Aviation Wrap: Virgin Australia drops sale fares, AirAsia Japan to cease operations + MORE

Brisbane, Australia - September 25, 2014: looking through window at Brisbane airport, Virgin Airlines plane taking off and flying in the air. Tarmac B4 in view with tree line in background and a couple of cranes, nice sunny day.

We’re sorry to say that you’ll need to take the sour with the sweet in this week’s Aviation Wrap.

Virgin Australia drops sale fares

Virgin Australia has released several sale offers to help get Aussies closer to a 2020 holiday, including an exclusive Virgin Australia app sale.

Anybody with the Virgin Australia app can take advantage of this sale, and receive up to 20 per cent off selected fares across Economy and Business class.

This offer is exclusive to the Virgin Australia app, and is only available until midnight 8 October, with travel from 14 October 2020 to 9 December 2020.

The carrier has also dropped sales fares for flights to Hamilton Island.

To help out all those Queenslanders who live near or in Brisbane, Virgin Australia has partnered with the Queensland government and launched a sale fare of $129 on flights between Brisbane and Hamilton Island.

The best part is, the fares are available until they run out, and are for a travel period of 12 October 2020 to 13 December 2020

Queensland’s Tourism Minister, Kate Jones, said: “We expect this service to generate $1.36 million in overnight visitor expenditure over the duration of Queensland government support.”

AirAsia Japan to cease operations

Image source: Flickr/湯小沅

AirAsia Japan has decided to cease operations effective 5 October 2020.

Since its incorporation in July 2014, the company has been operating domestic and international flights from its base in Chubu Centrair International Airport.

However, the company said that the COVID-19 pandemic has left a significant and sustained adverse economic impact on businesses and economies around the world, and it has not been spared.

Travel restrictions and the uncertainties it created have severely curtailed demand for business and leisure travel resulting in flight reductions, cancellations, and grounding of aircraft, AirAsia Japan said. These factors have weighed heavily on the company’s ability to continue operations.

The cessation only affects the domestic and international flights operated by AirAsia Japan in Japan with letter code DJ and does not affect other flights into and out of Japan operated by other airlines within the AirAsia Group.

International services to Japan, from Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines will resume in the future after travel restrictions are lifted and borders with Japan are reopened.

Meanwhile, in other AirAsia Group news, AirAsia Digital, in partnership with Google, has launched Redbeat Academy – a tech upskilling program – as part of its continued digital transformation.

Etihad offers complimentary PCR tests

Etihad offers complimentary PCR tests

From 1 October until 31 December 2020, Etihad Airways will offer PCR tests included in all air tickets booked by customers in the UAE for flights departing from Abu Dhabi International Airport, with the exception of services to China.

The airline is collaborating with Life Medical Diagnostic Center (Life Dx) to offer convenient testing between 48 to 96 hours prior to departure, at its network of collection facilities in the UAE.

Travellers flying First or Business will also have the option of selecting tests at their home. The quick and easy process can be booked directly with Life Dx.

However, travellers flying to China from Abu Dhabi are subject to specific testing protocols and can only use SEHA testing facilities. They must show a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from a government-approved testing facility within 48 hours prior to departure, for approval to board.

Skyscanner launches real-time data tool to market for aviation sector

Skyscanner has launched Travel Insight Vision, a cutting-edge SaaS business intelligence tool to help airlines and airports decipher the best strategies to return routes to market and navigate their way towards recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

Skyscanner said that over the past few months it had seen three big shifts in the way travellers are searching for flights in 2020, including a significant rise in one-way searches, domestic and short-haul travel, as well as much shorter booking windows.

These are just some of the insights businesses can take advantage of to inform and shape their own business decisions. To check out Travel Insight Vision, click here.

Emirates starts on greener road journeys for crew in Dubai

Emirates has revealed that nearly a third of its dedicated fleet of transport buses for cabin crew in Dubai will now operate on biofuel, taking another step forward on its environmental mission to reduce emissions.

