Link your Qatar Airlines and Accor ALL accounts before June 10 - receive bonus points for both
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Link your Qatar Airlines and Accor ALL accounts before June 10 - receive bonus points for both
Which is better for your next trip - Points or Cash?
Points and miles enthusiasts now have a new tool at their disposal to help find the best price on hotels around the world.
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* points balances,
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After trialling it ourselves, we believe this is one travel subscription you must have. It will enhance your points and miles experience and save you $$$. Read More…
Virgin Australia's "Low fare, more air" sale ends April 3
Virgin Australia today launched a new promotion - its Low fare, more air
Get up to 30% off fares to 35 local and international destinations, including (one-way) Melbourne to Gold coast from AUD 99, or Melbourne to Hamilton Island from AUD 139.
Return flights are available from Melbourne to Bali from AUD 589 or Melbourne to Fiji from AUD 559.
But be quick! These prices only last until midnight (AEST) on April 3rd. Other T&C's also apply.
Qantas unlocks thousands of seats to book with Frequent Flyer points
Following the recently announced "million seat sale", Qantas is now releasing a huge amount of Classic Rewards space.
Qantas award availability has been notoriously hard to find, but Qantas is working on changing that perception. The Australian airline has announced the release of thousands of Classic Flight Reward seats starting Friday, February 24, 2023, at 11:00 am. Sydney time and and will include space in economy, business, and first class.
The release timing translates to:
Qantas and Jetstar - New One Million (!) Seat Sale
Qantas and Jetstar have launched a one million seat sale with one-way fares available from A$39 on Jetstar and A$99 on Qantas.
Business class fares are available from A$499 on Qantas.
Between Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar, the sales span more than 170 routes around Australia including capital cities and regional towns. Jetstar is also offering sale fares on more than 20 international routes, with fares starting from A$175 one-way.
“We’re seeing really strong demand as Australians continue to put travel at the top of their shopping list. We’ve been adding new routes to help meet that demand, especially to leisure destinations, and we’ve put a lot of sales into the market,” said Mr Joyce when launching this sale.
“This is the ninth network-wide sale from Qantas and Jetstar in the past six months and we have more planned,” added Mr Joyce.
This week, Qantas added tens of thousands of additional international reward seats – flights that can be booked for as few as 8,000 Qantas points – for its Frequent Flyers through December 31, 2023.
The airlines are encouraging customers with COVID credits – travel credit left over from the pandemic – to use them in booking their sale fares. COVID credits received during the pandemic expire at the end of 2023, with customers needing to book and travel before then. A dedicated hotline has been established to assist customers using their travel credit. Customers can call the Travel Credit Concierge Team on 1300 171 505 or visit the Travel Credits Hub online.
Virgin Atlantic is part of SkyTeam effective 2 March 2023
Virgin Atlantic announced at a press
conference in London on Tuesday, September 27, 2022,
that the airline would join the SkyTeam airline alliance.
Now we have a bit more concrete timing. From March 2, 2023, London-based carrier Virgin Atlantic (VS) will become SkyTeam’s only U.K.-based airline. This is huge news for both U.K. and U.S. travelers, as routes between the 2 countries are the bulk of Virgin’s route network. Specifically, VS operates nonstop routes to the U.K. from Austin (AUS), Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), Orlando (MCO), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Tampa (TPA), and Washington, D.C. (IAD).
As Virgin already has close ties with key airline members of SkyTeam such as Air France/KLM and Delta Air Lines, joining SkyTeam is a natural progression.
Bonza sale ! Australia's new carrier has fares starting from $49
Bonza Receives Certification To Commence Flying
Bonza, the startup Australian budget airline on January 12 received an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) after the carrier submitted final
documents and successfully completed proving flights.
The AOC is required before an airline is permitted to fly scheduled passenger-carrying flights in Australia..
The airline is now “finalising its preparations to go on sale” with the first flights to fly out of the Sunshine Coast followed by Melbourne.
Bonza was cryptic about the exact date tickets would go on sale, with chief executive Tim Jordan saying it would welcome people aboard “soon”.
