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January 2015 Travel & Industry News

20 January 2015

Qantas world’s safest airline

Qantas has been awarded the title of world’s safest airline for the second consecutive year by airlineratings.com. Australia’s safety and product rating website bases its findings on analysis of audits from governments, the FAA and ICAO as well as airline fatality records. Joining Qantas in the top 10 safest carriers (in alphabetical order) were Air New Zealand, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines. 

Qantas fare changes

Qantas plans to consolidate its domestic fare structure, dropping the number of fare types from four to three. The majority of Fully Flexible and Flexi Saver fare classes will merge into a newly named ‘Flex’ family, and Flexi Saver L and V class fares will move to Red e-Deals. The carrier said business customers that required 'some flexibility and freedom' to make flight alterations were most likely to be the main beneficiary of the fare structure changes. The restructure applies for tickets issued or reissued on or after 18 February. For more information please contact your travel manager. 

Free VA snacks from ADL

Virgin Australia passengers will receive free snacks on all domestic flights out of Adelaide from 4 February 2015. Free snack options include banana bread, a bacon and spring onion muffin or pumpkin dip served with lavosh bread. 

Perth set to welcome A380s

Perth will soon welcome its first scheduled A380 service. Gulf carrier Emirates plans to upgrade one of its three daily Perth-Dubai flights (EK420/421) from a B777-200ER to a superjumbo from 1 May 2015. The move will raise capacity on the route by 1,834 seats per week. Emirates already operates A380 services to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. 

Free wi-fi at Australian and NZ hotels

Adina, Medina, Vibe, Rendezvous and Travelodge properties throughout Australia and New Zealand now offer free wi-fi. Guests will receive up to 100MB of data free per 24-hour period and can access this data from up to four devices per room. 

Etihad opens access to Sydney lounge

Etihad is now offering paid access into its new Sydney lounge. Travellers can access the lounge for $99 each, payable at check-in or at the lounge, provided it is not at full capacity. Opening hours are 8.40-11.40am, 12.30pm-4pm and 6.30pm-10pm daily. 

MEL goes self-service

Melbourne Airport has installed 28 new self-service kiosks and 12 automated bag drop facilities in its international terminal. Trials of the fully self-service system are underway, with full deployment expected in early 2015. 

Skytrans ceases operation

Cairns-based regional airline Skytrans has ceased operations after 25 years. Regional Express (REX) is hoping to take over Skytrans' routes in the western and Gulf areas of Queensland and is applying for approval to takeover the routes previously operated by Skytrans. REX says it should commence services to the area by mid-March. 

Accor dual-rebrand

Accor has unveiled its first Ibis Styles property in Adelaide. The Mercure Grosvenor Hotel Adelaide will offer 64 rooms that match the three-star Ibis Styles room standards in the southern end of its central Adelaide hotel. The aim is to provide more choice and greater affordability by offering two accommodation options under the one roof. 

Hilton on the Park now Pullman

The Hilton on the Park in Melbourne was rebranded the Pullman Melbourne on the Park when the management of the property passed over to Accor 31 December 2014. 

New IHG property for Perth

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed a deal to manage a new property in Perth’s CBD. Located on the corner of King and Hay Streets, the former Rydges Hotel site will be converted into a luxury 240-room InterContinental property, complete with function spaces, boardrooms, meeting rooms, business centre, Club Lounge and a bar-restaurant concept. The property is due to open early in 2017. 

Qantas auto check-in

Qantas is launching a new automatic check-in service. The new service will allow travellers to check-in, select a seat and receive a boarding pass via SMS and is currently rolling out on selected routes across their domestic network, including Sydney to Darwin, Adelaide and Perth. Selected customers who have given their contact details at time of booking will receive an SMS or email on the night before or on the day of travel asking if they are still planning to fly. Once confirmed, they will receive a boarding pass on their phone that can be scanned at the bag drop point and when boarding. Those who prefer can still check-in via the Qantas app or website 24 hours prior to departure or at airport check-in desks or kiosks. 

Langham Sydney reopens

The Langham Sydney has reopened after a $30 million revamp. The harbourside hotel now features new interior furnishings, fine dining concepts, an exclusive day spa, event spaces and newly exposed harbour views from all aspects of the hotel’s public spaces.