Here’s all the latest news and moves in the aviation industry, wrapped up for your reading pleasure (but minus the bow).
Emirates celebrates 25 million loyalty program members
Emirates’ award-winning loyalty program, Skywards, is celebrating a key milestone of reaching 25 million members.
The airline is marking the occasion with a range of exciting offers and surprises for members, which started on 12 September. The 1.9 million Australians who are part of the program will be able to enjoy 25 per cent discounts on upgrades and reward tickets on selected flights to and from Dubai, a network-wide special Cash+Miles rate on Emirates and flydubai flights, and a 25 per cent discount on buying and gifting miles.
And the winning streak continues for Emirates, with the airline taking home its third consecutive award for Best Entertainment at the 2020 Passenger Choice Awards for their inflight entertainment system – ice. The airline also received a five-star Global Airline Official Airline Rating, based solely on verified and certified passenger feedback.
Tigerair re-invents digital travel experience
Tigerair Australia has re-invented its digital travel experience, rolling out a suite of innovations across its digital platforms including a re-designed Tigerair.com.au website, upgraded airport kiosk technology and the airline will soon be releasing a refreshed mobile app to enable a seamless customer experience.
Finding the best flight fares with Tigerair is easier than ever before with the new website which features a transformed flight search function as well as a new purpose-built online destination hub to explore the 12 Tigerair destinations across Australia.
The website will also provide easier access to the Manage My Booking portal for customers who have already booked a flight. Once they arrive at the airport, customers are now also able to enhance their flying experience with value-add extras at the self-service check in.
Fiji Airways reveals first-look at South Pacific’s first A350 XWB
Fiji Airways’ first A350 XWB has rolled out of the Airbus paint shop in Toulouse featuring the airline’s signature livery. The aircraft, an A350-900, will be the first of its kind operated by an airline in the South Pacific region.
According to Fiji Airways, the A350 XWB is the world’s most modern and eco-efficient aircraft family.
Fiji Airways has also announced the leasing of a Boeing 737-800 aircraft from Malindo Air, to cover schedules due to the extended global grounding of its Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
Malindo Air will operate flights on behalf of Fiji Airways between Nadi (Fiji) and Brisbane, Sydney, Auckland and Christchurch. The temporary lease arrangement ensures minimum disruption to guests’ travel plans.
British Airways launches dedicated support team for customers with accessibility needs
In the latest phase of its £6.5 billion investment for customers, British Airways has launched a dedicated customer care team for travellers who require additional assistance to ensure every journey they take with the airline is as straightforward and stress-free as possible.
The hand-picked team of customer service professionals received specialist training to enable them to answer any questions customers have when they get in touch via phone or email and will help them understand what to expect during their journey.
Hawaiian Airlines adjusts Brisbane-Honolulu departures
Effective 8 January 2020, Hawaiian Airlines departures from Brisbane International Airport (BNE) to Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) will be retimed to improve connections for guests flying from Brisbane to the airline’s 13 US mainland cities.
Australian travellers will also benefit from round trip connectivity to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle and San Francisco.
Qatar Airways announces direct flights to Osaka, Japan and new dining experience
Qatar Airways is pleased to announce services to Osaka, Japan starting from 6 April 2020. The second largest metropolitan area of Japan, Osaka will be the airline’s third gateway into the country. Qatar Airways began direct services to Tokyo Narita in 2010 and launched its Tokyo Haneda service in 2014 from Doha’s Hamad International Airport (HIA).
Qatar Airways has also announced its new ‘Quisine’ onboard dining experience is now available for Economy Class passengers travelling to and from Australia.
The new dining experience will see portion sizes increase by 20 per cent for appetisers, 25 per cent for main courses, and a generous 50 per cent increase for desserts.
To begin their journey, travellers will receive redesigned menu cards with a service timeline on all long-haul and ultra-long-haul flights, ensuring passengers can plan their journey and meal times. A pre-dinner drinks option is now served on flights of more than five hours, with sparkling wine and cocktail snacks available prior to the main meal being served.