However, Bonza's initial 27 routes linking 17 destinations was also released. The airline says 93 per cent of its routes are not currently served by any other airline and 96 per cent currently have no low cost carrier.
Australians who are looking to book a flight with Bonza are urged to download the airline’s app, which is the only way they will be able to book outside of a small group of local travel agents.
Bonvoy adds ability to convert Krisflyer Miles to Bonvoy Points
KrisFlyer have announced that you can now convert points and miles between both programs. While you have been able to convert your Marriott
points to Singapore miles for a long time, the ability to transfer your Singapore miles to Marriott points is new.
The new two-way conversion ability is a new trend from Marriott and seems to be aimed at enhancing the value of their points and program. However, the conversion rates leave a lot to be desired.
You can currently convert points and miles between both programs as follows:
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||2:1|
|Korean Air SkyPass||2:1|
|United Mileage Plus (Premier status members only)||1:1|
Top 13 Safest Airlines 2023 by AirlineRatings - Guess Who is Number 1 ?
AirlineRatings.com, the world’s only airline safety, and product rating website, has announced its Top Safest Airlines 2023 from
the 385 different airlines it monitors.
The top 13 ranked airlines are the who’s who of airlines and, in order, are:
Qantas, Air New Zealand, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Emirates, Alaska Airlines, EVA Air, Virgin Australia/Atlantic, Cathay Pacific Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, SAS.
According to AirlineRatings.com Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas, these airlines are standouts in the industry and are at the forefront of safety, innovation, and launching of new aircraft.
In selecting Qantas as the world’s safest airline for 2023, AirlineRatings.com editors noted that over its 100-year operational history the world’s oldest continuously operating airline has amassed an amazing record of firsts in operations and safety and is now accepted as the industry’s most experienced airline.
According to Mr Thomas, the editors analyze: crashes over 5 years, serious incidents over two years, audits from aviation’s governing bodies and lead associations; fleet age, expert analysis of pilot training, and COVID protocols in making their determinations.
“However all airlines have incidents every day, and many are aircraft or engine manufacture issues, not airline operational problems. It is the way the flight crew handles these incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one,” Mr Thomas said.
“Our top 20 safest airlines 2022 are always at the forefront of safety innovation, operational excellence..."
The AirlineRatings top 20 safest low-cost airlines for 2022 are, in alphabetical order; Air Arabia, AirAsia Group* Allegiant, Air Baltic, easyjet, FlyDubai, Frontier, Jetstar Group, Jetblue, Indigo, Ryanair, Scoot, Southwest, Spicejet, Spirit, Vueling, Vietjet, Volaris, Westjet, and Wizz.
To see AirlineRatings Country and Airline Safety Comparison tool...
Qantas FF can now use points on Bangkok Airways
Qantas Frequent Flyers can now book Classic Flight Reward seats to more than 20 destinations across Thailand and South East Asia as a new
partnership with Bangkok Airways was launched today. The partnership expands on a codeshare agreement that was introduced in 2014
allowing Qantas customers to book commercial seats on Bangkok Airways flights.
Travellers can access Bangkok Airways flights from Australia via Bangkok, Phuket and Singapore. The Qantas Group operates more than 50 return flights each week between these cities and Australia.
Bangkok Airways is a full-service carrier, with regular flights each day out of its hub in Bangkok to some of Asia’s most popular destinations, including Koh Samui and Chiang Mai in Thailand and Siem Reap in Cambodia.
Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said Qantas Frequent Flyer was excited to welcome Bangkok Airways to the program. “Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for our frequent flyers and this partnership will make it easier for them to explore more of the region using their points...The option to book reward seats on Bangkok Airways’ expansive network across Thailand and South East Asia will also open up thousands of new redemption opportunities."
The Bangkok Airways partnership follows recent initiatives from Qantas Frequent Flyer to expand members’ opportunities to use their points on flights including 100,000 Classic Flight Reward seats between Australia and Japan, and the extension of its commitment for 50 per cent more reward seats until June 2023.
Accor and Qatar now offer points double-dipping
Accor Hotels just launched another partnership, this time with Qatar Airways.
