American Airlines is none too happy about Qatar Airways’ offer to buy a stake in the business, saying it was “unsolicited”. According to Sky News, Qatar CEO Akbar Al-Baker told American CEO Doug Parker that he wants to acquire about 10 per cent of the airline’s stock, which would cost about $US2.4 billion ($AU3.2 billion). Qatar said it plans to buy an initial stake of up to 4.75 per cent of American’s stock, before expanding to the full 10. But Parker was not enthused with the gesture, and expressed this in a memo to staff. “We aren’t particularly excited about…
It is becoming more and more evident that airlines must embrace technological innovations and digital channels to better communicate with their customers, and also to increase their onboard ancillary revenues. One airline that is clearly committed to boosting its ancillary revenues, while taking advantage of the opportunities provided by digital developments, is Air New Zealand. In an interview with FTE, Dianne Parry-Ernst, Manager Direct Ancillary Revenue, Commercial, Air New Zealand, outlines the airline’s proactive attempts to integrate the digital world into its ancillary and passenger communication strategy. “We have been examining the customer journey to identify stages where ancillary products…
Lufthansa Group will now enable secure and simple payments at the check-in counter, by introducing Amadeus Airport Pay. The new service, developed by Amadeus and Ingenico, will be available at more than 170 airports around the world. Customers will be able to pay for ancillary services, such as excess baggage, with credit or debit cards, girocard payments and compatible digital wallets. Additionally, airline staff is able to initiate compensation payments using Amadeus Airprot Pay, for instance in case a passenger voluntary steps back from an overbooked flight. “To bring secure and seamless payment options to our passengers to ease their…
Like the Chicago Cubs who endured decades of “wait until next year,” credibly both Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic should be positioned to fly paying passengers in late 2018. How will a successful commercial flight impact the economics of space tourism? What is the demand for such flights? One key question for the space tourism industry is will there be repeat flyers? That is, until space tourism is a destination-based business (e.g. flights to a private space station or to the moon) will flyers pay to fly more than once after they have earned their astronaut wings? The answer to…
Auckland Airport will this evening welcome the first Sichuan Airlines flight direct from Chengdu, China. The new 13-hour direct service provides a seventh direct connection from Auckland Airport to a major Chinese city, and is the first to connect New Zealand directly to south west China. While the Sichuan Province is traditionally famed for its dramatic landscape, spicy cuisine and for being home to the Giant Panda, its capital, Chengdu, is very much its modern face. Scott Tasker, Auckland Airport’s acting general manager – aeronautical commercial, says this first service to one of China’s major western centres is significant for…
Tuesday, 13 June 2017 13:57

Sichuan Airlines welcomed to NZ

Auckland is set to welcome Sichuan Airlines’ inaugural flight from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in southwest China later today, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says. Sichuan Airlines will operate three direct flights per week between Auckland and Chengdu. "New Zealand is in a strong position to attract airlines, with a liberal international air transport policy that allows most major airlines to operate services to New Zealand without restriction," Mr Bridges says. "We have negotiated 60 new or amended air services agreements since 2012, and in that time period, the number of services Chinese airlines can offer each week under…
New Zealand based travel sellers can now promote their specialist country knowledge in the same way as their international counterparts, thanks to changes Tourism New Zealand has made to its trade training programme. The 100% Pure New Zealand Specialist Programme improves travel sellers' knowledge of New Zealand through a series of training opportunities. As a result, specialists have the knowledge needed to build 'must do' holiday itineraries. To become a 100 % Pure New Zealand Specialist (New Zealand Based) travel sellers only need to complete 10 of the programme's online learning modules. 'Becoming a 100% Pure New Zealand Specialist gives…
Sunday, 11 June 2017 06:58

