Big Fat Airline Wrap

The amount of deals in the aviation industry this week is sending our brain airborne. Ok, we admit that pun was a bit of a stretch.

Top Travel Deals in the finder Flash Sale

  • Virgin Australia: Up to 15 per cent off selected flights to Fiji, Bali, Hong Kong and USA
  • Air New Zealand: Sydney to Los Angeles fares from $877
    Melbourne to Vancouver fares from $1,386
    Brisbane to San Francisco fares from $877
    Sydney to Buenos Aires fares from $1,080
  • BYOjet: Up to $260 off your flight booking
  • AMEX: Platinum Edge: Receive 50,000 Membership Rewards Bonus Points when you apply online by 13 March 2018* – that’s a free one way trip from Brisbane or Sydney to LA (approx. 44,800 Velocity Points)

Ends Thursday 1 March at 8am, click here to book

Emirates Increases Capacity to Lisbon

Emirates today announced it will resume a second daily service to Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, from 1 June 2018.

The flight will be operated by an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER in a three class cabin configuration, with eight private suites in First Class, 42 seats in Business Class, and 310 spacious seats in Economy Class.

Portugal boasts a warm temperate climate and a long coastline of beaches, scenic villages and a rich culture and history, attracting visitors from all over the world. According to Turismo de Portugal, a record 21 million people visited the country in 2017, an increase of 10 percent when compared to the previous year, while Lisbon recorded a 16 percent increase.

Customers travelling from Lisbon can also access over 90 destinations under the Emirates and flydubai network partnership with seamless connections through Dubai, especially for flights to and from destinations such as Kathmandu, Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro, Sylhet and Chittagong.

Qatar Airways takes delivery of the world’s first Airbus A350-1000


Qatar Airways today celebrated the delivery of the world’s first Airbus A350-1000 as the aircraft’s global launch customer before an audience of international media at the Airbus Delivery Centre in Toulouse, France. It is the first Airbus aircraft to be fitted with Qatar Airways’ revolutionary Qsuite Business Class seat.

The A350-1000 is the latest member of the Airbus wide-body aircraft portfolio. As the global launch customer, Qatar Airways will be the first airline to fly the A350-1000, which will go into service on the Doha-London route this month. Qatar Airways operates six daily flights between Doha and London Heathrow Airport. The airline was also the global launch customer for the A350-900 in 2014, and now operates 21 in its fleet.

Compared to the A350-900, the A350-1000 features 44 extra seats, with a two-class cabin of 46 award-winning Qsuite Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, featuring 80-inch fully flat beds and 22-inch HD in-flight entertainment screens.

Emirates A380 returns to Houston

Emirates will resume its flagship A380 service between Houston (IAH) and Dubai (DXB) from 1 June 2018. This follows the airline’s recent adjustments to its US services with the launch of a new non-stop Dubai-Newark service from 1 June 2018 and the resumption of daily services to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando from 25 March 2018.

Houston will join more than 40 destinations on Emirates’ extensive global network served by its highly popular A380 aircraft, including Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Kuwait. Emirates will deploy its three-class A380 on the Houston route, offering a total of 516 seats, with 14 private suites in First Class, 76 flatbed seats in Business Class seats and 426 spacious seats in Economy Class, increasing capacity per flight by more than 160 passengers compared to the current Boeing 777-300ER.

Emirates celebrated 10 years of service to Houston in December 2017, and has carried nearly 2 million passengers since its inaugural flight in December 2007. Services to Houston were upguaged to an A380 in December 2014, but as part of Emirates’ fleet optimization, the decision was made in July 2016 to operate the route with a Boeing 777-300ER.

Cathay Pacific to fly non-stop to Cape Town from November

Aerial view of Cape Town with Cape Town Stadium, Lion's Head and Table mountain.

Cathay Pacific will launch a seasonal non-stop service to cosmopolitan Cape Town later this year, directly linking this popular business and tourism destination with Hong Kong for the very first time.

The three-times-weekly service, from 13 November 2018 to 18 February 2019, will complement Cathay Pacific’s existing daily non-stop flights to Johannesburg and will be operated by state-of-the-art Airbus A350-900 aircraft.

The Cathay Pacific group has expanded its network significantly in recent times. In 2017, services to Tel Aviv, Barcelona and Christchurch were launched, while this January saw the inaugural service to Nanning. Other regional and international routes to commence in 2018 include Jinan and Brussels (March), Copenhagen (May), Dublin (June) and Washington DC (September).

AirAsia X Berhad’s Financial Results

AirAsia X Berhad today reported its financial results for the Fourth Quarter and Full Financial Year ended 31 December 2017.

