Qantas and Emirates have increased fuel surcharges on their joint network. On services from Australia and New Zealand to Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, surcharges have increased by $10 in economy class, $15 in premium economy and $25 in business and first class. Middle East, Europe/UK and North Africa services have seen fuel fees rise by $15, $30 and $50 for economy, premium economy and business/first class tickets respectively.
Delta Air Lines is offering in-flight wi-fi connectivity on flights of less than two hours duration for just US$1.95. Travellers can use their smartphones on board for instant messaging and general internet browsing. Full day connectivity for laptops and tablets costs $14.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts plans to open its first property in Malaysia. The 750-room, 62-storey Fairmont Kuala Lumpur will be located in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre development – home of the Petronas Twin Towers. The new hotel, scheduled to open in 2017, will feature 2787sqm of meeting and banquet space, six dining options and recreational facilities including a swimming pool, health club and spa as well as an executive lounge and Fairmont Gold facilities.
Accor’s upscale Pullman brand has opened a new hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. The 306-room Pullman Saigon Centre, located in District 1, is the third Pullman property in Vietnam. The hotel features an all day dining restaurant, a rooftop restaurant with city views and meeting venues catering to up to 600 guests. Services and¬ facilities on offer include free wi-fi, a swimming pool, fitness centre and spa.
Virgin Australia flights from Los Angeles now depart from the refurbished Tom Bradley International Terminal. While Virgin Australia completes its transition to the new terminal, passengers will need to check-in at Terminal 3 before proceeding to Tom Bradley International Terminal B for your flight. Additionally Virgin’s Velocity Platinum, Gold and Business Class guests can now access the brand new, tastefully appointed Star Alliance lounge operated by Air New Zealand. The Star Alliance Lounge is located in the Tom Bradley International Terminal on level 6 and is accessible via escalator or elevator from the main atrium area. The lounge is airside after security and accessible only by guests departing from this terminal.
Virgin Australia plans to retime its Brisbane-Darwin services. From 15 April 2014, the 8.45pm flight from Brisbane will now depart at 9.30am and arrive in Darwin at 1.20pm. The return service from Darwin, which previously left at 1.15am the following day, will now leave at 2.05pm, arriving in Brisbane at 6.15pm. The changes are hoped to improve onward connections for passengers.
Brisbane Airport’s international terminal is about to undergo a $45 million revamp. The project, according to project managers, is expected to set a new ‘world-best standard for terminal design’ and will include more space for local retailers. Starting in February 2014, redevelopment work is expected to be completed by mid-2015.
Qantas and China Southern Airlines have signed a new codeshare agreement. The move expands Qantas’ China network, with Qantas passengers now able to fly with the carrier from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to its hub in Guangzhou and onward to Xiamen, Kunming, Fuzhou and Urumqi. New codeshare services will be available for booking and travel from early 2014. Qantas also has codeshare deals with China Eastern and Cathay Pacific, with the latter due to their membership in the oneworld airline alliance.
Accor’s Formule 1 hotel at Sydney Domestic Airport has been rebranded as the Ibis Budget Sydney Airport. The change marks the completion of the hotel group’s rebranding of its Formule 1 properties in Australia. Each change was accompanied by a revamp and the Ibis Budget portfolio now boasts 19 hotels in Australia.
Sydney Airport’s domestic terminal has boosted car parking capacity by 25%. The terminal now boasts almost 1000 new car spaces, with the new P3 car park less than a 500-metre walk to the terminals.
Cathay Pacific plans to add three additional weekly nonstop services on its Hong Kong-Brisbane route. Effective 30 March 2014, the move brings the total number of flights between the two cities to 14 per week, with daily direct flights complemented by daily services via Cairns.
Virgin Australia will no longer offer direct services from Townsville to Cairns and Rockhampton. Services are being reduced during January before being phased out completely from 27 January. Passengers with bookings on or after 27 January will be offered alternative flights or a full refund.