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September 2014 Travel & Industry News

01 September 2014

Born to lead

A willingness to work hard, a solid sense of self awareness and knowledge of what inspires your team will yield the best results for today's leaders, according to former Australian Wallabies' captain John Eales.

The Brisbane-born rugby icon has twice won the Rugby World Cup, captained Australian rugby teams 55 times, led the nation through three Bledisloe Cup wins, two successful seasons of Tri-Nations fixtures and also led the Wallabies to its first victory over the British and Irish Lions.

After retiring from international rugby in 2001, Eales has established a highly successful corporate career. He co-founded the Mettle Group in 2003, a corporate consultancy and currently sits on the GRM International, International Quarterback and Australian Rugby Union boards. He is also the co-author of two books, Learning from Legends: Sports and Learning from Legends: Business.  

Since 2012, John has also held the role of non-executive director on the board of Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), FCm's parent company.

A born leader, on and off the field, John says today's leaders need to exhibit a few key attributes.

"I think it's the willingness to work hard at what you're doing and work hard to understand why things work," he says. "You don't have to be an expert at everything, but you need to have an expert at arm's reach for everything. Whether you're a sports leader or a business leader being able to have that insight at all times is important.

"A large part of being a good leader is having self awareness. This means you know what you are good at and where you are weak, and either play to those strengths or get the support where you need it."

Eales agrees that being a leader is more than just taking on the 'boss' role'.

"A leader needs to inspire," he says. "But there are different ways of being inspirational on and off the field.

"In the context of sport, it's more than just the traditional bang down the dressing room door kind of inspiration. It can be much more measured than that. Some teams are inspired by understanding their opposition or draw inspiration from how they are planning to play the game. For other teams it might be more of an emotional game-play while some teams might be driven purely by the end goal ... being a good leader relies on being able to tap into that particular team or situation at that particular time."

Eales added that he was looking forward to watching the Wallabies play in the Rugby World Cup 2015. FCm this year is pleased to support the Rugby World Cup 2015 and will be checking in with Eales on a regular basis as the event date edges closer. From 18 September to 31 October 2015, the world’s top 20 rugby teams will compete at 13 venues across England and one in Cardiff, Wales.

For many companies this celebration of rugby will be a great opportunity to mix business with pleasure, especially with three of the venues being located in London. If you are interested in attending, contact FCm for more information.

For more information on FCm's packages for the Rugby World Cup 2015, please click here. 

New VA long-haul Business Class

Virgin Australia has unveiled its latest business class product. The carrier is adding new business class seating to its B777 and A330 aircraft. The new business class suites convert into 80-inch lie-flat beds with an adjustable armrest to increase the seat width when sleeping. They will be laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration and feature a 16- to 18-inch touchscreen, multiple lighting options and a unique tablet holder. The new suites are set to roll out on the A330 fleet from March next year, with the fleet fully refitted by August. The revamp of the B777s will start in November 2015 and be completed in 2016, and will include a redesigned business class bar and fewer seats in premium economy to give passengers in that cabin more legroom. 

Qantas Gold Coast boost

Qantas plans to add three return flights per week between Sydney and the Gold Coast. The new seasonal services will operate on B737-800 aircraft on Monday, Thursday and Friday from 26 December 2014 until 12 January 2015 to meet peak summer demand. 

Ibis Mackay Airport

Accor hotel group plans to introduce its Ibis hotel brand to Mackay. The 152-room Ibis Mackay Airport will be located just outside the main terminal building and within walking distance of airline check-in desks. Construction is already underway and is scheduled for completion mid next year. 

Air New Zealand ups LA routes

Air New Zealand is adding a new third daily service on its Auckland-Los Angeles route. The new seasonal service will operate three times weekly, on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, over the 2015 northern summer period. The flight to LA will leave earlier than the current daily services, arriving at around 9am to facilitate same-day onward connections to the Midwest and East Coast. The new timing will also benefit passengers from Melbourne and Sydney travelling via Auckland. The return flight will depart later than current services but still arrive into Auckland at 7am, allowing passengers to connect to domestic New Zealand and Australia services. 

