Carry on: Etihad Airways forms new global partnership

Etihad partnership | Bahrain visas easier | Marriott trials recharging | Parkroyal in Melbourne | Scoot to get Dreamliners

Etihad launches airline partnership
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has officially launched its own airline alliance in competition with other alliances. The difference is that it initially comprises only airlines in which Etihad has an equity interest – though the door is open to any airlines that wishes to join.

The five other founding airlines are Airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Jet Airways (India) and Darwin Airline (Switzerland).  Chief executives from all six airlines are lined up in the picture (from left): Maurizio Merlo, Darwin Airline; Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, Airberlin; James Hogan, Etihad Airways; Cramer Ball, Jet Airways; Dane Kondić, Air Serbia and Manoj Papa, Air Seychelles.

Bahrain lifts visa restrictions
It is now easier to visit and do business in the Gulf state of Bahrain. A new visa policy introduced this month allow nationals from more than100 countries to obtain a visa either online ahead of travel or on arrival. The move puts Bahrain among the few countries in the region with flexible visa policies. It is also accompanied by improvements to individual screening process, thereby ensuring a more effective processing of applications.

Marriott hotels trial wireless recharging
Marriott International is testing a machine using Qi technology that wirelessly charges guests’ electronic devices in hotel lobbies. The new system, being trialled at 29 Marriott Hotels & Resorts properties in the US, will see the introduction of Kube Systems' portable charging stations in the “Greatroom” lobbies.

Parkroyal goes up in Melbourne
Construction has begun in the Melbourne Docklands area of a new Parkroyal hotel. The 37-storey tower is being built on the corner of Harbour Esplanade and Dudley St, completing the northern gateway to the Docklands area.

The Parkroyal Melbourne will be on the first 18 floors and include 266 rooms, a restaurant and lounge, gymnasium, swimming pool and meeting rooms. Sitting above the Parkroyal will be 331 separately accessed residential apartments. The hotel and tower are scheduled to open in the second half of 2016.

Scoot to have all-Dreamliner fleet
Singaporean low-cost carrier Scoot will switch entirely to Boeing 787 Dreamliners, reportedly making it the first airline in the world to do so, in a step to become more cost-competitive. The Singapore Airlines group company now flies six jets in Boeing's 777 series.

Scoot, which flies to more than a dozen destinations in Asia, will start taking delivery of 787s later this year, completing the changeover by June 2015. Scoot expects to receive 20 units by 2018. The 787 is 20% more fuel-efficient than earlier planes and has features such as online wi-fi that are not usually found on budget airlines.