Carry On - News for business travellers: Singapore ups stopover stakes

Stefan Pichler: new Fiji Airways CEO

Singapore ups stopover stakes
Singapore is luring New Zealanders with the world’s cheapest stopover deals and new options to book online through the KrisFlyer frequent flyer programme. The Singapore Stopover Holiday has been extended to bundle accommodation, transport and free admission to a range of attractions, such as Gardens by the Bay, from $37 per person.

KrisFlyer members are now able to mix miles and cash to pay for fares on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, including payment for fuel surcharges and taxes, through the website. A minimum of 5000 miles is needed to start using this feature. From next year, members will be able to use their miles to cover the cost of fuel surcharges and taxes for redemption tickets, as well as other items such as preferred seats. Members can earn KrisFlyer miles through travel with 31 airline partners and spending with 172 non-airline partners.

German to run Fiji Airways
Fiji Airways has chosen a Middle Eastern airline chief executive to run the Nandi-based airline. Stefan Pichler has been chief executive officer of Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways for the past four years. Before that, he was at Virgin Blue and German tour operator Thomas Cook. He has also held senior and executive board roles with Lufthansa. He takes over from acting CEO Swift on September 1.

More onboard Qantas A380s
Ahead of further details about rescheduling its transtasman flights under the alliance with Emirates, Qantas has reconfigured its Airbus A380 fleet to fit in more economy class passengers. All 12 of the fleet’s superjumbos now carry 484 passengers, an increase of 34 from the previous headcount of 450. The overall tally sees 371 economy seats, an increase of 39 seats, plus three more premium economy seats to bring those up to 35. Business class cabin has been reduced from 72 to 64 seats.

Most of the additional economy seats are located in a new economy section at the rear of the upper deck, where premium economy cabin was previously found. Those who have travelled in other airlines’ A380 economy upper decks will know the window seats come with a deep bin. Premium economy has been nudged forward into the rear of the old business class cabin.

Lisbon opens airport extension
Portugal's Lisbon Portela Airport has completed an expansion project with a new international and transit terminal as it boosts it hub flights. The extension includes dedicated areas for processing transit passengers and the expansion of the airport's baggage system. National carrier TAP Portugal is moving from offering primarily point-to-point traffic to transit traffic. This will allow the airport to handle 40 operations an hour, with a goal of expanding to 42 an hour. Shopping and leisure activity will also improve with an extra 2000sq m for 20 new shops, including Portugal's first Hediard and Victoria's Secret. These are expected to produce an estimated turnover of €15 million a year from an 80% lift in retail space.

Ryanair seeks advertisers for aircraft
Irish discount airline Ryanair, which is always seeking extra revenue to offset its cheap fares, now wants other companies to advertise on its planes. It claims the “largest and cheapest” form of outdoor advertising in Europe by offering its 300-plus aircraft as flying billboards. The planes will continue to have Ryanair’s logo on the tail fin but companies can buy advertising on other parts of its aircraft, including the tips of the wings and the main body of the plane. The airline hasn’t identified any advertisers yet but a spokesman says the idea has already generated a lot of interest.

Hungary tries to get back into the air
Three Hungarian businessmen backed by Middle East investors plan to launch a new Budapest-based full-service airline to plug a market gap left by the collapse of flag carrier Malev last year. Solyom (Falcon) Hungarian Airways expects to operate six planes by the end of September and increase its fleet to 25 aircraft by the end of 2014 and 50 by 2017. This will include 10 wide-body jets capable of long haul flights. Solyom chief executive Jozsef Vago says the airline will focus on routes in the Middle East, North Africa and the ex-Soviet states. Budget airlines including Wizz Air and Ryanair have picked up some of Malev's destinations from Budapest while others remain unused.

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