Similar to the Miles + Points partnership with KLM/Air France Flying Blue , Accor with Qantas and other crossover programs (eg Marriott and Emirates; Shangri-La and Singapore Airlines; Hyatt and American Airlines), you can now double dip on Accor hotel stays and Qatar Airways flights. Here are the details of the partnership and now to earn both Reward points and Avios.
Accor and Qatar Crossover partnership
Accor Hotels and Qatar Airways have already had a partnership, but now this partnership is being improved. Now, members of either loyalty program can earn both ALL Reward points and Qatar Avios on either flight and hotel bookings.
First, you need to link your ALL account with your Qatar Airways Privilege Club account. You can link your accounts either via Accor Hotels or Qatar Airways.
If you already took advantage of the ALL and Flying Blue partnership, you'll need to choose which airline you want to double dip with. You can only linked your ALL account to one airline at a time. If you linked your ALL account to Flying Blue in the past 12 months, you will need to wait until the end of 12 months before you can link to Qatar Airways.
Double-dipping between Accor Hotels and Qatar Airways
After you link your Accor Live Limitless and Qatar Airways Privilege Club accounts, you will start earning both ALL Reward points and Avios on your stays and flights:
Bonza names its first Boeing 737
Bonza, the new Australian Low Cost Carrier, has announced the winning name for its first B-737.
A shortlist of the hundreds of suggestions was voted on by the Bonza Local Legends – the airline’s ambassadors. The most popular name and one adopted by Bonza was "Shazza". The second most popular name was "Bazza", which may be used for the second aircraft when it joins ist stablemate.
Shazza is currently having her interiors Bonza-ified including obligatory splashes of purple. Bonza is aloso training in-flight and cabin crew, finalising the all-Aussie menu and stress testing the Fly Bonza App which will be the only place customers can book flights (with the exception of local travel agents).
An exciting time for Bonza.
Virgin Australia Travellers Benefit From Re-developed Terminals At Melbourne Airport
Virgin Australia's domestic travellers will have an easier experience at security and access to an expanded range of food and beverage
options with the opening of the redevelopment of Melbourne Airport’s Terminal 3.
The centrepiece of the upgrade is an indoor walkway linking the landside departures levels of Terminals 3 and 4, as well as the consolidation of security screening at an expanded central location in Terminal 4.
Virgin Australia travellers will now be screened using the latest smart security technology, which allows them to keep laptops, tablets and liquids in their bags, with an additional two lanes opened to increase processing capacity.
For the first time at Melbourne Airport the Virgin Australia lounge is located in the secure airside zone, meaning premium travellers will be able to enjoy the facilities right up until boarding time.
For more info, see the linked video from Virgin Australia...
Bonza Debut Flight Touches Down | Milestone Tick
Bonza’s first 737 MAX aircraft touched down at Sunshine Coast Airport yesterday morning marking a major milestone for Australia’s
newest low-cost carrier.
It is the first Boeing 737 MAX to be based in Australia and will be part of a fleet of aircraft based initially on the Sunshine Coast and in Melbourne. Additional aircraft will follow and ultimately support Bonza’s growth plans beyond its initial bases. The airline is calling out to help name the plane by asking for comments on Bonza’s Instagram and Facebook pages with their nicknames.
The initial network is 17 destinations on 27 routes. Ninety-three per cent of the routes are currently not serviced by another airline (25 out of 27 routes) and 96 per cent are not currently served by a low-cost carrier.
Bonza says that flights are expected to start from around AU$50 for each hour a customer is in the air and eight kilograms of carry-on baggage will be included in the flight price.
To achieve their low-cost strategy, Australians are encouraged to download the Fly Bonza app which will be the only place to book directly. The airline’s ‘app first’ strategy means flights will not be available for purchase on third-party websites allowing Bonza to communicate directly with customers about their upcoming flights. In addition to booking and check-in, the Fly Bonza app is also where customers can order food and drink from the menu directly to their seats and enjoy the in-flight entertainment.
Congratulations to all at the Bonza team!
Malaysia Airlines Doubling Its Daily Flights To Qatar Following High Demand
Malaysia Airlines is adding a second daily service to Doha (DOH),
saying the route it launched in May has high demand.
