Jan 9, 2018 - Supersonic passenger flight at reasonable cost has come a step closer with the news that Japan Airlines (JAL) has joined US aerospace developer Boom Supersonic to bring commercial supersonic travel to passengers at fares about the same as today’s business class tickets.
Jan 9, 2018 -Airbnb has been moving beyond homesharing for awhile now. After venturing into experiences and dining, what part of travel will the company tackle next asks Skift's Hannah Sampson.
Nathan Blecharczyk, an Airbnb co-founder and chief strategy officer, shared his thoughts about the homesharing company branching out into restaurant reservations, trying to become a go-to site for a diverse set of travel needs, and the importance of attracting business travelers with the team from travel media company Skift.
Business travelers made up about 10 percent of Airbnb’s business in the early days, a number that has increased to 15 percent, Blecharczyk said.
“If you’re on that business trip for a week or more, you really do value the feeling of home,” he said. “We also see a lot of people combining business and leisure, we see a lot of people adding on the weekend, staying the weekend and exploring a little bit.”
He said the company’s expansion into experiences and, in September, restaurants, are indicative of Airbnb’s ambitions to play a bigger role in travel.
“This vision of becoming a platform for the entire trip is a really huge one,” he said. “And we’ve only just started, with homes, experiences, and now restaurants. But everything else that you need when you travel we think belongs in the Airbnb app. We want to be that one-stop shop.”
Source: Skift by Hannah Sampson || January 8, 2018 |||
Dec 19, 2017 - The world’s steepest funicular line - which can climb a 110% gradient - has opened to the public at the Alpine resort of Stoos in central Switzerland. Swiss President Doris Leuthard officially opened CHF52 million ($53 million) project running from Schywz to the mountain village of Stoosexternal link, which lies 1,300 meters above sea level, on Friday evening. The public got their first taste on Sunday. Saturday was reserved for the locals.
The funicular opened two years later than planned due to engineering and money problems. But this was forgotten as Leuthard cut the red ribbon. In her speech, she praised the project’s organisers for their courage. Many funiculars are not profitable. “But the board, canton and the region believe in the future. I am convinced that this will pay off,” she said.
Leuthard, who also head the transport ministry, said that the funicular would also serve locals as well as tourists. “This is what characterises Switzerland, that we offer a service that everyone can use.”
The barrel-shaped carriages adjust their floors so passengers can still stand upright while they climb towards the Alpine plateau at inclines of up to 110%.
The train follows a 1,720-metre track, climbing or descending 743 metres. It reaches speeds of up to ten metres per second. The whole trip lasts around four minutes.
The railway replaces an older one that has been in operation since 1933. “After 14 years of planning and building, everyone is very proud of this train,” said Ivan Steiner, spokesman for the railway.
Dec 19, 2017 - In the world of aerospace engineering the race to build the first new civilian supersonic aircraft is certainly heating up. With several major players currently working on supersonic passenger jets, Aerion and Lockheed Martin are targeting those for whom even first class commercial air travel is substandard. The pair has just announced a partnership to develop the world's first supersonic business jet.
Aerion has been chugging away developing its AS2 supersonic business jet for several years now, first collaborating with Airbus on the aerodynamics and structural design before working with GE Aviation on the development of a supersonic engine. This latest announcement is a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Lockheed Martin to work together on all the future phases of development on the supersonic business jet from engineering to production.
"Following our initial review of Aerion's aerodynamic technology, our conclusion is that the Aerion AS2 concept warrants the further investment of our time and resources," says Orlando Carvalho, Executive Vice President for Lockheed Martin. "We are committed to remaining on the cutting edge of aerospace technology and are excited to examine the contribution we might make to working with Aerion on making aviation history."
Aerion has been subtly improving its supersonic jet engine design over the years after announcing a new three-engine configuration back in 2014. The latest design pulls the two outboard engines forward, under the wings, while leaving the third engine in the tail.
Aerion currently estimates the AS2 will be ready for its first flight by 2023 but several other companies are racing to be the first supersonic player in the new millennium. Earlier this year, Spike Aerospace took to the skies with a flight test of an unmanned SX-1.2 prototype demonstrator that is a subscale version of its planned S-512 supersonic passenger plane. The successful tests come ahead of a projected flight date for a full-scale S-512 in 2021. The new three-engine configuration
NASA is also working on its own designs for a a supersonic passenger plane, which is also aiming for first flight tests in 2021, with Lockheed Martin again helping with the engineering and design challenges.
