Free audio stream, including stories that are padlocked on our site. Listen on any device, anywhere. Updated twice daily. The audio stream takes several seconds to start on Android devices.Launch Radio player
Rotoroa Lodge joins Heritage Collection
The historic Lake Rotoroa Lodge in the Nelson Lakes National Park has joined the Heritage Boutique Collection.
The two storey lodge was built in the early 1920s in an Edwardian style with details of the Victorian era.
The isolated lodge is the fourth South Island hotel to join the Collection and the property contains 1500ha hectares of forest. Its lakeside location offers stunning views to the towering peaks of the Travers Range at the northern tip of the Southern Alps. The lodge is a 90-minute drive from Nelson or a short helicopter ride.
Hotel alliance celebrates 10th year
The Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), which includes brands such as Rydges, Kempinski, Omni, Parkroyal and Pan Pacific, is celebrating the 10 anniversary of its founding at the Berlin ITB travel show in 2004. The GHA Discovery loyalty programme now has four million members who account for more than $US1 billion in annual revenue.
Chief executive Chris Hartley says the initial rationale was to achieve great buying power through its members. “We are now able to offer independent brands the ability to genuinely compete for market share with the mega-chains,” he says. “That is good for the independent hotel sector and that is good for customers who often prefer a more local experience when they travel.”
The latest members to join GHA are Finland’s Thon Hotels and Norway’s GLO Hotels. GHA has also launched the Ultratravel Collection, which aims to attract more “ultra-luxury” brands into the alliance. GHA now has more than 400 hotels with 100,000 rooms in 63 different countries.
Airport security charges to fall
The government will reduce domestic airline passenger security charges by 20% in three stages over the next two years. From April 1, the charge will be reduced by 78c from $4.60 per domestic passenger to $3.82, and a further reduction of 11c will be made on April 1, 2015 to $3.71. A final reduction of 6c will be made on 1 April 2016 to $3.65.
International passenger security charges will also decrease, with the current charge of $11.98 per passenger reducing to $11.01 on April 1, 2017. (All figures include GST.)
Singapore, Turkish expand codeshare
Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Turkish Airlines are expanding their codeshare ties from May 1. SIA will also increase frequency on a seasonal basis between Singapore and Istanbul to six times per week from May 26. Turkish Airlines already operates daily flights on the route.
The codeshare will apply to destinations within Turkey from Istanbul as well as to points in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America. It also applies to SIA-operated flights beyond Singapore to points in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific, including New Zealand. Both airlines are members of the Star Alliance, as is Air New Zealand, which also has a codeshare with Turkish Airlines through Hong Kong.
China objects to North Korean rockets
China has expressed concern about North Korea's recent disregard of international obligations to ensure the safety of civil aviation. "I want to stress that we attach high importance to the safety of our civil airlines," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said after it became known a Chinese airliner with more than 200 people onboard flew near the trajectory of rocket-propelled projectiles launched by North Korea earlier this week.
Without naming North Korea, he urged other countries carrying out military exercises to "take necessary measures in accordance with international conventions to ensure the safety of civil ships and aircraft."
Meanwhile, a South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman confirmed the China Southern Airlines aircraft, which took off from Japan's Narita airport to the northern Chinese city Shenyang, passed through the area of the rockets' trajectory about seven minutes after the firing. North Korea did not give advance notice to neighboring countries about the rocket firings nor did it set up a no-fly zone in the area.
EU exempts long-haul flight charges
The European Union has reached a preliminary deal on a law that will exempt long-haul flights from paying for carbon emissions until 2016. The deal is a further weakening of the bloc's stance following immense international pressure and threats of a trade war.
EU diplomatic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the agreement would maintain a suspension of the law for intercontinental flights until 2016, with a provision to revert back to making all aviation pay for allowances in 2017 if a global deal on curtailing aviation emissions cannot be agreed.
Air NZ boosts Japanese flights
Air New Zealand is boosting capacity on its Japan services from November. General manager Japan Scott Carr says this is to overwhelming response to the airline’s recent campaign with Tourism New Zealand in the Japan market.
“As a result Air New Zealand will add around 30% extra capacity to the Japan route between mid-November this year and the end of March 2015. This will also see the airline operate a year-round daily direct service between Japan and New Zealand for the first time since 2007.”
The new schedule will include a combination of daytime and overnight services. There will be 10 weekly services to Tokyo. Daily direct services will operate between Narita and Auckland, with three services per week operating via Christchurch. Japan is New Zealand's fifth-largest tourism market with nearly 75,000 visitors in the year to January
Qatar starts flights to Tokyo Haneda
Qatar Airways will begin daily flights from Doha to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on June 18 operating Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Haneda will be Qatar’s third route to Japan following Osaka, which began in March 2005, and Tokyo Narita in April 2010. Both are non-stop daily operations.
Hawaiian cancels Taiwan service
Hawaiian Airlines is cancelling its Honolulu-Taipei Taoyuan service just nine months after it launched three weekly operations with Airbus A330-200 aircraft. The last flight will be on April 8.