How Qatar Airways can stay in the air

A 70-year-old international aviation law could save Qatar Airways from being completely grounded. As reported by News Corp, Qatar Airways could save its international flights – that don’t include any of the countries its been banned by – thanks to one little loophole. Earlier this week, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt all cut ties with Qatar, blocking movement between the countries, which included air transport. It also has prevented Qataris from transiting in airports of these nations. As a result, Qatar Airways has suspended flights to these nations, while Etihad, flyDubai and Emirates have also stopped flights into…
Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) still expects to receive its first Airbus A350 XWB by the end of this year, but is no longer planning to put the widebody on Kuala Lumpur-Auckland routes, the carrier’s CEO said this week. Talking with ATW on the sidelines of the IATA AGM in Cancun, MAB CEO Peter Bellew said the first A350 was supposed to be delivered in October. But the aircraft has seen some delivery delays because of supply chain issues, particularly with seats and cabin equipment. Bellew joked that he still expected a 2017 delivery, but it would probably be “just as…
Auckland Airport announces new aeronautical prices for next five years and $1.8 billion infrastructure investment to support the continued growth of New Zealand travel and tourism · Strong growth – passengers up 26% since early 2014 and the number of international airlines up 61% in past 22 months · Strong investment – currently investing $1 million in aeronautical infrastructure every working day. Now announcing a $1.8 billion aeronautical capital expenditure programme for the next five years · Reasonable prices - in real terms, over the next five years average annual international passenger charges will reduce by 1.7% and domestic passenger…
Although Kiwi trade phones have been ringing hot in the wake of the diplomatic brouhaha in the Gulf and London terror attacks, travel from New Zealand is unlikely to be ruffled by the two world events. The Maldives, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar Airways, effectively suspending all Qatari planes to the seven Middle East countries. The crisis came at the time Europe was reeling by a terrorism attack in central London, which took the lives of seven people. The House of Travel and Flight Centre say a…
Air New Zealand was named Australasia’s Leading Airline for the ninth year in a row at the prestigious World Travel Awards announced in Shanghai, China, early yesterday morning. The airline has also been named the inaugural winner of Leading Airline Brand 2017 for Australasia. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says it’s fantastic to be recognised by the industry and public yet again as leading the way in Australasia. “This latest award is further recognition of the outstanding efforts of Air New Zealanders to create a world class company that our nation can be proud of. We have…
Singapore Airlines has become the first Asian carrier to participate in the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) PreCheck programme. TSA PreCheck enables low-risk known travellers to enjoy expedited processing at airport security checkpoints across the US. PreCheck members have access to separate security screening lanes, where they do not have to remove jackets, belts, laptops, liquids and shoes. Enrolment in the TSA PreCheck programme is open to US citizens and lawful permanent residents. However, non-US citizens can also enjoy the benefits of the programme through various Customs & Border Protection (CBP) trusted traveller programmes, such as Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI.…
Construction on the new NZ$36m (US$25.5m) hotel at Wellington Airport is underway following a groundbreaking ceremony at the site, with an expected opening in late 2018. The four-star 134-bed hotel at the northern end of the airport will be managed by Rydges and is to include a restaurant, bar and conference facilities. It will be fully integrated with the main terminal building, constructed above the international terminal and accessible from inside a newly redeveloped passenger lounge. Steve Sanderson, Wellington Airport’s chief executive, said, “The hotel is part of the airport’s wider efforts to improve the experience of everyone who has…
Auckland Airport has today announced the details of four new transport projects as part of its longer term plan to improve travel around the airport over the next three years. Adrian Littlewood, Auckland Airport’s chief executive, says, “We have a 30-year plan for developing Auckland Airport and as part of the plan, ensuring that passengers, staff and crew can easily access all parts of the airport precinct remains a priority. These new transport projects are an important investment in our infrastructure that will help to improve the way public transport users, motorists, pedestrians and cyclists move around our airport precinct.”…
  Dubai, UAE, 22 May 2017 – Emirates announced today that it will be introducing a second daily A380 service between Dubai and Birmingham, beginning 29th October 2017. Second A380 introduced due to the immense popularity of the iconic aircraft New A380 service allows for additional A380 to A380 connectivity via Dubai Birmingham growing in popularity as a tourism destination Flight EK39/40, currently operated by a Boeing 777, will now be operated by the iconic and highly popular Emirates A380, adding to the existing daily A380 already operating on the route. Following the suspension of one of its flights to…
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 15:00

Is this the future of inflight service?

Air New Zealand is giving travellers a sneak peek into what the future of inflight service could look like. The airline has been working with information technology service provider Dimension Data on unique software for Microsoft’s augmented reality (AR) viewer HoloLens that could support cabin crew as they carry out their inflight duties by aggregating and displaying key customer information directly in front of them. Data such as a customer’s preferred meal and drinks choice, onward travel and loyalty membership details could be displayed. The programme is even sophisticated enough to detect the emotion of the customer by picking up…
Saturday, 29 April 2017 11:42

