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 flood of customers have been asking how the events will impact on travel. However, at this stage, it is unlikely to make an impact. Qatar, which entered the Kiwi market in Februay, says its flights to and from Auckland will not be disrupted by the crisis.
Accordingly, House of Travel commercial director Brent Thomas says the company has adopted a wait-and-see attitude ‘It is unknown at this stage how far the situation will go and what it will mean. It is too early to say what impact it will have if any on travellers going to Doha and further into Europe.’
Flight Centre says it is unlikely travellers from New Zealand will be affected by the announcement. It will be business as usual for those flying Qatar Airways to Doha and on to Europe unless they were calling in on one of the seven countries laying down the ban.
It also advises the company will monitor the situation, and its travel experts across the country will be kept informed of updates.
Meanwhile, House of Travel and Flight Centre say they are not aware of cancellations being made following the attack in London. And it appears hardy Kiwi travellers will continue to travel to the UK and Europe during the high season. ‘At this stage bookings are still coming in since this attack as well as the one in Manchester earlier this month,’ says Thomas.
‘If this is not followed up quickly by more acts of terror, we expect bookings to remain in their normal pattern.’
Nonetheless, House of Travel is keeping an eye on the situation, mindful that England is holding its Business as usual for Kiwi trade in spite of turmoil on the international stage snap election tomorrow. He advises travellers to keep an eye on government travel website Safe Travel and to stay vigilant. ‘Kiwis are resilient so I don’t think at this stage it will impact. It seems more an isolated incident and so bookings will continue as normal.’
Flight Centre says it has about 5000 customers in the UK and a couple of thousand are due to travel over the next week.
The UK and Europe is a top destination for our customers at Flight Centre and the last couple of years have seen this consistently increase year on year. This year has so far been no exception and we don’t anticipate this will change,’ a statement from the company states.
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 invested significantly over recent years to improve the customer experience on the ground, inflight and through digital channels and it is terrific to see this paying off with numerous awards and all-time high satisfaction scores,” Mr Luxon says.
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. Singapore citizens are eligible to apply to join the Global Entry programme for a fee.
Successful applicants of the TSA PreCheck programme or other CBP trusted traveller programmes receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) which may be provided to the airline during booking or check-in. Once the customer’s KTN is recognised, the TSA PreCheck logo will be printed on their boarding pass, indicating that their KTN has been captured in their booking record.
Travellers can now provide their KTN across Singapore Airlines’ various check-in or booking channels, including its call agents, online reservations system, and online check-in via the airline’s website or app, in addition to checking in at the airport counter.
As a partner airline under the TSA PreCheck programme, Singapore Airlines will also be able to offer customers travelling to and from the US the option of having a self-printed boarding pass and/or mobile boarding pass.
| A Future Travel Experience Release || May 30, 2017 |||
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 to catch an early ﬂight or arrive on a late one. Many travelers utilize these international ﬂights and the airport’s particular focus is on improving its role as the gateway for central New Zealand.
“Grabbing a room and getting a good night’s rest will be a smart option for those that need to travel a fair distance home. We expect the airport hotel to be hugely popular with business travelers, families and those travelling internationally.”
Wellington Airport’s international market has experienced exceptional growth in recent years, welcoming new services from Singapore Airlines, Fiji Airways and Jetstar. International passenger numbers have more than doubled in the last 15 years to nearly 900,000, with the total passenger numbers traveling through Wellington Airport reaching almost 6 million.
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.”
Auckland Airport’s new transport projects include: · upgrading Nixon Road by October 2017 to provide a new route to Auckland Airport’s Park&Ride on Verissimo Drive without the need for drivers to use the main intersection that connects the domestic and international terminals at Tom Pearce Drive and George Bolt Memorial Drive; · improving traffic flows and improving public transport access to the domestic terminal by Christmas 2017 through the provision of more space for buses on the terminal forecourt and a new and separate access road for taxis and buses; · construction of an iconic new gateway bridge over George Bolt Memorial Drive by the end of 2018 for pedestrians and cyclists to connect “the Quad” hotel and commercial precinct with the airport terminals and take cars off the main road network; and · implementing a transit lane system across the airport precinct between December 2017 and 2020 for buses and high occupancy vehicles.
“These new projects will help improve traffic flows and travel times around the airport, and help our transport network accommodate the increasing number of buses that will travel to and from the airport in the future.”
“Our new gateway bridge will be a spectacular sight as you enter and leave Auckland Airport to the north towards the city. Designed by architects Warren and Mahoney, the suspension bridge features a 40 metre high concrete mast that is inspired by the form of a huia feather with a white light tipped column and Māori motifs. It will be an urban beacon and precinct marker that will be visible across the airport, both during the day and at night. The bridge will also significantly improve the walking and cycling experience between our commercial precinct and the terminals.”
