News for South Pacific

New Zealand's Government brings forward border reopening

11 May, 2022

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced (11-May-2022) an early opening of New Zealand's border and a simplification of immigration settings, plans to address the immediate skill shortages in New Zealand and speed up the economic recovery from coronavirus. New Zealand's border is scheduled to open from 23:59 on 31-Jul-2022. The Government has also announced new rebalanced immigration settings which will help businesses access the key skills they need while ensuring wages and working conditions are improved. Ms Ardern stated: "The cornerstone of our rebalance is the new Green List which will incentivise and attract high skilled migrants to New Zealand, by providing a new streamlined pathway to residency for those globally hard to fill roles". The new Green List that includes over 85 hard to fill roles created to attract and retain high-skilled workers to fill skill shortages. The Green List will provide streamlined and prioritised pathway to residency incentivising high skilled healthcare, engineers, trade and tech sector workers to relocate to New Zealand long term. New Zealand's Government also announced visa extensions for approximately 20,000 migrants already in New Zealand to ensure skilled workers stay in country. Cruise ships able to return with the opening of the maritime border from 31 July, and a full resumption of international education is scheduled from 31-Jul-2022. [more - original PR]

Qantas to resume Sydney-Santiago de Chile service

11 May, 2022

Qantas Airways plans to resume Sydney-Santiago de Chile service from 31-Oct-2022, operating four times weekly with Boeing 787-9 equipment, as per a 10-May-2022 GDS inventory and timetable display.

Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways enter new strategic partnership

10 May, 2022

Virgin Australia and Qatar Airways entered (10-May-2022) a new strategic partnership that will significantly expand both airlines' networks, lounges and loyalty programmes. The partnership, to commence later in 2022, will give travellers greater access, unparalleled customer experience and unique benefits when travelling between Australia and Qatar Airways' global network, with transit options across Qatar Airways' Australian gateways and key Virgin Australia hubs, including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The strategic alliance will provide a critical trade and tourism boost for Australia, while opening new travel opportunities for both airline's customers. Due to the new codeshare agreement, Qatar Airways' passengers will be able to travel to 35 destinations on Virgin Australia's extensive domestic network. Qatar Airways' passengers will also have access to Virgin Australia's short haul international markets. Virgin Australia customers and members of the airline's Velocity Frequent Flyer loyalty programme, will be able to directly access Qatar Airways' route network of more than 140 worldwide destinations. The strategic partnership will include reciprocal loyalty benefits allowing Qatar Airways Privilege Club members to earn and redeem Avios when flying on Virgin Australia, with similar benefits for Velocity members when travelling on Qatar Airways' services. Privilege Club and Velocity members will also enjoy a wide range of other unique benefits, depending on status tier. [more - original PR]

Emirates to launch premium economy on London, Paris and Sydney A380 services in summer 2022

10 May, 2022

Emirates Airline launched (09-May-2022) its full premium economy offering for deployment on high traffic A380 routes serving London, Paris and Sydney effective 01-Aug-2022. Sales for the onboard and ground product will launch effective 01-Jun-2022, with rollout expanding to Christchurch service in Dec-2022. Emirates president Tim Clark stated initial deployment is limited to six A380s currently fitted with premium economy, adding: "Our intention is to offer this experience to many more markets", and confirming plans to retrofit a further 67 A380s and 53 Boeing 777s, as previously reported by CAPA. The programme will bring Emirates' total premium economy fitted fleet to 126 aircraft and will be delivered alongside other cabin modernisation projects. Sir Tim also stated "the positive response and demand has been tremendous" following the release of the seating class in Jan-2021. [more - original PR]

Niue's Government welcomes quarantine free travel between New Zealand and Niue

9 May, 2022

Niue's Government announced (03-May-2022) Quarantine Free Travel (QFT) to Niue from 27-Jun-2022 and the resumption of passenger aeronautical services every week. Cabinet approved a timeline for Niue transitioning from home isolation to Quarantine Free Travel in preparation for this start date. QFT to Niue for those who also meet normal immigration requirements will be open to all travellers once all pre departure testing requirements have been met. All travellers arriving into Niue once QFT commences will still be required to undertake coronavirus testing as required by the Niue Health Department by completing a PCR test. Niue Premier Dalton Tagelagi says Niue is unique as one of the few countries globally that have managed to keep coronavirus at the border since its first case in Mar-2022. Government officials will continue to work towards ensuring all safety protocols and response capabilities are in place as part of its phased approach toward two way QTF between Niue and New Zealand. [more - original PR]

Jetstar Airways expands Canberra network with new Melbourne and Gold Coast services

9 May, 2022

Jetstar Airways announced (09-May-2022) it will expand its Canberra network with new services to Melbourne and Gold Coast, bringing an additional 100,000 tourists to the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) p/a. This marks the first time Jetstar has flown these routes and follows the successful launch of Brisbane-Canberra service in Dec-2021, which continues to be a popular route in both directions. The carrier will operate Melbourne-Canberra service daily, and Gold Coast-Canberra service four times weekly. [more - original PR]

SriLankan Airlines increases Colombo-Sydney frequency

9 May, 2022

SriLankan Airlines, via its official Twitter account, announced (07-May-2022) it increased Colombo Bandaranaike-Sydney frequency from four to five times weekly. The airline is the sole scheduled operator on the route, according to OAG.

SriLankan Airlines increases Colombo-Melbourne frequency

9 May, 2022

SriLankan Airlines, via its official Twitter account, announced (07-May-2022) it increased Colombo Bandaranaike-Melbourne frequency from six times weekly to daily. The airline is the sole scheduled operator on the route, according to OAG.

Qantas offers points planes for domestic travel

9 May, 2022

Qantas Airways stated (09-May-2022) Qantas Frequent Flyers may use Qantas Points to book any seat on any flight for travel in Aug-2022 across more than 30 domestic routes. The Points Planes will be available between Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane into more than 20 regional destinations. Seats on these services can also be purchased with cash. In addition, frequent flyers will need 30% fewer points to book economy Classic Flight Reward seats on these routes, for travel from 01-Jun-2022 to 30-Nov-2022. This includes the month of Points Planes in Aug-2022. Frequent Flyers can book these seats using points from 00:01 on 09-May-2022 until 15-May-2022. [more - original PR]

Qantas to launch Perth-Gold Coast service from 25-Jun-2022

6 May, 2022

Qantas Airways plans to launch twice weekly Perth-Gold Coast service from 25-Jun-2022 with Boeing 737-800 aircraft, as per a 05-May-2022 GDS inventory and timetable display.

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