Emirates goes all A380 in Melbourne

Emirates will provide an all-A380 service from Melbourne when it upgrades its third daily flight from the Australian city from a Boeing 777-300ER to an A380 operation. The move will add 945 seats per week to the Australian city from 25 March 2018, representing a 10% increase in capacity. This means Emirates customers can enjoy even more seamless “A380 to A380” connections via its hub in Dubai to 18 points in the UK and Europe. New Zealand already has an all-A380 service to Dubai and beyond, with four of the Emirates double-deckers flying daily from Auckland and another from Christchurch.…
Air New Zealand has taken out the number one spot in AMR’s 2017 Corporate Reputation Index in both Australia and New Zealand. This is the first time in the airline’s history the airline has been named as the most reputable company in Australia and the second year in a row the company has taken out the top position in New Zealand. In Australia, Air New Zealand has moved from sixth place in 2016 to take the number one spot ahead of Australia’s own national carriers Qantas and Virgin Australia which indexed in fifth and 16th place respectively and other big…
Emirates has today introduced a range of sizzling fares for travel from New Zealand in time to enjoy the Europe summer across a range of 39 destinations. The latest offers include flights directly into and out of favourite sea and river cruise connection points as well as rail links. And New Zealand travellers can also choose to enter Europe or the UK through one gateway and return from another point on the extensive Emirates network. “We recognise that many travellers, especially those visiting friends and relatives, are not always in a position to make their bookings early, and these fares…
Air New Zealand has today revealed a new Economy seat design at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg to be introduced on the airline’s Airbus A320/A321neo (new engine option) fleet. The airline has worked with UK aerospace seating company Acro Aircraft Seating on the slim-line design, a key feature of which is wider seats. The window and aisle seats will be one centimetre wider than those on the airline’s current international Airbus fleet, with the middle seat three centimetres wider ensuring a better sense of personal space across the row. The design also features a new seat cover developed in…
Tuesday, 28 March 2017 08:09

Enhanced Air Services with China

New Zealand has enhanced its air service agreement with China by 20 per cent Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced today. “New Zealand and Chinese airlines can now operate 59 passenger services per week,” Mr Bridges says. “We’ve seen strong growth with visitors from China and we expect this to continue. China is our second largest source of visitors after Australia, so it’s important that we have the appropriate agreements in place to support this. “The amendment will also allow additional airlines to enter the market, ensuring a competitive environment that will benefit New Zealand and Chinese travellers. “Officials also have…
ave you ever drifted off on a plane, woken up a little later, and found yourself wondering where exactly you are – only to check your seatback television screen and decide that you are none the wiser? Airline route maps – particularly the electronic ones which are part of passengers’ in-flight entertainment systems – can often appear to show a world of their own creation. They pick out cities you have never heard of, towns where aircraft rarely land and destinations which you would not seek out – even if you were travelling on the ground. But a bigger question…
Qatar Airways has launched its revolutionary business class product – Qsuite. The patented, flexible suite can be adapted to suit the needs of different passenger types, ranging from individual travellers to families and groups. The Qsuite features the industry’s first-ever double bed in business class. Privacy panels stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room. In addition, adjustable panels and movable TV monitors on the centre four seats allow colleagues, friends or families travelling together to transform their space into a private suite. Speaking exclusively to Future Travel Experience, Rossen Dimitrov, Senior Vice President Customer…
ravellers flying with SWISS now have access to more than 250 digital newspapers and magazines. The digital content is available to all customers, regardless of travel class. Available in multiple languages, the digital content can be downloaded from swiss.com/ejournals. Passengers just have to provide their booking or ticket number. The number of downloads will vary per passenger, with premium customers able to download more free content than those travelling in economy. The passenger’s Miles & More frequent flyer status will also be taken into consideration. SWISS’s new eJournal range will gradually replace the selection of print newspapers and magazines that…
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon is today in Washington DC where he met with United States Secretary of Transport Elaine Chao, a member of President Trump’s Cabinet. Mr Luxon also met senior officials in the Transport Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. The meetings were an opportunity to identify the importance of the United States as a source market for visitors to New Zealand and as a destination for New Zealand travellers. United States visitors to New Zealand are up 19.8%, with almost 300,000 visitors arriving in the year to January 2017. The success of…
Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific have extended their strategic alliance partnership on services between New Zealand and Hong Kong for a further five years through until 2022. The alliance has delivered a range of benefits to travellers since it was first put in place in January 2013, including greater choice with more frequencies, enhanced connectivity to each carrier’s networks and reciprocal frequent flyer benefits. The extension of the alliance agreement is subject to continuing regulatory approvals. Air New Zealand Chief Strategy, Networks and Alliances Officer Stephen Jones welcomes the extension of the alliance. “Through our agreement with Cathay Pacific…
Millennial business travellers will expect the convenience of on-demand travel services in their work lives, the head of Uber for Business has said. Travis Bogard, global head of Uber Enterprise, said 80% of business travellers are now millennials, who are increasingly using ride haling apps including Uber instead of buying cars because of their price and efficiency. “What we’ve already seen with the consumerisation of IT is that expectation of personal life translates into your expectation of work and your business experience,” he said. Speaking at the Business Travel Show in London yesterday, Bogard said technology could also improve visibility,…
Tuesday, 28 February 2017 06:02

