China Southern Airlines have announced that their Airbus A380 will be coming to Australia, to be operated on their Guangzhou to Sydney route One of the airlines 5 Airbus A380 aircraft will begin flying the route from 27 October 2013 replacing the Airbus A330-300 that currently operates on this route. “Australia remains our most important overseas market and the test bed for our global strategy,” China Southern executive vice president Chen Gang said. “Our Canton Route via Guangzhou is the new and exciting way for Australians to fly and we are absolutely thrilled that they will soon be able to stop over in this vibrant city with a free transit permit for up to 72 hours to try some authentic Cantonese Yum Cha, enjoy the local culture and shop ’til they drop,” Mr Chen said. In addition Melbourne and Sydney will see China Southern’s new A330-300 and A330-200 aircraft from October which has the airlines all new business class flatbeds in business along personal screens throughout. Early this month the airline introduced A330-223 aircraft on Brisbane and Perth routes. Australian and New Zealand passengers travelling to China via Guangzhou will soon be able to utilize visa free entry into the country.
Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand today announced that they would begin operations of direct a twice weekly Perth to Christchurch service that will operate during the peak travel period between December 2013 and April 2014 The service that will be operated by Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia will codeshare on is the first direct service between the two cities in 20 years has been made possible by the trans-Tasman alliance. Flights are scheduled to depart Christchurch at 1540 arriving in Perth at 1910 on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon announced the new route, on behalf of the alliance partners, at the official opening this evening of Christchurch International Airport Limited’s new terminal facilities. Mr Luxon highlighted Christchurch and Perth as the two largest trans-Tasman destinations without a current direct alliance service. “This is a great time to be linking these two destinations. The West Australian economy continues to grow at a faster rate than the rest of Australia and rebuilding activity is poised to stimulate travel demand within Christchurch and Canterbury.” Mr Luxon says “Christchurch is also a convenient hub for the whole South Island – particularly now the airport company is providing world class terminal facilities.” Virgin Australia Chief Commercial Officer Judith Crompton said Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand have been working together for around two years now to ensure that they offer the best possible network and service across the Tasman. “We have been very pleased with the recovery we have seen on Christchurch routes in recent times and we expect traffic to continue to increase as a result of the new airport facilities. Linking Christchurch with Perth, which has long had the highest growth rate of all Australian capital city airports, will provide an attractive service for business and leisure travellers alike. “The hard work and cooperation of Perth Airport and Christchurch International Airport has been integral to the formation of this new route and we look forward to working with them in future for the benefit of our customers”, Ms Crompton said.
Virgin Australia today announced that they would be adding a new feature to all Velocity Frequent Flyer Membership cards, the new feature Global Wallet will combine the Velocity Frequent Flyer Membership Card with a prepaid travel money card. Features of the card will include: Load money onto their card and store it in multiple foreign currencies as well as Australian dollars; Make purchases at over 30 million locations around the world, wherever Visa is accepted; Withdraw funds from over 2 million ATMs in Australia and around the world; and Earn Velocity Frequent Flyer Points for purchases made using their Global Wallet™, both in Australia and overseas. All future cards will include the Global Wallet travel money feature which can be enabled by activating the feature online at any time. The Global Wallet launch from Virgin Australia is hot on the heels of the Qantas’ prepaid travel card Qantas Cash which was released in February this year. Velocity Frequent Flyer Chief Executive Officer Neil Thompson said: “We are delighted to unveil the Global Wallet in partnership with Visa. “This new prepaid innovation encapsulates Velocity Frequent Flyer’s proposition as a multi-faceted program that pushes traditional boundaries. “Not only will our cards be the access point to a range of Velocity benefits including seamless check-in, access to lounges and priority services, they will make spending in Australia and overseas an easier, more rewarding experience. “Through our strong global network with Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Air New Zealand, our members can earn Points on flights around the world and this initiative is another way they can be rewarded right throughout their journey. “We look forward to sharing more about the Global Wallet’s unique features when it launches in the coming months. “We are also working with Rev Worldwide, a global payments specialist to deliver the product to market and we look forward to sharing more about the Global Wallet’s unique features when it launches in the coming months,” Mr Thompson said. Visa’s Country Manager Australia Vipin Kalra said the new card featured smart chip technology and the convenience of Visa payWave to enable fast, contactless payments. “Australians are increasingly attracted to faster and smarter ways to pay and are using cash less and less often. The Global Wallet is an innovative new product that will appeal to consumers looking for an easy way to make everyday purchases, as well as better manage their money when travelling overseas. “The ability to load money into multiple currencies allows them to lock in favourable exchange rates and shop at more than 30 million merchant locations worldwide,” Mr Kalra said.
