How cheap will air travel become? The chief executive of one low-cost carrier believes flying is destined to become so cheap that airlines will end up paying travellers to fly with them.
Chief executive and founder of WOW Air, Skúli Mogensen, considers that flight pricing is becoming so competitive, airlines eventually will hand out free trips just to get passengers aboard their planes.
Mogensen told Britain’s Daily Telegraph: “In the future we could pay you to fly with us – if you come to us and trust us with your booking, we can see that your airfare is reduced to zero and even reward you for it.”
The secret of the cheaper-than-cheap flights is that the flights would be used as bait, in a similar manner to operators who offer “free” resort stays to consumers – who then spend plenty on airfares. Mogensen believes that as airlines make more money from tie-ins with car hire and hotel bookings, the flights themselves could be given away free to lure customers in.
Here’s a telling sentence about the development from London’s Sun newspaper, which will rile a few agents: “By rewarding loyal customers with free flights, they would then become a one-stop shop for travel, like the old fashioned travel agencies.”
WOW Air is an Icelandic low-cost carrier headquartered in Reykjavík and based at Keflavík International Airport. It favours purple, for livery, décor and uniforms. Founded in 2011 it first flew in 2012.
WOW’s sole owner is Titan, an investment company owned by Mogensen. In 2012, WOW acquired Iceland Express’s operations and network to several destinations in Europe and North America.
WOW Air has sold transatlantic flights in the UK (via Reykjavík) for as little as GBP 150 (AUD 246). It is not giving flights away yet or paying customers to fly with it, but you never know.
Rival Scandinavian low-cost airline Norwegian has reportedly started handing out free return flights or upgrades to its most frequent flyers, but plenty of carriers already do similar for frequent flyers who amass enough points.
| Written by Peter Needham For Global Travel Media || July 25, 2017 |||
Air New Zealand has announced it will nearly double capacity on its seasonal Auckland to Denpasar service in 2018 and will also extend the season it flies there by almost two months.
The airline currently operates two services per week from Auckland to Denpasar International Airport between the end of May and mid-October, increasing to three services per week during peak times.
Next year the airline’s Auckland to Bali season will start at the beginning of April with up to five services operating per week using the airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, subject to regulatory approval.
Air New Zealand Chief Revenue Officer Cam Wallace says Bali continues to prove popular with customers.
“The increase in services between Auckland and Bali, as well as the extension to the seasonal service represents year on year growth of more than 90%.”
“Today’s news will give leisure travellers more options when it comes to getting to Bali, with more than 1500 seats available per week each way at peak times.”
The additional capacity for the 2018 Bali season is on sale now.
Air New Zealand’s inaugural service to Haneda Tokyo has departed with the Boeing 787-9 aircraft scheduled to touch down in Tokyo at 11.00pm (local time).
The new Haneda service will depart Auckland on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from July - May, offering customers a second point of entry to the Japanese capital alongside the airline’s daily flights to Narita Tokyo Airport.
Air New Zealand Chief Revenue Officer Cam Wallace says demand for travel between the two countries continues to soar and the new Auckland-Haneda direct route will boost annual capacity to Japan by 15%.
“Located just 20 kilometres from downtown Tokyo, Haneda Airport offers great convenience for Kiwis heading to the central city and for Japanese tourists travelling to New Zealand.
“With the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Summer Olympics ahead, we look forward to building on our existing services and further growing demand for travel at both ends of the route.”
Air New Zealand also operates a seasonal service between Auckland and the Japanese city of Osaka between October and March.
Japan is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing outbound travel markets, with the number of Kiwis travelling to Japan up 25% to the year ending May 2017. Japan is New Zealand’s sixth largest tourism market and the number of Japanese visiting New Zealand also grew over this period by 8.5% to 101,616.
| An Aire New Zealand release || July 21, 2017 |||
In another airline inducement for customers to book directly online, Tigerair Australia has decided to let customers freeze their fares – holding a fare price for 48 hours – for a small fee.
The offer is valid only for customers who book online and applies only to routes nominated by Tigerair.
