QANTASLINK this morning announced a new direct route between Sydney and Mildura, as well as boosting frequencies to Bendigo to help expand visitor spending in regional Victoria.
Effective 29 Mar 2020, QantasLink will operate 74-seat Q400 flights four days per week on the Mildura route, offering over 30,000 seats per year.
QantasLink CEO John Gissing said the service would be the only direct connection between the cities, saving travellers about two hours compared to flying via MEL.
“As Australia’s largest regional airline, we know the value of connecting country cities and we’re proud to be connecting the Sunraysia region to Sydney once again,” Gissing said.
“Together with the Mildura Rural City Council, we’re promoting the greater Mildura region to travellers across Australia and the world as a great destination to visit.”
Bendigo services will also increase to 10 per week effective 30 Mar, building on the success of the new route which launched earlier this year (TD 16 Jan).
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FLIGHT Centre’s Travel Associates (TA) brand has launched its inaugural consultant Advisory Board, with 10 agent members from across the country to help guide the organisation’s “strategic direction for expansion and differentiation”.
The new Board includes Greg Ashmore, who founded the Travel Associates concept in 1998, and is chaired by Flight Centre Travel Group GM of Premium Leisure Brands, Danielle Galloway, who said: “As we prepare our business for future growth, technological innovation and increased competition, it’s never been more important to work closely with our business leaders to guide Travel Associates into the future, retaining our premium DNA, focusing on clear value for our clients and on how we are different as a business”.
The initiative follows the recent renewed focus on cruise through the debut of the new “Cruise Boutique” brand (TD 21 Aug).
Currently, there are 117 Travel Associates stores across the country, 14 of which are being co-branded as Cruise Boutiques along with plans to significantly expand the offering.
Galloway said Board members had been hand-picked to bring deep brand and industry knowledge to the table, along with the ability to influence and guide, plus strong connections.
Other members include Meaghan Wolf (Vic), Jo Kennedy (Qld), Nathan Dare (Gold Coast), Alan Reis (NSW/ACT), Tammy Houston (WA), Becky Kent-Parchella (SA) and Briony Harris (Tas), along with Debbie Rains who represents the group’s franchisees, having rebranded her regional Qld-based Escape Travel network as Travel Associates.
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QANTAS Frequent Flyer members can now access reward seats, tier benefits and earn points across the entire Air France-KLM network, under a “comprehensive new partnership” between the airlines.
The deal – which comes despite Qantas being a oneworld alliance member and AF/KLM both part of the rival SkyTeam alliance – builds on the existing codeshare pacts initiated last year (TD 11 Oct 2018, TD 24 May 2018) which allowed AF and KL customers to connect over Singapore and Hong Kong on flights between Europe and Australia.
Qantas said the expanded frequent flyer agreement would allow its customers to access more than 60 new destinations across Europe and Africa.
Passengers can also earn points on all fares across all Air France and KLM marketed flights globally, rather than just on QF codeshare services.
Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said “Qantas Frequent Flyer is committed to building strong and strategic partnerships with flagship airlines to improve travel options and benefits for our members.
“Frequent flyers used 10 billion Qantas Points booking dream trips across Europe last year…we know this partnership will allow our members to explore more of the continent and find reward seats more easily,” Wirth added.
As well as points earning and redemption, QF frequent flyers with Gold status or higher will be able to access tier benefits including priority boarding and check-in as well as extra baggage allowance on any Air France and KLM operated flights.
Members of the Air France and KLM loyalty program Flying Blue will also now earn points when travelling on Qantas services.
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APT is reminding agents they can sign up to its newly enhanced trade website.
The updated trade portal boasts improved access to real time sales data, a greater range of reports and dashboards, live pricing and more – see page nine.
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VIRGIN Australia is today highlighting special launch fares on its new non-stop daily flights between Brisbane and Tokyo Haneda Airport, which are set to debut on 29 Mar 2020.
Return Economy tickets lead in at just $699 – see the cover page.
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A two-HOUR power outage aboard CMV Australia’s Vasco da Gama off the South Australian coast last Fri threatened to blow up into a media maelstrom, amid reports tugs had been alerted and that the ship was “listing”.
The vessel is well known to Australian cruisers, having formerly sailed with P&O as Pacific Eden, and was approaching Adelaide when a warning light came on in the engine room control panel.
Power was shut off as a precaution to ensure onboard systems were not damaged, and guests were kept informed while investigations proceeded.
No cause for concern was found and things returned to normal, with the vessel arriving in port about 2.5 hours late.
CMV said no changes had been made to future itineraries – more in today’s issue of Cruise Weekly.
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KEITH Prowse Travel is offering full travel agent commission on its range of Wimbledon tennis packages, which include premium tickets, unique fan experiences and accommodation.
The offerings are showcased in a special Product Profile feature on the last page of today’s TD.
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JETSTAR is pleading with its staff “not to disrupt the travel plans of tens of thousands” after union members voted in favour of taking industrial action.
Pilots and ground crew are negotiating over wages and conditions, with pilots saying they will initially conduct four hour stoppages next weekend.
Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans said he was disappointed at the move, adding that the carrier had proposed a 3% annual pay rise and that the average JQ Captain’s earnings were over $300k a year.
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REGISTRATIONS are now open for the 2020 Visit USA Expos, with an all-new format and a “celebrity guest appearance by ‘Tom Cruise’”.
Over 50 US exhibitors are taking part, with events in PER, ADL, OOL, BNE, MEL and SYD – to register see visitusa.org.au.
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DUBAI-BASED hospitality group Jumeirah has announced its first property in Italy, with a management agreement for the Capri Palace on the island of Capri in the Gulf of Naples.
The 68-room hotel, which first opened in 1960, will undergo a makeover before reopening as Capri Palace Jumeirah in Apr.
It will be the sixth European property for Jumeirah, complementing its Middle Eastern portfolio and hotels in China and the Maldives, along with further expansion for 2020 planned in Indonesia and Oman.
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