Qantas today launched the airlines bold new uniform that will be worn by over 12,600 employees from 2014. The new uniform created by Australian designer Martin Grant consists of over 35 garments which feature French navy suiting and white shirting, variations of the Qantas red – ruby red and fuchsia pink – are featured in diagonal stripes, recreating the idea of the Qantas triangle, across tops and dresses for women and on ties for men. In designing the uniform designer Martin Grant consulted with the Qantas Uniform Panel which consists of 12 representatives from each customer facing departments and included cabin crew ground staff. Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said he was proud to launch a new uniform design for Qantas – the first in ten years. “This is a new look for a new chapter for Qantas,” said Mr Joyce. “The new uniform speaks of Australian style on the global stage. “The design brief was to provide a unique, functional and durable uniform, suitable for a premium airline operating across Australia and around the world. “After an extensive selection and design process, Martin Grant has created a uniform that is fresh, modern and bold – a uniform that our employees are going to enjoy wearing. “Martin’s interpretation of the brief was developed in collaboration with Qantas employees, and the end result is a stylish and comfortable collection that will help our people feel their best no matter where they are in the world.” Martin Grant said he was honoured to have been involved in such a significant project. “Qantas is a well-recognised and loved Australian brand, and one which has one of the strongest international logos,” he said. “My inspiration for the uniform came from Qantas’ striking logo – the powerful red triangle and the flying kangaroo. I have always loved the Qantas logo as it’s very nostalgic for me. “In the initial stages of design, I started thinking about things associated with Australia and I kept coming back to the Qantas logo and the image that we all have of Qantas. There is a huge amount of pride attached to Qantas and it made sense to concentrate on the Qantas logo. “I strived for something simple and durable, while adding a bold colour palette. I wanted to create a uniform that reflected the glamour of flying and something that would suit every body shape.” Photo credit for all images Mark Sherborne
Qantas today opened a new Qantas lounge in Singapore to cater for the airlines ‘growing with Asia’ strategy. The new Singapore Qantas lounge which is open to all Business, Platinum One, Gold and Qantas Club members is a vibrant and chic space that celebrates the local environment and interiors reflect the heart of Singapore. Some of the features of the new Singapore Qantas lounge include: Seating for up to 460 Customers 20 Showers 80” televisions located throughout the lounge Barista Service Tech Pods to enable customers to work with-in the lounge zones Neil Perry Rockpool inspired/food philosophy meals Sofitel service offerings for Platinum One Frequent Flyers One of the stands out features of the new Singapore Qantas lounge is the Neil Perry Rockpool food philosophy and Spice Temple-inspired dishes that will see daily plates with locally influenced dishes, Live cooking stations, an extensive self-service buffet featuring a range of local and international influences. Qantas International CEO, Simon Hickey, said the new lounge showcased the experiences and cuisine of Singapore. “The Singapore Lounge has been designed to complement the destination: it’s vibrant and elegant, spacious and luxurious, and it’s the perfect environment for our customers to relax before their flight,” said Mr Hickey. “We’ve worked with our renowned Consulting Chef Neil Perry to design menus based on his Rockpool food philosophy and popular restaurant Spice Temple, with dishes inspired by regional cuisine and flavours.” Mr Hickey said the opening of the new lounge reflected the Qantas Group’s strategy of ‘growing with Asia’. “This multi-million dollar investment is part of our broader commitment to improve the experience we offer on services to and from Asia, including our A330 upgrades to begin next year,” added Mr Hickey. “It also complements our new Asia schedule, which promotes Singapore as a hub for the region. We now offer more dedicated capacity, better frequencies and improved connections from Singapore to other destinations across Asia.” All photos credit Paul Blackmore
