FCm has launched a new Australian and global website. Hosted on the ‘Amazon Cloud’, which is one of the newest and most proficient platforms available, FCm’s website now hosts a range of detailed and relevant content for travellers and travel bookers including destination information for more than 170 cities, airport and airline guides including luggage allowances and airport lounge information. Our website also has all the latest updates on our traveller tools including FCm Portal and FCm Mobile, and allows you to log into our online booking tool e3, search for an FCm team, access special travel industry deals and chat live online with FCm support Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm.
New to the website is an online blog including posts on recent industry news and events. The design has been refreshed with modern and simple navigation, along with the use of eye-catching imagery and video content for easy consumption of news and information. Further enhancements are scheduled for deployment over the coming months with an emphasis on increased interactivity for our clients and your travellers.
Qantas has announced major changes to fuel surcharges on its joint network with Emirates. The airline will also shift to Emirates’ tiered fuel surcharge structure, which varies depending on cabin class and is already used by Qantas outside of Australia. The move follows the alignment of fares, baggage allowances and lounge access across the joint network. Commercial fares have already been aligned and will see no change but frequent flyer redemptions will be affected.
From 1 July, passengers booking Qantas frequent flyer economy class redemption flights to Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia will use the same number of points, but see the fuel surcharge fall by up to $200. Premium economy surcharges will also fall on most routes but by a smaller amount, while business and first class surcharges will fall on some routes, remain unchanged on others and even increase slightly on some.
Brisbane will soon welcome its first A380 aircraft. Emirates plans to launch daily A380 services from 2 October this year. The carrier is replacing one of its two daily B777-300ER services with the A380 superjumbo, raising capacity on the route by 1848 seats per week. Flights EK434/435, which continue on to Auckland, will also mean a boost in seats across the Tasman.
Melbourne Airport is introducing a self-service bag drop system. The move is part of a major technology project being offered to the 25 international airlines operating at the airport. Six automated self-service bag drop units will be introduced later this year. They will scan luggage tags, weigh and measure bags before dispatching them to the flight. Air New Zealand will be the first to offer the new self-service option, which will include self bag tagging via kiosks.
Travellers on Etihad flights to Abu Dhabi can take advantage of a new ‘Meet & Greet’ service offered by the airline. There are two levels of service. The silver package (US$38) aims to simplify luggage collection and immigration, while the gold package (US$65) also includes porterage. Both can be booked up to 48 hours before travel.
Virgin Australia will operate wide-bodied A330 flights on all Sydney-Perth weekday flights from October. A330s already operate on all Virgin Australia flights on the Melbourne-Perth route and two-thirds of Brisbane-Perth services. The carrier will also add three weekly Perth-Karratha services from 1 July. The new services on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 6am, raise the total on the route to 34 flights weekly.
Qantas is extending its new Chauffeur Drive service to include flights between Australia and the US. From 1 July, the service will be available on flights to Los Angeles and Dallas Fort Worth, while first and business class travellers can book chauffeur transfers for these routes now. The US routes are the next stage of the airline’s Chauffeur Drive service roll out, adding to its existing Dubai/London services and with Johannesburg and Santiago likely to follow in 2014.
Qantas is preparing to build a new lounge at Terminal 3 and will also improve gate access and upgrade security screening and check-in areas. More arrivals and departures will operate from Terminal 3, where the new Qantas Club is being built. From late 2014 Qantas Domestic, QantasLink, Jetstar and some Network Aviation flights will operate from the same terminal providing Qantas customers with a seamless airport experience.
Accor is repositioning its luxury Pullman brand to appeal to those travelling for both business and leisure, a mix they dub ‘bleisure’. This includes a new logo and a new slogan, ‘work hard, play harder’. Pullman is expected to expand its portfolio from its current 79 hotels across 23 countries to around 150 properties by 2020. Australia is currently home to 11 Pullman hotels, with a new location in Melbourne opening this year.