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Carry On: News for business travellers

Qantas A330s get lie-flat in business
Qantas is upgrading its entire fleet of 30 Airbus A330s to provide new lie-flat seats in business class, a refreshed economy cabin and a new inflight entertainment system.

Its 10 A330-300s will be operated by Qantas International on its network between Australia and Asia, while 20 A330-200s will be operated by Qantas Domestic on routes between the east coast and Perth.

“The refurbished aircraft will give Qantas International a truly world-class product in global aviation’s most dynamic and competitive market,” chief executive Alan Joyce says. “Growing with Asia is a major priority for the Qantas Group and this investment underpins our commitment to the region.

In a separate move Qantas will also purchase five additional Boeing 737-800 aircraft for Qantas Domestic (for delivery during 2014) and extend the leases on two existing B737-800s this year.

This will boost the short-haul fleet to 75 aircraft and enable the phasing out of the older narrow body 737-400s by the end of 2013 and the 767s by mid-2015.

Qantas joins trend to smart cash cards
Qantas has partnered with Mastercard to offer a prepaid multi-currency travel money card that is similar to one already available from Air New Zealand.

The card will be available to Australian Frequent Flyer members from the third quarter of 2013 and combines a prepaid MasterCard travel money card with a smartchip-enabled Frequent Flyer card.

The new Qantas Cash cards will be sent to all Frequent Flyer members, including travellers with Bronze status. Previously the smartchipped Qantas cards applied only to Silver, Gold and Platinum members, giving them access to faster checkins.

"Existing Qantas cards will continue to function until members receive their new cards" says Lesley Grant, CEO of Qantas Loyalty, although members will need to opt in to activate the cash functionality on their card.

"We have over nine million members in Qantas Frequent Flyer and our research says that over over 70% of members carry their Qantas card wherever they go," she says.

The Qantas Cash card permits cash withdrawals from ATMs and each can store up to nine currencies.

Air New Zealand’s OneSmart card offers four currencies from a choice of eight.

Air New Zealand  wins on-time award
Air New Zealand has been recognised as among the best in the world for getting passengers to their destinations on time.

The airline has been named best major airline in the Pacific by flight and information services website FlightStats in its 2012 On-time Performance Service Awards. Air New Zealand is also one of four finalists in the global Major International Airlines category won by Japan Airlines.

The awards recognise airlines for delivering on a key element of customer service – the ability to meet passengers’ expectations of arriving at their chosen destination on schedule.

Air New Zealand chief operations officer Bruce Parton says this global recognition is “shared by the thousands of staff in New Zealand and around the world who work hard every day to bring all the required elements together to ensure flights get away on time.”

Mystery charter flights revealed
The mystery of a posting on Airline Route of two charter flights to Christchurch by Uzbekistan Airways in late April and early May has been solved. A Christchurch Airport spokeswoman says the Boeing 767 flights will bring new crews for southern ocean-based Russian fishing vessels and take home existing ones.

More by Nevil Gibson