Aviation wrap: Qantas’ new route, Suits star cast for Air NZ safety video, Harvey Milk terminal opens + MORE!

Strap yourself in and get ready to take off on a journey full of new routes, updated menus, increased flight availability and fresh codeshares! It makes for much better reading than it sounds. We promise.

Qantas flights from Brisbane to Chicago and San Francisco open for business + points incentive leads to growth in carbon offsets

Australians can now book direct flights from Brisbane to Chicago and San Francisco for the first time, with fares available for sale earlier this week.

The new routes will be operated by Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, offering next-generation seating and built-in jet lag reducing features, and see the national carrier grow its United States network from one to three non-stop destinations from Brisbane.

San Francisco flights will begin on 9 February 2020 and operate three times per week, and Chicago flights will begin on 20 April 2020, operating four times per week.

The 14,326km flight from Brisbane to Chicago will be the fourth-longest in the world and the second-longest flight on Qantas’ network and take approximately 16 hours and 20 minutes (depending on winds).

Meanwhile, the airline began incentivising its Frequent Flyers to fly carbon neutral in early July with an offer of 10 Qantas Points for every dollar they spend on reducing their carbon footprint. It is the highest standard earn rate of any Qantas Frequent Flyer initiative. In the short time that Points have been on offer, Qantas has seen a 15 per cent increase in frequent flyers choosing to offset their flights and rewarded them with over one million Qantas Points for flying carbon neutral.

Suits actor Rick Hoffman to star in Air New Zealand’s next safety video

Suits actor Rick Hoffman, who stars as lawyer Louis Litt in the popular American drama series will star in the next Air New Zealand safety video, launching Thursday 1 August (NZT).

Hoffman plays a lawyer in the rugby themed video alongside a star-studded Kiwi cast which features several All Blacks including Head Coach Steve Hansen and Captain Kieran Read, actor Cliff Curtis, Former Black Ferns Captain Fiao’o Fa’amausili and members of the renowned 1987 All Blacks squad, along with former Wallabies Captain George Gregan.

The Suits actor first visited New Zealand in 2017 and took to Twitter praising the airline as being “by far the most accommodating” airline in the world, and “insisting” on being Air New Zealand’s next spokesperson.

The Suits star has been overt about his love for New Zealand in media and on social media.

“It’s a love affair with New Zealand. It’s incredible – the food is amazing and the people are amazing. It’s the way it should be everywhere. I eventually plan on living there – not illegally but maybe becoming a resident somehow.”

Ola and Velocity Frequent Flyer announce new partnership that ups the game for rideshare tie-ups

Ola and Velocity Frequent Flyer have announced a new partnership that offers more Points earning opportunities than any other airline loyalty program and rideshare tie-up in Australia. To launch the new relationship, Ola will be gifting free rides*, up to $30, to the airport this Friday.

The partnership enables Velocity members to earn Velocity Points on every Ola ride and double Velocity Points on trips to and from eligible airports. Together, Ola and Velocity are delivering a door-to-door travel experience and a new way for Velocity members and travellers to turn their everyday spending into Velocity Points.

Velocity members can now earn one Velocity Point for every $1 spent on everyday Ola rides, and two Velocity Points for every $1 spent on rides both to and from eligible airports^. The Velocity Points will be credited to members’ accounts in real-time and Velocity members will also earn 1,000 bonus Velocity Points when they take their first Ola ride.

Harvey Milk terminal opens in San Francisco 

SFO Exterior PRIDE

The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) opens Harvey Milk Terminal 1, the first airport terminal in the world named after a member of the LGBTQ+ community, on Tuesday, 23 July. The AUD $3.4 billion facility sets a new standard for an extraordinary travel experience. Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected public official in California.

