Business Travel News: February 2024
Virgin baggage tracking goes global
Virgin Australia has expanded its app baggage tracking service to cover almost all of its domestic and international flights. This makes it the first Australian carrier to offer this feature internationally. The newly added destinations include the likes of Japan, Bali, and Fiji. Passengers flying to these destinations will receive push notifications when their luggage is loaded onto the plane, transferred to an international airline partner (if applicable), and when the bag is ready for collection.
Upgraded A330 economy seats on the way for Qantas
Given that Qantas’ A350 and 787 replacements will roll out over the next decade or so, it has been revealed that Qantas will replace some of its A330 economy class seats with a ‘next generation’ design. With upgrades beginning as soon as the second half of 2024, it is expected that the revamped economy seat will be based on the same economy seat design as the A350 Project Sunrise jets. This seat will feature sculptured side holsters, a six-way adjustable headrest, and additional knee space for added comfort.
Virgin Australia enters codeshare partnership with Link Airways
Virgin Australia has announced a new codeshare partnership with Link Airways, increasing its footprint in regional Australia by approximately 45%. This will see 17 new regional codeshare services operated by Link Airways which includes the likes of Brisbane-Bundaberg, Brisbane-Woollongong, Melbourne-Dubbo, and Canberra-Hobart.
UA and Air NZ increase codeshare agreement
United Airlines and Air New Zealand are expanding their codeshare agreement, with United Airlines set to codeshare on two Air New Zealand routes: Christchurch-Dunedin and Christchurch-Queenstown. Both routes will be operating twice weekly.
Qantas’ new A350 premium economy seat
Qantas has unveiled the new design of its premium economy seats which will be installed on its Airbus A350 jets, intended for the Project Sunrise long-haul flights. These jets will feature 40 premium economy seats, adopting a 2-4-2 layout with a 40″ pitch. Rather than sporting the existing premium economy seat foot ‘hammock’, the new design sees the introduction of a calf-rest extending from the front of the seat. The seat will also feature two high-power USB-C ports, a 13.3″ seatback screen, a tray table with a groove for BYO entertainment, and a height-adjustable headrest with 8″ wings on either side.
Jetstar adds two new Asia routes for Brisbane
Jetstar has announced new flight services between Brisbane and Seoul, as well as Brisbane and Osaka. These new routes mark the latest service updates in the airline’s partnership with Brisbane Airport. The Seoul route will have three return flights per week, while the Osaka route will have four return flights per week. The Brisbane-Osaka route is now the only direct service available between the two cities.
Qantas introduces Darwin-Singapore flights
Starting from 9 December 2024, Qantas will commence flights between Darwin and Singapore. The initial frequency of flights will be five per week, and Qantas plans to make it a daily service from March 2025. The QantasLink Embraer W190 will operate on this route which contains 84 economy seats and 10 business class seats. The schedule can be viewed here.
SATS Premier Lounge in Singapore temporarily closed
Air New Zealand has advised that the SATS Premier Lounge at Singapore Changi International (Terminal 3) is temporarily closed from 15 January to 29 March 2024. This will impact some passengers travelling from Singapore to Auckland.
Emirates to introduce new Boeing 777 business class
Emirates has confirmed that it will be introducing a new 777 business class with a modern 1-2-1 seating configuration. This will be rolled out in the middle of 2024, aligning with the product on the airline’s upcoming 777-9X and A350. At the same time, Emirates will welcome its new premium economy seats which offer wider seating, a 13.3″ HD touchscreen, and a generous leg-rest. To learn more, please click here.
Emirates reopens its Brisbane lounge
After a prolonged closure, Emirates has reopened its Brisbane lounge, offering guests a buffet spread, champagne pours, and direct boarding for high flyers onto the Airbus A380. The lounge will open daily from 5:00 pm to 1:30 am to cater for the two daily A380 flights from Brisbane to Dubai. To learn more about the renovations, please click here.