“This new investment in our precinct’s transport infrastructure also supports the ongoing and collaborative efforts of the New Zealand Transport Agency, Auckland Transport and Auckland Airport to improve travel times to and from the airport.”
“It also builds on other improvements we have made to our precinct’s transport infrastructure in the past year.”
In the first half of the 2017 financial year Auckland Airport fast-tracked a number of planned roading and transport upgrades on its transport network: · upgrading the Puhinui Road roundabout to help improve the eastern access to the airport from State Highway 20B/Puhinui Road; · adding 1,400 more car parks to our Park&Ride facility, mostly for use by staff working at the international terminal to remove staff traffic from the inner airport roads; · upgrading the traffic light phasing and lane configurations at the airport’s George Bolt Memorial Drive and Tom Pearce Drive intersection to improve traffic flows; · updating the lane configurations at the airport’s George Bolt Memorial Drive and Laurence Stevens Drive roundabout to improve traffic flows; and · developing new traffic management plans for use when the airport roading network is particularly busy.
“Auckland Airport is planning a number of additional infrastructure projects to upgrade our transport network and further improve journeys around the airport precinct. These will be announced in due course,” says Mr Littlewood.
| A n Auckland Airport release || June 01, 2017 |||
According to the Australian Business Traveller, the airline’s own-brand credit card will be a new Platinum-grade MasterCard, and will display the Qantas brand alone.
ABT reported that 35 per cent of all credit card spending in Australia is already happening through co-branded Qantas credit cards, in partnership with banks, American Express, and retailers like David Jones and Woolies.
Now, with Qantas not co-branding with any other company, Qantas is likely to steal a bigger slice of the profits.
It comes as Virgin Australia’s own Velocity program conducted research that found that Australian credit card use is motivated by loyalty rewards, with more than two thirds of respondents saying they will make a decision to buy an item based on whether they will receive points.
It also found that the most appealing loyalty rewards for Australians are frequent flyer points and store vouchers.
The credit card launch coincides with Qantas’ 30th anniversary of its frequent flyer program, which now boasts almost 12 million members down under.
So why should we care? Well, a few extra frequent flyer perks could be in store for Qantas members, with ABT reporting the airline has hinted at higher earning rates for its members, “exclusive travel benefits” like airfare deals and lounge access, and something Qantas is calling “uncapped earning potential”.
AccorHotels New Zealand announce that Mercure Auckland will rebrand to the Grand Mercure Auckland from June 1, following an extensive NZ$22 million refurbishment, the second Grand Mercure announced this month for the region.
The hotel’s stunning transformation makes it an even more attractive base for exploring the adjacent Britomart precinct and nearby thriving Viaduct Harbour. Boasting 207 guest rooms and suites in total, all room types have been fully refurbished in harmonious textures and botanic shades. A new library, richly decorated with warm gold tones and leather, provides the ideal venue to relax and read from a collection of some of New Zealand’s finest literature. With a variety of indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, the Grand Mercure Auckland offers the largest event space of any hotel in the Britomart area with capacity for 350 cocktail style.
On street level, a new alfresco social eatery has been added, Custom Lane, which transforms from café to bar as day shifts to night, capturing a sense of the lively Britomart through eclectic street art and creative design elements. Take the lift to the hotel’s rooftop Vue Restaurant & Attica Bar, which boasts unobstructed views of Auckland’s skyline and harbour, matched by fine cuisine showcasing New Zealand’s outstanding produce and wines.
AccorHotels’ Senior Vice President Operations, New Zealand, Fiji and French Polynesia, Gillian Millar said: “Following an extensive transformation and the exciting addition of Custom Lane to tap into Britomart’s social scene, Grand Mercure Auckland redefines the upscale brand in Australasia.”
“Grand Mercure is an internationally recognisable brand name in the upscale hotel space, and we saw an opportunity to further leverage the brand’s presence in New Zealand while elevating our guests’ experience.” Grand Mercure Auckland is located at 8 Customs Street, Auckland CBD, New Zealand and joins a network of over 40 Grand Mercure hotels in the Asia-Pacific Region.
Experience the newly rebranded Grand Mercure Auckland from just $204 including breakfast. Read more at http://www.etbtravelnews.global
On 1 November, The Langham Auckland, one of New Zealand’s leading hotels will be rebranded as Cordis, Auckland. Cordis Hotels and Resorts is a new generation of selected upper upscale modern hotels by Langham Hospitality Group that is devoted to the guests’ needs and well-being, catering to both business and leisure travelers.
