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March 2015 Travel News & Alerts

01 March 2015

Embassy Closures for the Month of March

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

1. Bangladesh Embassy: 17th March 2015

                                       26th March 2015

2. Canada Embassy: 6th March 2015

3. India Embassy: 6th March 2015

4. Ireland Embassy: 17th March 2015

5. Myanmar Embassy:  2nd March 2015

                                    4th March 2015

                                   27th March 2015

6. New Zealand Embassy: 5th - 6th March 2015

7. Russia Embassy: 9th March 2015

No visa applications will be processed during this period.

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Fare Revision on Air France, Asiana Airlines, Malaysian Airlines and Singapore Airlines/SilkAir

In March & April there will be fare revisions for the following airlines:

Effective 25th March 2015, Fare adjustment on Premium Economy Class.

Effective 1st April 2015, Revision on Business Class, Economy Class and Market published fares.

Effective 1st April 2015, Increase to 6% GST on domestic fares (within Malaysia only).

Effective 1st April 2015, Market / Corporate Fare adjustments across all cabins.

 

To ensure current rates still apply for Air France all tickets must be issued by 24th March 6pm.

To ensure current rates still apply for Asiana Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines/SilkAir all tickets must be issued by 31st March 6pm.

Hilton rebrands Nikko Tokyo by this coming October

1 October 2015, the current Nikko Tokyo will be re-launched as the 12th Hilton Hotel – Hilton Tokyo Odaiba. Located in the waterfront area of Odaiba, the 15-storey hotel will offer 453 rooms and suites, each with a private balcony that overlooks Tokyo Bay and the Rainbow Bridge. Facilities at the property include 10 food & beverage outlets, a 1,200m² ballroom, business centre, two wedding chapels, a fitness centre, spa and indoor pool.

Hilton Tokyo Odaiba will become Hilton’s sixth property in the Tokyo area, joining the Conrad Tokyo, Hilton Tokyo, Hilton Odawara Resort & Spa, Hilton Tokyo Bay and Hilton Tokyo Narita Airport.

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Third Runway at HKIA approved

Hong Kong International Airport will move forward with plans to develop a third runway, after the project was officially approved by Hong Kong‘s Executive Council this week.

The new runway will be developed on 650 hectares of reclaimed land and will also feature new taxiways and aprons, a third runway concourse, an expanded Terminal 2, an automated people mover connecting to the main terminal, and a baggage handling system.

The third runway forms part of a major expansion plan for HKIA. Late last year the airport completed construction work on a new 105,000m², five-level Midfield Concourse, which is expected to become operational by the end of 2015.

Once the third runway is completed, the airport will be able to handle an extra 30 million passengers per year.

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Lufthansa’s Premium Economy on A380 fleet

The first Lufthansa Airbus A380 equipped with the airline’s new Premium Economy Class took off from Frankfurt Airport earlier to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Houston is the first destination served by this particular aircraft before it takes off to the various A380 destinations within Lufthansa’s worldwide long-haul network.

Lufthansa passengers will soon be able to enjoy the comfort and benefits of the Premium Economy Class on all A380 routes when the new travel class becomes available throughout the entire flagship fleet on April 22, 2015.

Passengers travelling to and from North America can enjoy Premium Economy on the A380 earlier. The service will become available on the Los Angeles–Frankfurt route at the end of March before it takes off between Washington Dulles and Frankfurt on April 9th, 2015.

Lufthansa’s entire long-haul fleet is gradually equipped with the new Premium Economy seats. Currently, the new class of travel is available on all 16 747-8 aircraft as well as on 13 Airbus A340-300.

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

SkyTrain Closure in Changi Airport

Changi Airport’s terminals are connected by a free Skytrain service, which operates from 5.00am to 2.30am, at both the transit and public areas.

It takes approximately four minutes to travel between terminals by Skytrain, with an average waiting time of two minutes.

Please note that the North Skytrain line connecting Terminals 2 and 3 are currently not operational, due to ongoing development works (*please see details below).

*Getting between Terminal 2 & Terminal 3

As a result of redevelopment works at Terminal 1, the North Skytrain line connecting Terminals 2 and 3 – including the public area service, and the transit area service between Terminal 3 (B Gates) & Terminal 2 (E Gates) – which runs through the development site, are closed during the period of construction. The South Skytrain line connecting Terminal 3 (A Gates) and Terminal 2 (F Gates) remains operational.