The airline’s contracted service provider, Al Wegdaniyah, has committed to operating all road trips with biodiesel provided by Neutral Fuels, one of the UAE’s leading producers of biofuels, utilising locally-sourced, used cooking oil as feedstock.

Emirates commissions a fleet of nearly four dozen buses in Dubai alone, to shuttle its cabin crew between their homes and workplace, clocking an average of 700,000 kilometres in a normal month, Emirates said.

Similar to operations in the air, route and schedule planning for ground transport is also an important aspect to maximise transport efficiency and reduce emissions.

The estimated carbon dioxide savings from this initiative alone is 75,000 kg annually, and the airline continues to work with its other transport suppliers to extend this initiative across the transport fleet.

Hawaiian Airlines increasing flights in preparation for pre-travel testing program

Hawaiian Airlines is bringing back more flights and routes between the US mainland and Hawai‘i to welcome guests who will have the option to bypass the state of Hawai‘i quarantine with a pre-travel negative COVID-19 test starting 15 October.

Hawaiian will resume nonstop service between Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) and McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas starting 2 October, and between HNL and Oakland (OAK), Phoenix (PHX) and San Jose (SJC) international airports on 1 November.

Thai Airways director resigns

Thai Airways International has informed investors that Associate Professor Dr Sanyalux Panwattanlikit has resigned from his position on the board of directors, effective from 1 October 2020 onwards.

It comes nearly a month after Thai Airways International was granted court approval for its debt restructuring plan, after the airline racked up debts as high as 350 billion baht ($15.3 billion).

The court also approved Thai Airways’ request to appoint EY Corporate Advisory Services Ltd. and the carrier’s board members as debt revamp planners.

THAI Smile chief executive Charita Leelayudth

Meanwhile, Sabre Corporation has announced a new distribution agreement with regional hybrid airline THAI Smile as the airline looks to boost traveller confidence amid a ramped up domestic tourism drive.

This new partnership means that content from THAI Smile, which operates to more than 30 domestic and regional destinations as well as seamlessly connecting to dozens more destinations through its parent company Thai Airways International PLC, will be available through the Sabre GDS.

The announcement comes after THAI Smile, together with Thai Airways, became the first airlines in Thailand to receive the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) certificate, which is designed to build traveller confidence through an official recognition of strong preventive measures.

Singapore Airlines launches Star Alliance digital connection service

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has become the launch airline for the digital version of the Star Alliance Connection Service.

The Star Alliance Connection Service was introduced in 2017 to facilitate time-critical flight connections between Star Alliance member airlines and, until now, has required dedicated staff support to assist affected passengers in transferring between flights.

The digital version of the Star Alliance Connection Service embeds in the participating member airline’s mobile app, providing updated transfer information and intuitive navigational services through the customer’s smartphone at major hub airports, without further intervention.

Information provided by the digital version includes the optimum route from the arrival to the departure gate, as well as distance and time needed to get there.

In the case of critical connections, passengers receive a digital express connection card that allows expedited passage through certain checkpoints.

See the Southern Lights with Quo Vadis Holidays

Melbourne-based tour company Quo Vadis Holidays has launched a brand-new trip that will allow travellers to see the enchanting southern lights, the aurora australias.

A nine to 10-hour flight on board a chartered Qantas 787-9 charter will depart Melbourne in the evening of late September 2021 and head in search of aurora.

The aim is to spend approximately 75 to 90 minutes at latitude 62º-65º flying at around 38,000 feet, above any obscuring cloud cover to witness and photograph the spectacle that is the southern lights.

For more information, get in touch with Quo Vadis Holidays’ director, Tim Kozma, on 0439 332 669, or at timk@quovadisholidays.com.

FlyPelican extends Byron Bay services

Due to popular demand across regional NSW and the ACT, the extension of FlyPelican’s Ballina services until the end of January 2021 are now confirmed.

