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Emirates flies over the Thames
Emirates has added a London cable car to its network, just in time for the tourists who will flock there for next month’s Olympics. Called Emirates Air Line, it is the UK’s first urban cable car and runs between two newly constructed terminals (Emirates Greenwich Peninsula by the O2 and Emirates Royal Docks beside the ExCeL conference centre). It is capable of transporting up to 2500 people in each direction per hour, in one of 34 cabins. The new structure has a cable span of 1100m and is supported by three helix towers. At its highest point, passengers will be 90m above the Thames. Journeys will take approximately five minutes during peak times, and approximately 10 minutes at other times, when transit will be purposefully slowed to accommodate tourists and leisure users.
Second A380 goes to New York
In a raft of announcements this week, Emirates says it will further boost its fast-growing US network with the start of a second daily A380 service from Dubai to New York JFK. From January 1, existing Boeing 777-300ER flights will become A380 flights, offering an increased capacity of almost 1000 additional seats in both directions every week. Emirates is also moving forward a planned Airbus A340-500 service on Dubai-Nice to September 1, replacing an A340-300. It was previously planned to start on October 28. A planned Airbus A380 service resumption on Dubai -Johannesburg will now resume from December 1 instead of October 1. The Dubai-Lusaka (Zambia)-Harare (Zimbabwe) route, which was launched in February, will go daily from October 1. These flights all connect directly with Emirates’ four daily flights from New Zealand.
Cruising the Mediterranean
Cruiseabout has a 12-night cruise onboard the Crown Princess departing Venice on September 21. It stops in Dubrovnik, Croatia; moves on to Corfu, Katakolon, Athens and the island of Mykonos in Greece; crossing to Kusadasi in Turkey; before heading back to Santorini in the Greek islands; and then on to Naples and Rome. The cost includes all main meals and entertainment onboard and starts at $2799 per person, twin share. Also included is a $US85 onboard credit per stateroom. Valid for sales until July 9 unless sold out prior. Gratuities of $US11 per person, per day are payable direct onboard. Airfares are additional. For further details and bookings, contact Cruiseabout.
Singapore boosts Aussie services
Singapore Airlines (SAL) has added to its Australian services, sealing its spot as that market’s largest foreign carrier. It plans to add a second Airbus A380 on to the Melbourne-Singapore route by year’s end. SAL already runs two A380s between Sydney and Singapore each daily, with a third on Melbourne-Singapore. It has also confirmed it will reinstate three weekly flights to its Adelaide schedule. The services were axed back in January but will be reinstated from July 2. It means there will again be 10 return services each week.
Sticking with A380 luxury
Meanwhile, SAL is continuing to take delivery of new A380s on which the entire upper deck is dedicated to business class. Australasian regional vice-president Subhas Menon says the airline plans to '”operate as many A380s as we can” to Sydney and Melbourne, describing Australia as a market that is “growing in terms of prominence in our network.” Apart from restoring the Adelaide services, Menon says Perth and Brisbane are likely to get additional flights later this year.
Virgin seeks SAL code-share
In other moves concerning Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia is hoping to code-share SAL flights to Paris and Amsterdam alongside its existing European routes with partner Etihad. Virgin has lodged applications to the Australian International Air Services Commission. A codeshare would mean travellers would receive the full Virgin Australia rate of Velocity frequent flyer points along with point bonuses for Silver, Gold and Platinum members. The routes will pit Virgin Australia, Etihad and SAL against the existing Qantas-Air France codeshare to Paris via Singapore. Malaysia Airlines, a soon-to-be Oneworld and Qantas partner, also flies to both Paris and Amsterdam via its Kuala Lumpur hub.
New route of the week
Low-cost carrier WOW Air Iceland, launched on June 1 from its base at Keflavík International Airport, is introducing seasonal winter flights from Reykjavik to Salzburg, the romantic musical capital of Austria, birthplace of Mozart and setting for The Sound of Music. The once weekly service will operate from December 22 to February 23, allowing Icelanders to spend Christmas in the Alps and Salzburgers a place where the sun doesn’t rise in winter. WOW already has 13 European destinations, including London-Stansted, Berlin-Brandenburg and Warsaw-Chopin, using two A320-200s. Keflayik is a former US air base and is 50km from Reykjavik at the island’s western end. At the end of World War II it became a refuelling stop for the quickly developing international civil aviation crossing the Atlantic. From 1951-2006 it resumed its military role as a Nato base.