Direct to Kilimanjaro
Qatar Airways has flown to Kilimanjaro International Airport for the first time, bringing tourists directly to Africa’s highest mountain and its national park. The picture shows Qatar chief commercial officer Marwan Koleilat was presented with a gift from Tanzanian Transport Minister Harrison Mwakyembe during the inaugural flight’s arrival ceremony. Operating via the Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro takes Qatar Airways’ global network up to 118 destinations. The arrival was followed by a colourful welcome by traditional Tanzanian dancers and an airport ceremony attended by more than 80 people.
Qantas confirms Emirates talks
Qantas Airways shares soared after it confirmed it ws in talks with Emirates but would not comment on the nature of the discussions. Qantas said it was in discussions with a number of rivals about potential alliances. Emirates was one of these rivals. Qantas said that strengthening alliance partnerships was one of the four pillars of its new five-year strategy announced late last year. According to one news report, the deal would see Qantas give up its last European port and route many of its London flights through Dubai instead of Singapore.
US value airlines upgrade programmes
JetBlue Airways and Virgin America are adding elite tiers to their frequent-flier programmes to appeal more to business travellers and reward repeat customers with better seats, shorter airport security lines, pre-boarding and even a free trip into space. JetBlue said it will launch a “Mosaic” tier available to travellers who accumulate at least 12,000 points in a calendar year. Virgin America said it would add gold and silver levels to its frequent-flier programme. Perks will include an expanded window to purchase first-class upgrades and complimentary space-available upgrades to premium coach seats such as exit rows. In addition, Virgin America said the Elevate program member who earns the most status points over one year beginning August 8 will get a sub-orbital space flight on Virgin Galactic.
Latam expands European flights
Latam, formed by the merger of Chile’s Lan and Brazil’s TAM, is planning to add another four European destinations to the five that it already has in its network, probably within the next two years. A new Spanish destination could be Barcelona, as both airlines only serve Madrid. Latam will decide next year which airline alliance it will join spokesman also mentioned membership of an alliance, as Lan belongs to Oneworld, while TAM is a member of Star. A third choice, possibly SkyTeam, has not been ruled out. The airlines will remain as separate brands until at least 2014 while the group decides on which strategies to follow.
Trafalgar tours go to Asia
Guided holiday specialist Trafalgar is offering travel to China, Japan and Vietnam for the first time from next January. Featuring eight itineraries, ranging from nine to 18 days in length, plus five extension options, Trafalgar’s 2013 Asia programme presents a new way to explore these destinations. Each tour has no more than 26 guests on the land-based guided holidays or a maximum of 35 guests on combined land and river holidays as Trafalgar’s Travel Directors showcase the amazing sights of Asia. For details visit www.trafalgar.co.nz.
Destination of the week: Mauritius
The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius is full of history, culture and spectacular attractions. It is also famous for its electric blue waters and white sandy beaches. Under British control from 1810, after being seized from France during the Napoleonic Wars, it became independent from the UK in 1968. It has a mix of races, including Indian, African, Chinese and French, and several lagnguges, including English, French and Mauritian Creole. When first colonised by Europeans, it had no indigenous population. Flight Centre has Mauritius holidays including return airfares and seven nights accommodation with continental breakfast daily from $3299 ex Auckland or Christchurch, per person, twin share. Price subject to availability. Valid for sales until August 5. Travel from Sept 10-Oct 31. For Wellington transfers and further details contact Flight Centre.