Travellers may transfer between Terminals 2 and 3 as follows:

Within the transit areas (to travel between Terminal 3, B Gates and Terminal 2, E Gates)

A free shuttle bus service connecting Terminal 2 (E Gates) and Terminal 3 (B Gates) runs from 5.00am to 2.30am, with an average waiting time of between four to seven minutes. The journey takes about six to eight minutes.

Boarding & alighting points:

·         Terminal 2: North Bus Station, Level 1, just before Arrival Immigration (take escalator down and turn left). Look out for signs indicating  “Shuttle Bus to T3 (B Gates)”

·         Terminal 3: North Bus Station, Level 1, just before Arrival Immigration (take escalator down and turn right). Look out for signs indicating “Shuttle Bus to T2 (E Gates)”

Alternatively, passengers can take the South Skytrain line, connecting T3 (A Gates) and T2 (F Gates), which continues to operate as usual.

At the public areas By foot using the Mezzanine Level link bridge above the MRT station. It takes approximately five minutes to walk between Terminal 2 and 3.

Skytrain Maintenance Hours

The Skytrain is closed for maintenance works from 2.30am to 5.00am daily. During these non-operational hours, travellers may transfer between the terminals as follows:

Within the transit areas By foot via the inter-terminal travellators located throughout the Departure Transit areas.
At the public areas

A free shuttle bus service connecting all terminals operates from 2.30am to 5.00am daily at 15 minutes intervals.

Boarding & alighting points:

·         Terminal 1: Departure Check-in Hall, Level 2, Door 5

·         Terminal 2: Departure Check-in Hall, Level 2, Door 1

Terminal 3: Departure Check-in Hall, Level 2, Door 8

For further information please contact your travel manager.

AirAsia ASEAN Pass Now for Sale

 

AirAsia introduced the “AirAsia Asean Pass” and the “AirAsia Asean Pass+” in an effort to boost travel by making traveling within the region a seamless experience. The passes are available at www.airasia.com, with the AirAsia Asean Pass retailing at RM499 for 10 credits and AirAsia Asean Pass+ for RM888 with 20 credits. 

Holders of the AirAsia Asean Pass and the AirAsia Asean Pass+ can enjoy flights at a fixed-rate to over 148 routes across all 10 Asean countries. Acting like a single currency, it diminishes the hassle of different foreign exchange rates as flights are valued according to credits, allowing guests to be creative in planning their ideal trip through Asean.

Flights with duration of below two hours are valued at 1 credit, while flights of two hours and above are valued at 3 credits. No processing fee applies for flight redemptions using the AirAsia Asean Pass and Asean Pass+. Airport charges/tax and other fees will be payable separately. The pass can also be purchased as a gift for another traveller.

The AirAsia Asean Pass and Asean Pass+ credits are redeemable for travel with AirAsia Malaysia (AK), Thai AirAsia (FD), AirAsia Indonesia (QZ) and Philippines AirAsia (Z2) to Asean destinations only.

For a detailed list of flights redeemable with the AirAsia Asean Pass and Asean Pass+ and other applicable terms and conditions, guests may refer to the airline’s website at www.airasia.com.

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Curio by Hilton arrives in Europe

 

Hilton Worldwide has reached agreements to add its first European hotels under the Curio - A Collection by Hilton brand.= Reichshof Hamburg and Rumeli Han Istanbul are both century-old, historic landmark hotels undergoing major renovation and restoration.

The hotels are due to open in 2015 and 2017 respectively.

Launched last year in June, Curio aims to give upper upscale and luxury independent hotels the opportunity to partner with Hilton Worldwide while maintaining their own distinct identity and local charm. The first Curio properties in destinations in the Americas including Las Vegas, Dallas and Florida.

Hotels within Curio – A Collection by Hilton offer advantages for guests and owners including Hilton Worldwide’s operating system, which has facilitated the rapid global rollout of e-check in and room selection at more than 4,100 properties globally.

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

 

Etihad A380 fitted with ‘The Residence’ to fly to New York

The residence by EtihadEtihad Airways announced today the airline’s new Airbus A380 service takes flight beginning December 1, 2015 for guests traveling between New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport and the airline’s Abu Dhabi home. The A380 features The Residence by Etihad™, the airline’s ultra-luxurious and private three-room suite in the sky, a first in commercial aviation. 