Some other airlines, notably Air New Zealand, offer similar services, although they charge more it than Tigerair will.
For AUD 3 per person per sector, Tigerair customers can put a freeze on an attractive airfare they are viewing. Tierair says this will give them extra time to confirm their travel plans with family and friends or free up funds without worrying about the price increasing.http://travelindustryexpo.com.au/?utm_source=Global%20Travel%20Media&utm_medium=Banners
Fare Freeze applies only to fares that are available more than 27 days from date of departure and have the ‘Fare Freeze’ symbol displayed at the bottom of the online booking page.
Customers will proceed through the booking process as per usual with a AUD 3 fee due at the end to confirm the fare freeze.
Once the customer is ready to purchase their fare, they must return to the Manage My Booking page within 48 hours to finalise their booking. If the customer chooses not to purchase their held flights within 48 hours, the booking will be automatically cancelled.
Tigerair Australia commercial director Andrew Maister says Fare Freeze provides more value and choice for consumers.
“Like many airlines worldwide, our fares are dynamic, and increase as demand increases, closer to the travel date. That’s why we recommend customers plan ahead and book early to secure the best value deals.
“We recognise there are often a number of factors involved when sitting down to book your next holiday and it’s not always as simple as being able to purchase the first airfare you see. Fare Freeze means you can now put a hold on that great value airfare you’ve just spotted for a period of 48 hours, while you lock in your travel plans with family or friends or juggle your finances without the worry of the price changing.”
The Fare Freeze fee of AUD 3 is non-refundable and not a deposit for the booking. It must be paid for using a valid MasterCard or Visa Credit Card, Mastercard, Visa Debit Card or POLi. Fare Freeze is not available on special sale fares.
| A GlobalTravel Media release || July 19, 2017 |||
Auckland Airport has confirmed that a Mott MacDonald-led consortium will spearhead the design of its new integrated terminal.
The consortium, which also includes Grimshaw, Architectus and Holmes Consulting, has been appointed to concept design a combined domestic and international terminal at the New Zealand gateway.
The project forms part of the airport’s Terminal Development Plan, which aims to provide an expanded single terminal to accommodate further growth in international and domestic air travel.
Auckland Airport has experienced significant growth in passenger numbers over recent years and has committed to building a world-class airport that can serve New Zealand in the years to come.
The scope of the design project covers building works over the next 10 years. This includes the new integrated domestic terminal, a significant expansion of border processing and the integration of extensive new transport and car parking facilities.aucklandwebThe concept design of the terminal is expected to be completed in early 2018.
Mott MacDonald will be responsible for the overall airport planning and design leadership, as well as all engineering disciplines, with structural and fire engineering provided in partnership with Holmes Consulting.
Grimshaw and Architectus will act as a single architectural provider to the team.
Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood, says: “The selected consortium’s experience covers over 1000 aviation projects in 120 countries across 260 airports.
"In addition to specialist experience and knowledge, the consortium’s architects have a proven record of successfully bringing local cultural influence into the fabric of their passenger focused design.
"This is a significant factor for us as we build a world class airport with a uniquely New Zealand feel.”image001 copyIan Guy, Mott MacDonald’s head of aviation for Australia and New Zealand, comments: “This is a tremendously exciting project that will further enhance Auckland Airport's standing as a key hub in the Asia-Pacific region and the gateway to New Zealand.
"To deliver this concept design, we will draw on our experience at other strategically important airports such as London Heathrow, Hong Kong International Airport and Changi Airport in Singapore.
"We have brought together a multitalented consortium that can’t wait to apply its collective creativity to design an airport that New Zealanders will be proud of and visitors will admire.”
This Auckland Airport commission builds on Mott MacDonald’s contribution to major projects in New Zealand over the last five years.
Major schemes the consultancy has worked on include Auckland City Rail Link, the 85 Customs Street mixed-use development and the Rosedale wastewater treatment plant upgrade.
Emirates and flydubai have unveiled an extensive partnership which will see the two Dubai-based airlines join forces to offer customers unmatched travel options.