The carrier started a daily Airbus A330-300 Kuala Lumpur (KUL)-DOH route in late May, building on the expanded codeshare agreement inked with Qatar Airways earlier this year and covered on by us 18 July 2022. Both airlines are Oneworld members.
Malaysia Airlines’ second daily frequency on the DOH-KUL route will commence from Aug. 10 and also be operated by an A330-300 aircraft.
The carriers said in a joint statement that their codeshare relationship gives passengers access to 96 destinations.
“The arrival and departure times of the double daily Malaysia Airlines flights offer customers full access to Qatar Airways’ unrivaled network to the Middle East, Europe, Africa and the US via the world’s best airport, Hamad International Airport, while simultaneously building perfect connectivity to Malaysia Airlines’ network to states within Malaysia, as well as southeast Asia, north Asia and also to Australasia,” the airlines stated.
Singapore Airlines - New KrisFlyer Escapes - Act Quickly To Grab Your 30% Discount
Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer Spontaneous Escapes are back! After returning from hiatus in spring 2022, Spontaneous Escapes are back again
for another month.
These monthly promotions offer KrisFlyer award bookings with a discount of 30% on selected routes, meaning you need fewer miles to book than normal. Typically you must book by the end of the month, for flights the following month.
The latest list includes flights in August 2022, for which you need to book by July 31, 2022.
Some key points are that:
AirlineRatings Announces 2022 World's Best Airlines Awards
The world’s Best Airlines for 2022 have been named by AirlineRatings.com, the world’s only safety, product, and COVID rating website, and
the airline of the year is … Qatar Airways.
The Doha-based airline nudged out Air New Zealand, Etihad Airways and Korean Air for the top spot in AirlineRatings.com Best Airlines for 2022 followed by Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Virgin Australia. Taiwan’s EVA was rated 8th followed by Turkish Airlines in the 9th spot. Turkish Airlines is also named the Best Airline in Europe. In 10th position is Japan’s All Nippon Airlines.
Qatar Airways also took out Best Business Class. “The airline’s Qsuite is a first-class experience in business class and our judges rated it as the best overall business-class product they had seen,” said Mr Geoff Thomas of AirlineRatings.com.
As well as taking out number 2 position in the Top Twenty Airlines rankings, Air New Zealand won Best Airline in the Pacific, Best Premium Economy, and Best Economy. The airline has just unveiled a major make-over and new products that will be introduced in 2024, so it should continue to rank highly in years to come.
Singapore Airlines won the prestigious Best First Class award for its unique Suites product and also Best Lounges. The six Suites in this stylish cabin at the front of the upper deck of the airline’s flagship Airbus A380s are designed to be the equivalent of small hotel rooms.
Virgin Australia won Best Cabin Crew and Emirates was awarded Best Inflight Entertainment (yet again).
Excellence in Long Haul travel was awarded to: jetBlue (Americas), Turkish Airlines (Europe), Qatar Airways (Middle-East/Africa), Korean Air (Asia) and Air New Zealand (Pacific).
Best Low-Cost Airlines are: Southwest (Americas), easyjet (Europe), Jetstar (Asia/Pacific) and Fly Dubai (Middle-East).
Our congratulations to all the winners !
Turkish Airlines Now Rated Among The Best For Safety
Turkish Airlines’ incident record over the past five years has been outstanding and has resulted in the airline’s safety rating being lifted
from five-star to the highest possible seven-stars by the global rating agency AirlineRatings.com.
" With Turkish Airlines, we found an extremely low incident rate and virtually none attributable to pilots...That performance and its COVID-19 compliance for passengers gained Turkish Airlines the top safety rating of seven stars,” said Geoffrey Thomas of AirlineRatings.
Under AirlineRatings' system, 159 of 357 (44.5%) of Airlines currently have the 7-star rating.
The airline also has a seven-star rating for its onboard products making it a seven-star rated airline for safety, product and COVID compliance.
Prior to COVID Turkish Airlines operated 374 aircraft to 331 destinations in 127 countries, including 52 domestic, and 13 in the United States and 11 in Germany.