He served on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors for 11 months before he and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated in 1978. Nine days before he died, Milk recorded an audio will to be ‘played only in the event of his death by assassination: ‘

‘My election gave somebody else – one more person – hope. After all, that’s what it’s about. It’s not about personal gain. It’s not about ego. It’s not about power. It’s about giving those young people out there…hope. You gotta give them hope.’ – Harvey Milk

The focal point of the new terminal is the exhibit, Harvey Milk: Messenger of Hope, honouring the civil rights leader and his impact on LGBTQ+ rights. Spanning nearly 120 metres, it includes 100 dramatically blown-up images of Milk – many crowdsourced from the public – as well as art, mementos and ephemera. Harvey Milk Terminal 1 is designed to better connect passengers with the environment beyond their gate.

Jetstar ups its weekly flights Melbourne Bali and New Zealand 

Victorian travellers planning a Christmas or a summer holiday in Bali will be spoilt for choice this year with Jetstar announcing it will add eight more services a week 14 December 2019 to 27 January 2020, a total of 36 weekly flights.

The additional seasonal flights from Melbourne will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 07:25 in the morning, arriving in Bali at 10.20am, and the return service also has a morning departure time to arrive back in Melbourne in the evening.

With the additional flights, Jetstar customers will be able to choose from 120 direct flights every week to Bali from across Australia including Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Darwin, Melbourne and Cairns.

The airline is also offering six more weekly services between Melbourne and Queenstown as well as six additional weekly services between Melbourne and Auckland from 13 December 2019 to 28 January 2020.

Scoot to add 16 Airbus A321neos to fleet to support growth plans

A321neo_CFM_SCO_V04_Credit Airbus

Scoot today announced the introduction of 16 brand-new A321neo aircraft into its fleet. The first aircraft, named “Wings of Change”, will be delivered in the last quarter of 2020 and will be used on routes within six hours (medium-haul markets). The new fleet will enable Scoot to meet its double-digit growth plan by the end of financial year 2020/2021. Of the 16 aircraft, six are an upsize from Scoot’s current A320neo order from Airbus, while 10 will be leased.

The A321neos, powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, will be delivered from Airbus’ final assembly line. The single-aisle aircraft will be fitted with 236 seats, 50 more than that of the A320neo.

Malaysia Airlines launches new in-flight menu featuring the ‘best of Malaysia’

Ayam Masak Lemak Service

Malaysia Airlines introduces a broad range of Malaysian dishes in-line with its ‘Best of Malaysia’ series, which is progressively being rolled out across the network. The new inflight dining menu offers its passengers the opportunity to experience the traditional flavours and mouth-watering cuisine for which Malaysia is rightly famous.

Business Class guests will be treated to Malaysia’s unique Banana Leaf Fish Curry on selected flights from Kuala Lumpur to Australia. The new in-flight menu will also offer delicious Nasi Lemak that will be available throughout all breakfast menus from Australia to Kuala Lumpur in all classes. Customers will also be able to enjoy other well-loved Malaysian favourites like Satay Chicken, Hainanese Chicken Rice, Beef Rendang, Fried Hokkien Noodles with Sambal and Roti Canai with Dhal Curry in the coming months.

Cathay Pacific drives distribution strategy forward with Amadeus Altéa NDC

To support its evolving digital transformation, Cathay Pacific is implementing Amadeus Altéa NDC. This will help the airline to effectively, consistently distribute and service new content and fares through an NDC connectivity across channels, enhancing its retailing capabilities.

Amadeus Altéa NDC is a full Offer and Order Management solution, based on end-to-end NDC shopping, booking and servicing flows. The solution allows airlines to distribute and service their offers to third parties, using the latest industry-standard, offering a seamless experience across the direct and indirect channels.

Etihad Airways to serve London Heathrow with fourth year-round daily service 

Etihad Airways is to boost its services from London Heathrow by adding a fourth year-round daily service, launching on 27 October 2019. The new service introduces a convenient connection over Abu Dhabi from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as a late evening departure from London Heathrow and follows the introduction of additional seasonal services this summer.

The airline will introduce a next-generation, two-class Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on one of its four daily London services. The aircraft is configured with 299 seats – 28 Business Studios and 271 Economy Smart Seats. This complements the three other services which are operated by Etihad’s 486-seat Airbus A380s, which feature The Residence, a luxurious three-room cabin, nine private First Apartments, 70 Business Studios and 405 Economy Smart Seats. These include 80 Economy Space seats with a seat pitch of up to 36 inches.