Rex trims NSW capacity

Regional Express airline plans to cut capacity on some NSW routes. From 27 October 2014, the carrier will drop 28 weekly flight sectors between Sydney and Taree, Grafton, Lismore and Newcastle. It will however maintain frequency on all routes by operating triangular services. Services to Lismore will be linked with Grafton, while selected Taree services will be linked with Newcastle. 

Qantas updates reissue policy

Qantas has updated its e-ticket servicing policy. Effective immediately, all tickets must be reissued, except for QF international ‘Flex’ fares where there is a change in flight number, date and/or time only and where no fees are applicable. Qantas Domestic Flexi Saver, Fully Flexible and business fares can still be revalidated rather than reissued if re-pricing shows the fare is no more than 99c higher or in cases of involuntary QF scheduling changes. If there is any Emirates-operated service on the QF ticket, it must be reissued for all changes. 

JAL ups Sydney capacity

Japan Airlines is upping capacity on its Tokyo Haneda-Sydney route. The carrier will operate a B777-300ER on the route between 1 December 2014 and 28 March 2015 to meet seasonal demand. The airline is also planning to expand its international route network, with new daily flights between Nagoya Chubu and Bangkok due to launch on 20 December 2014 and between Osaka Kansai and Los Angeles starting on 20 March 2015. Other changes will see the revamp of its B787-8 Dreamliner fleet to include the JAL Sky Suite. These will initially operate on the Tokyo Narita-Frankfurt and Tokyo Narita-New York routes from December and January respectively. The JAL Sky Suite will also feature on B777-300ERs flying to Sydney. 

Etihad launches arrivals lounge

Etihad Airways has opened its first arrivals lounge in Abu Dhabi. Conveniently located immediately after customs, the lounge offers a range of services that allow passengers to freshen-up before leaving the airport. These include a free barber wet shave service and revitalising shower units, complete with a free 10-minute clothes steaming service, which the airline hopes will appeal to guests who arrive in the early morning, before hotel check-in hours. The lounge, which is open to Etihad First and business class travellers, also offers a cafe-style refreshment service, a lounge area where guests can prepare for meetings, an onsite business facility with free broadband and wireless internet and a selection of global newspapers and magazines. 

Pre-check coming to Canada

Australian travellers will soon require pre-arrival clearance to enter Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) are launching a new initiative from April 2015 that will require all travellers who do not require a visa to enter the country, including Australians, to obtain an online authorisation before flying to Canada. The electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) has been designed to replicate the US Electronic System of Travel Authorisation (ESTA). When applying for the eTA via the CIC website travellers will be required to give basic information, such as biographic data, passport and background info. Travellers planning to visit Canada should apply for an eTA before purchasing a ticket, as applicants may be refused entry due to fraud or a criminal history and airlines will be required to provide passenger information to Canadian immigration authorities before flight departure. Most applications, which cost CA$7 per person, will be processed within minutes and authorisations are valid for five years. Successful applicants will benefit from a faster service on arrival. 

VA lounge to gate

Virgin Australia‘s Melbourne lounge now boasts a new Premium Exit service. Velocity Platinum and Gold frequent flyers, lounge members and business class travellers can now exit the lounge through a private security screening point, minimising connection times to their departure gates. Adding to the success of Australia’s first kerbside Premium Entry in Sydney, the introduction of a Premium Exit service in Melbourne aims to offer a more seamless travel experience. 

Loyalty program link-up

Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines have taken reciprocal frequent flyer schemes to the next level. From November 2014, Velocity and KrisFlyer members will be able to interchange miles and points between the two loyalty programs. Velocity members will also benefit from improved online booking capability to redeem flights on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir. The carriers have also reduced the number of Velocity points required for reward seats on Singapore Airlines. The changes follow other enhancements introduced earlier in the year, such as redemption across all classes of VA travel and the ability for KrisFlyer members to earn status credits on domestic, trans-Tasman and Pacific Island flights operated by Virgin Australia.