“Our hotel in Auckland fits the Cordis brand perfectly,” says Robert Warman, chief executive officer of Langham Hospitality Group. “It is well located in the vibrant part of the city, a top-of-mind venue for meetings and events, a favourite for special occasions amongst the locals, and we have experienced colleagues who provide warm and friendly service from the heart.”
“The addition of Cordis, Auckland to our portfolio is a significant milestone for the group as it will be the first Cordis hotel in the Pacific. Our plan is to introduce and grow the Cordis brand in this region, which is seeing increasing numbers of leisure and corporate travellers year on year. Each Cordis is individual in style, architecture and design, all of which will be reflective of its location, local culture and is tailored to the requirements of our guests, from corporate travelers, honeymooners and families,” adds Warman.
Franz Mascarenhas, managing director of The Langham, Auckland says “I am confident Cordis, Auckland will succeed and continue to be the social centre of Auckland, hosting major events, conferences, international delegations and the city’s most glamourous weddings. We look forward to the continued support of the local community.
” Cordis derives its name from the Latin term meaning “heart”. The brand’s concept focuses on the core pillars of innovation in hospitality, genuine service, elegance in design and captivation of the senses.
Following the recent renovation of the banquet venues and the hotel’s Eight restaurant, The Langham Auckland will undergo refurbishment from 11 July for all 411 rooms and suites, lobby lounge and the exclusive Club Lounge. The refurbishment will ensure the hotel continues to provide the best facilities for guests in the market. The facelift is scheduled to be completed by Feb 2018.
To ensure there will be minimal disruption, the room renovations will be carried out in phases where guest floors will be closed off entirely and refurbishment works will be isolated to the designated areas only. Guests staying in the rooms or attending events at The Langham, Auckland will not be inconvenienced at any time during the refurbishment period.
In terms of design, guests may expect contemporary rooms and spaces that are reflective of the Cordis brand and local culture. The award-winning New Zealand based design firm, Space Studio, is the appointed interior designer for this refurbishment project.
In addition, to Cordis, Auckland, other Cordis properties in the brand’s portfolio are in Hong Kong, Shanghai (Hongqiao), Ningbo, Dongqian Lake (2018), Shanghai, East Bund (2019), Hangzhou (2019) and Bali (2018). Read more at http://www.etbtravelnews.global
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 on visual and audio cues.
Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Avi Golan says the airline has fostered a strong culture of experimentation with new and emerging technologies such as the HoloLens.
“This software is a great example of us collaborating with other partners and exploring how technology could enhance the way our people work as well as the experience they deliver to our customers through greater personalisation,” says Mr Golan.
The technology could also allow the airline’s cabin crew to move to a paperless inflight system presenting added environmental benefits.
Air New Zealand has developed a global reputation for innovation having worked with a range of technology partners and introduced a number of customer innovations to enhance the customer experience in recent times. These include auto bag drops to speed up the check-in process with face-to-passport recognition and Airband™, a wristband for children travelling unaccompanied embedded with technology that allows parents and guardians to track each step of their young ones’ journey. Airband™ was named Innovation of the Year at the 2016 CAPA Asia Pacific Aviation Awards.
Click here or on the image below to download video of Air New Zealand trialling the Microsoft HoloLens.
Air New Zealand will welcome customers into its significantly larger new-look lounge at Melbourne International Airport from tomorrow.
Located on the ground floor of the airport terminal, the lounge carries an ultra-modern design created in conjunction with award-winning global architectural firm Gensler and Australian based design firm Marsden Collective. The modern design follows what was first seen in the Air New Zealand Sydney International lounge.
The lounge offers five different spaces for close to 250 guests, allowing customers to relax and refresh or get some work done. A self-service food buffet, two self-service drink stations and a barista station are also available.
Air New Zealand General Manager Customer Experience Anita Hawthorne says the airline is committed to improving the customer experience and is proud to be able to offer customers flying out of Melbourne a new lounge space with 50 percent more seating than the previous lounge.
“The airline has been investing heavily in the Australian market and promoting its services through its ‘Better Way to Fly’ campaign starring Dave the goose which encourages Australians to travel Air New Zealand to North and South America.
“It’s also clear Australians love the Air New Zealand products and services after recently taking out the number one spot in AMR’s 2017 Australia Corporate Reputation Index so we look forward to welcoming customers to our new lounge.”
The Air New Zealand Melbourne International Lounge forms part of the airline’s four year $100 million programme to develop its network of lounges and follows the opening of new lounges in Sydney and Brisbane as well as in Auckland, Nadi, Wellington, Queenstown, Hamilton and Invercargill.