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Mobile Check-in at Incheon Airport

Starting 2nd March for flights departing from Incheon International Airport, boarding pass will be issued once checking in with computer or mobile devices. With this boarding pass, you may go straight to the departure area without visiting the check-in counter. This service will start with flights departing to Japan and will subsequently extend to all other flights departing from Incheon and Gimpo International Airport.

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Starwood’s Aloft and Element brands to debut in Dubai

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide have signed an agreement with wasl hospitality & leisure, to debut the Aloft and Element brands in Dubai. Scheduled to open in 2018, Aloft Dubai Raffa and Element Dubai Raffa will bolster Starwood’s presence in Dubai. With the debut of both brands in 2018, Dubai will be home to all nine of Starwood’s brands.

Aloft Dubai Raffa and Element Dubai Raffa will be built simultaneously and operate as a unique complex offering 165 and 96 rooms, respectively, upon opening in early 2018. Located near Dubai Maritime City — the new development at Port Rashid — the hotels will be conveniently located close to Sheikh Zayed Road and the heart of Dubai’s traditional commercial centre.

Designed to shake up the staid and traditional mid-market hotel sector, Aloft hotels are redefining the category by delivering urban-influenced, modern and vibrant design and a social guest experience at an affordable price point. Aloft Raffa will feature the brand’s signature W XYZ Bar, where guests can mix and mingle over lively music, and Re:fuel by Aloft, the grab and go eatery open 24 hours a day. Other amenities include Re:charge the fully equipped fitness centre and a refreshing outdoor Splash pool. All of Aloft Raffa’s facilities will be accessible to guests of Element Raffa.

Element Raffa marks the debut of Starwood’s trailblazing eco-wise brand in the UAE. Inspired by Westin, Element Hotels provide guests with space to live their lives, offering bright, modern design, green-minded sensibilities and a reimagined extended stay experience, perfect for the traveller who is visiting for a few days or a few weeks.

Starwood currently operates nearly 50 hotels and resorts across the Middle East under eight of the company’s nine distinct lifestyle brands including: The Luxury Collection, St. Regis, Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, Le Méridien, Four Points by Sheraton and Aloft. The company has plans to further expand its portfolio in the region with a pipeline of over 35 hotels due to open by 2017.= Dubai is the company’s second largest market after New York City with 15 operating hotels and six properties in the pipeline, including Aloft Raffa and Element Raffa.

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Anantara Siam Bangkok becomes Thailand's flagship for the brand

On 4th March Anantara Hotes,a Resorts and Spas added the Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel to its luxury portfolio, the brand's flagship in home market Thailand.

Owner Minor Hotel Group will invest US$20 million to enhance the hotel – rebranded from Four Seasons Bangkok – over the coming months, refurbishing some of guestrooms and public areas.

Located in the heart of central Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong district, opposite the Royal Bangkok Sports Club and right next to a sky train station, the property is close to the main business, nightlife and shopping districts, Lumphini Park, and many of the city’s key cultural attractions.

Suvarnabhumi International Airport is a 45-minute drive away and Don Mueang International Airport, 25 minutes.

Apart from 354 guestrooms and suites, other facilities include 10 F&B outlets; an outdoor pool; 24-hour health club with a gym and squash court; a studio for yoga, aerobics and spinning; a steam room and whirlpool; and Anantara Spa.

Meeting and event facilities range from boardrooms and meeting rooms to a grand ballroom for up to 1,000 guests.

With the addition of Anantara Siam Bangkok, the brand now boasts 34 properties in 10 countries, and a pipeline of more than 10 future properties.

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

JAL expands WiFi service

Japan Airlines (JAL) has announced it will introduce JAL Sky wifi on its B767-300ERs and B787-8s starting from March 3.= The service will be available on Europen, North American and long-haul Asian routes. 

There are two plans for passengers in all classes.

The JAL Sky wifi was first launched on B777-300ERs. It can be used on smartphones, notebook computers and other wireless LAN devices. Upon connection through wifi, passengers can browse the web, check emails, or update social media.

As signal is provided via satellite, wifi may be interrupted or unavailable due to poor weather conditions or location. For example, the service is not available over China due to its network permissions. There is also no signal above the border of Alaska and Canada and wifi service on Tokyo (Haneda) – London/Paris routes has been unavailable since January 28 as the satellite is out of service.

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Shangri-La opens in the capital of Jiangxi

Shangri-La Hotel, Nanchang has opened in Honggutan, the new central business district of Nanchang city.

Sited on the most sought-after location on the west bank of the Ganjiang River, the hotel has direct views of the magnificent 1,300-year-old Tengwang Pavilion, one of the four famous towers in China, and is a five-minute stroll from the popular Qiushui Square.

Within 30 minute drive is the train station and Changbei International Airport.

Nanchang’s rich art scene has been influential in the hotel’s approach to its interior style with a mix of traditional Chinese ink paintings and blue and white porcelain on display in the public areas.

The hotel’s 473 guestrooms and suites ranging from 45 to 149 square metres are modern in cool silvery and beige tones, and complement the Ganjiang River, which can be viewed through full-length windows.

Embellished with porcelain and patterns from traditional Chinese paintings on the carpet, the rooms are also practically equipped with in-room entertainment and free Wi-Fi.

In the hotel’s Horizon Club Lounge, guests can appreciate extra privileges including express check-in and check-out, complimentary breakfast buffet and evening cocktails, and full concierge service.

There is a private space, on level 32 of the hotel, was designed with 180-degree vistas and an outdoor terrace.

There are five levels of Club rooms that accommodates a day bed and a walk-in wardrobe.

The hotel has three restaurants and a lounge. Café Hong, the all-day dining outlet, features five show-stopping open kitchen concept. One level above the café is Zi Yu Xuan, a Chinese restaurant specialising in classic Cantonese and Gan cuisines helmed by Chef Eric Yue. There are eight separate dining rooms to hold Private functions or special occasions. For informal meetings and get-togethers, the Lobby Lounge offers sweet and savoury options, as well as live entertainment.

A total of 3,880 square metres of event space capable of holding 1,800 guests includes a 1,683-square-metre pillar-less grand ballroom that is attached to an expansive foyer with a river view.

A junior ballroom and five other function rooms complete the hotel’s meeting facilities.

There are extensive recreational facilities at the hotel’s health club cater to guests of all levels of fitness and practices. This includes a gym, a 25-metre indoor pool, Jacuzzi, steam and sauna room are a beauty salon and spa.

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Lufthansa adds new route: Panama

Lufthansa is set to offer year-round flights to Panama City for the first time from November 16th, subject to the approval of authorities.

An Airbus A340-300 aircraft will fly five times a week between Frankfurt and the economic metropolis in Central America.

Flight LH 484 will take off from Frankfurt at 10.15 and arrive in Panama by 16:40 (local time) after a flight time of 12 hours and 25 minutes.

The return flight LH 485 will depart from Panama City in the early evening as a night flight and land at Frankfurt Airport the following morning.

There are 298 seats available in Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class, featuring the latest cabin design in all classes. The Business Class seats can be converted at the touch of a button into a flatbed measuring 6.5 feet in length. While in Premium Economy Class, increased legroom and a greater seat pitch await passengers. All seats are equipped with individual in-flight entertainment system, a wide range of entertainment is offered for passengers in all travel classes, as well as FlyNet, the wireless broadband internet.

With this new route, the airline is also expanding its partnership with the Panamanian airline Copa. This partnership gives access to an additional 50 destinations in Central and South America and the Caribbean Copa’s network include airports in Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

The times of the Lufthansa services are coordinated with Copa’s connecting flights to allow passengers to transfer comfortably at Tocumen Airport, Copa’s hub.

 

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Changi Airport wins World’s Best Airport for the 6th time

The 2015 World Airport Awards, based on 13 million customer nominations across air travellers of 112 nationalities and including 550 airports worldwide, has for the third consecutive year named Singapore's Changi Airport the best in the world.

The top 10 international airports are as followed, South Korea’s Incheon International Airport in Seoul, Munich Airport, Hong Kong International Airport, Tokyo International Airport (Haneda), Zurich Airport, Central Japan International Airport, London Heathrow Airport, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport respectively.

This is the sixth time Changi Airport topped the list. It was also voted the Best Airport for Leisure Amenities for the seventh time.