Carry on: A350 cabin centre, Manchester direct, Auckland-Perth flights and James Nesbitt

A350 XWB business class
A350 XWB customer cabin centre

Airbus open A350 XWB test cabin centre
Airbus has unveiled the first A350 XWB test cabin and opened a dedicated customer definition centre to lead times in efficient cabin design and definition. It features individually tailored zones and enables customer airlines to see, feel and test the real catalogue solutions in a showroom environment.

The centre also incorporates the electronic “A350 XWB Configurator” – a virtual environment and modelling tool for accelerated cabin specification and visualisation. Airbus says passenger-pleasing features of the A350 XWB cabin include full LED lighting with 16.7 million possible colours for customised ambiances and scenarios.

They will also be able to experience a wide array of fourth-generation in-flight entertainment consoles and high-definition display options; near-vertical sidewalls, adding extra spaciousness to the cabin and the large overhead  stowage bins.

The all-new, mid-sized A350 XWB comprises three versions ranging from 276 to 369 seats. It is optimised for full long-range passenger comfort in all classes. At the end of March, Airbus has 812 orders from 39 customers  worldwide.

Fastest way to Manchester
Cathay Pacific Airways will launch a four-times-weekly service to Manchester from Hong Kong, giving New Zealanders the fastest one-stop connection to the UK’s second largest city. The will start on December 8 (subject to government approval) and will be operated by Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in three classes.

Passengers will be able to depart from Auckland every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2.30pm, arriving in Manchester at 6.20am the following day. The journey will include a four-hour transfer at Hong Kong International Airport, making a journey lasting 28 hours and 45 minutes.

Qantas extends seasonal Auckland-Perth service
Qantas says direct flights between Perth to Auckland will rsume again later this year after a successful introduction of the new twice-weekly service introduced last summer. It will operate from December 5 through to April 26, 2015. Fares are inclusive of baggage, food and wine and inflight entertainment.

Qantas chief executive International Simon Hickey says response to the three-month service exceeded expectations on the otherwise monopoly route. “We’re pleased this service proved to be so popular for our Perth and Auckland customers. We’ve extended its run this year to meet demand with 84 flights and almost 20,000 seats over the five months,” he says.
The twice-weekly service at weekends will be operated by an A330 aircraft that leaves Auckland at 10.30am on Saturdays and Sundays and Perth at 8.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays..

Hobbit star's Kiwi travel doco screens this weekend
Hobbit star James Nesbitt’s tourism-oriented TV documentary on New Zealand, River Deep; Mountain High, will screen this weekend. Some 1.5 million UK viewers watched its first screenings on Christmas Day.

The production was supported by Tourism New Zealand and follows Nesbitt as he journeys north to south, taking in some of the country’s unique landscapes and tourism experiences.

Tourism New Zealand’s Director of Trade, PR and Major Events Justin Watson says it will boost visitor arrivals from the UK, which are up 5.4% the year ending February 2014.

“We know that the endorsement of others remains one of the most influential factors in helping people make travel decisions and when endorsement comes from popular and appealing celebrities, the impact is even stronger,” he says.

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