Today Qantas and Emirates celebrated the start of the airlines partnership between Australia and London by conducting a joint flyover in formation by each of the airlines Airbus A380 aircraft. The flyover that started at 10:30 am flew over Sydney’s iconic Opera house and harbour bridge is the first time two commercial Airbus A380 aircraft had flown in such close formation, at times flying as low as 1500 feet. Both aircraft took off from Sydney International at 9:20am, then flew north to Longreef, then south and slightly out to sea, and then turned to come into Sydney Harbour over Watson’s Bay, positioned to the north side of the Harbour, passing the Sydney Opera House and flying over the Sydney Harbour Bridge at 10.30am. Finally the aircraft flew out to the Gladesville Bridge, and turned around and came back in the same formation. The Qantas plane lead at a height of 1500ft with the Emirates aircraft to the right and higher. Qantas photographs of the flyover can be seen below: Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Alan Joyce, said the partnership would make long haul travel more seamless – and faster – for millions of Australians. “From today, our customers from Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney have one-stop access to 65 destinations in the Middle East, North Africa, the UK and Europe via the joint Qantas and Emirates network. “By travelling through Dubai, Qantas customers can connect to the extensive Emirates network into Europe and the UK and fly directly to their destination,” said Mr Joyce. “Before today, the Qantas network offered five one-stop codeshare destinations into Europe and the UK with our partners. From today, we offer access to more than 30 destinations in Europe on the combined Qantas and Emirates network. “The new network will cut average journey times by more than two hours from Melbourne and Sydney to the top 10 destinations in Europe,” added Mr Joyce. Combined the two airlines will offer 98 flights a week between Australia and Dubai. Qantas will continue to operate its A380 services from Sydney and Melbourne through to London. President of Emirates, Tim Clark, said no other aviation partnership offered customers a coordinated premium airline experience like Emirates and Qantas. “The strength of this partnership stems from the fact the Emirates and Qantas brands are an excellent match. Emirates customers using a Qantas lounge or taking a Qantas flight will experience a level of service that is on par with what they expect from Emirates,” he said. “Our two airlines offer the largest joint fleet of Airbus A380s and passengers will be welcomed through the world’s only all-A380 terminal at DubaiInternationalAirport, which is the geographical centrepiece of the partnership. “A major benefit is the range of products we are offering frequent flyers. Customers of either airline can leverage many of their privileges when they fly on the joint network, including earning points, redeeming flights and accessing lounges,” added Mr Clark.
Etihad Airways will begin Ho Chi Minh City services from 1 October 2013 making Vietnam Etihad’s 6th ASEAN destination. Current timetables on the Etihad Airways site indicate show the following details for the flight Origin Destination Flight No Depart Arrive Abu Dhabi (AHU) Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) EY441 0830hrs 1835hrs Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) Abu Dhabi (AHU) EY440 1950hrs 0050 hrs +1 James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted to announce the introduction of Ho Chi Minh City to the Etihad Airways’ global flight network. Like our home-base of Abu Dhabi, it is a vibrant, culturally rich and expanding city popular with business and leisure travellers. “The route will be ideal to carry passengers and cargo point to point from the United Arab Emirates, as well as from Etihad Airways destinations across the Middle East, Europe, and North and South America.” His Excellency Tran Ngoc Thach, Ambassador of Vietnam to the UAE, said, “I believe that Etihad’s direct flights to Vietnam will contribute to improving understanding between the two peoples of Viet Nam and the UAE. More and more tourists will come to Viet Nam and a greater number of tourists will come to the UAE. They will also help to increase trade and tourism between our two countries for the benefit of the people and countries.” Eithad Airways Ho Chi Minh City Service will be operated by a 2 class Airbus A330-200 with 22 Pearl Business Class seats and 240 Coral Economy Class Seats.