Lockheed Martin's skill and experience with supersonic engineering seems to be a strong validation of Aerion's designs. The company is known for its supersonic combat aircraft so if any company has the know-how to move the technology into a civil or commercial application then it is Lockheed Martin.
The next few years promise to be exciting for fans of supersonic aviation.
Dec 19, 2017 - Legendary antipodean actors Bryan Brown and Sam Neill have reunited on-screen as the distinctive voices behind the latest instalment of Air New Zealand’s Better Way to Fly campaign to convince more Australians to fly the Kiwi airline across the Tasman and beyond.
Bryan Brown is currently the voice behind Air New Zealand’s lovable CGI character Dave the goose who demonstrates all the reasons why the airline is a great choice for Australians flying to North and South America.
Now he’s joining forces with acting mate Sam Neill as the voice of an adorable new CGI character, Pete the Kiwi. Together Dave and Pete are reminding Australians that Air New Zealand is the best way to spread their wings across the Tasman.
Air New Zealand Chief Revenue Officer Cam Wallace says, “Not only do we have more flights between Australia and New Zealand than anyone else, we’re a premium carrier offering customers a whole range of choices from lie flat Business Premier™ beds through to an award winning Premium Economy™ cabin, a full service Economy experience or just a Seat and carry-on bag.
“Wherever customers choose to sit, they can enjoy Air New Zealand’s world class food, top New Zealand wines and free access to inflight entertainment.”
After a relaxing trans-Tasman flight into Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch or Queenstown, customers can then connect seamlessly with Air New Zealand’s network of 21 domestic destinations. Air New Zealand’s alliance relationship with Virgin Australia means Australians can also choose to earn Virgin Velocity points for their trip.
Air New Zealand’s General Manager of Global Brand and Content Marketing Jodi Williams says, “Aussies have already grown to love Bryan’s performance as Dave the goose and when the long-standing friends got together again in the recording studio to debut Sam’s version of Pete the Kiwi, their shared sense of humour produced some great comic moments.”
Dec 18, 2017 - Kiwiana, heritage, steam punk and luxury have merged at one of Featherston’s most loved historic buildings, which is reopening this week writes Hayley Gastmeier in the Wairarapa Times Age.
In all its glory, The Royal Hotel will be back in business from Wednesday, after an extensive two-year makeover.
Owners Rob Allen and Janelle Harrington bought the prominent Revans St building when it came up for sale in 2015.
The couple has put in considerable effort to ensure the hotel reflects both its own roots, and the history of the town.
Inspired by the town’s rail history, the hotel has tapped into the steam punk genre, while also embracing the coming together of Maori and Pakeha, as well as the town’s military history.
The hotel’s 12 upstairs bedrooms each have its own “personality”, themed on a unique character.
Most have elegant ensuites, in which the basins have been cleverly crafted with vintage sewing machine bases.
The largest room “belongs” to King Tawhiao, who was leader of the Waikato tribes and was the second Maori King.
Other rooms are themed after Victorian writers, such as Jules Verne (author of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), classic children’s books, and inspiring people of the past, such as Meri Te Tai Mangakahia, a campaigner for women’s suffrage in New Zealand.
Dec 18, 2017 - Air New Zealand will fly nearly 6000 extra seats on its seasonal service between Christchurch and Fiji in 2018, an increase of more than 40 percent. The airline currently operates two services per week from Christchurch to Nadi International Airport between July and October, increasing to three services per week at peak times.
Next year Air New Zealand’s Christchurch-Fiji service will start five weeks earlier on 26 May, with up to four services per week in the busy school holiday period.
Air New Zealand Chief Revenue Officer Cam Wallace says the airline has tripled capacity between Christchurch and Fiji over the past five years.
“Fiji is a clear favourite for Kiwi holidaymakers. We’re pleased these extra flights will offer South Island travellers greater flexibility for their holiday plans.”
The new flights will be operated by the airline’s A320 aircraft and are available for purchase at www.airnewzealand.co.nz
| An Air New Zealand release || December 18, 2017 |||
Dec 18, 2017 - The Government is investing $14.9 million in tourism infrastructure and cycle trails around the country, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. $14.2 million has been awarded to various local councils for 30 visitor-related infrastructure projects and four feasibility studies.
“We need to make sure we have the basics right – so that visitors continue to have high quality experiences at every point of their holiday and want to return,” Mr Davis says
“Increasing tourist numbers, while good for New Zealand, is putting pressure on infrastructure in many areas around the country. The projects selected for funding are essential for some of the communities that really need help to develop infrastructure – those places with high numbers of visitors in comparison to ratepayers, for example.
