News for Asia

China Southern Airlines to launch Guangzhou-Cairns service

11 July, 2017

China Southern Airlines plans to launch three times weekly Guangzhou-Cairns service on 13-Dec-2017, operating with A330-200 aircraft, as per a 10-Jul-2017 GDS inventory and timetable display. 

Virgin Group founder: Chinese arrivals into Australia growing at 18% p/a

7 July, 2017

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson stated the number of Chinese tourists arriving into Australia is growing at 18% p/a (CNBC, 06-Jul-2017). Sir Richard added as Australia's "number two airline", it would be a mistake not to expand into China.

Virgin Australia CEO: Hong Kong is the 'spearhead of our Asian expansion' into mainland China

7 July, 2017

Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti stated the new Hong Kong service is the "spearhead of our Asian expansion", "the greater China is the future for us" (CNBC, 06-Jul-2017). Mr Borghetti said the carrier aims to raise frequency between Melbourne and Hong Kong to daily "as quickly as possible…before expanding into" other destinations in Australia such as Brisbane and Sydney.

Australia seeks more liberalised air services agreement from Hong Kong

7 July, 2017

Australia's Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo urged Hong Kong to secure a "more liberalised" air services agreement with Australia, stating that an agreement could be reached within current free trade negotiations (South China Morning Post, 06-Jul-2017). Mr Ciobo said: "Hong Kong has a tremendous amount going for it, but one area I think Hong Kong could do better in, to be honest, is in air services agreements".

Flight Centre Travel Group acquires Olympus Tours and Bespoke Hospitality Management Asia

7 July, 2017

Flight Centre Travel Group secured (07-Jul-2017) two separate deals to acquire Olympus Tours, a Mexico based destination management company and Bespoke Hospitality Management Asia, a Thailand based regional operator of design and lifestyle leisure hotels. Flight Centre Travel Group MD Graham Turner stated: "Expanding our in-destination network is a key global strategy and we are starting to develop strong foundations in this sector through our tour operators, destination management companies and hotel management businesses". [more - original PR]

Velocity Frequent Flyer and Fortune Wings Club announce reciprocal agreement

6 July, 2017

Virgin Australia announced (06-Jul-2017) a reciprocal frequent flyer agreement between Velocity Frequent Flyer, and Hainan Group's (HNA) Fortune Wings Club. The agreement allows members to earn and redeem points and be recognised across the airlines' flight networks. As part of the first phase of this agreement Velocity members will be able to earn Velocity Points and Status Credits on selected services operated by four Fortune Wings Club participating airlines including, Hong Kong Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Capital Airlines and Tianjin Airlines. The announcement follows Virgin Australia’s inaugural Melbourne-Hong Kong service which launched on 05-Jul-2017. Velocity Frequent Flyer CEO Karl Schuster stated: "The announcement is an exciting expansion of our current Velocity Frequent Flyer network and we’re delighted to provide more than eight million Velocity members with even more reasons to travel with us and our partner airlines". Hainan Airlines president Jianfeng Sun stated: "Virgin Australia is an important strategic partner of HNA group. Fortune Wings Club and Velocity have begun a cooperative effort in their frequent flyer programmes, which will not only expand points earning but the upcoming redemption channels and reciprocal elite members’ benefits will also create a perfect flight experience for members". [more - original PR] [more - original PR - II]

NSW announced as the number one destination for Aboriginal tourism

5 July, 2017

Destination NSW announced (05-Jul-2017) NSW overtook Queensland as the most popular State in Australia for international travellers to experience Aboriginal tourism, with the sector growing by 62% in visitor participation in the year ending Mar-2017. NSW's Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall stated the NSW Aboriginal tourism sector attracted visitors from around the world, including travellers from China, the US and UK. More than 332,000 international travellers to NSW took part in an Aboriginal cultural experience in the year ending Mar-2017. These visitors spent an estimated AUD1.3 billion (USD1 billion) during their visit. [more - original PR]

Virgin Australia confirms further expansion into Hong Kong and China

5 July, 2017

Virgin Australia confirmed the new Melbourne-Hong Kong route was just the start of the carrier's expansion into the region (Sydney Morning Herald, 06-Jul-2017). Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson advised the carrier had applied for 21 new slots at Hong Kong Airport, which would cover departures to Sydney and Brisbane.

Melbourne Airport welcomes Virgin Australia inaugural Melbourne-Hong Kong service

4 July, 2017

Melbourne Airport welcomed (05-Jul-2017) the launch of Virgin Australia's inaugural Melbourne-Hong Kong service. Melbourne Airport chief of aviation Simon Gandy stated the route was an important connection for tourism, business travel and cargo. Mr Gandy continued: "We are delighted Virgin have chosen Melbourne to expand their international services creating more opportunities for Victorians to travel for business, leisure, education and renewing family ties. Hong Kong is one of our top ten international outbound destinations with around 115,000 people travelling between Melbourne and Hong Kong each year. This international service will make a significant impact on our local economy as each daily international service injects between AUD100-150 million (USD76-114 million) a year into Victoria. With five flights a week that’s almost AUD2 million (USD1.5 million) flowing into the Victorian economy each week from this new service". [more - original PR]

Richard Branson launches Virgin Australia inaugural Melbourne-Hong Kong service

4 July, 2017

Virgin Australia launched (05-Jul-2017) five times weekly Melbourne-Hong Kong service on 05-Jul-2017. Service operates with two class A330-200 aircraft through 28-Sep-2017, according to OAG. [more - original PR]

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