Carry on: Jetstar woos business, Cathay’s first A350 to Auckland and more

Other business travel news includes Emirates fifth A380 NZ service and Hillary Clinton's new Boeing. With special feature audio.

Jetstar is making business travel easier with the launch of a flexible fare package that allows a free flight change on day of travel, extra carry-on baggage and seat selection at no extra charge.

Jetstar Group chief executive officer Jayne Hrdlicka says the budget airline is responding to feedback from small to medium size businesses who want to save money but want more flexibility and some value-added extras. The FlexiBiz package costs $21-25 for domestic flights, $39 for short-haul international flights and $55 for long-haul international flights on top of a Jetstar Starter fare. Other benefits include Qantas points on domestic flights and a credit voucher refund for cancellations.

“If a business meeting finishes earlier or later than planned, customers can change their flight time that day without being charged a change fee or fare difference,” Ms Hrdlicka says. “If their plans change and they don’t need to fly at all, they can receive a full voucher to be used towards booking another flight within six months.”

FlexiBiz can only be accessed through Jetstar’s Business Hub website using a New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) and applies to travel from September 12.

Cathay Pacific advances A350 Auckland debut 
Cathay Pacific has moved forward planned its Airbus A350-900XWB service introductory on the the Hong Kong-Auckland route October 27. It was earlier planned to introduce the new aircraft from October 30. The service will operate daily and increase to 10 weekly for the month of March in 2017. As a result, the last scheduled long-haul A340 service is now scheduled on October 27, from Auckland to Hong Kong.

Vietnam beefs up airline fleets
Three Vietnamese airlines will add 40 Airbus aircraft to their fleets at a list price of about $US6.5 billion. Vietnam Airlines has signed a memorandum of understanding for 10 Airbus A350-900s, while Jetstar Pacific (a joint venture with Qantas) has confirmed an order for 10 A320s. Vietnam Airlines will use the A350s to operate non-stop flights to the US, starting with Ho Chi Minh City-Los Angeles. It already has four in service. Jetstar Pacific’s order firms up a previous MOU for the 10 A320s. This brings total orders to 12 on top of a fleet of 15 A320s. The third order, by low-cost carrier VietJet Air, is for 10 A320-200s and 10 A321neos.

Clinton shows off her Boeing
Democrat candidate for the US presidency Hillary Clinton has taken possession of her new Boeing 737 campaign aircraft. It has the slogan “Stronger Together” painted on the side and her “H” logo on the tail. She has mostly travelled by private jet during the primaries and the northern summer but was being accompanied on the plane by journalists for the first time. “It’s so exciting,” she told journalists as they boarded her plane. Republican candidate Donald Trump owns a larger but ageing Boeing 757 as well as a Cessna 750 Citation X personal jet and three helicopters.

Route news of the week
The big news was Emirates adding Christchurch to its global A380 network. This means Emirates, from October 30, will be flying five A380s to New Zealand every day. The existing Christchurch-Dubai service uses a Boeing 777 and makes two stops, at Sydney and Bangkok. From October 30, this service will stop only in Sydney, while the Auckland service via Sydney will go through Bangkok. This is in addition to the non-stop Auckland-Dubai service that will also use A380s from October 30. This raises the question of whether Emirates is poised to close the gap between its South American services and New Zealand using so-called fifth freedom rights. But that’s a story for another day. 

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

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