Industry News 21 - 25 June 2013

27 June 2013

Aviation authorities in the US are set to relax the ban on the use of laptops and iPads during take-off and landing. Research undertaken by the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) found the devices are safer than previously thought and that they no longer interfere with navigation systems. Changes to the ruling will mean passengers flying into or out of the US will be able to keep their laptops on during landing or take-off respectively, but will still have to switch off at the other end of their journey. The change only applies to the US for the time being, with the FAA to release its findings in September, after which more countries may relax the rules. Mobile phones must still be switched off, with the FAA expected to further investigate mobile phone use in the future.

Europcar location expansion
Strong growth in South America has resulted in Europcar opening three new depots in Asuncion, Paraguay. The car hire group is also planning to boost its presence in Bolivia, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam in 2013.
Qatar to join oneworld
Qatar Airways will officially join the oneworld alliance in October this year. It will become the alliance’s 13th member airline, with Malaysia Airlines having joined earlier this year.
Emirates cut Dubai capacity
Emirates plans to temporarily reduce services at Dubai International Airport. Effective from 1 May next year, the move coincides with major upgrades to the airport’s runway, including resurfacing of a runway and the construction of new taxiways. The 80-day project will see Emirates cut capacity by up to 15% during that time, with reductions spanning a number of routes. 
New Rydges Christchurch
Rydges Hotels & Resorts will manage The Latimer Hotel in Christchurch. Scheduled to open on 1 October, it is the first new-build hotel to open in the city following the earthquakes of 2011. The Rydges Latimer Christchurch, as it will be known, will feature 138 rooms as well as a restaurant, bar and the city’s largest conference/function space, catering for up to 360 people.
Iris scans at check-in
New iris scanning technology could be rolled out at airports within the next two years. A successful three-month trial of the technology at London’s Gatwick Airport found there were significant time savings of 15 seconds per passenger when boarding, which could result in a time saving of 15-20 minutes per aircraft. The system takes a photograph of a passenger’s iris at check-in or bag drop, which is linked to their boarding pass and then checked as the passenger boards. Passengers with only carry-on luggage are photographed at security.
Qantas expand Select on Q-Eat
Qantas has added it Select on Q-Eat service to flights between Australia and Hong Kong. Business travellers can now pre-select their meals on QF30, QF128 and QF98 services via the ‘Manage your Booking’ link at up until 12 hours prior to departure. The service is already available on Singapore, London, Dubai and Los Angeles routes as well as the airline’s Dallas to Brisbane route, with others likely to be added as it continues to roll out the service. 
Malaysia Airlines back to Dubai
Malaysia Airlines will recommence flights between Kuala Lumpur and Dubai from 5 August, after suspending the route in January last year.