Along with details of Qantas and Emirates reciprocal frequent flyer benefits Qantas also announced changes to its checked baggage limits that will see the airline move from a weight and piece limit back to a weight limit, on all international services except for the Americas. The Qantas switch back to a weight only limit will allow the airline to align with Emirates and provide passengers of both airlines a seamless experience. It was not that long ago (May 2012) that the airline first introduced a piece and weight limit on international services. These new limits will take effect from 31 March for all tickets issued on or after 26 February, and excludes An analysis of the before and after changes will see economy class passengers with no status move from a single piece 23kg allowance up to a 30kg multiple piece allowance, unfortunately it looks like passengers travelling in higher classes with no or high status will be the losers after these limits take effect. For instance a Qantas Platinum / Platinum One member flying in business class today can check 4 pieces weighing up to 32kg each or a whopping 128kg in total, after 31 March this limit more than halves down to a maximum of 60kg over multiple pieces. Again it is important to restate that these changes only apply to International Flights and do not apply to services to/from the Americas. Checked baggage limits on services to from the Americas will still operate under a piece and weight system. A full comparison table of the changes can be seen below: Cabin Tier Current Allowance New Allowance Economy Non FF, Bronze 1 pc up to 23kg 30kg Qantas Club, Silver 2 pc up to 23kg each 42kg Gold 2 pc up to 32kg each 46kg Platinum / Platinum One 3 pc up to 32kg each 50kg Premium Economy Non FF, Bronze 2 pc up to 23kg each 40kg Qantas Club, Silver 3 pc up to 23kg each 52kg Gold 3 pc up to 23kg each 56kg Platinum / Platinum One 3 pc up to 32kg each 60kg Business Non FF, Bronze 3 pc up to 32kg each 40kg Qantas Club, Silver 3 pc up to 32kg each 52kg Gold 3 pc up to 32kg each 56kg Platinum / Platinum One 4 pc up to 32kg each 60kg First Non FF, Bronze 3 pc up to 32kg each 50kg Qantas Club, Silver 3 pc up to 32kg each 62kg Gold 3 pc up to 32kg each 66kg Platinum / Platinum One 4 pc up to 32kg each 70kg Infants NA 1 pc up to 10kg + 3 infant items 10kg + 3 infant items Children NA As per adult allowance + 2 children’s items As per adult allowance + 2 children’s items Are you a higher than bronze QFF or travel in Premium, Business or First, how will these changes effect you?
The Qantas Emirates partnership has gone a step further with Qantas releasing details of the reciprocal frequent flyer benefits that will be available from the proposed Emirates Qantas partnership. If the proposed partnership receives regulatory approval some of the shared benefits for Qantas Frequent Flyers and Emirates Skywards members will include: Earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points or Emirates Skywards Miles on Emirates and Qantas flights (with some exceptions for Emirates Skywards members on the Qantas domestic network). An expanded network for members of each program to earn Qantas Status credits and Status bonus or Skywards Tier Miles and Tier bonus. Redeem points/Miles on any part of the Qantas or Emirates network – a combined total of more than 175 destinations worldwide. Access to both Qantas and Emirates lounges for Gold members (or above) of either program in Australia, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Have their tier status in either program recognised with both airlines when flying on the joint Qantas-Emirates network (where available). In addition to reciprocal Frequent Flyer benefits both carriers also announced details of their new shared baggage policy that will see Qantas move from a Piece and weight based baggage system to a weight based system (excluding flights to/from the Americas) As part of today’s announcement the Qantas media release goes on to say: Chief Executive of Qantas Loyalty, Lesley Grant, said the benefits announced today would give frequent flyers of either airline the opportunity to earn and redeem points or Miles across a massive network. “Our shared goal has been to offer Qantas and Emirates customers the best global network, flying the largest combined A380 fleet and supported by the best rewards for our frequent flyers,” said Ms Grant. “Both airlines already offer some of the highest quality travel experiences, including our lounges and loyalty benefits, so this is about bringing together the best of both worlds,” she added. Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ Executive Vice President, Passenger Sales Worldwide said: ”It is an exciting time to be an Emirates Skywards member, yesterday we announced Platinum – our new tier, which has been developed to enhance the travel experience for frequent travellers and to offer additional benefits to Emirates Skywards members who have earned over 150,000 Tier Miles in a year. “Now today we are unveiling the wide range of benefits that our members can enjoy as part of the Emirates and Qantas partnership,” added Mr Antinori. Emirates and Qantas have also announced their shared baggage policy on certain routes for travel from 31 March 2013. To enable a more seamless experience as customers travel on the joint network, Qantas will move from a piece and weight system, to a weight system, for all international flights – excluding those to/from the Americas. As part of this alignment, Emirates will increase its pre-purchase excess baggage discount to 30 per cent. Eligible Qantas Frequent Flyers, Qantas Club members and Skywards members will enjoy additional allowances when travelling across the joint network.
