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August 2015 Travel & Industry News

26 August 2015

FCm leaders take centre stage at CAPA

FCm Travel Solutions and parent company Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) took centre stage at the recent CAPA - Centre for Aviation Summit 2015 in Sydney. FCm was one of the key event sponsors at the corporate travel exhibition, while FCTG board member John Eales gave a keynote presentation on what it takes to have a winning leadership style. Joining John on the stage in other presentations of the day were FCm's Global General Manager Gregory Lording and Account Manager David Crawford, who took part in various panels discussion on the 2016 corporate travel landscape and innovative corporate travel programs. FCm took out an exhibition stand which was visited by customers, prospects and suppliers alike. FCm's sister brand 4th Dimension Business Travel Consulting also exhibited, with General Manager Virginia Fitzpatrick featured on two panels.

FCm Global Hotel Program makes booking hotels easier

When searching for accommodation, companies can be overwhelmed with booking options. However, there is one booking solution that provides the advantages of flexible corporate rates, a wide selection of properties worldwide and value added extras – the FCm global hotel program.

FCm have released a white paper on the advantages of booking through the hotel program, uncovering benefits such as:

·         Automatic corporate room allocation: usually a higher standard room, quieter and a little more spacious allowing for more comfort.

·         Reporting and recognition: benefits your overall organisation by ensuring the spend on that hotel room is accounted in your hotel volume, assisting with future negotiation.

·         Flexible 'Best Rate of the Day': fully flexible corporate rates allow bookings to be cancelled and amended more easily than last minute bookings through "distressed" inventory sites such as wotif or lastminute.com

To read more about these benefits and others, review the full white paper 

How to select the right online tool

Many organisations, especially those that trade in more than one country, are faced with the decision of selecting an online booking tool (OBT) or combination of tools for their employees to book travel.

But is there a 'silver bullet' one size fits all solution?

FCm Travel Solutions' white paper weighs up the facts about using online booking tools and whether a single global OBT solution or locally developed "Best in Market" tool is most effective.

The decision to implement a best in market or single OBT solution impacts on all travellers, your overall travel management and suppliers in a number of different ways, so the answer to the question is that "it depends" on the organisation.

The white paper highlights the importance of the OBT process making booking easy for travellers to deter users from booking outside of policy through other booking sites or suppliers.

To read more about the considerations and findings, read the full white paper here

Virgin Australia launches 'The Business' new A330 service

Virgin Australia is raising the business travel bar with today's launch of its all-new Airbus A330 business class, which the airline will market as 'The Business'.

Touted as "a new world standard in domestic business class", the new seats feature wide fully-flat beds, direct aisle access for every passenger due to the 1-2-1 layout, and a wealth of space and storage nooks for keeping in-flight items close at hand.

Each seat also sports a 16 inch high-definition touch screen, with a turndown service topping the lie-flat seat with a memory foam mattress and high-grade cotton pillows and doonas.

The inaugural flight of The Business will be today's VA559 service from Sydney to Perth on the first of Virgin's six upgraded Airbus A330 jets, with the remaining five to follow by the end of October 2015.

This story originally appeared on Australian Business Traveller, read the article in full here  

Qantas sells Sydney Airport terminal lease for $535 million

Qantas and Sydney Airport have just revealed a commercial agreement relating to the long-term future of the airport's domestic Terminal 3.

Qantas held a 30-year-lease on the terminal which was due to expire on 30 June 2019. The carrier will receive $535 million in cash from the deal, which will see it record a $210 million "gain on sale".

Under the deal Qantas will retain exclusive use of T3 and will continue to manage most of the terminal on behalf of Sydney Airport until 30 June 2019. After that date QF will have "priority usage" of the terminal through to 30 June 2025 - meaning access to a majority of the terminal's gates, check-in and baggage facilities.

Qantas will incur a per-passenger charge at an agreed rate from 01 September this year through to 2025. At the same time Qantas and Sydney Airport have concurrently agreed five year agreements covering QF's domestic runway charges, as well as Qantas and Jetstar's international aeronautical charges.

