Carry on: AirAsia X confirms Europe, Qantas goes nonstop to London and more

Business travel news also includes new Dreamliner route for Air New Zealand and angels on board. With special feature audio.

Asian budget carriers head for Europe
AirAsia X, which is based in Kuala Lumpur and flies to Auckland, has set a date for its first route to Europe. This confirms last week's report on plans by Asia budget carriers to move out of the region and beyond the Middle East.

AirAsia X says it will introduce the Kuala Lumpur-Istanbul Ataturk-Barcelona route on a daily basis from October 30, giving adventurous Kiwis a cheaper option for Turkey and Spain. Bookings for this flight have not yet opened.

AirAsia X suspended its popular Kuala Lumpur-London Stansted route in 2012 due to high running costs. It is also considering a KL-Paris service.

Qantas to fly nonstop to London
The first nonstop service to the UK will be Perth-London, which Qantas is planning by the end of this year using new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.  This would rank among the world’s longest flights, which at the moment are led by Emirates’ Auckland-Dubai service.

Qantas has deferred deliveries of its remaining eight A380s and will receive its first B787-9 Dreamliners by year’s end. Chief executive officer Alan Joyce says other possible long-haul routes for this aircraft include Brisbane to the US, Melbourne-Dallas or Sydney-Chicago.

Emirates puts another A380 into China
Emirates already flies the superjumbo to Beijing and Shanghai from Dubai. Now it’s adding Guangzhou to its global A380 network of more than destinations.

It says this is to meet the big demand for Chinese doing business in the Emirates. The A380 will replace a Boeing 777-300ER from October 1. Emirates launched two other China services, to Yinchuan and Zhengzhou, on May 3.

Hong Kong Airlines has angels on board
This airline is coming to New Zealand for the first time in November. It is a full-service airline but is aimed at young people and families, a bit like the original Virgin airline when it mixed fun with travel.

Hong Kong Airlines is putting what it calls “Happy Angels” on flights – cabin crew whose job is to look after children.

Many people would prefer not to fly with any children. Hong Kong Airlines also has special treats on board for honeymooners and people with birthdays, giving a whole new twist to leisure travel.

Meanwhile, the Chinese-owned airline is launching a second daily Hong Kong-Osaka Kansai service to Japan that will be operated by a single class Airbus A320 aircraft from September 15.

The first A350-900 XWB arrives next year and will enable Hong Kong Airlines to add European destinations to its network. 

More route news of the week
Air New Zealand will introduce its first Dreamliner service to Indonesia next year when the Auckland-Denpasar (Bali) route is operated twice a week with B787-9 aircraft replacing B767-300ER from May 27. Air China has opened reservations for planned new Boeing 787-9 operational routes, including Beijing-Auckland, from October 30. This daily service gradually reduces to four times weekly from February 13, 2017. Singapore Airlines moved forward its planned Airbus A350-900XWB service debut on the Singapore-Melbourne route to August 10. It was previously planned to start on September 1.

Tune into NBR Radio’s Sunday Business with Andrew Patterson on Sunday morning, for analysis and feature-length interviews.

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