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Carry On: News for business travellers

Qantas upgrades B767s | Air New Zealand's first ATR 72-600 | Boeing's superjumbo joins stars in Hollywood | New terminal in Frankfurt | Lufthansa link to Vancouver | British Airways improves Sydney service

Nevil Gibson
Fri, 02 Nov 2012

Qantas upgrades B767s with iPads
Qantas is fast tracking the refurbishment of 16 Boeing 767 aircraft with new cabin interiors and individual in-flight entertainment for travel on its core Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane services. The last aircraft is targeted for completion by the end of March 2013 – completing the project six months earlier than originally planned.

“These aircraft look and feel like new and we expect these changes to be very popular with our customers,” says Qantas Domestic chief executive officer Lyell Strambi. “Following the successful trial of our QStreaming service this year, we are partnering with Panasonic to provide over 200 hours of on-demand IFE content via iPads to every passenger in business and economy.”

Regional skies turn black
Air New Zealand this week took delivery of its first ATR 72-600 aircraft from the manufacturer in Toulouse, also the base for Airbus. It is painted in All Blacks livery and is part of a contract for seven of the 68-seat aircraft. Air New Zealand also has options for another five in a deal worth more than $US270 million. The first flight will be between Christchurch and Wellington under the Mount Cook banner. It will also enable Mount Cook to service Nelson and New Plymouth. The ATR 72-600 features the new Armonia cabin interior, with improved seating and larger overhead luggage bins.

Superjumbo stars on Hollywood route
New Zealanders who prefer the “Hollywood route” to Europe, via Los Angeles, now have the option of travelling on the alternative to the Airbus A380. From December 10, Lufthansa will use the new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental on the Los Angeles-Frankfurt service.

Though not as well known as the A380, Boeing’s “superjumbo” is an all-new aircraft that carries, in the Lufthansa configuration, 388 passengers, including eight in first class and 80 in business. It features the new Lufthansa business class cabin features fully-flat beds in a “V” format, so all are facing in the direction of travel, as well as the latest in-flight entertainment system.

On arrival in Frankfurt, international travellers will now be using the new Pier A-Plus, an 800m extension of Terminal 1 at Europe’s second busiest airport after London Heathrow. It will cater for up to six million additional passengers a year for all Star Alliance airlines.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa is also appealing to its Kiwi customers with a new link, to be launched on May 16 next year, from Vancouver to Munich. Lufthansa’s daily flights connect with Star Alliance partner Air New Zealand’s to Vancouver and will use Boeing A330s.

BA leaps forward on 'kangaroo route'
British Airways, which was pushed aside by Oneworld partner Qantas in favour of Emirates, is fighting back with improvements on the traditional “kangaroo route” through Singapore. From March 31, BA customers flying to Sydney via Singapore will depart from London Heathrow’s new Terminal 5 and travel on the new Boeing 777-300 ER.

The B777-300 boasts BA’s first class, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller cabins and fully flat beds in Club World. The new in-flight entertainment system provides twice as many movies and doubles the range of TV and music options.

BA says the improvements demonstrate its commitment to Australia. This was tested when Qantas spurned its Oneworld partners and unilaterally formed a global partnership with Emirates by moving its European stopovers from Singapore to Dubai, also on March 31.

Nevil Gibson
Fri, 02 Nov 2012
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Carry On: News for business travellers