Week in Review: Travel Industry News

Traveller working from hotel room
Travel News 07 Sep 2016

For week ending 2 September 2016.

There is plenty happening in the travel industry for you to catch up on. Sydney is welcoming more direct flights from Mainland China with Kunming, Chengdu and Hangzhou all offering new services. Four major airports in China have received penalties for poor punctuality and Finnair announces plans to connect more passengers in the air with the addition of wi-fi to more aircraft. In hotel news, Starwood are trialing voice activated hotel rooms and the first Westin-branded hotel opens in Jakarta.

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

Shanghai Airport hotel upgrade

The revamp of the Mercure Shanghai Hongqiao Airport Hotel is complete. The 224-room hotel reopened on 28 August with a brand-new look. It features a restaurant, fitness centre and a range of meeting spaces.

Cathay Pacific to boost North America services

Cathay Pacific plans to add three weekly services between Hong Kong and Boston from 26 March as well as three extra weekly services to Vancouver from 28 March.

Qantas axes oneworld fuel surcharges

Qantas has removed fuel surcharges on oneworld fares departing Australia. The change applies to oneworld Explorer, Global Explorer, oneworld Circle Trip Explorer, oneworld Circle Pacific, oneworld Circle Asia & South West Pacific and oneworld Circle Pacific fares.

Sydney adds another connection to Mainland China

China Eastern Airlines has announced plans to become the first airline to fly non-stop from Hangzhou to Sydney. Commencing on 15 November 2016, the new Hangzhou-Sydney service will operate three times a week using a 234-seat Airbus A330 aircraft.

Starwood trialing voice-activated hotel rooms

Taking automation to the next level, Starwood are trialing a new voice-activated hotel room at two Aloft hotels in the US. The new initiative will utilise Apple’s Siri system to allow guests to control many aspects of their room, such as the temperature and lighting, using only voice commands.

China Southern sets up base in Chengdu

China Southern has set up a new operating base in Chengdu. Already operating various domestic routes from Chengdu, China Southern will now deploy more aircraft to the city’s Shuangliu International Airport, including wide-body jets that will enable it to launch international flights.

United Havana-bound

United Airlines will soon launch services to Cuba. The carrier will offer non-stop flights from New York/Newark and Houston to Havana from 29 November.

Air China expands US network

The inaugural flight to San Jose took off fro Shanghai on 1 September. Air China will operate the route three times a week using an Airbus A330 aircraft.

Finnair adds in-flight wi-fi

Finnair plans to install high-speed wi-fi across its short-haul A320 fleet. Travellers can expect connection speed of 12 mbps or higher. The carrier will begin retrofitting aircraft with the new technology from May 2017 with the upgrades set to be completed by June 2018.

Chinese airports penalised for flight delays

Four major Chinese airports have been penalised by Chinese regulators for their poor punctuality records. The Shanghai Daily reports that Shanghai’s two airports, Pudong and Hongqiao, have been reprimanded by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), along with Nanjing Lukou and Hangzhou Xiaoshan airports. As a result, none of these airports will be permitted to add any new flights for the next two months.

Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand extend codeshare

Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines are extending their codeshare alliance. Air New Zealand’s code will feature on Singapore Airlines’ new four times weekly service from Singapore to Wellington, via Canberra, which commences on 21 September.

China Eastern to launch flights between Kunming and Sydney

Commencing on 24 November 2016, China Eastern Airlines will launch the weekly direct flights connecting Kunming with Sydney. The Airline will deploy its 234-seat two-class Airbus A330 aircraft on the route.

Westin Jakarta

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has opened its first Westin-branded hotel in Jakarta. The 272-room Westin Jakarta is located on floors 50-69 of the mixed-use Gama Tower. The property offers a choice of dining venues and event facilities for up to 200 guests.

Air China plans new direct service between Chengdu and Sydney

Commencing 11 November, the new route will operate three times a week between Chengdu and Sydney. The airline will deploy its Airbus A330-200 aircraft on the route.

Delta LAX move

Delta Air Lines plans to relocate its operations within Los Angeles International Airport. Currently housed in terminals five and six, the carrier will move to terminals two and three to be alongside some of its airline partners, including Virgin Australia and Virgin Atlantic. Following remodelling works, the space will provide an in-line baggage system for connecting flights as well as a private Delta One check-in lounge, new Delta Sky Clubs and fast check-in for Delta Shuttle services.

IHG Germany expansion

InterContinental Hotels Group plans to add five new properties across Germany. The expansion will include new Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels in locations including Profzheim, Mannheim, Regensburg and Oberhausen over the next three years.

Virgin launches Economy Space+

Virgin Australia has introduced of the new Economy Space+ product. Available in the main cabin of domestic and international flights, replace the carrier’s existing ‘Extra Legroom’ offering. On long-haul services to Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi, travellers will benefit from at least 25% more legroom than the main Economy cabin, preferred overhead lockers, dedicated check-in and priority boarding (where available), as well as guaranteed first meal choice and a noise cancelling headset. It will also be available of Virgin’s A330-200s, B737-800s, E190 and ATR-72 aircraft. Economy Space+ can be bought through your travel manager at a lead in cost of $10 one way for domestic and short-haul international routes and $50 on long-haul international routes. Prices will vary based on route, fare type and time of purchase.