Aviation Wrap: British Airways’ Guinness World Record, SilkAir to suspend Hiroshima flights + MORE!

Out of touch or can’t be stuffed to keep up with the non-stop news coming out of aviation? Cue Travel Weekly‘s informative wrap.

British Airways achieves Guinness World Record


Pull a 182.9-tonne plane 100 meters? Challenge accepted. ✈️ An amazing achievement by the team at @britishairways along with Gary Lineker, Nicola Adams, Joe Wicks, Iwan Thomas, Alfie Hewett and Gabby Logan who have smashed a Guinness World Records title for #SportRelief2020Read more… http://bit.ly/SR20_BAPlanePull_

Posted by Sport Relief on Monday, 9 March 2020

British Airways’ week of ‘Sport Relief’ fundraising events has taken off with the airline achieving a Guinness World Records title for the ‘Heaviest Aircraft Pulled Over 100 Metres’ by a mixed team, made up of colleagues and sporting celebrities.

British Airways’ support for Sport Relief comes as part of the airline’s global charity partnership with Comic Relief, Flying Start, which focuses on helping disadvantaged young people in communities around the world have a better start in life.

British Airways employees teamed up with Sport Relief  celebrity supporters ‘The Body Coach’ Joe Wicks, presenter Gabby Logan MBE, sports broadcaster Gary Lineker OBE, boxer Nicola Adams OBE, sprinter Iwan Thomas MBE and Paralympic silver medalist Alfie Hewett, who led the charge of a 90-strong team to pull the airline’s brand new A350 over 100m.

Heathrow runway ruled illegal and inconsistent with Paris Agreement

Plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport have been ruled illegal by England’s court of appeal, as ministers did not adequately consider the government’s commitments to net zero emissions by 2050, The Guardian reported.

The ruling comes as a major blow to the project, the outlet reported, at a time when public concern about the climate emergency is rising fast.

It has been speculated prime minister Boris Johnson could use the ruling to abandon the project, or the government could draw up a new policy document to approve the runway.

Heathrow is already one the busiest airports in the world, with 80 million passengers transiting per year.

The £14 billion (around $25.9 billion) third runway could be built by 2028 and would bring 700 more planes per day and a considerable rise in carbon emissions.

Silkair to suspend operations to Hiroshima

SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines (SIA), will indefinitely suspend operations to Hiroshima from 27 March 2020 due to weak demand, which has been exacerbated by the international spread of COVID-19.

The last SilkAir flight on this route will be MI867, which will operate from Hiroshima to Singapore on 26 March 2020.

All affected customers will be contacted, and arrangements will be made to reaccommodate them on to other flights.

For further assistance, customers may contact SIA’s Australia reservations office at 13 10 11.

Cathay Pacific announces changes without charge

Cathay Pacific has announced for all new tickets issued between 9 March and 20 April 2020 passengers will be able to make unlimited rebooking or rerouting changes for travel before 28 February 2021.

Passengers across all classes of travel can take advantage of this change, although some minor terms and conditions do apply. For up to date information on existing booking enquiries, Cathay Pacific recommend regularly checking its website for the latest travel advisory updates.

Cathay Pacific has taken significant steps to offer reassurance to passengers travelling, including additional disinfection and deep cleaning of cabins, compulsory health declarations, HEPA air filters and additional precautions in our lounges.

LATAM waives change fees for international flight reservations

LATAM Airlines Group has announced increased flexibility to help its customers with their travel decisions.

The airline will waive change fees for all international flights up to 31 December 2020, applicable to new bookings made between 6 and 22 March 2020.

Customers making new reservations will be able to change the date or destination of their ticket, or both, up to 14 days in advance of their outbound flight without penalty, subject to fare differences.

This is limited to one change per ticket.

Celebrations and a blessing as ‘Spirit of Solomons’ lands in Honiara

Solomon Airlines has celebrated the official arrival of the carrier’s new Airbus A320, the ‘Spirit of Solomons’, following the aircraft’s first commercial service from Brisbane to Munda and Honiara.

The much-anticipated aircraft arrived to a water canon salute, a welcome by Kustom dancers and a cultural blessing at Henderson International Airport.

Emirates introduces new cleaning procedures and waiver policy

Emirates is taking extra steps to ensure its customers’ health and comfort, and provide them with confidence and peace of mind when planning their travel.

On all aircraft departing from its hub in Dubai, Emirates has implemented enhanced cleaning and complete disinfection of all cabins as a precaution.

Emirates is also providing customers more flexibility, choice and value through its newly introduced waiver policy for all booked tickets issued on or from 7 March until 31 March 2020, allowing customers across its network the choice of changing their travel dates without change and reissuance fees.