Our congratulations to Turkish Airlines - top rating for all 3 areas tested (safety, product and COVID compliance) is a great achievement in protecting its passengers and staff.
Star Alliance First To Expand Network To Rail With New ‘Intermodal’ Partner
Lufthansa (a Star Alliance member) customers are already able to buy a combined ticket for Deutsche Bahn (DB) trains and Lufthansa
flights in one booking step, including seat reservation.
Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance with 26 member airlines has historically been specifically for airlines. However, that’s changing.
In an industry first, starting 1 August 2022, all 25 other Star Alliance member airlines will be able to include DB’s ICE high-speed trains as flight numbers in their booking engines and customers will benefit from the following advantages:
Virgin Australia Updates Awards Tables for its Partners - From October 2022
Velocity is introducing changes to the Points required for Reward Seats on Etihad Airways, Air Canada, Singapore Airlines,
Hawaiian Airlines and South African Airways for
tickets issued from 5 October 2022.
Velocity noted that the amount of Points required to redeem an Economy Class or Business Class Reward Seat will change for some routes. We looked more closely at the changes and found that:
Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines restore ability to earn/redeem/transfer points between programs from 19 July 2022
The ability to transfer your Velocity Points and KrisFlyer miles between programs is due to restart on 19 July 2022!
If you are also a member of KrisFlyer, the loyalty program of Singapore Airlines, you can set up a link between your Velocity Account and KrisFlyer Account and convert Points and Miles between both programs.
For every 1.55 KrisFlyer miles you transfer, you will earn 1 Velocity Point. A minimum transfer amount of 5,000 KrisFlyer miles is required. This is the same rate that applied just prior to the covid-19 crisis (but the minimum transfer has been reduced from 10,000 to 5,000 KrisFlyer miles).
Note that transfers cannot be reversed once made.
You will also be able to redeem Velocity Points for Reward Seats in Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class on the Singapore Airlines network (T&C's and exclusions will apply).
Great news for members of both programs, reopening opportunities that were available prior to February 2020.
It also provides an opiton for holders of larger KrisFlyer balances to "save" miles that are close to expiring, as KrisFlyer miles have a "hard" expiry of 3 years, whereas Velocity points do not expire as long as there is some activity every 2 years. Note that miles transferred cannot be transferred back again. Read More…
Air New Zealand set to relaunch 14 international routes
Air New Zealand is about to relaunch 14 international routes in 16 days and this will bring its international capacity up to 60% of
The Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will be back helping to ensure that from July 9, the airline will have three-quarters of its international and domestic routes back up and running with popular destinations like Honolulu, Houston and Tahiti restarting after around 820 days of not operating.
“We are seeing first-hand how keen people are to travel again, particularly across the Tasman. Come July, we will double our services across the Tasman and restart popular direct services like the Sunshine Coast, Hobart and Adelaide. By July 9 we will be back at all nine Australian ports which is an important milestone for us.” Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said.
Great news for travellers to Australia and its near neighbour.
Turkish Airlines Targets Nonstop Australia Flights
Turkish Airlines is considering the launch of non-stop services to Australia using either Airbus A350-1000XWB or Boeing 777X
aircraft. Australia is a whitespot in the carrier’s network of more than 300 destinations worldwide. The only other major
exception is Greenland.
The airline already operates 777-300ERs, as well as A350-900s. However, Turkish Airlines may go for an additional version, such as the A350-1000XWB for the ultra-long-range services from Istanbul to Sydney and Melbourne.
“Australia is the last continent which Turkish Airlines is not flying to,” Turkish Airlines chairman Ahmet Bolat said at the 2022 IATA annual general meeting in Doha.
For Turkish Airlines, the nonstop flying time from Istanbul (IST) to Sydney (SYD) and Melbourne (MEL) would be approximately 17 hours. Services could start in 2026 or 2027.
In the meantime, until the ultra-long-range capacity is available, the Istanbul-based carrier already has codeshare connections to Australia. The airline is also looking for partnerships in Australia and is talking with nations like Malaysia or Indonesia for fifth freedom rights.