The new Quisine menu has a greater focus on the use of local, fresh and healthy ingredients that are in season. Individually wrapped artisanal warm bread infused with olive oil will also be introduced, while a special movie snack selection with popcorn, chocolate, potato chips and more are added to compliment Qatar Airways’ inflight entertainment for long-haul flights.
With the introduction of Quisine, there is an 80 per cent increase in recyclable and biodegradable products being used. Also, 80 per cent of the tray items comply with the ban on single-use plastics.
Finnair and LATAM launch codeshare
Finnair and LATAM Airlines Group have implemented a new codeshare agreement on flights between Finnair’s hub in Helsinki (HEL) and LATAM’s hubs in São Paulo (GRU), Brazil, and in Santiago (SCL), Chile, via five European gateways: London (LHR), Paris (CDG), Madrid (MAD), Barcelona (BCN) and Milan (MXP).
As part of the codeshare agreement, Finnair’s AY code will be added to LATAM’s transatlantic flights between Finnair’s gateways in Europe and LATAM’s hubs in São Paulo and in Santiago.
The cooperation will offer new destinations for Finnair customers, as LATAM’s flights will be the first ones flown to South America with a Finnair code.
Air Astana receives APEX five-star award
The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) awarded Air Astana a five-star rating in the Major Airlines category for the second year in a row at an award ceremony in Los Angeles on 9 September 2019.
The rating was based on passengers’ online reviews from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. More than a million flights were covered among 600 airlines in the world.
Passengers evaluated carriers according to 5 parameters: seat comfort, on-board service, food and drinks, entertainment system and Wi-Fi service. Just over 20 global airlines, 13 major and two regional airlines reached Five Star status as determined by their passenger ratings.
Royal Brunei Airlines rated five-star major airline by APEX
Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) has been awarded a five-star rating by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) for the Major Airline category.
The award was presented to the nation’s flag carrier on 9 September 2019 at the award ceremony held in Los Angeles, United States.
Vueling launches service from Munich to Florence
Starting immediately, the Spanish carrier Vueling will depart from Munich, Germany to Florence, Italy five times a week. An Airbus A319 will take off for the Italian metropolis every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
Applications for Virgin Australia’s aircraft maintenance program open
Virgin Australia has opened applications for its aircraft maintenance program, with the program commencing in 2020 for four years. Recruitment for Virgin’s program is run every two years with four new recruits selected.
Applications for the program can be submitted via the careers page on the Virgin Australia website here: https://virg.in/i3J, and shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an assessment day at the base which they have applied for (Brisbane or Melbourne) and will go through a number of practical and theoretical assessments.
Practical Engineering experience is not a requirement, however, applicants must have completed the theory element of the Certificate IV in Aeroskills (Mechanical).
At the end of the program, the recruits have an opportunity to commence a career with Virgin Australia with a nationally recognised qualification in the aerospace industry as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME).
Hahn Air announces exclusive competition for travel agents worldwide
Hahn Air has announced an exclusive competition for travel agents worldwide, with all participants who solve a hidden object game in the running to win a ticket worth EUR 5,000 which can be used for a trip to anywhere in the world.
The competition, which began on 16 September CET, will run until 23 September. The competition is one of many activities taking place this year to celebrate Hahn Air’s 20th anniversary.
Travel agents can access the competition by logging into their Hahn Air account on www.hahnair.com/games. Agents without an existing account can also take part by registering first.
Singapore Airlines to take over SilkAir’s Busan services
Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) regional wing, SilkAir, has announced it will be transferring its Busan, South Korea services to SIA. Taking effect from 28 October 2019, the transfer will enable SIA to boost seat capacity on the route by 76 per cent, to meet growing travel demand.
Subject to regulatory approvals, SIA will operate flights to Busan four times per week, maintaining SilkAir’s current flight frequency.