AAX posted quarterly revenue of RM1.22 billion, up four per cent from the revenue reported in the same quarter last year. The strong revenue recorded was on the back of a 12 per cent year-on-year growth in the number of passengers carried at 1.55 million which was ahead of the eight per cent Available Seat per Kilometer capacity growth, allowing the Company to record a load factor of 83 per cent. Average base fare was down by eight per cent to RM519 due to lower fares across our key markets in-line with our load active strategy.

Revenue per Available Seat Kilometre was down three per cent year-on-year to 13.36 sen in 2017. The drop in RASK was within expectation due to increased capacity on existing routes ensuring market strength which resulted in slightly lower yields. On the other hand, Cost per Available Seat Kilometer (“CASK”) was lower by six per cent year-on-year to 12.15 sen while CASK ex-fuel dropped eight per cent year-on-year to 7.96 sen, mainly due to lower maintenance and overhaul on the back of over accruals from previous quarters, and better aircraft utilisation.

AAX posted a net operating profit of RM100.1 million in 4Q17. Profit before tax for the period was RM135.6 million as compared to profit before tax of RM29.9 million in the same quarter last year.

London is the Launch Destination for Qatar Airways’ Airbus A350-1000


Qatar Airways is pleased to announce that London is the first route for the world’s first commercial service of its Airbus A350-1000. The five-star Gulf carrier is the global launch customer for the state-of-the-art-aircraft, following delivery by Airbus from the aircraft manufacturer’s base in Toulouse, France last Tuesday.

The world’s first A350-1000 XWB embarked upon its first commercial service to the UK capital on Saturday 24 February as QR 15 at 15:55 hrs and after a seven-hour 30 minute flight, landed at London’s Heathrow Airport at 20:25 hrs. The A350-1000 will operate a daily non-stop service between Doha and London.

The A350-1000 XWB will offer a total of 327 seats across two cabins, with 46 award-winning Qsuite Business Class seats and 281 18-inch extra wide Economy Class seats. It offers enhanced levels of passenger comfort, thanks to the lowest twin engine noise level of any aircraft, advanced air conditioning technology and full LED mood lighting.

Emirates to operate first ever A380 to Beirut

For the first time in Rafic Al Hariri International Airport’s history, Emirates will operate a special one-off A380 service to Beirut on 29 March. The airline’s flagship double-decker will become the first-ever scheduled A380 service to Beirut, and Emirates is working with the airport to test the operations and necessary infrastructure to accommodate an A380 service.

The Emirates A380 service will operate as EK 957 and EK 958, departing Dubai at 0725hrs and arriving in Beirut at 1030hrs. The flight will depart Beirut at 1415hrs arriving in Dubai at 1905hrs on the same day.

The air transport sector makes a major contribution to Lebanon’s economy, and its far-reaching impact to other industries serves as a catalyst for a spectrum of economic activity. In addition, over 170,000 jobs in Lebanon are supported by the air transport industry through direct, indirect, subsequent supply chain and tourism activities.

Music is in the air at LAX

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 11.40.11 am

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) and Grand Performances are excited to announce the 2018 LAX Presents line-up, which will feature musical acts, dancers, a DJ and even puppeteers.

Now in its second year of a three-year contract, LAX Presents brings together artists from across Los Angeles to perform in the unique spaces of an international airport. The 2018 line-up includes 18 performances across nine months, including six classical performances, a DJ with dancers and a percussionist, a puppet show, and an Indian dance troupe.

Last year, the LAX Presents program included performances in four different terminals. This year, it will expand to six terminals, including one location that is pre-TSA Security, at the Terminal 2 baggage claim area. The other performance sites will all be beyond security, in Terminals 1, 4, 5, 7 and Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT).

Hong Kong Airlines joins the Sabre Airline Solutions global customer community

Sabre Corporation, the leading technology provider to the global travel industry, today announced an agreement with Hong Kong Airlines to implement Sabre AirCentre Crew technology, a solution that offers a range of crew scheduling, management, services and analytical capabilities. This new partnership marks a significant collaboration between Sabre and a fast-growing airline in the Asia Pacific region.

Increased connectivity between the aircraft, flight crew, and airline staff represents a tremendous opportunity for Hong Kong Airlines to optimize its processes both in the air and on the ground. Once fully implemented, Sabre’s Crew Solutions will help reduce controllable delays by improving productivity related to scheduling, benefitting both the flight and cabin crew.

The technology encourages a proactive approach that fosters timely communication between schedulers and crew members, reduces costs by minimizing crew overage, and contributes to increased productivity by better connecting all touchpoints, promoting better crew utilisation through optimized pairings, scheduling and tracking. Additionally, the solution drives improved operational efficiency by providing a more proactive means of tracking and communicating with crew in real-time.

