June 2015 Travel & Industry News

24 June 2015
Future economic landscape what it means for travel

Chief economist for Southeast Asia Justin Wood has shared insights at the recent Travelport conference in Seoul, outlining trends that are likely to shape the future of travel.

In terms of the global economy, things look to be improving at a modest pace, with Asia Pacific tipped to outperform all the rest for the next 12 to 18 months.

The key global areas that remain at risk, and subsequently will drop in travel demand, include:

·         Russia-Ukraine

·         South China Sea

·         Middle East

It’s a good year to be making the trek to Europe, with the continent set to grow modestly by around 1.5%.

The Central Bank in Europe has decided to start printing money, and as a result the Euro is weakening, further encouraging travellers to jet set off on a European getaway.

Overall, Wood says a trend will emerge where Australian consumers will slowly come home, and start to spend again as the weaker currency and fall in interest rates boosts the economy back up.

The overall economic outlook is looking good for the future of travel, and it’s something Wood says we as an industry can look forward to.

Read the full story here

Emerging trends in events management

Cievents global manager Natalie Simmons shares some insights on the latest trends in the meetings and events space with the first key trend "think global, act local".

"More and more we are seeing our clients looking to both consolidate their meeting and event spend as well as work with a global agency who are able to provide local knowledge along with reporting on risk mitigation, procurement services and the like," said Natalie.

"The events industry is still very high touch, so our customers still want a local contact with local knowledge and the added benefit of security and stability from global agencies."

Increasingly businesses are looking for more detailed return on investment and require suppliers to measure and report on it.

"Meetings and events take a lot of planning, no matter how large or small, and although the event creates an experience, the ROI comes post the event."

"It is at this point clients want to ensure that the experience and learning are not forgotten within days of returning to the office. As such we work with our clients to ensure that their event provides a story telling opportunity that lasts well past the event date."

Trends which continue to be of importance include business event planning, strategic meetings management programs and data capture and reporting.

Cievents is a full service event agency and sister company of FCm Travel Solutions. If you are interested in engaging the services of cievents for your next function or event, contact your FCm Account Manager who will be pleased to make an introduction. 

Qantas strong performance at 2015 Skytrax Awards

At the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards, Qantas moved up into the Top 10 for 2015.

Qatar Airways ranked first overall, followed by Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. Other airlines in the Top 10 were Emirates (5th), Etihad Airways (6th) and Qantas (10th), with Virgin Australia ranked 16th. Best Business Class Airline went to Singapore Airlines followed by Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific, with Qantas ranked 7th.

Qantas was deemed to have the Best Business Class Comfort Amenities, but ranked 8th and 5th respectively in Best Business Class Lounge and Best Business Class Lounge Dining. Emirates won the World’s Best In-flight Entertainment, with Qantas ranked 4th.

The annual poll is voted by travellers around the globe.

Airbus outperforms rival Boeing at Paris Air Show

The Europe-based aviation manufacturing giant garnered deals for 421 aircraft comprising firm orders for 124 aircraft and commitments for a further 297 aircraft.

"The orders and commitments at this year's Paris Air Show demonstrate three things: Asia is powering the growth, we are leading in single-aisle and widebody and our A321neo is the aircraft of choice in the middle of the market," said Airbus Chief Operating Officer John Leahy.

"Our latest forecast for 32,600 planes in the next 20 years is being proved correct."

Boeing announced orders and commitments during the week for a total of 331 aircraft, including 21 Next-Generation 737s.

The manufacturer said it remains on track to deliver between 750 and 755 aircraft in 2015 and expects the factory rollout of the 737 MAX and firm configuration of the 777X by the end of the year.

Founded in 1909, the Paris Air Show, held in Le Bourget, France, is the aerospace industry's largest trade show.

This story originally appeared on FlyerTalk.com

Virgin Australia unveils new premium economy

Virgin Australia has unveiled a new premium economy seat in the latest move in the carrier's ongoing battle with rival Qantas for pointy-end passengers. The new seat, to feature on the airline's long-haul Boeing 777 aircraft, increases the seat pitch to 41 inches (104cm), three inches more than the existing premium economy's legroom.