China unveils plans for a new bird airport

China’s latest plan to reverse coastal damage is a rest-stop for migrating birds For a country that has received so much flak for its rate of environmental decline, China really seems to be pulling up its socks—and setting a global precedent while they are at it. The most recent development in the country’s bid for an ecologically-minded future is the Liangang Eco Park, a rest-stop for migrating birds. Fifty million birds make the journey from the Arctic Circle down to Australia and New Zealand each year. Most intertidal areas along the way in East and South East Asia where the…
Wednesday, 22 February 2017 15:08

Auckland Airport welcomes Sichuan Airlines

Auckland Airport welcomes the announcement that Sichuan Airlines will start flying between Auckland and Chengdu in China from June this year. The service will operate three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday using an A330-200 aircraft with direct flights taking 13 hours. Acting Aeronautical Commercial General Manager Scott Tasker, says Sichuan Airlines is expected to add 81,000 seats a year to and from China and deliver an estimated $102 million annual boast to the New Zealand economy. “Sichuan Airlines will provide the first direct flight from Chengdu to New Zealand and will cater for the growing numbers of…
Tuesday, 21 February 2017 21:27

JFK launches pet terminal facility

Air travel for pets can be a complex and difficult process, which is why one of the world’s top airports has rolled out a USD 65 million animal terminal and quarantine facility with round-the-clock service. The airport is New York City’s John F. Kennedy International, which last week launched the first phase of its round-the-clock pet catering services. Located in a 16,500-square-metre warehouse, the ARK Pet Oasis aims to streamline air travel for pets and livestock. It also provides concierge-like services, ensures pets have their documents in order and looks after their health – even clips their toenails if that’s…
Airbnb has snatched up Montreal-based vacation rental company, Luxury Retreats, which has 4000 homes in 100 destinations worldwide, including 14 properties over in New Zealand, although none in Australia yet. As some of the more major competitors to big disruptors like Airbnb, Luxury Retreats offers high-quality listings, concierge service and a range of amenities to travellers. Naturally, as Airbnb continues its steep growth, such a business not only complements Airbnb’s existing offerings, but an acquisition ensures competition becomes almost none existent. Luxury Retreats CEO Joe Poulin will join Airbnb and lead luxury homes, reporting to Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian…
Saturday, 18 February 2017 05:20

New Pullman 5-star hotel at Auckland Airport

Auckland Airport and Tainui Group Holdings have announced an agreement to develop a new 5-star hotel adjacent to Auckland Airport’s international terminal and the existing 4-star Novotel hotel. The new premium 250-room hotel will be operated by AccorHotels under the Pullman brand. While the additional hotel development has long been a feature of Auckland Airport’s ‘airport of the future’ vision, Mark Thomson, Auckland Airport’s general manager - property, says the timing has been influenced by unprecedented demand for hotel accommodation in Auckland. Building the hotel now also responds directly to strong demand for accommodation that provides easy access to the…
Tuesday, 14 February 2017 08:41

Hilton Double Tree For Wellington

DoubleTree is set for WellingtonThe Hilton is opening its first property in Wellington this year under the DoubleTree by Hilton brand. The seven-story hotel, expected to open late 2017, will be located in the T&G Building on Lambton Quay. When complete it will have 108 rooms (including 21 suites), a restaurant, bar, boardroom and gym.Dianna Vaughan, senior vice president and global head, DoubleTree by Hilton says: ‘The hotel boasts an ideal location for both the business and leisure traveller with close proximity to the central business district and walking distance to Te Papa Museum and the cable car as well…
Monday, 13 February 2017 08:31