Finnair opens direct flights to Minsk and extends Chicago and San Francisco services

Finnair Embraer 190

Finnair will open a direct year-round route between Helsinki and Belarus capital, Minsk on 9 June 2018.

Finnair Corporate Sales Manager Australia, Sanna Ruuskanen said the flights between Helsinki and Minsk would operate Tuesdays and Saturdays with an Embraer 190 aircraft.

Currently, Finnair also co-operates with Belavia on the Helsinki-Minsk route and Finnair’s own flights will bring the total amount of weekly services to four. Minsk is well known for its history, architecture and cultural arts scene. The city’s many museums and historical sites also offer activities for travellers interested in history and culture.

Originally, the route was set to operate from 19 April until 27 October. Chicago is the largest city in the American Midwest and a global hub for business, leisure and the arts. Finnair started a seasonal service to Chicago during the northern summer of 2015.

International Growth continues in January

Growth in international passenger numbers at Cairns Airport continued in January with a four per cent rise versus the previous January totalling 65,280 for the month.

Cairns Airport Chief Commercial Officer – Aviation, Paul McLean, said passenger numbers through the International Terminal (T1) in January were boosted by the new direct services from mainland China, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines, the Jin Air charter flights from Seoul for the month, and the increase in SilkAir flights to Singapore to five per week.

Domestic passengers were down by one per cent totalling 4,860 less than January 2017. This reflects the change of date for Chinese New Year as domestic airlines added capacity to meet this demand in January 2017.

With the new Chinese services now operating, more Chinese international passengers can come to Cairns direct from overseas rather than flying south to fly north again on domestic services, which is how almost 80 per cent of current international visitors arrive to Cairns.

Meridiana launches new look: Air Italy


Meridiana, Italy’s long established privately owned airline, has announced an exciting new phase of growth and development with its new identity as Air Italy. Qatar Airways previously strengthened its commitment to Italy in 2017 with the acquisition of 49 per cent of AQA Holding, the new parent company of Air Italy, while the previous sole shareholder Alisarda kept 51 per cent.

Air Italy aims to have approximately 50 aircraft by 2022 and is already committed to receiving 20 of the brand new Boeing 737-Max aircraft type from April 2018, over the next three years. Air Italy will also receive five Airbus A330-200 aircraft this year from the Qatar Airways’ fleet, prior to these being further replaced by Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft, commencing May 2019.

Network destinations will also enjoy continued expansion, with new long-range routes from Milan to New York and Miami already announced recently, that will soon be followed by new short-haul routes connecting Milan and the airline’s long range destinations to Rome, Naples, Palermo, Catania and Lamezia Terme.

Air Astana takes Astana-London daily from June 1

Air Astana, the Skytrax award-winning national carrier of Kazakhstan will offer daily, non-stop flights from Nazarbayev International airport in Astana to London Heathrow, effective 1st June. The additional frequencies, on Wednesdays and Fridays, are already available for sale.

Passengers flying direct with Air Astana also benefit from seamless immediate connections to Kazakhstan’s second city Almaty and excellent onwards connections via the airline’s domestic and international network. From Astana, passengers can benefit from convenient international connections to Urumqi, northwest China; Delhi, India; and the Russian cities of Novosibirsk, Omsk, Tyumen and Yekaterinburg.

Air Astana offers a three-class product aboard its comfortable Boeing 757 aircraft – 16 seats in business; 108 in economy and up to 12 unique Economy Sleeper Seats. Return fares start from US$661* for Economy Class, US$2,246* for an Economy Sleeper, and US$3,256* for Business Class. Fares include all taxes with exception to service fee. Tickets can be purchased via airline’s website: airastana.com or Air Astana’s ticketing offices.

Emirates to sponsor the UAE U17 and Open National Netball Teams


Emirates today announced its sponsorship of the newly developed UAE U17 and Open National Netball Teams. The sponsorship will see the ‘Emirates’ logo appear on the front of the UAE U17 and Open National Netball teams’ playing and training kits, and the airline will also provide travel support for the teams. Watch the U17 UAE National Netball team train for the first time in their new Emirates kits.

This is also the first time that the UAE’s young female netball players will have the opportunity to participate on the world netball stage, with two teams competing in the Netball Europe Championships in 2018. The Open squad will also be competing for a world ranking.

Netball is one of the largest female participation sports with 20 million people playing in more than 80 countries, and a growing fan and participant base. The sport has been increasing in popularity in the UAE, both at school and in amateur league levels, with over 1,000 people here playing every week.


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