Virgin Australia Chief Customer Officer Mark Hassell said: “We understand that Premium Economy guests want to arrive at their destination feeling refreshed and taken care of. We have therefore designed a more spacious and comfortable Premium Economy cabin and product, with a service that many other airlines reserve for their Business Class.

“The Premium Economy cabin itself will be more spacious and comfortable, with more legroom than any other Australian airline and new cushioned seating to make the journey more restful.

The plated meal service is said to be "inspired by" business class and will be tailored to guests' choices. The new class is due to commence next month.

There will be 24 seats in the 777's premium economy cabin.

Air New Zealand rolls out premium economy

Air New Zealand plans to roll out its Premium Economy cabin on Tasman, Pacific Island and Bali routes from 25 October. As with the long-haul product, Air New Zealand’s Premium Economy on its Tasman, Pacific Island and Bali routes will offer a range of benefits including more space, premium food, extra baggage allowances and priority check-in and boarding.

Oman offers online visas

Australian passport holders can now obtain an entry visa for Oman prior to departure. Although the existing visa-on-arrival process remains available, travellers can now access a new online e-visa service via the Royal Oman Police website, which should speed up the arrivals process. A 10-day tourist visa to Oman costs approximately AU$16.70. 

Etihad sends new aircraft to Australia

Etihad is launching A380 and B787 flights into Sydney and Brisbane with brand new onboard products including Etihad’s Residence, First Suites, Business Studios and the latest in-flight entertainment.

Etihad non-stop from Brisbane

Etihad Airways has launched daily non-stop flights between Brisbane and Abu Dhabi. The new services will replace the previous one-stop service via Singapore. Operating on the carrier’s brand new B787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, travellers will have the choice of next generation First Suites, Business Studios or Economy Smart Seats.

Qantas updates lounge menus

Qantas domestic Business lounges and Qantas Clubs have updated their menus. Lounges in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide now have six new menus to rotate. Business lounges now feature Plates of the Day as well as new tandoori chicken wraps and pulled pork rolls, while Qantas Clubs offer new salads, hot afternoon snacks and evening meals.

Qantas enviro-friendly moves

Qantas has relaunched its Fly Carbon Neutral program. Customers can pay an additional sum to offset emissions associated with their flight. Other sustainable initiatives announced include plans to replace all lighting in operational areas with energy efficient LED lights, revamp its domestic onboard recycling program to reduce landfill and introduce lightweight freight containers to cut fuel use.

China Eastern and Qantas working towards an alliance

China Eastern has promised to increase frequency on its Shanghai to Sydney and Melbourne routes to double daily if its proposed alliance with Qantas is approved by the ACCC. With the carrier also planning to operate a seasonal A330-200 service to Cairns from 15 January. Meanwhile, Qantas and China Eastern have highlighted a list of frequent flyers benefits that would result from the alliance. Although there is currently limited earn and redemption activity across the schemes, other possible perks could include priority check-in, additional baggage allowances, priority boarding, lounge access and more.

New Cathay Hong Kong lounge opening soon

Cathay Pacific's new flagship lounge at Hong Kong International Airport will open on 20 June. The Pier First Class lounge will mirror the design of the recently opened Tokyo Haneda Airport lounge, with a tended bar, an a la carte restaurant and self-serve food area as well as the iconic Noodle Bar. The facility will also include private daybeds or ‘nap nooks’ with curtains for privacy. Once open, the carrier’s Business Class lounge will close for its own revamp which is scheduled for completion in early 2016. Cathay’s new-look lounges will continue to roll out, with Taipei, Vancouver and London Heathrow the next in line for updates.

IATA Smaller carry-on initiative paused

The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) new scheme to reduce the size of carry-on items has been put on hold pending further review. The move comes after resistance from US airlines who argue that to improve the customer experience, airlines should increase the size of overhead bins to handle larger carry-on baggage, rather than limiting passengers.