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Business Travel News: December 2023

Airlines/Airports

United Airlines introduce Brisbane to Los Angeles

United Airlines has commenced flights between Brisbane and Los Angeles. Operating three times weekly on a Boeing 737, the route will offer the airline’s Polaris business class. The full schedule can be viewed here.

China Southern returns to Brisbane

From 8 December to 25 February, China Southern Airlines will increase its connection between Brisbane and Guangzhou to a daily frequency. The airline expects to make that increase permanent over the next two years. If you would like to read the full schedule, please click here.

Qantas introduces app-based baggage tracking

Travellers on some 60 direct routes will now be able to track their checked luggage on the latest version of the Qantas App. You will be able to receive on-screen notifications after luggage has been dropped off at check-in, when the bag is ‘in transit’ and upon arrival when bags have been delivered to the carousel. Please click here to discover which flight connections are covered.

Singapore Airlines bring the Airbus A350 to Perth

Singapore Airlines has recently added a fourth flight from Perth to Singapore. Unlike the existing connections, which use Boeing 737s, this latest flight utilises an Airbus A350, adding 40 regional business class seats that offer lie-flat comfort during the flight. Furthermore, from 31 March, this service will change to daily flights, and SQ223 and SQ214, will also switch to Airbus A350s.

Singapore Airlines new Perth lounge

In early 2024, Singapore Airlines will open its new business class lounge at Perth Airport’s T1 international terminal with a move into the space previously occupied by Qantas for its International business lounge. This move will see Singapore Airlines’ space more than double, with seating for approximately 140 passengers. The lounge will sport the airlines’ ‘home away from home’ concept which can be viewed here.

Gold Coast Airport’s domestic terminal upgrade

The Gold Coast Airport is planning to undergo a major terminal upgrade, which will be rolled out in stages from now until the second half of 2024. The upgrade will include the addition of new eateries and retailers, a children’s playground, and an upmarket lounge bar. The departures hall will also be given a fresh look and feel, with expanded seating, new signage, and a vibrant colour palette that will match that of its international counterpart.

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia eye off partnership

Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia are reportedly considering a new partnership to establish a Trans-Tasman alliance. This alliance would allow VA to attach its flight numbers to Air New Zealand’s flights between Australia and Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. As a result, passengers would be able to earn Velocity points and status credits on those flights and use their Velocity points to book these Air New Zealand flights.

Virgin Australia begins upgrading 737 business and economy classes

At the beginning of this month, Virgin Australia began upgrading its Boeing 737 fleet with new business and economy class seats. Passengers can expect wider business class seats with leg rests, foot rests and AC/USB sockets and more comfortable economy seats with a USB socket. Additionally, each seat will include an inbuilt tablet/smartphone holder and inflight WiFi will be added across the entire fleet. The first of the refreshed jets will take off in December.

New first and business class on the way for British Airways

It has been revealed that British Airways is commencing an upgrade of its Airbus A350, replacing its existing business class with Club Suite and rolling out a new first class. Moving to the Club Suites will offer direct aisle access, increased space and more privacy for travellers with sliding doors. It is unclear at this stage what changes will be made to its first class. It is planned that all these changes will be in place by the end of 2026.

Qantas makes changes to inflight beer and wine service

Qantas has announced that the complimentary inflight bar service for economy passengers on all domestic and regional services will now open at noon instead of 4 pm. This is part of the airline’s effort to improve the passenger experience.

Air New Zealand’s latest in-flight snacks

Air New Zealand recently unveiled its revamped onboard snack menu after conducting extensive research. As a result, a variety of snacks have been introduced from 14 local suppliers, including chocolate-dipped pretzels and lemon meringue-coated popcorn. These new snacks will be available on various domestic and international routes, across different cabin classes.

Qantas first class lounge summer menu

Qantas has recently announced its new seasonal menu for the summer. The airline has introduced some new breakfast options such as buttermilk pancakes with mango, coconut yoghurt, and coconut flakes, and a breakfast salad that includes avocado, chipotle hummus, and a poached egg. For all-day dining, Qantas has added dishes such as crispy braised lamb with cumin, sesame salt, and pickled cabbage, and Qantas honey flan with Kensington Pride mango to its menu. Additionally, the airline has introduced new cocktails such as the Running Rhubarb and By Byron.

Air New Zealand to soon fly battery-powered electric plane

Air New Zealand has added the first aircraft to its ‘Mission Next Gen’ low-emissions fleet. Although this battery-powered plane will not be used for commercial travel until 2026, it will begin by carrying parcels for New Zealand Post. The carrier has said this is an important step towards “flying larger, fleet-replacing next-generation aircraft from 2030.”

Hotels

The Sebel Sydney Martin Place to open shortly

The Sebel Sydney Martin Place will be opening its doors in January after undergoing a multi-million-dollar refurbishment and rebranding. This premium hotel boasts 86 rooms and will be the first Sebel hotel in Sydney’s financial district. The hotel will be a haven of luxurious interiors, artful decor and ambient lighting, providing guests with an upscale experience.

The new Novotel Sydney City Centre unveiled

After an AU$20 million refurbishment, the new Novotel Sydney City Centre has been unveiled. At the heart of this transformation is Parisian design, modern technology and sustainable integration. The 283-room hotel features an innovative room concept known as ‘Hypothesis’ which strives to reduce waste of materials, space and time. Additionally, the interior design concept reflects nature with timber finishes, earthy carpets, live greenery and natural lighting.

The Pullman Melbourne on Swanston undergoes a name and logo refresh

The Pullman Melbourne on Swanston is changing its name to Pullman Melbourne City Centre to better reflect its location at 265 Little Bourke Street. The change also includes a refreshed logo featuring the new location to provide greater clarity for visitors.

Darwin to welcome Australia’s first airport resort

Australia’s first airport resort, Novotel and Mercure Darwin Airport Resort, opened in Darwin on 5 December. The refurbishment of existing rooms and the creation of new pool villas, suites, and bungalows have transformed both hotels. This will provide an ideal base for both leisure and business travellers, and act as a feeder location to various international destinations.

That’s a wrap for CTM’s December business travel news!

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