“If we would have that [fifth-freedom], then we could share the markets with the home carriers,” Mr Bolat said. “With the existing fleet we cannot do nonstop flights. We are talking with our codeshare partners, because it is more comfortable to operate Australia with the same aircraft.”
Turkish Airlines has an interesting loyalty program Miles&Smiles, so direct flights to Australia may open up some interesting opportunities with Turkish Airlines and other Star Alliance members.
Virgin Australia Building Its Short-Haul International Routes
Virgin Australia announced this week that it is resuming more short-haul international destinations and is also planning
for further expansion of its international network later this year and in March 2023.
The carrier operated an extensive network to New Zealand before the pandemic, and intends to return to this market in November 2022 with flights to Queenstown (ZQN).
Virgin also operated long-haul international flights, primarily to the US. However, it cut all the long-haul routes when it decided to dispose of its widebody fleet as part of its restructuring as a primarily domestic operator in 2020.
Currently, Virgin’s only current international route is between Sydney and Fiji.
However, Virgin is now resuming flights to Bali (DPS), Indonesia—an important leisure destination. Flights between Sydney (SYD) and Bali start June 15, and routes from Melbourne (MEL) and Brisbane (BNE) to Bali are due to relaunch on June 17.
Virgin has scheduled a wave of short-haul international routes in March 2023. This includes a service between Bali and Gold Coast (OOL), Australia, which it has not operated before. The flight is set to launch on March 29, 2023. Virgin Australia said the announcement of the Gold Coast-Bali route reflects increasing demand for flights in and out of Gold Coast, and the airline’s growing presence at the Gold Coast airport for domestic flights. The carrier currently operates up to 180 domestic outbound flights per week from Gold Coast, and bookings on Gold Coast flights were up by 55% in May versus 2019 levels.
Samoa (APW) and Vanuatu (VLI) will be added back to Virgin’s network during the same month. Flights from Brisbane to Vanuatu are due to begin on March 10, from Sydney to Samoa on March 21, and Brisbane to Samoa on March 23.
For the immediate future at least, Virgin will offer long-haul connections via its international partners. It is continuing its relationship with partners including Air Canada, All Nippon Airways, Etihad, Hawaiian Airlines and Singapore Airlines, and in May announced it will also partner with Qatar Airways. Earlier this year it also replaced Delta by United as its US partner.
Flights from Sydney (SYD) to Bali (DPS) are now available from A$ 787.75. Check availability for Virgin Australia flights to Bali (or others that interest you).
(Virgin Australia is one of our advertisers and we may receive a small compensation from them)
Singapore Airlines Upgrades Its Lounge Offerings At Changi
Singapore Airlines (SIA) is positioning itself for a potential shift in traveling patterns of premium and high-net-worth customers through
Singapore Changi airport, as the market shifts toward Southeast Asia. The Star Alliance member has unveiled an upgraded and expanded
SilverKris and KrisFlyer Gold lounge at Changi Terminal 3. The project cost the airline S$50 million (US$37 million) and took nearly three
years to complete.
The four lounge areas, known as Private Room, the First-Class section of the SilverKris Lounge, the Business Class section of the SilverKris Lounge, and the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge, can collectively accommodate around 1,150 customers within 6,100 sq m, an 30% increase.
The business-class section of the SilverKris lounge can host 570 travellers, including 200 in the dining area.
All areas have a dedicated dining area, food service counters, restrooms, and showers, as well as baby care and accessible facilities.
Singapore Airlines boosts services to Australia
Singapore Airlines will increase its operations to four times daily to Melbourne, while Cairns and Darwin will increase to five times
weekly, as travel demand continues to grow.
The increase in services to the two Northern Australian destinations aligns with the region’s peak visitation period and will support the recovery efforts of local tourism and travel operators.
The airline will roll out the airline’s newest narrowbody aircraft, the Boeing 737-8 (pictured) from June 2 on services to Darwin.
Singapore Airlines has invested around S$230 million in the development, design, and installation of the new cabin products, which elevate the standard for short- and medium-haul travel onboard narrowbody aircraft. The 737-8 is fitted with 154 seats across two classes, 10 in Business Class and 144 in Economy Class.