Singapore’s budget terminal in which airlines such as Tiger Airways, Berjaya Air, Cebu Pacific, Firefly, South East Asian Airlines operate from will be closed from 25 September 2012 and demolished to make way for a new main terminal building Terminal 4. The new terminal build 4 which is scheduled to be complete by 2017 will have capacity for around 16 million passengers per year which is an increase of 9 million passengers from the current budget terminals 7 million passengers. In addition to being able to cater for more passengers per year the future Changi terminal 4 will be a full terminal building like Terminal 1-3 with better retail duty free shops, facilities and airline lounges. Singapore Changi’s budget terminal has only been in operation for around 5 years.
Cathay Pacific today announced that the airline has received its first Boeing 777-300ER fitted with Premium Economy and its new Economy Class product. Speaking at the delivery ceremony at the Boeing factory in Seattle, Cathay Pacific Chief Operating Officer Ivan Chu said: “This is an important development for Cathay Pacific – another big step in our commitment to provide outstanding products and services to our passengers. We’re confident that both these new products will be winners, especially when combined with the famous Cathay Pacific service.” As well as introducing a totally new seat and entertainment system, Cathay Pacific has designed the entire customer experience to be more special for its new Premium Economy Class passengers. To begin with, the new Premium Economy experience features a quieter, more spacious cabin than the traditional Economy Class with between 26 and 34 seats per aircraft. The seat pitch is 38 inches – six inches more than Economy Class – and the seat itself is wider and has a bigger recline. It has a large meal table, cocktail table, footrest, a 10.6-inch personal television, an in-seat power outlet, a multi-port connector for personal devices and extra personal stowage space. Complementing these features, passengers will also benefit from: On the ground: Priority check-in at dedicated counters and priority boarding before Economy Class passengers. An increase in baggage allowance from 20kg to 25kg (weight system) or two pieces of baggage from 23kg to 25kg each (piece system). In the air: Premium Economy Class seats offer a higher level of comfort with more living space in a separate cabin before the Economy Class zone. Passengers will receive an environmentally friendly amenity kit with dental kit, socks, eyeshade and earplugs for use during their journey. Larger pillows and noise-cancelling headsets will be provided to enhance the onboard experience. Premium Economy passengers will be welcomed aboard with juice and champagne, and enjoy an enhanced onboard meal selection. Each passenger will also receive a personal bottle of water and additional snack choices to include more fresh fruit, an energy bar and dessert. Passengers can book the Premium Economy seats for flights departing from 1 April onwards which will initially be featured on some of the selected flights on the Sydney (CX101/100), Toronto (CX826/825/828/829), Vancouver (CX888/889), and New York (CX830/831/ 840/841/888/889) routes. In May, Premium Economy will be featured on some of the selected flights on the London route (CX252/255). As the number of aircraft fitted with these new cabins increases, priority will be given to achieving daily availability on these routes. Additional markets will come online later in the year including Adelaide, Los Angeles, Melbourne and San Francisco in August, Frankfurt in September and Brisbane and Mumbai in October. More continental Europe and long-haul routes will be gradually introduced beyond that. By end of this year, Cathay Pacific will have 48 aircraft installed with the new product. By the end of 2013, 87 aircraft in the airline’s long-haul fleet will feature Premium Economy. […]
Today Virgin Australia announced that the Airline has select the Samsung GALAXY Tab for their future Inflight Entertainment IFE System on Boeing 737 and Embraer E190 aircraft, with the new IFE system being made available from April 2012 Group Executive Product and Guest Services, Martin Daley, said the Samsung GALAXY 10.1 featured high resolution graphics and superb sound to deliver an outstanding on-board entertainment experience. The GALAXY Tab is principally for Business Class guests and will be available to them on all sectors. Economy Class guests will have access to the GALAXY Tab on flights over three hours, responding to customer demand for comprehensive inflight entertainment on these longer sectors. “During this first phase, the GALAXY Tab 10.1 will be provided to guests pre-loaded with a range of movies, television