Newcastle Airport and Virgin Australia announce 3 years of direct international flights to Auckland 

Newcastle Airport and Virgin Australia have today announced a three-year partnership to continue flying direct services between the Hunter and Auckland.

Virgin Australia will operate three return services per week during the peak holiday period from 21 November 2019 to 16 February 2020, with potential to grow over subsequent years.
Virgin Australia General Manager, Network and Revenue Management, Russell Shaw said that the airline was pleased to announce a return of the seasonal service after its popularity last year.

British Airways partners with Tom Kerridge to create onboard menus 


As part of its centenary celebrations, British Airways has teamed up with Michelin-starred British chef, Tom Kerridge, to design gourmet menus for customers travelling with the airline throughout August – the airline’s birthday month.

The new menus, which feature great British flavours, will be available in every cabin on all of the airline’s long-haul flights, providing customers with the option to enjoy a dish designed by Tom Kerridge for each course*.

The airline’s chefs and Tom Kerridge have worked closely to ensure the dishes not only showcase culinary expertise, but also work well at altitude. The menu includes a variety of fresh seasonal ingredients, such as wild garlic and asparagus, with a focus on British provenance.

Lion Air becomes first A330neo operator in the Asia-Pacific region


Indonesian carrier Lion Air has received its first A330-900, becoming the first airline from the Asia-Pacific region to fly the A330neo. The aircraft is on lease from BOC Aviation and is the first of 10 A330neos set to join the airline’s fleet.

The A330neo will be used by Lion Air for non-stop long-haul services from Indonesia. These include pilgrimage flights from cities such as Makassar, Balikpapan and Surabaya to Jeddah and Medina in Saudi Arabia. The flight time for such routes can be up to 12 hours.

Lion Air’s A330-900 is configured for 436 passengers in a single-class configuration.

Star Alliance and NEC corporation sign partnership agreement to enhance passenger experience through biometric data recognition technology

(L-R) Masakazu Yamashina_Executive VP NEC Corporation and Jeffrey Goh_CEO Star Alliance

Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance, and NEC Corporation, global leader in IT, network and biometric technologies, today signed a partnership agreement to develop a biometric data-based identification platform that will significantly improve the travel experience for frequent flyer programme customers of Star Alliance member airlines.

The interoperable platform advances the Star Alliance and NEC strategic vision of delivering a seamless customer journey while strengthening loyalty value proposition within the travel ecosystem.

Once implemented, Star Alliance customers who opt-in to biometrics will have a seamless and handsfree passenger experience, allowing them to pass through curb-to-gate touchpoints within airports, such as check-in kiosks, bag-drop, lounges, and boarding gates, which traditionally require both a passport and boarding pass, by using a secure identity management solution featuring facial recognition technology.

Air Astana and S7 Siberia Airlines strengthen cooperation with codeshare 

Air Astana and S7 Airlines, Russia’s biggest private airline, have strengthened their cooperation by signing a codeshare agreement for flights between Russia and Kazakhstan. Effective for flights operated from 15th July 2019, Air Astana flights from its hubs at Nur-Sultan and Almaty, to Novosibirsk and St. Petersburg now carry the code of S7 Airlines. Similarly, S7 Airlines services from Nur-Sultan and Almaty to Novosibirsk now carry the code of Air Astana.

The agreement enables passengers of both airlines to purchase tickets and travel across the combined network seamlessly. S7 Airlines passengers from across Russia will now have access to ten weekly flights connecting the S7 Airlines hub in Novosibirsk to and from the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan.

Similarly, Air Astana’s code being placed on S7 Airlines services between Almaty and Novosibirsk will provide Air Astana’s domestic, regional and international passengers with more choice of connecting flights. Passengers travelling between Nur-Sultan or Almaty and Stockholm, Sweden can also now use the growing S7 Airlines hub in St. Petersburg to reach their destination.


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