QF ceo Alan Joyce said the deal "secures Qantas' long-term position in our largest hub, ensuring priority usage as the primary airline customer of Sydney's Terminal 3. We now have certainty about our future operations in Terminal 3 post-2019, and an outcome that is a win-win for both Qantas and Sydney Airport".

Five year extension granted to existing arrangement

The ACCC has just granted Virgin Australia and Delta Air Lines authorisation to coordinate their operations between Australia and the USA for a further five years.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the "integrated network will likely be valued by travellers between Australia and the US," with the authorisation also covering the carriers' respective Australian and US domestic networks.

"Virgin and Delta operate return services between Sydney and Los Angeles, and Brisbane and Los Angeles - travellers use these key gateway points to then connect with other destinations. This is reflected in the growing number of passengers using such connecting services," Sims said.

He said the alliance had also resulted in increased and better connections, better schedule spread, loyalty program benefits and improved lounge access.

The carriers had sought a ten year re-authorisation, but the ACCC only gave them half this time "due to the ongoing evolution of services on the trans-Pacific and the dynamic nature of the aviation industry".

Etihad now double daily to Melbourne

Etihad Airways launched a second daily service on its Melbourne-Abu Dhabi route on 2 August. The non-stop flight operates on a B777-300, and offers onward connections to 50 destinations on the carrier’s network.

Air New Zealand ups Auckland to Brisbane

Air New Zealand plans to up frequency on its Auckland-Brisbane route. The carrier will add two weekly services between 11 December and 26 March, raising the total on the route to 16 weekly. 

Qantas boosts Japan flights

Qantas has added new daily services between Australia and Japan. The new services are between Sydney and Tokyo Haneda and Brisbane and Tokyo Narita. 

New luggage transfer service at London Gatwick

A new luggage service is now available for travellers using London Gatwick Airport. “AirPortr” is a same-day on-demand luggage service that allows passengers to travel bag-free to and from the airport, with baggage collected and delivered by a team of concierges and drivers. The service can be booked in advance or on the day of travel, and costs approximately AU$64 for two bags to or from central London. More details at www.portr.com.

Airport parking made simple

Sydney Airport Parking has simplified its online booking options. Customers using the sydneyairport.com.au website will now have only to state which car park they want to use (T1, T2, T3 or Blu Emu) and for how long. Early bookers will benefit by saving more, but the wide choice of fixed parking deals that used to be on offer have now gone.

Virgin Australia drops domestic add-ons

Virgin Australia is ditching its Australian domestic add-ons on its USA long-haul fares. The move is effective from 30 July. Virgin Australia says “The majority of fares will remain the same as a result of this change”.

Ibis Styles NZ expansion

Accor Hotels is expanding its Ibis Styles portfolio in New Zealand. The Invercargill Apartment Hotel will be rebranded as the Ibis Styles Invercargill from October this year. The property offers a range of studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments with kitchen facilities as well as a fitness centre, in-house cinema, games room, complimentary Wi-Fi and guest parking.

Sydney Airport T2 dining revamp

The first stage of Sydney Airport’s Terminal 2 casual dining revamp is underway. While works are in progress, there will be a reduced food and beverage offering in the terminal, although some temporary food and drink kiosks will be offered in their stead. Once completed by the end of 2015, new brands to feature will include Mad Mex, Sumo Salad Green Label, Chur Burger, Roll’d, Hokka Hokka, Red Rooster and Sahara Grill.

QantasLink rebrands aircraft

QantasLink is rebranding its fleet of fly-in-fly-out aircraft operated by subsidiary Network Aviation. The first aircraft has already been repainted with the QantasLink ‘Flying Kangaroo’ livery, with the remaining Fokker F100s set to be repainted in coming months. Network Aviation will also begin flying scheduled services in WA for QantasLink.

Etihad sends Dreamliner to Singapore

Etihad Airways is now operating a B787-9 Dreamliner on one of its daily services between Abu Dhabi and Singapore on the UAE-Singapore.