and audio programs to keep guests entertained and informed.” Mr. Daley said that this state of the art device was the perfect choice to experience the next generation of inflight entertainment. “Phase II will see the roll-out of the leading edge Wi-Fi system developed by Lufthansa Systems. “In Phase II guests will have access to a wide range of products including video and audio streaming delivered on demand to their own personal electronic devices, Wi-Fi enabled laptops or the Samsung GALAXY Tab 10.1.” Mr. Daley said the growing number of travellers carrying their own devices opens up the future possibilities for inflight entertainment. The Wi-Fi inflight entertainment system will allow Virgin Australia to remain at the forefront of technology that will include Ability to control and view content from personal electronic devices (PEDs) and Wi-Fi enabled laptops; Extensive range of movies, television and audio content; On demand controls to start, stop, rewind, fast forward and pause content; Selection of games for adults and children including arcade style games in future releases; and Service and Product information including destination/airport guides, travel offers and Velocity information in future releases. “Meanwhile, we are confident that our guests will find the GALAXY Tab 10.1 full of features which makes it the perfect companion for inflight entertainment,” Mr. Daley said. The Samsung GALAXY Tab 10.1 inch device features include: The 16:9 screen aspect means that the GALAXY is the best device to view movies; Excellent screen sharpness with 149 pixels per square inch; Easy to hold and lightweight (565g) and slim design (8.6mm thick). The Virgin Australia IFE running on GALAXY Tab 10.1 will be provided to all Business Class guests, and will also be offered for rental by guests travelling in Economy on flights over three hours, subject to availability.
As confirmed several months ago on this site Vietnam Airlines has now taken the majority stake in Jetstar Pacific, along with Qantas increasing its stake in the airline from 27 to 30 precent. Vietnam Airlines will take the majority share in Jetstar Pacific, currently held by the Vietnamese State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC). Separately, the Qantas Group’s existing 27 per cent share in Jetstar Pacific has now increased to 30 per cent in-line with long-term commitments. Chief Executive of the Qantas Group, Alan Joyce, said the new partnership with Vietnam Airlines would represent an extension of the dual brand strategy pioneered by Qantas and Jetstar, in one of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets. “This partnership brings together the proven low cost model of Jetstar with the unique local knowledge and existing networks of national carrier, Vietnam Airlines,” said Mr Joyce. “We are confident this partnership between a low cost carrier and a full service airline in Vietnam can replicate the success of our Qantas and Jetstar strategy in Australia, and follows our recent partnership with Japan Airlines to form Jetstar Japan.” Chief Executive of the Jetstar Group, Bruce Buchanan, said the strategic partnership with Vietnam Airlines would strengthen Jetstar Pacific’s ability to create new travel demand in the third most populous nation in Southeast Asia. “Across Asia we are seeing the positive impacts of introducing a new generation of customers to air travel, including Vietnam where the penetration of low cost carriers is still relatively low,” said Mr Buchanan. “The strength of our low cost model and the tremendous potential for growth provide a unique opportunity for Jetstar in Vietnam. Our partnership with Vietnam Airlines will help develop this.” Through the new partnership, Jetstar Pacific will receive an initial capital injection of AUD$25 million, including $7.5 million from the Qantas Group. This will be directed towards fleet renewal, with the carrier’s current Boeing 737s replaced with new A320s from mid-2012. The shareholders support Jetstar Pacific’s fleet to grow to 15 A320s within the next few years. Jetstar Pacific’s existing CEO and Chairman were representatives of former shareholder, SCIC. The Jetstar Group and Vietnam Airlines expect to announce a new CEO and Chairman in coming weeks. Mr Buchanan said Vietnam remained key to the Jetstar Group’s expansion plans across Asia Pacific, where it is the region’s fastest growing low fares carrier as well as the largest by revenue. “Jetstar continues to leverage the exceptional economic growth across Asia through strategic expansion of our network and fleet,” he added. According to International Air Transport Association (IATA), Vietnam will become the world’s second fastest growing aviation market for domestic passengers by 2014.