Trump plans to make US airports great again

 In an encouraging announcement, US President Donald Trump has revealed plans to rebuild America’s airports to make travel a more pleasant experience. In Chicago, Trump told United Airlines chief executive Oscar Munoz and representatives of Delta, Southwest, JetBlue and airports from around the US, of his plans to revitalise America’s airports. America led the world in airports and air travel but has paid the price for establishing infrastructure early. Some of its airports are tired and dated. They have been eclipsed by gleaming new facilities in places like Guangzhou and Mumbai. President and chief executive of Airports Council International – North America,…
Qatar Airways is latest airline to touch down on the shores of New Zealand. Flying direct from Doha, Qatar Airways is the World’s longest commercial flight covering a total of 14,535km with a flight time of approximately 17 hours and 30 minutes. The Auckland – Doha route is operated by a Boeing 777-200 LR. This new route provides easy connectivity to Europe, offering one stop-off in Doha. For those not travelling to Europe, Qatar Airways offers more than 150 destinations in six continents for travellers to choose from. >>> Continue to full article    
Air New Zealand has made its first foray into the field of artificial intelligence (AI) unveiling its new chatbot, Bravo Oscar Tango – Oscar for short. Oscar will initially assist customers with commonly asked queries, saving them time and offering a more personalised experience than searching a traditional Frequently Asked Questions section online. As with other AI technology, Oscar will learn based on the conversations people have with him, becoming more user friendly and more helpful the more he interacts. Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Avi Golan says Oscar has been launched as a beta product allowing customers to…
Emirates has today made over 35 destinations in Europe, including its newest gateway, Zagreb in Croatia, even more attractive with the introduction of its latest Early Bird sale fares from New Zealand. Early Bird Economy Class return fares to Europe are on sale from $1,549, and Business Class return fares start from $7,199 – including all taxes. The fare sale runs until March 6, for travel from February 6 to November 30, 2017. Terms and conditions apply. Emirates is also providing the extra incentive of additional reward Miles under its Skywards frequent flyer programme, which is free to join. In…
Emirates, which offers five double-decker A380 services a day out of New Zealand, is welcoming in the new year with special fares to a selection of points around its global network, including Australia, the UK, Europe and Africa. The Hello 2017 Economy and Business Class fares are also on offer to destinations in Asia and the Middle East, as well as India and the Americas via Dubai The five daily New Zealand flights – a non-stop service to Dubai from Auckland and three others via Australia, plus a Christchurch service via Sydney – offer the chance to travel all the…
Auckland Airport has rolled out its first mobile self-service check-in kiosks, in preparation for expected record passenger numbers through the international terminal this summer. Judy Nicholl, Auckland Airport’s general manager – aeronautical operations, says the kiosks, which can be readied for use by any participating airline at the touch of a button, will enable more dynamic use of the check-in area and are being introduced to improve queuing times for passengers. “The kiosks are both mobile and fully-customisable, meaning we can put them out anywhere, and at any time, to meet customer demand,” says Ms Nicholl. “Upstairs in the international…
Auckland Airport has welcomed its 29th international airline this morning, with the arrival of the inaugural Tianjin Airlines flight from Chinese cities Tianjin and Chongqing. Scott Tasker, Auckland Airport’s acting general manager – aeronautical commercial, says, “We’re delighted to welcome Tianjin Airlines to Auckland Airport and New Zealand, and excited that they’ve chosen Auckland for their first Australasian service.” “Regional China is a rapidly developing market for New Zealand tourism and the new flights we’re welcoming today will provide more choice for Chinese visitors to experience New Zealand, and for New Zealanders travelling to China.” Tianjin Airlines will operate year-round…
  Air New Zealand will split its Tokyo services between Haneda and Narita Airports from July next year, offering customers two points of entry into Japan’s capital city. Air New Zealand currently operates daily flights to Narita International Airport increasing to 10 times a week over the peak months. From July 2017 the three additional peak services will operate to Haneda Airport, with daily services continuing to Narita. The Haneda services will depart Auckland on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays utilising the airline’s state of the art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. Air New Zealand also operates a seasonal service between Auckland…
Wednesday, 21 December 2016 06:06

NZ-Morocco all the way by A380 from March, 2017

New Zealand travellers will be able to fly all the way by A380 from Auckland and Christchurch to Morocco from late March next year when Emirates upgrades capacity on the service. Emirates, voted the World’s Best Airline in the 2016 Skytrax World Airline Awards, announced today that it will operate the first ever commercial Airbus A380 flight to Morocco and North Africa, when it takes the iconic double decker aircraft to Casablanca daily from 26 March 2017. The airline’s flagship aircraft, which continues to excite travellers and aviation enthusiasts alike, will replace the daily Boeing 777-300ER aircraft currently used on…