The Latest Airline News & Updates

21 May 2015

The airline industry is constantly changing, so you've got to be on your toes to stay up to date with it all. Fortunately, we've made life easier by compiling all the latest and greatest airline industry news. From new lounges opening and updates to baggage, to reduced services and business-class changes, everything you need to know is right here.

USA Growth

The Federal Aviation Authority in the USA has forecast 50 per cent growth in the number of people flying on US airlines in the next 20 years. The forecast was based on GDP growth, with the FAA saying 1.14 billion passengers will fly on US carriers by 2035.

The number of long-haul passengers arriving in the country on foreign carriers was expected to climb to 4.7 per cent. Asia Pacific, to which Australia belongs, was identified as the second-fastest-growing region at 4.3 per cent annually, just behind Latin America at 4.4 per cent, the FAA report said.

New Virgin Lounges

New lounges have opened in Alice Springs and Darwin with the launch of Virgin's Adelaide-Alice Springs-Darwin flights.

Darwin's new lounge is part of the airport’s $60 million makeover, with room for 150 passengers. The new lounge features the same service and amenities as other capital cities, with complimentary food and beverages all day, free Wi-Fi and all-day espresso.

Alice Springs' lounge is similar to Mackay regional lounge, with the same food and beverage options but in a self-serve style. There is free Wi-Fi and work areas, with comfortable seating for 70 passengers.

 Alice Springs has scored a new Virgin lounge. Picture: Getty Images

Jetstar All 787

Jetstar, a Qantas-owned low-cost carrier, will take delivery of three more Boeing 787-8 aircraft by September this year, which will complete the transition to an all-787 long-haul fleet. The last two routes to transition from the current A330-200 aircraft to the Boeing 787 will be the Brisbane to Honolulu and Melbourne to Honolulu routes.

Jetstar group chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka said in a statement: “The introduction of this aircraft has fundamentally changed the economics of our long-haul flying, with the substantial fuel savings it delivers and will also reduce maintenance costs.”


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Musician Baggage

Qantas has updated its baggage policy for the carriage of musical instruments as checked baggage to allow up to three bags, at 23 kilograms per bag, to travel free.

Even tickets booked at the lowest economy fares will have access to the new rules when musos show their valid music association membership card at check-in and have musical instruments or touring equipment. Additional charges may apply if weight is over 23 kilograms and travel must be on a domestic Qantas flight with Qantas flight number.

 Have guitar, will travel. Picture: Getty Images

Emirates Reduces Perth Flights

Qantas partner Emirates is dropping one of its three daily flights between Perth and Dubai in the Middle East.

The change has come shortly after Emirates announced A380 services to the West Australian capital. The current late-afternoon flight and its return service – EK423 and EK422 – are conducted by a B777 aircraft and will be dropped from the schedule.

Affected passengers already booked from July 6 onwards will be moved to the earlier B777 flight or the new A380 service.

Perth-Auckland

In other Perth news, Qantas will run its seasonal Airbus A330 flights between Perth and Auckland, New Zealand, from October 30 to December 6.

During this period, the carrier will operate one flight a week non-stop between the capitals each Friday evening, departing Perth at 8.30pm and arriving in Auckland at 8am the following morning.

The return flight from Auckland will depart Sundays at 12.25pm, arriving in Perth at 3pm the same day.

This will ramp up to twice weekly departures from December 11 until March 26, 2016, with services from Perth each Friday and Saturday with return flights each Saturday and Sunday during the period.

 West Australians will gain a seasonal boost to Auckland. Picture: Getty Images

Virgin Business

All Virgin Australia services from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown and Wellington in New Zealand now feature eight new black leather business-class seats.

The new cabin on Virgin Australia’s Boeing 737 fleet has replaced the previous premium economy product and features a Luke Mangan-designed menu with enhanced beverage service.

Other destinations to receive the switch to business class include Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, Cook Islands and Tonga.

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Jason Dutton-Smith

I’m a passionate traveller and a first class nomad wannabe. I have a love for the written word and enjoy sharing stories that inspire travel. I like ordinary but love extraordinary. I’ll dance and sing karaoke to anything 80’s, will drink hot tea even if 40 degrees, love food and have a wicked sweet tooth. Architecture excites me, the window seat thrills me and anything aviation enamours me. I’m a perpetual dreamer who lives by Saint Augustine’s wise words – “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”. My intention is to read War and Peace!