Finnair’s anti-carbon program lifts the ambition-level in the aviation industry

Finnair has revealed the most ambitious sustainability strategy in the aviation industry to banish carbon from its operations, with the intention of reducing net emissions by 50 per cent by the end of 2025 from the 2019 baseline.

The airline is also aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, plans it says, “clearly exceed the industry’s common targets”.

The new strategy includes a holistic approach to transform Finnair’s operations to bring the company’s climate footprint dramatically down.

The main actions to tackle the carbon challenge include a 3.5–4.0 billion euro investment in fleet during 2020–2025, reducing emissions in Finnair’s European traffic by 10–15 per cent, as announced earlier in Finnair capital markets day.

In addition, the airline will invest 60 million euros in sustainability during the strategy period of 2020–2025, and reduce the weight onboard every flight, including ending in-flight travel retail sales within EU on 29 April and focusing on pre-order travel retail.

For more information on Finnair’s strategy, click here.

Travelport bolsters Pacific air content

Travelport has announced that it has signed multi-year content agreements with three new airline partners in the Pacific region: Fly Corporate (Australia), Fly Pelican (Australia) and Air Chathams (New Zealand).

The news comes just two weeks after the company announced it had signed new multi-year content agreements with five other Pacific carriers.

STARLUX Airlines selects Sabre to drive ambitious growth plans 

The new kid on the block, StarLux, aims to have a fleet of 10 A321neo planes (like this one) and 17 widebody A350s (Starlux)

Sabre Corporation has announced a new partnership with Taiwan’s newest carrier, STARLUX Airlines.

The long-term agreement to connect to Sabre’s GDS platform will provide the airline access to Sabre’s global travel marketplace, comprising more than 425,000 travel agents worldwide.

Starlux began service in January, and flies to three cities from Taipei: Macau, Da Nang and Penang.

The airline uses a single aircraft, an Airbus A321neo, which boasts an interior designed by BMW Group company Designworks, and features eight business class seats and 180 economy-class seats.

The news follows the brokering of a deal between Sabre and Asia Pacific regional airline Vistara.

Featured image: British Airways’ Sport Relief 2020 Guinness World Records Title attempt (British Airways/Stuart Bailey)


Leave a Reply


Volkswagen acquires travel start-up

Despite it being a very turbulent time in the travel industry right now, the automotive giant has ventured on in.




Qantas hits back at allegations of “predatory behaviour” with Sydney-Orange route

by Christian Fleetwood

A war of words has taken off between Qantas and Rex. Read all about the verbal tit for tat here.



Travel Agents

AFTA calls for more clarity and collaboration between businesses and government

With the border between NSW and Victoria now firmly shut, AFTA’s fresh-faced CEO is calling on the government to consult the sectors affected most.




IHG to refurbish and rebrand iconic Fijian hotel

InterContinental Hotels Group says “bula” to Fiji with the takeover of arguably its most iconic hotel.




Ryanair pilots under investigation for rubber chicken prank in cockpit

A video has surfaced of a pair of pilots messing around with a rubber chicken on what appears to be a commercial flight. One even seems to use the toy to operate the plane.




Trans-Tasman travel bubble could start with ‘safe’ Australian states, says Ardern

by Christian Fleetwood

In very welcome news, New Zealand’s PM says her government is willing to open the trans-Tasman travel ‘bubble’ to individual Australian states.




STUDY: Almost half of Aussies are planning a domestic getaway in 2020

Time to start putting together your clients’ dream domestic itineraries, because it appears they are ready and raring to get out there.




Cruise Wrap: Carnival and WTTC present COVID-19 scientific summit, earn bonus commission with Creative Cruising + MORE

Are your clients fanging to get back out to sea? Here’s all the latest releases, guidelines, incentives and sales from the cruise industry that you need to get them there.




DFAT travel advice warns Aussies may be at risk of “arbitrary detention” in China

While COVID-19 is stopping Aussies from going anywhere overseas, they now have even more reason to avoid China.



Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with Club Med’s Tony Soden

This week, Club Med’s head of sales for Australia and New Zealand got our attention by sending us photos of himself posing in front of a well-stocked wine rack.




“Unacceptable”: Virgin Australia bondholders attempt to spoil Bain’s takeover deal

by Huntley Mitchell

Like a pesky fly you just can’t get rid of, Virgin’s bondholders are back again to try and derail the airline’s sale process.




ACT to close border to Victorians

by Christian Fleetwood

The news goes from bad to worse for Victorians, who are now being banned from travelling to the nation’s capital.