Both airlines will continue to be managed independently, but will leverage each other’s network to scale up their operations and accelerate growth.
The innovative partnership goes beyond code-sharing and includes integrated network collaboration with coordinated scheduling. The new model will give flydubai customers seamless connectivity to Emirates’ worldwide destinations spanning six continents. For Emirates’ customers, it opens up flydubai’s robust regional network.
The two airlines will also further develop their hub at Dubai International, aligning their systems and operations to ensure a seamless travel experience through the ultra-modern airport; currently the world’s busiest for international passengers.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group and Chairman of flydubai, said: "This is an exciting and significant development for Emirates, flydubai, and Dubai aviation. Both airlines have grown independently and successfully over the years, and this new partnership will unlock the immense value that the complementary models of both companies can bring to consumers, each airline, and to Dubai.”
Emirates, which flies A380s four times daily from New Zealand to Dubai and beyond, today has a wide-body fleet of 259 aircraft, flying to 157 destinations (including 16 cargo-only points). flydubai operates 58 New-Generation Boeing 737 aircraft to 95 destinations. The current combined network comprises 216 unique destination points.
The partnership is working to optimise the networks and schedules of both airlines, to open up new city-pair connections offering consumers greater choice. Additionally, this will help both airlines feed more traffic into each other’s complementary networks. By 2022, the combined network of Emirates and flydubai is expected to reach 240 destinations, served by a combined fleet of 380 aircraft.
The Emirates and flydubai teams are working together on a number of initiatives spanning commercial, network planning, airport operations, customer journey, and frequent flyer programmes alignment.
The partnership will be rolled out over the coming months, with the first enhanced code-sharing arrangements starting in the last quarter of 2017. Further details will be communicated as they become available.
Fully owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), both Emirates and flydubai are operated independently and under separate management teams.
Since launching its operations in 2009, flydubai has:
Created a network of more than 90 destinations in 44 countries.
Opened up 63 new routes that did not previously have direct air links to Dubai or were not served by a UAE national carrier from Dubai.
Operates a single fleet type of 58 Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft and will take delivery of more than 100 aircraft by the end of 2023.
In addition, flydubai’s agility and flexibility as a young airline has enhanced Dubai’s economic development, in line with the Government of Dubai’s vision, by creating trade and tourism flows in previously underserved markets.
At two minutes after midnight on May 12th, the hyperloop became a little bit less of a pipe dream and little bit more of a reality. On that day, the Los Angeles-based startup Hyperloop One conducted the first full-system test of its technology in the desert north of Las Vegas. As several dozen of the company’s engineers and executives watched an array of monitors nervously, a metal sled accelerated to 70 mph (112 km/h), achieved levitation, and flew about 500 feet (152 meters) down the length of a 1,600-foot (487-meter) steel tube that had most of the air sucked out of it.
On the surface, it seemed like a nondescript event, but nonetheless the group broke out into ecstatic cheers. Hyperloop One co-founder and chief engineer Josh Giegel nervously fumbled with a bottle of champagne as he thanked his wife, while executive chairman Shervin Pishevar wiped away tears.
A little more than two months later, Giegel and Pishevar sat down with me in a private club in midtown Manhattan to talk about that day — and more importantly, what comes next. The elation of that moment had worn off, and both men were eager to get back to work on their dream of building the world’s first hyperloop system. The concept of nearly supersonic travel through hundreds of miles of vacuum-sealed tubes will always seem outlandish to most people. But then again, most people haven’t heard of Hyperloop One.
If you were in either San Francisco or LA, and wanted to arrive in the other city first thing in the morning, you'd have to catch quite an early flight. It could potentially leave you feeling groggy for the rest of the day. Well, Cabin offers a less costly and potentially more restful alternative. Its sleeping-cabin-equipped buses run between the two cities, leaving from one at 11pm and arriving at the other by 7am the next day.
The service began life as the SleepBus pilot project, which was initiated by entrepreneur Tom Currier. Following its success, Cabin was born.
