and recharge their battery at 13 hotels. Each has been equipped with two chargers, with most generating between 40km and 80km of range per hour of charging.
Delta onboard menu upgrade
Delta Air Lines’ partnership with LA-based chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo will see menus revamped on its Los Angeles-Sydney route. Business class passengers will be able to select from a range of contemporary menu favourites, but will need to pre-select their choice three-days prior to departure.
Accor/Mantra deal cleared
The ACCC has announced it will not oppose AccorHotels’ purchase of the Mantra Group. The move will see more than 125 Mantra properties in the Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree brands join the AccorHotel’s portfolio once the purchase is finalised.
FV by Peppers opens in Brisbane
Mantra Hotels has opened its latest property in Brisbane. Located in Fortitude Valley on the edge of the CBD, the apartment hotel features a restaurant and bar, a skyline pool, moonlight cinema, yoga retreat, gym and more.
Holiday Inn Melbourne room refresh
Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders has refurbished all of its guestrooms, including bathrooms. The property has also upped its room count to 209. Large HD TVs have been integrated into a wall panel and block out curtains on the floor-to-ceiling windows can be remote controlled from the bedside. Revamped bathrooms featuring large showers and stone vanities.
W Hotels Central America debut
Marriott International has debuted it W Hotels brand in Central America. The move comes with the opening of the 203-room W Panama, which is located in the CBD of Panama City.
New airport hotel for Moscow
InterContinental Hotel Group has opened a new property in Russia. The 190-room Holiday Inn Express Moscow – Sheremetyevo Airport is located within walking distance of terminals D, E and F. The property features a restaurant and two meeting rooms.
Park Plaza renamed
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has a new property in India. The Park Plaza Kolkata Ballygunge has been rebranded as the Radisson Kolkata Ballygunge following an extensive revamp. The property features 92 rooms, a choice of restaurant, a fitness centre, spa and rooftop swimming pool as well as 9,000sqm of meeting and event space catering for up to 1,000 guests.
The Armenian Government is considering relaxing visa restrictions for visitors from select countries. Those travelling on Australian, New Zealand, Singaporean and South Korean passports will be able to enter the country for up to 180 days per year without a visa if the decision is approved.