“As a starting point we are co-funding carparks, toilets and other facilities in popular visitor spots from Kaimaumau, north of Kaitaia, to Lumsden in Southland. It includes co-funding for a new carpark and toilets to support the growth of tourists at Mt Taranaki’s Pouakai Crossing trail; facilities at Blackball on the West Coast to support the planned Paparoa and Pike 29 Memorial tracks, and a new carpark and walkways at Lake Tekapo’s Church of the Good Shepherd.
“Other areas require more significant infrastructure. In Hanmer Springs the wastewater system will be upgraded, in Gisborne new carparks and walkways will be constructed in preparation for the 250th commemoration of the arrival of James Cook, and in Tauranga enhancements will be made to provide safe public access to the bottom of Omanawa Falls.”
This investment is made through the first round of the Tourism Infrastructure Fund. A second $10.7 million funding round is expected to be held in early 2018.
A further $700,000 will be invested in the upkeep of seven Great Rides of Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail.
“We know that Nga Haerenga is delivering significant economic benefit to communities around the country – $37.4 million per year according to the latest estimate,” Mr Davis says.
“These trails are becoming an important part of New Zealand’s tourism offering, drawing high-value visitors off the beaten track and helping provide employment and new business opportunities for our regions. We want to ensure that they are well looked after.”
The investment comes from the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund, which aims to ensure New Zealand’s premier rides are maintained to their current world class standard.
Further information and funding details can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.
Dec 18, 2017 - The Hub will house a dedicated Emergency Operations Centre EOC. Queenstown Airport has opened the doors to ‘The Hub’, the airport’s first dedicated operations centre, marking a new era in the organisation’s growth.
The modular-style building, named The Hub via an airport staff competition, houses a new dedicated Operations Centre, Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), Operations Control room, training room, offices and houses all the Queenstown Airport Operations team in one fit for purpose office.
The Hub has been designed to accommodate the airport’s continued growth and is an adaptable, sustainable and affordable building solution in line with the company’s guiding principles. The movement of essential operations services into The Hub will also free up much-needed space in-terminal for use by border agencies, who are also expanding as part of the airport’s continued growth.
The new building is accessed via the rental car park landside with secure access on the airside frontage. The landside location ensures easy access for non-security cleared personnel to the EOC should this be activated and will also now be the check-in point for all contractors and suppliers working at the airport.
GM Operations and Safety Mike Clay said: “As Queenstown Airport continues to grow, the airport Operations team has adapted and expanded to accommodate growth within the current footprint.”
“Currently the Operations team have operated from five different office locations across the terminal, including the Info Desk which acts as a control room and administration point. The time has come for a dedicated location to better house the team and associated operational services and facilities”.
Careful consideration has been given to the design of the exterior paneling to ensure each module can be repurposed if and when needed without affecting the overall appearance. The interior has been designed fit-for-purpose, ensuring the team has the best vantage points to monitor activity. The airport team has been integral to the design of the facility, contributing extensively to its functionality and layout.
“The Hub will be the nerve centre of the airport’s operations function,” said Mr Clay.
The Operations Centre provides the following under a single roof:
A dedicated Operations Control Room
A dedicated EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) with landside access for use during an emergency
Office accommodation for the entire Operations team (up to 20 people)
Office accommodation for project development and delivery teams including Master Plan team
Administration facility for staff and contractor inductions, training, issuing of Permits to work, CCTV surveillance, access cards, topping up commercial users’ swipe cards.
The centre also has additional facilities for use by all QAC staff including:
Training room with PCs for online and one-to-one training including five hot desks
Lunch room with full kitchen facilities
Showers and storage for use by all QAC staff
Meetings rooms and a boardroom with full AV – for up to 12 people
| A Queenstown Airpport release || December 15, 2017 |||
Dec 18, 2017 - Air New Zealand is set to grow the number of seats available on the Wellington-Queenstown route by around 50 percent from April next year.
The airline will operate an extra five A320 direct services a week between Wellington and Queenstown, the equivalent of 38,000 extra one-way seats compared with the previous year.
The five new services are in addition to the airline’s existing daily direct jet service and will operate between Thursday and Monday, taking the total number of jet services per week to 12. In addition to this, a number of other Wellington-Queenstown services are operated by the airline’s ATR turboprop aircraft.
Air New Zealand’s Chief Revenue Officer Cam Wallace says the airline is delighted to be able to offer more direct services between Wellington and Queenstown, particularly over the weekend.
"Queenstown is a hugely popular destination on our domestic network so it’s great to be able to match growing demand with these extra jet flights."
Air New Zealand’s Wellington - Queenstown schedule from April 2018 is as follows: