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September 2014 Travel News & Alerts

01 September 2014

Embassy Closures for the Month of September

Please be informed that the following embassies will be closed in September on the specified dates:

1. American Embassy: 1st September 2014

                                 18th September 2014

2. Canada High Commission: 1st September 2014

3. Malaysia Embassy: 1st September 2014

                                16th September 2014

4. Vietnam Embassy: 1st & 2nd September 2014

5. China Embassy: 8th September 2014

6. South Korea Embassy: 8th to 10th September 2014

7. Taiwan Embassy: 8th September 2014

8. Japan Embassy: 23rd September

9. Israel Embassy: 24th – 26th September 2014

 

No visa applications will be processed during this period.

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Fairmont Suzhou by 2018

Fairmont Suzhou is set to launch in China's Jiangsu province in 2018.

The new property in the FRHI group will form part of a mixed-use development offering office space, a retail podium, among others, in the heart of the Suzhou National New Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone – Suzhou New District, an area that is increasingly playing home to Fortune 500 companies.

“Fairmont Suzhou marks another key milestone for the Fairmont brand as we continue a steady and strategic pace of expansion into key Chinese markets,” said Jennifer Fox, president, FRHI International and president, Fairmont brand.

“Not only is Suzhou one of the country's most popular travel destinations on a domestic level, it shows continued strong growth internationally and is increasingly attracting foreign investment.”

The luxury hotel will offer 390 guestrooms, five F&B outlets, 4,000m2 in events space, a swimming pool, and a Willow Stream Spa.

Fairmont is scheduled to open a number of new properties in China for the next few years, including hotels in Chengdu (2015), Changsha (2017), Hangzhou (2018), Taiyuan (2019) and Nanning (2019).

Accor adds 13 more properties in the UK

Accor announces that HotelInvest, the Group's hotel owner and investor business, has purchased a portfolio of 13 hotels from Tritax for a total consideration of €89 million (SGD$ 147 million) in line with its stated strategy to consolidate the owned hotel base whilst strengthening its economy and midscale segments. The move cements Accor’s position as the largest owner of economy and midscale hotels in key European markets.

The portfolio consists of 12 ibis and 1 ibis budget, represents 1,194 rooms located across the UK in key regional locations: Coventry, Coventry South, Birmingham Holloway Circus, Birmingham Bordesley, Leicester City, Plymouth, Sheffield City Shude, Liverpool, Manchester Princess Street, as well as London Stratford, London Thurrock and London Barking.

As a result of the purchase 3 Accor owned F1 hotels adjacent to the properties in Liverpool, London Barking and London Thurrock will be restructured as extensions of the newly acquired ibis budget and ibis hotels. The properties have been operated under variable-rent leases by Accor since 2001, and since 2005 for Tritax, a real estate investor, on behalf of individual and private owners.

This acquisition for HotelInvest, follows an active period for the team in the UK who have also sold and franchised back two properties, Novotel Stevenage and Novotel Nottingham, to Fairview Hotels. Fairview, a key partner in the UK since 2008 now own and operate five Accor brand hotels in the country, Mercure London Bloomsbury, Mercure Letchworth Hall, ibis Stevenage and now Novotel Nottingham & Stevenage Novotel Stevenage. Fairview will be investing significantly in both the properties to ensure the consistency and quality of the Novotel Brand is maintained.

Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Lounge at the new Hamad International Airport

 

In late August, Al Mourjan Business Lounge for Qatar Airways at Hamad International Airport (HIA), the country’s new world-class gateway to the world opened its doors for Premium passengers. The new lounge occupies a stunning 2.5 acres worth of space with unrivalled service. The lounge can accommodate over 1,000 passengers at a time. 

Business travellers will find specially designed quiet room with individual and double occupancy resting areas. Dedicated house hosts and hostesses provide sleeper suits, toothbrushes, cushions and other amenities so that passengers are as comfortable as possible during their stay. And to ensure customers do not miss their flight, a wakeup call service is provided. In addition, luxurious shower facilities are available for customers to refresh after their rest.

Al Mourjan Business Lounge would not be complete without a business centre, and HIA and Qatar Airways have ensured that all passengers’ business needs are fulfilled – from working stations with all-in-one computers and printers, to conference rooms and a lounge area for more relaxed meetings. The business centre also offers 24/7 secretarial services and its own media room, game room and family room that caters to passengers of all ages.

Changes in Booking Classes

Suites / First ClassDue to a re-alignment of Singapore Airline’s booking class, Booking class "P" for Suites / First Class travel will be removed with effect from 01 Oct 2014. It will be replaced by booking class "A".

Please refer to the table below for the new booking class structure for Suites / First class with effect from 01 Oct 2014.

Cabin Type Booking Class
Suites R
F
A
First F
A

 

Economy ClassWith effect from 01 Oct 2014, the number of booking classes in Economy Class travel will be reduced from 4 to 3. Booking class "S" will be removed and the rest of the booking classes "Y, B & E" will remain.

Please refer to the table below for the new booking class structure for Economy class with effect from 01 Oct 2014.

Cabin Type Booking Class
Economy Y
  B
  E

 

Revised Cancellation / Refund Fees

With effect from 01 Oct 2014, the cancellation / refund fees for corporate fares would be adjusted to USD150. Tickets that are issued before 01 Oct 2014 would not be affected by this change. There is no change to no-show fee.

Singapore Airlines/SilkAir Fare Revision

With effect from 01 October 2014 to 31 March 2015, Singapore Airlines (SQ) and SilkAir will be revising its Suites / First Class, Business Class, and Economy Class Market fares to selected destinations.

To ensure current rates still apply, all tickets must be issued by 6pm on 30th September 2014

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Singapore Airlines Fuel Surcharge Increase

Please be informed that Singapore Airlines will be revising fuel surcharge on selected destinations from 01 October 2014. To ensure current rates still apply, all tickets must be issued by 6pm on 30th September 2014.

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Garuda Launches Flights to London

The new route commenced on 8 September 2014 and will now operate five times a week between Jakarta and London Gatwick Airport, via Amsterdam.

The route will now depart Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport at 0040 every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, arriving in Amsterdam at 0940. The onward leg to London then leaves at 1115, arriving at Gatwick at 1150.

The return service then leaves London at 1310 on the same days. It arrives in Amsterdam at 1515 and stays until 1700, when it departs for the return journey to Jakarta. It will finally arrive back in the Indonesian capital at 1140 the following day.

All flights will be operated using Garuda’s new 314-seat Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, offering first, business and economy class cabins. The Indonesian national carrier is a member of the SkyTeam alliance.

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Heathrow Terminal 2, the Home of Star Alliance

 

Singapore Airlines (SIA) will welcome its passengers to the new and impressive Queen's Terminal in Heathrow starting September 17. The Queen's Terminal, or Terminal 2, is the new home of all Star Alliance airlines that fly to Heathrow.

Terminal 2 offers world-class facilities that will make travel easier for SIA’s direct London passengers as well as passengers connecting via Heathrow to other destinations. This brings all Star Alliance Partners "under one roof" in Heathrow, enabling faster and more convenient connections for SIA' customers to and from flights operated by other Star Alliance airlines.

When arriving and leaving Heathrow, customers will have a choice of modern check-in methods: Quick and easy self-service kiosks, fast bag-drop desks and full-service check-in desks.

 

Star Alliance in London, Heathrow 

The 23 Star Alliance airlines serving Heathrow are Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, and United.

Together Star Alliance airlines operate over 121 flights per day to 45 destinations in 25 countries. Each of these flights acts as a gateway to the full Alliance network of more than 18,000 daily flights to 1,269 airports in 193 countries.
 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Pan Pacific set to open Tianjin Hotel & Residences

Managed by Singapore-based hotel company Pan Pacific Hotels Group, this will be the fifth 'Pan Pacific' hotel in China, following properties in Suzhou, Ningbo and Xiamen. The five-star Pan Pacific Hotel and Serviced Suites Tianjin is poised to open in the bustling harbour city of Tianjin in China next month.

One of the four centrally-administered cities in China, Tianjin is just a 30-minute connection to Beijing via high-speed train and serves as the railway hub for travels from the capital to Northeast and East China. As the largest coastal city in Northern China, Tianjin is also a strategic world-class port-of-call for international cargo ships and cruise liners visiting the wider area, including Beijing. Due to its strong heritage as a port city, Tianjin has become an important economic centre in the country and is now home to some 300 Fortune 500 companies. The development of the Bohai Economic Rim and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integration initiative will further underscore Tianjin’s position as a key engine of economic progress, especially for the Northern China region, thereby attracting more businesses to the city.

Marking the extension of the “Pan Pacific” brand presence along the Pacific Rim, the new Pan Pacific Hotel and Serviced Suites Tianjin promises a refreshing Pacific experience delivered through elegant facilities of the highest quality, and discreet, personalised service. It will respond to the growing demand for quality accommodation in the city in light of Tianjin’s booming economic prospects, and seeks to become the leading hotel of choice for business and leisure travellers.

The luxury hotel-and-serviced suites property is situated on the bank of the iconic Haihe River and at the intersection of Tianjin’s three vital commercial districts of Hongqiao, Hebei and Nankai. It is well-connected to Tianjin’s main arrival ports – via a 40-minute drive from Tianjin Binhai International Airport and 10-min drive from Tianjin Railway Station. It is also close to key tourist attractions such as Tianjin Ancient Culture Street, Temple of the Queen of Heaven, Tianjin Eye and Tianjin Zhongshan Park.

Capitalising on Tianjin’s attraction as a business destination, Pan Pacific Hotel and Serviced Suites Tianjin will provide comprehensive business and meetings solutions comprising a Business Centre, Pacific Club with a private meeting room, 10 versatile event spaces and complimentary Wi-Fi access in all guestrooms. 

Emirates New Baggage Policy

Please be informed that Emirates has changed their baggage policy for tickets issued from 15th November 2014. There are new rules for the length of a bag as well as its total size (length + width + height).

This Weight concept is applicable to all destinations except Canada, North and South America as these countries are on per Piece concept.

 

WEIGHT CONCEPT

( A ) For tickets issued from 15th November

If the total size of your Passenger’s bags is more than 300cm (118 inches), it will not be accepted as check-in luggage.

It must be sent as cargo or freight.

( B ) For tickets issued before 15th November

If Passenger bag ranges in length from 300cm up to 400cm (157 inches), they may be accepted in exceptional cases. You need to contact the local Emirates office at least seven working days before travel for approval.

 

PIECE CONCEPT ( applicable to Canada, North & South America )

( C ) For tickets issued from 15th November

The size of your bag must not exceed 150cm (59 inches). If Passenger’s bag exceeds this size and is up to 300cm (118 inches), Passenger will be charged an additional fee. Bags exceeding 300cm (118 inches) must be sent as cargo or freight.

If the Passenger has two pieces of luggage*, the total size of the bags should not exceed 300cm (118 inches).

( D ) For tickets issued before 15th November

The size of one bag must not exceed 158 cm (62 inches). In Economy Class, your bags must not exceed a total size of 273 cm (107 inches). If you have bags exceeding this size, it will be charged an additional fee.

 

( Note * Canada and North America: Passenger can carry two bags of up to 23kg each in Economy Class, and two bags of up to 32kg each in First Class or Business Class. South America: Two bags of up to 32kg each in all classes ).

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

India Visa Application

Pleased be informed that the Indian High Commission will not be accepting any incomplete applications with missing photo or signature.

If there is a mistake in the application form, a new application form is required with the original signature and photo.

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Emirates and Jetstar’s Codeshare plans

Emirates and Jetstar have announced the expansion of their codeshare and frequent flyer relationship, to 30 routes across Asia Pacific providing more choices for the Emirates customer.

From 26 October 2014 subjected to , Emirates will broaden its codeshare on Jetstar to include Jetstar Airways services between Melbourne and Ayers Rock (Uluru), Christchurch to Wellington in New Zealand and three new destinations in South-East Asia from Jetstar Asia’s hub in Singapore.

The new codeshare services from Singapore will give Emirates passengers access to Malaysia (Penang), Myanmar (Yangon) and Indonesia (Medan).

The additional destinations will complement the current 25 routes announced earlier in February this year.

With immediate effect, Emirates Skywards members can now also earn Skywards Miles when they book economy Starter Plus, economy Starter Max or Business Max fares on international routes with Jetstar Airways, Jetstar Asia, Jetstar Japan and Valuair, as well as domestic routes within Australia and New Zealand if they connect to an international flight.

Emirates customers travelling on Jetstar will enjoy a range of full service fare features such as food and beverage options and the same luggage allowance they would have on Emirates.

All Emirates’ passengers on Jetstar flights will receive boarding passes on check-in at their first international departure point for connecting international service. Members must enter their Emirates Skywards membership number during the booking process and Skywards Miles will be awarded within two weeks of completing the journey.

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Increased Air China Flights to London

Starting October 26, 2014, Air China will increase its Beijing - London (Heathrow) service to two flights daily.

The new flights will further promote exchanges between China and the United Kingdom and offer more options to travellers going to other European cities.

The second flight is CA855/6. The outbound flight departs from Beijing at 14:30 and arrives in London at 17:50 local time. The inbound flight departs from London at 20:25 local time and arrives in Beijing at 14:45 Beijing time.

The original daily flights CA937/8 are operated as normal - the outbound flight leaves Beijing at 12:30, and the inbound flight departs from London at 17:40.

These new flight are scheduled to take into consideration the needs of travellers who depart from Asia-Pacific regions like Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea to connect in Beijing onto flights to Europe.

For further information please contact your travel manager.