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Sydney opens T2 extension for Christmas
Travellers on the Air New Zealand -Virgin Australia combo using Sydney airport’s domestic terminal (T2) will have a better experience now the 4500sq m extension to pier A is ready for use and the new upstairs lounge is open. The pier extension will enable Virgin Australia to handle more aircraft – including wide-bodied Airbus A330s – with 14 gates available compared with the previous nine.
Virgin Australia says eight million passengers a year use its Sydney facilities and more enhancements will follow as the downstairs part of the lounge is refurbished to what CEO John Borghetti has often referred to as the “flagship lounge” in its network. When that's complete around the middle of 2013 the two-storey space will boast a total capacity up to 560 passengers – almost double that of today's lounge. A picture tour of the new lounge is available at Australian Business Traveller.
Emirates codeshares with TAP Portugal
A new codeshare agreement between Emirates and TAP Portugal will give Kiwi travellers easier access to airports on the Iberian penisular.
Under the agreement, Emirates’ flight number will be placed on TAP services from Lisbon to Porto, Faro and Funchal in Portugal as well as Seville, Madrid and Barcelona in Spain. TAP will place its code and flight number on several Emirates’ services between Lisbon and Dubai, to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Passengers will also have the convenience of a single combined ticket for Emirates and TAP Portugal-operated flights, in addition to linking Emirates’ frequent flyer programme, Skywards, and TAP’s Victoria frequent flyer programme.
Qantas seeks Italian codeshare change
Qantas Airways wants to shift its codesharing arrangements on British Airways flights to Italy to those operated by Emirates ahead of the launch of their strategic alliance early next year.
Qantas has requested Australian authorities to move its 400 allocated codeshare weekly seats to Italy from British Airways operated flights between London and Rome to Emirates operated flights between Dubai and Milan from March 31, 2013.
The move forms part of Qantas’ rerouting of its Australia–Europe services via Dubai next year as part of its strategic alliance with Emirates and it is in the process of updating its European codeshare seat allocations to mesh with Emirates’ network.
SIA boosts Australia, Japan routes
Singapore Airlines (SIA) says it will increase passenger flights to Australia and Japan to take advantage of increased demand. It plans to fly to Melbourne four times a day instead of three,and to Adelaide 12 times a week instead of 10,.
This will raise its weekly flights to Australia to 121. Meanwhile, Qantas has previously said it will increase its number of Australia-Singapore flights, after announcing its intention to use Dubai instead of Singapore as its hub for the "Kangaroo" route connecting Australia and Europe.
SIA says it will increase the frequency of flights to the Japanese cities of Fukuoka and Osaka, and fly the Singapore-Moscow-Houston route daily from May 20 to August 11.
Etihad creates global loyalty scheme
Etihad Airways and Germany’s Airberlin have formed a company called Etihad Guest that will be the basis of a new global loyalty programme. Etihad has a 70% holding in the new €200 million company, with Airberlin taking the remaining 30%.
It is planned that Etihad Guest will be expanded in June when Seychelles Plus, the Air Seychelles frequent flyer programme, also participates in the programme. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad has direct shareholdings in both airlines.
Boeing tests in-flight wi-fi with potatoes
Engineers at Boeing are using a mix of high and low-tech tools as they strive to iron out weak spots in onboard wireless internet signals. The company’s researchers needed full planes to get accurate results during signal testing but they couldn't ask people to sit motionless for days while data was gathered. That's where 20,000lb of potatoes come into the picture.
It turns out that because of their water content and chemistry, potatoes absorb and reflect radio wave signals much the same way as the human body. So, Boeing engineers put sacks of potatoes in seats to stand in for passengers. Boeing says the work has greatly improved Internet connectivity on its planes.