Carry on: Emirates boosts Jordan, adds Oslo; Qantas overhauls loyalty scheme and more

Ancient ruins in Jordan
Norwegian capital of Oslo

Three daily choices to Jordan
Emirates is adding a third daily flight to Jordan from August, providing direct connections in each direction at Dubai for Emirates’ four daily flights from New Zealand. The move represents a further ramping up of services to Amman after Emirates’ flights to Jordan went double daily in October 2012.

The new outbound flight, EK 905, will depart Dubai at 9.55pm and arrive in Amman at 11.59pm. The return flight, EK 906, will depart at 3.45am and touch down in Dubai at 7.45am local time. A combination of Boeing 777 and Airbus A330-200 aircraft will be used, as with the existing operation. Jordan is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Middle East for Kiwis as it features attractions such as Petra and the Dead Sea.

Special fares to Oslo
Emirates is launching its newest Europe destination, Oslo, with special fares from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The airline will start services from Dubai to the Norwegian capital on September 2, with direct connections at Dubai with all four daily Emirates services from New Zealand.

Flights to Oslo, which will become Emirates’ 36th destination in Europe, are on sale for $1974 economy return, for departures from New Zealand from October 1 to November 14. The business class return fare of $8456 return is on sale for departures from New Zealand between September 1 and November 30.

Qantas ups some loyalty rewards…
Qantas has announced major changes to its Frequent Flyer programme. It means moving from a miles-based system where travellers earned one point per mile flown to a zone-based one where the network of Qantas and its Oneworld partners is divided into 22 flight regions. In turn, each of those zones comes with its own unique number of points and status credits based on the type of ticket. Essentially, it means the more you pay the more points you earn and vice versa. For example, a flight from New Zealand to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to will have four categoriess:
• discount economy: 1000 points and 20 status credits
• standard economy: 1375 points and 25 status credits
• flexible economy: 1750 points and 40 status credits
• business: 2500 points and 80 status credits
The changes take effect on July 1 and do not affect existing points.

…and cuts partner airline points
The Qantas Frequent Flyer changes also slash the number of status credits earned on flights with its Oneworld partner airlines. From July 1 many Qantas travellers booked on British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines and other members of the Oneworld alliance will see the number of Qantas status credits fall by as much as half.

Jetstar goes daily to Fukuoka
Jetstar Asia will begin daily flights between Singapore and Japan’s sixth largest city Fukuoka, via Bangkok from June 26, opening up low fares travel options between the three popular Asian destinations. Fukuoka in southern Japan is one of the country’s top tourist destinations and will become the third international Japanese port for Jetstar after Tokyo (Narita) and Osaka.

Dubai tops Heathrow as busiest airport
Dubai International Airport has overtaken London’s Heathrow as the world’s number one airport. New data released by both airports shows Dubai handled 1.8 million more passengers than London in January and February. Dubai’s passenger traffic rose 13.5% to 12.1 million passengers, while Heathrow traffic figures reached 10.3 million for the same period.

Lost baggage hits new low
Airline baggage delivery hit an all-time high in 2013, with the mishandling rate dropping more than 21% from 2012, according to air transport IT specialist, SITA. The 10th annual SITA Baggage Report  says the rate of mishandled bags in 2013 was 6.96 bags per thousand passengers. This is just half the rate reported 10 years ago, despite a 65.6% increase in passenger numbers over the same time period.

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