News for South Pacific

Virgin Australia opens invitation only 'Beyond Lounges'

20 April, 2022

Virgin Australia opened (20-Apr-2022) its invitation only 'Beyond Lounges' in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane on 20-Apr-2022. The reopening of the lounge network, previously known as The Club, a key benefit of the new Virgin Australia Beyond loyalty programme announced last year, signifies a major milestone in the airline's transformation plan and follows a long list of significant customer improvements since Virgin Australia was relaunched in 2020. Virgin Australia Beyond is now the highest tier of loyalty for Virgin Australia customers and sits alongside the airline's Velocity Frequent Flyer loyalty programme which continues to offer Red, Silver, Gold and Platinum status. Beyond member benefits include:

  • 12 month annual membership for the primary member with the option to also nominate a spouse/partner for Beyond membership to enjoy the same benefits. Membership is reviewed each year;
  • Access to dedicated Beyond Lounges in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane with a relaxed à la carte menu offering;
  • Dedicated phone concierge service to make or change bookings;
  • Four complimentary upgrades to business class p/a;
  • One complimentary Velocity Gold membership for the primary member's executive assistant.

To coincide with the opening of Beyond, Virgin Australia has today launched a new and fresh à la carte menu for Beyond members. All food is freshly prepared on site and can be ordered with the airline's dedicated Beyond Lounge Hosts who are on hand to deliver a personalised service experience. The breakfast and all-day dining menus will rotate regularly based on supply and seasonality. Beyond Lounge Hosts will also recommend meals from the all-day à la carte menu based on the duration of the members visit before their flight. [more - original PR]

NSW Govt removes hotel quarantine requirement for travellers not vaccinated against coronavirus

20 April, 2022

New South Wales (NSW) Health Minister Brad Hazzard stated (19-Apr-2022) from 30-Apr-2022, unvaccinated international returning travellers will not be required to undertake hotel quarantine. The current requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, including taking a Rapid Antigen Test within 24 hours of arrival and complying with the NSW Health guidelines, will be extended to unvaccinated travellers. Public transport capacity caps will also be lifted with the requirement to wear masks on public transport, planes, and indoors at airports and cruise terminals to remain in place. [more - original PR]

Visitor arrivals to New Zealand down 1.2% in Feb-2022

20 April, 2022

Statistics New Zealand reported (12-Apr-2022) 5235 visitor arrivals to New Zealand in Feb-2022, a decrease of 1.2% year-on-year. Visitor arrivals from Australia declined 5.3% to 967. [more - original PR]

Victoria's Government amends inbound international coronavirus restrictions

20 April, 2022

Victoria's Minister for Health, Ambulance Services and Equality Martin Foley stated (20-Apr-2022) from 23:59 on 22-Apr-2022, international travellers who are symptom free will be recommended but not required to get a coronavirus PCR or rapid test on arrival, and unvaccinated travellers will no longer complete seven days' quarantine. Pre-departure tests for unvaccinated air crew will also be lifted. Face coverings will still be required on public transport and at airports, excluding airport workers who aren't public facing. [more - original PR]

Regional Express (Rex) and Princess Cruises enter booking partnership

20 April, 2022

Regional Express (Rex) and Princess Cruises reportedly entered an agreement, allowing travel consultants to book Rex services via the 'Princess EZair' platform (karryon.com.au/travelweekly.com.au, 19/20-Apr-2022). 

Air New Zealand resumes service to San Francisco

19 April, 2022

Air New Zealand resumed (14-Apr-2022) service to San Francisco on 14-Apr-2022, and plans to resume service to Honolulu on 04-Jul-2022 and to Houston on 07-Jul-2022. The service to San Francisco will initially operate three times weekly with Boeing 787-9 equipment. The Boeing 787-9 that will service these routes offers more premium seats than other 787-9s in the airline's fleet. [more - original PR]

Philippine Airlines outlines Asia Pacific network effective Apr-2022

18 April, 2022

Philippine Airlines launched (12-Apr-2022) the following international Asian network from Manila effective Apr-2022:

  • South Pacific:
    • Melbourne: Five times weekly;
    • Sydney: Five times weekly;
    • Brisbane: Twice weekly;
    • Auckland: 03/17-Apr-2022, 08/22-May-2022 and 05/19-Jun-2022, stopping over in Brisbane;
  • Southeast Asia:
    • Singapore: Twice daily;
    • Kuala Lumpur: Six times weekly, excluding 14/19/21-Apr-2022;
    • Hanoi: Weekly;
    • Ho Chi Minh City: Four times weekly;
    • Phnom Penh: Three times weekly;
    • Jakarta: Four times weekly, increasing to daily effective 16-Apr-2022;
    • Bangkok: 10 times weekly;
  • North Asia:
    • Hong Kong: Four times weekly; 
    • Taipei: Four times weekly;
    • Seoul Incheon: Twice weekly;
    • Tokyo Haneda: Four times weekly;
    • Tokyo Narita: Eight times weekly, increasing to 10 times weekly effective 15-Apr-2022;
    • Osaka Kansai: Daily;
    • Nagoya: Four times weekly;
    • Fukuoka: Five times weekly.

The carrier also scheduled Cebu-Tokyo Narita frequencies on 02/16-Apr-2022, along with additional Manila-Fukuoka frequencies on 21/28-Apr-2022. [more - original PR]

Philippine Airlines outlines North American network effective Apr-2022

18 April, 2022

Philippine Airlines announced (12-Apr-2022) plans to serve following North American network from Manila effective Apr-2022:

  • Los Angeles: 12 times weekly;
  • San Francisco: Daily;
  • New York: Three times weekly;
  • Honolulu: Three times weekly;
  • Guam: Four times weekly;
  • Toronto: Weekly, increasing to twice weekly effective 17-Apr-2022;
  • Vancouver: Six times weekly.

The carrier noted Toronto and New York services may stop over in Vancouver in Apr/May-2022, subject to airspace closures. [more - original PR]

Virgin Australia launches upgraded WiFi across lounge network

13 April, 2022

Virgin Australia, via its official LinkedIn account, announced (13-Apr-2022) it launched new high speed WiFi at its lounges across Australia. The upgraded infrastructure will allow more guests to simultaneously access WiFi at improved speeds.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia reports gains in travel spending intentions in Mar-2022

13 April, 2022

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) stated (12-Apr-2022) the CommBank Household Spending Intentions (HSI) Index rose 9.2% in Mar-2022, compared to Feb-2022, with strong gains in transport, travel and retail helping lift the index to a record high of 117.1. The transport spending intentions category posted the strongest gains, up 31.8%. Travel spending intentions rose 18% and are now 43.7% higher than Mar-2021. CBA reported strong gains in spending intentions across travel agencies, airlines, airports and bus lines. Travel related transactions and Google searches linked to accommodation and tourist destinations posted meaningful increases in Mar-2022. CBA chief economist Stephen Halmarick stated: "While some of these increases can be attributed to people booking getaways for the Easter holidays, the overall rebound is also driven by people feeling more confident to travel despite the ongoing threat of COVID". [more - original PR]

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