Emirates returns to Adelaide
Starting from 28 October 2024, Emirates will resume its daily flights between Adelaide and Dubai. The airline will use a Boeing 777-200LR aircraft that can accommodate 38 business travellers and 264 travellers in economy recliners. As Emirates is a Qantas partner, passengers can book these flights under a Qantas codeshare.
Emirates to recommence second daily Perth service
From 1 December 2024, Emirates will recommence a second daily service between Perth and Dubai. This will be operated by the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft which seats 8 in first class and 42 in business class. This will add significant capacity to the Perth market, facilitating more connections to the UK and Europe.
American Airlines launch Brisbane and Dallas-Fort Worth service
Starting on 27 October 2024, American Airlines will launch a new service between Brisbane and Dallas-Fort Worth. This service will enable Brisbane passengers to connect with other parts of the United States, Canada, and Europe through the airline’s largest US Hub. Due to their airline’s partnership with Qantas, passengers will be able to book these flights under a Qantas codeshare.
Thai Airways increases Sydney-Bangkok frequency
As of 1 April 2024, Thai Airways will add a second daily Sydney-Bangkok flight using its Airbus A350. The timing of this service will be advantageous for connections across Europe and Japan. The updated schedule can be seen here.
Air Canada introduces domestic baggage-tracking
Air Canada has introduced a new feature for its passengers travelling within Canada. They can now track their baggage’s progress using the airline’s mobile app. The feature allows passengers to track their checked items at various key points such as check-in and arrival. The airline plans to expand this tracking feature to its US flights later this year and eventually to select international destinations.
British Airways enhances its accessibility offering
British Airways has announced a new partnership with SigncodeUK to enhance its accessibility offering for deaf and hard-of-hearing customers. This will be in the form of new signed video content containing useful travel information, made available both pre-flight and whilst on board. Accessible via a link or unique QR code, these videos recognise the diversity of the deaf community with videos in British Sign Language (BSL) and American Sign Language (ASL) with plans to expand into other languages.
Malaysia introduces compulsory digital arrivals card
Passport holders from most countries, including Australia and New Zealand, are now required to complete the Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC) prior to arrival in Malaysia. This must be done within three days of travel for each visit. The MDAC requires personal information, details about the duration of your stay, and information about your accommodation.
Horizon by SkyCity opens March
Auckland’s new five-star hotel, Horizon by SkyCity, will be open to guests from 1 March 2024. The 303-room hotel is positioned in the heart of the Auckland CBD, offering easy assessability to a range of vibrant entertainment experiences, attractions and award-winning dining options.
Adelaide to welcome a new Crowne Plaza
In the second half of 2024, a second Crowne Plaza hotel will open in Adelaide. The decision to rebrand the hotel was made during the development phase due to higher-than-expected demand from corporate and events customers. This hotel will have 155 rooms along with three meeting spaces that span across 442 square metres. Additionally, it will also feature a fitness centre, and a restaurant and bar.
TFE Hotels signs Adina Chermside Brisbane
TFE Hotels has announced the signing of Adina Chermside Brisbane, a 148-room hotel set to open in 2025. Located in one of Brisbane’s fastest-growing suburbs, the Adina Chermside Brisbane will offer a modern guest experience with facilities such as an all-day dining restaurant, cafe/bar, a meeting room, gym, and hotel car parking. This marks Adina’s third hotel signing in Queensland.
Wentworth Hotel set to undergo a dining revamp
The Sofitel Sydney Wentworth Hotel is undergoing a $60 million renovation to introduce four new venues to its hospitality offerings. These new venues include an Australian seafood grill that can accommodate up to 110 people, a rooftop bar, a French-Vietnamese eatery, and a bar that can seat up to 90 people. This will enhance the area’s existing hospitality footprint and fill any gaps in its current offerings.
That’s a wrap for CTM’s February business travel news!
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