For week ending 26 August 2016.
The last week of summer is upon us, and there is plenty of travel industry news to report on. In airline news China Eastern have announced new routes in Asia and to the USA, while Delta plans to debut a new business class suite on their Airbus A350 aircraft. In hotel news the new Conrad has opened in Xiamen and Hilton Garden Inn debuts in Chengdu. Thailand have announced they are going to double their visa on arrival fees.
All this and more in our weekly news round up brought to you by FCM Travel Solutions.
Delta Air Lines to offer all-suite business class
Delta will debut a 32-seat, all-suite business class cabin in 2017. A 32-suite cabin, in which each seat is set apart by a sliding, full-height door and privacy dividers between the two center seats, will first appear on Delta's first Airbus A350, scheduled to begin service in fall 2017. Delta will install similar cabins on its Boeing 777 fleet.
New Conrad opens in Xiamen
Hilton Worldwide has opened a new Conrad Hotel in Xiamen. The new property occupies the 37th to 54th floors of the iconic 300-metre Shimao Straits Tower, located in Siming’s Central Business District. There are 241 guestrooms and five F&B outlets onsite covering fresh seafood at Coast Bar & Grill, Cantonese and Fujian cuisine at Lucheng, all-day dining at Pier 38, high tea at Plush, and pastries at French Kiss. Facilities include a 24-hour health club at the 37th floor; a heated 25-metre indoor swimming pool; and the brand’s signature Conrad Spa. The hotel is also home to 2,000 sqm of flexible event space, including eight multifunction meeting rooms and a 760 sqm pillar-less ballroom.
Hainan Airlines' announces first flights to Australia
Commencing in September, China’s Hainan Airlines will launch its first ever flights to Australia, launching two all-new routes to Sydney within the space of three days. On 12 September 2016, the airline will commence a new service linking Sydney with Changsha. Then on 14 September, the carrier will launch twice weekly flights between Sydney and Xi’an. Flights from both cities will operate twice a week. The Airline will deploy a 260-seat Airbus A330 aircraft on both routes, configured with 18 flat-bed seats in business class and 242 seats in economy.
Delta Air Lines to reduce services to Tokyo Narita
Delta Air Lines will end service on three routes from Tokyo's Narita Airport, including service from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, this fall, citing a competitive disadvantage resulting from the U.S. Department of Transportation's decision last month on new daytime slots at the closer-in Haneda Airport.
China Eastern to launch flights between Kunming and San Francisco
Commencing on 29 September 2016, China Eastern Airlines will launch a new trans-pacific route connecting Kunming with San Francisco. Flights will operate three times a week, with a stop in the Chinese port city of Qingdao in both directions. The Airline will deploy its 234-seat two-class Airbus A330 aircraft on the route, configured with 30 flat-bed seats in business class and 204 seats in economy.
Hilton opens first Garden Inn-branded hotel in Chengdu
The new Hilton Garden Inn Chengdu Huayang is located in the city’s Tianfu New Area. Hilton Garden Inn Chengdu Huayang offers 202 midscale rooms, all featuring 40-inch HD TVs and working areas. Facilities at the hotel include a restaurant, noodle bar, 24-hour fitness centre and 660m² of function space. Hilton has confirmed plans to open a further six Garden Inn hotels in Chengdu, including a property at the city’s Shuangliu International Airport.
Thailand to double its visa-on-arrival fee
Thailand will double its visa-on-arrival fee from THB1,000 to THB2,000 (US$29 to US$58) next month. The new charge will come into effect on 27 September, and apply to the citizens of all 18 countries offered visa-on-arrival in Thailand. These include China, India, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia. The other countries offered visa-on-arrival to Thailand are Bulgaria, Bhutan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Romania, San Marino, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Start up airline in Belgium planning to launch flights to China
Air Belgium is planning to launch first flights to China in June 2017, with up to three destinations in secondary Chinese cities. The airline is being set up by a group of entrepreneurs and will be “a regular passenger airline with low fares”. Air Belgium’s home base has not yet been decided.
China Eastern adds three new Southeast Asian routes
The carrier has launched twice-weekly flights from Guangzhou to Krabi, and on 12 September, China Eastern will launch two new services from Chengdu to the Philippines. Flights will operate to Manila three times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) and Cebu on the remaining four days of the week, and all services will use an Airbus A320 aircraft.
Malaysia Airlines introduces mandatory self-print baggage tags
Economy class passengers flying out of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) with Malaysia Airlines are now required to print and attach their own baggage tags before proceeding to the bag drop counter. Passengers who have checked in online are still required to print baggage tags themselves at the airport. However, first and business class customers will still be able to have their baggage tags printed by airline personnel at the check-in counter.