These routes include Canberra to Ballina, which operates on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays. And the Dubbo to Ballina service, which operates on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays.

The carrier has also announced it will operate direct flights between Canberra and Port Macquarie as of 1 November 2020.

For all GDS booking enquiries for ticketing on FP, contact your local travel agency support team on 1800 922 976, or at helpdesk@flypelican.com.au.

Link Airways announce direct flights between Canberra and Hobart

Link Airways has announced the commencement of scheduled direct flights between Canberra and Hobart using the airline’s Saab 340B Plus aircraft.

With Tasmanian COVID-19 related state border restrictions set to be relaxed at the end of November, flights will commence on Thursday 3 December.

Flights will depart Canberra at 9:30am and arrive in Hobart at 11:35am. While a return service will depart Hobart at 12:05pm arriving in Canberra at 2:05pm.

Initially, services will operate four days per week, on Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday, growing to eleven return weekly services in 2021. In the event that the Tasmanian border with the ACT opens earlier than 1 December 2020, the airline will look to bring forward the scheduled commencement date accordingly.

British Airways launches flights from London Heathrow to Bermuda

British Airways has announced that from 28 March 2021, it will operate daily flights from London Heathrow Terminal 5 to Bermuda.

The flights will depart from London Heathrow at 2:55pm, landing in Bermuda at 6:25pm. The route will be operated by a Boeing 777-200, which will soon feature the airline’s new Club Suite.

Bermuda’s beautiful, secluded islands situated in the North Atlantic Ocean are home to some of the world’s most stunning reefs for scuba diving or snorkelling and visitors will benefit from luxury accommodation, selected by the experts at British Airways Holidays for the perfect escape in 2021.

Bluebox and dnata catering announce partnership

Bluebox Aviation Systems and dnata catering Australia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop and market offerings based on the deployment of Bluebox wireless in-flight entertainment (IFE) solutions across Australia, New Zealand and a number of other Pacific Ocean territories.

The companies will support each other in product customisation and processes for delivering joint solutions to customers in the region.

Hahn Air welcomes six new partner airlines into network

Ticketing and distribution company Hain Air has announced that it has established contracts with six new partner airlines during the past quarter, bringing the total number of new carriers implemented this year to 13.

Air Liaison (DU) from Canada, Blue Islands (SI) from the United Kingdom, Corendon Airlines Europe (XR) from Malta, Corendon Airlines (XC) from Turkey, Jet Fly (JFL) from Austria, and Tayaran Jet (E8) from Bulgaria can now benefit from an expanded distribution reach and incremental revenue in up to 190 markets.

GA Telesis teams up with Honeywell

In an effort to help restore confidence to the flying public, GA Telesis, LLC has teamed with Honeywell and entered into a distribution agreement to act as a global distributor for their UV Aircraft Cabin Cleaning system.

The cabin system utilises Ultraviolet (UV) light to quickly traverse an aircraft cabin, galleys and lavatories in “less than ten minutes”, GA Telesis claims.

In addition to measures already being taken by airlines in flight like the use of cabin air exchange and HEPA filters, this new system, when properly applied, reduces certain viruses and bacteria on airplane cabin surfaces after the airplane lands and before each flight.

The UV cabin cleaning system is intended to help instil confidence to business and leisure travellers as air traffic continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Solomon Airlines extends international flights suspension

Solomon Airlines has announced a further two-month extension of its suspension of all scheduled international passenger flights to 10 January 2021.

The airline had previously suspended all scheduled international flights until 24 October 2020.

Ticketed passengers affected who wish to change to a future date can do so without a change fee, subject to “the same booking class being available”.

Ticket validity extensions will also be provided to affected passengers uncertain about booking their future travel, with tickets automatically being held in credit and valid towards a new airfare for travel until 1 December 2022.

Featured image soruce: iStock/Eddisonphotos

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