Virgin Australia has claimed that it will be the first Australian airline to offer Wi-Fi on international flights. The airline, which has invested in installing Gogo’s 2Ku service, also announced that it will offer a base-level free Wi-Fi service to all of its passengers on domestic flights.
Once the rollout is complete, more than 90% of Virgin Australia’s fleet will be fitted with the 2Ku solution on both domestic and international aircraft. Passengers will be able to check emails and social media, send text messages, catch up on the day’s news, or stream movies and TV shows.
The airline is now rolling out connectivity on its Boeing 737 aircraft, with Boeing 777 aircraft to commence in October. By the end of 2018, Virgin Australia expects to have inflight Wi-Fi on all Boeing 777 aircraft and the majority of Boeing 737 aircraft, with the Airbus A330 aircraft due for completion by the second half of 2019.
Virgin Australia becomes the second carrier to confirm that it will offer 2Ku-powered Wi-Fi access for free on domestic flights, following in the footsteps of Japan Airlines.
Fellow Australian carrier Qantas is currently trialling free Wi-Fi on some domestic flights, having signed a deal with ViaSat for in-flight connectivity.
Fiji Airways has launched Bula Bid, an auction tool that allows Economy Class customers to bid for upgrades to Business Class on international flights. Passengers can bid for an upgrade between seven days and 24 hours before their scheduled flight departure.
Bids can be made at www.bulabid.com using the Upgrade Now auction system. Successful bidders are notified through a confirmation email 24 hours before their scheduled flight and unsuccessful bidders will not be charged. The quantity of successful bids is dependent on a number of factors, including seat availability and the number of offers for each flight.
Andre Viljoen, Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO, said: “This new product is designed to give our Economy Class guests the chance to enjoy our renowned Business Class experience. Interest among guests for Bula Bid has been extremely high during the soft-launch period, and we are delighted to roll it out formally now across our international networks.”
Successful bidders will experience Fiji Airways’ Business Class product as well as the Business Class airport experience.
As FTE reported last year, upgrade auction tools are becoming an increasingly popular way for airlines to monetise unsold premium seats.
KLM’s “Anytime For You” service gives business class passengers more control over what and when they eat while flying.
Following the launch of the “Anytime For You” business class meal service on 1 July, KLM has announced that the service will be introduced on flights to and from Bangkok in October 2017.
The service, currently available on KLM’s Johannesburg services, allows World Business Class (WBC) passengers to decide when they would like to eat, instead of in-flight meal times being dictated by the airline.
Together with each passenger, crew members compile a personal service schedule for the flight. This service ensures that WBC passengers get more choice and control over their experience.
In addition to the usual three-course dinner and lunch options, the menu also includes an Anytime For You selection of eight dishes. The selected dish is prepared and served restaurant-style whenever it best suits the passenger.
Wim Spelt, Director of Product Management, KLM, said: “Judging by the many positive responses we’ve had from passengers, the new service really meets their wishes. People are pleasantly surprised by the concept, which offers them more choice and versatility. And that is exactly what we hoped to achieve: giving the passenger a positive and memorable experience.”
Singapore Airlines has launched an all-new Singapore Airlines HighFlyer programme for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to get more mileage out of flights on company business. The new corporate travel programme is designed to reward both corporates and employees when they fly with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir.
Corporates will earn HighFlyer points while employees continue to earn KrisFlyer miles each time an employee flies with Singapore Airlines or SilkAir, making it a more rewarding way to travel for business. With no minimum annual travel spend required, corporates earn five HighFlyer points for every S$1 spend on tickets booked through Singapore Airlines’ corporate booking platform or an appointed travel agent.
Businesses have the flexibility of choosing how and when to utilise HighFlyer points earned, with the option to offset future ticket purchases partially or in full for flights on Singapore Airlines or SilkAir to more than 100 destinations across 30 countries.
Through a self-service web portal, corporates can check HighFlyer points balance, utilise HighFlyer points, manage travellers and bookings, and download e-statements.
Singapore Airlines Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing, Mr Campbell Wilson, said, “We are pleased to launch the Singapore Airlines HighFlyer programme for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. We are always looking for more ways to delight our customers and make their journey with us more rewarding. The Singapore Airlines HighFlyer programme highlights Singapore Airlines’ commitment to constantly enhance the benefits for our corporate clients and business travellers.”
Corporates that reach a stipulated annual spend will have the choice of transferring to the Singapore Airlines Corporate Travel Programme, a corporate programme for large businesses to enjoy corporate fares and additional benefits.
For more information about the Singapore Airlines HighFlyer programme, please visit: singaporeair.com/highflyer
| A Singapore Airlines release || August 12, 2017 |||
Five international airlines are expanding air access to Thailand with new flights from Beijing, Doha, Istanbul, Maldives, India’s Jaipur and Tiruchirappalli, and Singapore, strengthening the Kingdom’s status as a global aviation hub.
The new flights offer visitors greater convenience and more choice for point of entry when travelling to and from Thailand. The country’s aviation authorities continue to expand both flight frequency and international gateway destinations to handle growing traveller demand and the never-ending quest for new itineraries.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said, “Thailand has long been the key portal to Asia and global aviation hub. Steady passenger growth depends on more flights and finding new entry points to the country. These new flights provide visitors with more choice, flexibility and convenience when travelling or making connections to major cities around Thailand. We hope that the expanded air access boosts tourism arrivals.”
Scheduled flights to be added or recently started service during 2017 include:
Starting 27 March, this year, Thai Airways International has launched its ‘Phuket Express‘ service with four direct weekly Beijing to Phuket flights.
Since 1 June, this year, Qatar Airways has operated flights from Doha to Bangkok five days a week. The increased frequency, along with its double-daily Phuket flights and the five-month-old Krabi operations (four weekly flights), increase Qatar Airways departures from Thailand to Doha to 53 flights per week.
Turkish Airlines has launched the Istanbul to Phuket direct service on 17 July, 2017, starting with four weekly flights that will increase to daily during this coming winter. The airline started the Istanbul-Bangkok return service in 1989 and currently operates 14 flights per week.
Low-cost carrier Thai AirAsia will add daily Maldives flights from Bangkok to Male starting on 11 August, using Airbus A320 aircraft. The airline is also expanding its services to India with the Bangkok-Jaipur and Bangkok- Tiruchirappalli routes, each with four flights a week, starting on 29 September. The airline operates from Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport.
Another low-cost carrier Jetstar Asia will add four weekly flights from Singapore to Hat Yai return from 3 November, 2017, using 180-seat Airbus A320 aircraft. Bookings are currently available for purchase in Singapore.
Mr. Yuthasak added, “TAT has also signed a series of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with major international airlines aimed at strengthening tourism cooperation and boosting the number of visitor arrivals to Thailand.”
TAT recently inked MOUs with EVA Air to work on joint tourism promotion strategies for the US and Canada markets; with Etihad Airways to jointly promote travel to Thailand from the UAE, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Egypt, and Kuwait; with Qatar Airways for travellers from Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and Singapore Airlines’ important inbound markets including Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Read more at http://www.etbtravelnews.global
| An ETB/Tahi Airways release || August 10, 2017 |||