From June 2 onwards, the changes will be:
Virgin Australia / United Airlines partnership officially launched
Virgin Australia and United Airlines celebrated their new partnership with a launch at, Sydney International Airport, yesterday.
The partnership between Virgin Australia Group and United Airlines was struck in December last year and it will triple the airline’s reach into the Americas, with flyers able to access more destinations across the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America.
The partnership establishes code-share co-operation, as well as reciprocal loyalty benefits for Velocity Frequent Flyer members to earn, redeem and receive tier benefits when traveling on United’s domestic and international network, connecting from the carrier’s multiple Australian gateways, including daily direct flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Sydney, with flights from Houston and direct services to Melbourne expected to resume later in 2022.
The United deal which replaced the airline’s former relationship with Delta Air Lines, is critical to Virgin Australia which no longer has its long-range capable Boeing 777s that used to ply the Pacific to the US.
The partnership is a coup for Virgin Australia as United Airlines is a dominant Pacific player and the partnership will also extend United’s large Australian presence, as United offers more flights to Australia than any other U.S. carrier.
Virgin Australia’s CEO Ms Hrdlicka said that “Virgin Australia customers will have significantly more options for travel from Australia to the States, with more than three times as many services available to them, which is great news for Australian travelers”.
Qatar Airways expands its strategic partnership with Malaysia Airlines
Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines today unveiled details of the next phase of their strategic partnership, following Malaysia
Airlines’ announcement to launch a non-stop service from Kuala Lumpur to Doha from 25 May. The two partners will significantly expand their codeshare cooperation, allowing passengers to travel the world and enjoy seamless connectivity via their leading hubs in Kuala Lumpur
The codeshare expansion, which adds 34 destinations to the existing 62 codeshare destinations, marks another milestone in the long-standing relationship between the two countries’ national carriers and Oneworld partners.
In linking their route networks, the partners are striving to develop Kuala Lumpur as a leading aviation hub in the Southeast Asia Region connecting Malaysia, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand with the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, and Africa.
We would expect Singapore Airlines and Singapore's Changi Airport to have a different view, so developments in this space will be interesting.
ACCC grants interim Authorisation for Virgin Australia/United code-sharing
On May 12th, the Australian ACCC
granted authorisation for Virgin Australia
to operate a "virtual global network" of routes using partnerships with other airlines, the first of which is United Airlines, but
now subsequently Qatar Airways.
Virgin Australia intends to align with other “former and new partners” to expand its reach beyond short-haul routes, to which it is limited due to its existing fleet of narrowbody aircraft. Virgin Australia ceased all long-haul international flights and ended its lease agreements for its wide-body fleet during the pandemic. It has recently restarted flights to Nadi, Fiji and is planning to resume Bali, Indonesia flights in mid-June 2022.
The codesharing arrangements with United and Qatar airlines will provide Virgin Australia access to long-haul routes to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas.
Qatar Airways currently operates daily flights into Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth as well as three weekly flights into Adelaide continuing into Auckland, New Zealand. The codeshare agreement will enable Qatar Airways’ passengers to travel seamlessly to 35 destinations on Virgin Australia’s extensive domestic network on a single booking. QR’s passengers will also have access to Virgin Australia’s recently relaunched short-haul international markets, including Fiji and Queenstown, New Zealand.
United Airlines is flying the SYD - LAX and SYD - SFO routes and is keen to return to the Sydney - Houston (IAH) sector later this year. It recently confirmed the restart of its Melbourne (MEL) - San Francisco (SFO) flights from June 5, making it the only US carrier flying direct Mebourne to the US.
UA60 will take 15 hours and 45 minutes to make its way down to Melbourne, while the return flight UA61 will take 14 and a half hours to fly back to San Francisco. United is eyeing resuming the MEL - LAX flights later this year. United's 787-9 Dreamliner will operate the Melbourne flights, which for the 48 passengers in business class will have the latest United lie-flat Polaris seats, which considerably reduce the pain of long-haul flying.