Each of the two double-decker buses has two levels of pod-like cabins (for a total of 24), each one of which sleeps a single passenger. Besides sheets and a pillow, those cabins also feature privacy curtains, air conditioning, a window, a reading light, a power outlet and complimentary earplugs – although the walls are claimed to be soundproof.
There's additionally a lounge for people who wish to sit up and socialize, along with a bathroom equipped with a toilet and sink, for freshening up in the morning. And hey, there's also free Wi-Fi, water, coffee and tea, the latter three served by onboard attendants.
Tickets can be booked online, with one-way fares starting at US$115. Passengers are permitted two pieces of luggage.
The service launched on June 28th, with the first run scheduled to take place this Friday. Additional routes are planned for the future.
Turning up to the airport with an expired passport will be a thing of the past for Air New Zealand customers, with the airline’s mobile app now able to scan and save passport information and send a timely reminder when it’s time to renew.
Every month around 550 customers turn up to the airport with an expired passport, triggering a stressful situation for would be travellers.
Air New Zealand customers can now save themselves the stress and embarrassment by using their smartphone camera to capture and save their passport details. Not only will this streamline their check-in experience, it also triggers expiry reminders including providing handy click through links to renew New Zealand, Australian, British and American passports.
Currently around 10 percent of Air New Zealand customers type their passport details incorrectly as they check in online. By saving these to their profile, customers will enjoy a smoother experience and rest easy in the knowledge that their travel document has been entered correctly.
Air New Zealand’s Chief Digital Officer Avi Golan says customer feedback is driving the rollout of time-saving tools such as this and customers can look forward to an increasingly smarter digital travel experience – not just on the day of travel but in the dreaming and planning phase.
“Customers consistently tell us time is the biggest stress factor when travelling, so prioritising features that offer genuine benefits and convenience on the go is key.
“Integrating smartphone camera technology to our app paves the way for adding secure credit card scanning to our booking system, as well as longer term developments such as selfie-boarding - using biometrics and facial recognition to verify customers at the gate.”
The Air New Zealand mobile app has been downloaded by 1.3 million people. Earlier this year the popular coffee ordering function clocked up two million orders.
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 Qatar’s outreach,” the CEO wrote.
“If anything, this development strengthens our resolve to ensure the US government enforces its trade agreements regarding fair competition with Gulf carriers,”
US carriers and Gulf carriers have been notoriously embroiled in a battle for years, with the Big Three US carriers – Delta, American and United – claiming the Gulf carriers of Qatar, Emirates and Etihad receive billions of dollars in unfair state subsidies from the government, which the Gulf carriers deny.
American, along with Delta and United, has pressured the US government to curb US flights by Gulf carriers, including Qatar, in the past, making this gesture from Qatar Airways rather surprising.
Qatar is in its own battle right now with neighbouring states as well as Etihad and Emirates, with Qatar travel banned in countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain. The slim piece of airspace Qatar has left has impinged on its ability to fly its usual routes, however the carrier has fought back and launched a bunch of new destinations and a cheeky border-themed ad.
According to Sky News, Al-Baker and Parker met in secret in early June at an airline-industry conference in the Mexican resort town of Cancun.
Al-Baker is also known for making bold moves like this, having also bought into other airlines, including the parent of British Airways, a close partner of American Airlines.
According to Reuters, in his letter, American CEO Parker promised to continue American’s “full court press ... to stand up to companies that are illegally subsidized by their governments.”
He also said he found Qatar Airways’ proposed investment “puzzling given our extremely public stance on the illegal subsidies that Qatar, Emirates and Etihad have all received over the years from their governments.”
Qatar Airways responded on Twitter, saying, “We are glad to see American Airlines’ CEO Doug Parker’s perspective that he agrees with Qatar Airways’ belief that American Airlines is a solid financial investment.”
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways is one of the airlines targeted by the US in the laptop ban, along with Gulf rivals Emirates and Etihad, that prevents passengers bringing their laptops and large electronic devices onboard flights, citing security risks.