With Singapore Airlines signalling the end of the Boeing 747 the airline has announced that it will operate special commemorative flights between Singapore and Hong Kong on 6 April 2012 to mark the retirement of the Boeing 747 after nearly four decades of service. Flight SQ747 from Singapore to Hong Kong and SQ748 from Hong Kong to Singapore will be operated with the B747-400, replacing existing flights SQ860 and SQ863, which are normally operated with Airbus A330-300s. The special flights, which will be SIA’s last commercial passenger services with the B747, are now open for sale. In addition to more than 300 commercial passengers, on board will be employees who have worked on the aircraft throughout its storied history, as well as a group of disadvantaged children and media. “Saying farewell to the Queen of the Skies will not be easy. Over more than 38 years, the B747 has played an important role in helping SIA become the global airline that it is today. It enabled us to extend our network around the world and introduce innovative new products and services,” said SIA CEO, Mr Goh Choon Phong. “These flights will mark the end of an era, but the spirit of innovation will live on at Singapore Airlines. With every new generation of aircraft that we introduce, we will continue to set new benchmarks in the premium air travel segment with industry leading product offerings for our customers.” The commemorative flights will have an extended flying time of one hour to enable those on board to be treated to a unique inflight experience. This will include specially crafted meal services and inflight entertainment. Customers will also receive limited edition B747 memorabilia. First Class customers will be provided an additional experience – an exclusive tour of the Airline’s cabin crew training facilities and B747-400 flight simulator in Singapore. A dedicated website has been set up to commemorate the jumbo’s retirement, at www.SIAjourneys.com, featuring milestones and records set over the years, historical photographs and video footage, including interviews with staff and customers. Information about fares for flights SQ747 and SQ748 can also be found on the website. Flight times will be as follows: SQ747 / 6 April SQ748 / 6 April SINGAPORE 0830 HRS HONG KONG 1445 HRS HONG KONG 1315 HRS SINGAPORE 1930 HRS
Emirates today announced that from 4 June 2012 the airline would expand into Vietnam with daily non-stop Dubai to Ho Chi Minh City Services Emirates 124th destination will be serviced by a two class Airbus A330-200 on the Dubai to Ho Chi Minh City route and then from 28 October the aircraft will be upgraded to a 2 class Boeing 777-300 ER. The Airbus A330-200 operating this route will feature 27 Business Class seats and 251 Economy Class seats, Flight details for both services will be as follows: Route Flight Number Depart Arrive Dubai – Ho Chi Minh EK390 0925hrs 1920hrs Ho Chi Minh – Dubai EK391 2050hrs 0045hrs +1 “Following the signing of the Air Services Memorandum of Understanding between Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates in April 2011, we have been busy planning this route and it comes at a very exciting time for the airline, as our global network continues to expand,” said Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline. “Emirates will offer tourists and business travellers, particularly from the Middle East, Africa and Europe, a convenient option to access Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City is one of the most vibrant places in South East Asia and we are convinced that this will prove to be a highly popular route. We look forward to growing our partnership with Vietnam and would like to thank the Government and Airport Authorities for their support in the planning of our launch,” Mr Clark added. Ho Chi Minh City will be the Emirates’ eighth route launch in 2012, following on from Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro on 3rd January; Dublin on 9th January; Lusaka and Harare on 1st February; Dallas on 2nd February and Seattle on 1st March.