February 2015 Travel News & Alerts

01 February 2015
Embassy Closures for the Month of February

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

All or Most Embassies: 19th - 20th February 2015

1. Australia Embassy: 19th – 20th February 2015

2. Brazil Embassy: 16th – 20th February 2015

3. British Embassy: 19th – 20th February 2015

4. China Embassy: 18th - 24th February 2015

5. German Embassy: 19th 20th February 2015

6. India Embassy: 20th February 2015

7. Japan Embassy: 11th February 2015

                            19th – 20th February 2015

8. Malaysia Embassy: 17th - 23rd February 2015

9. Myanmar Embassy: 12th February 2015

                                19th – 20th February 2015

10. Netherlands Embassy: 19th 20th February 2015

11. Philippines Embassy: 19th – 20th February 2015

12. Russia Embassy: 23rd February 2015

13. South Korea Embassy: 19th – 20th February 2015

14. Taiwan Embassy: 18th – 23rd February 2015

15. Thailand Embassy: 19th – 20th February 2015

16. United States of America Embassy: 16th February 2015

                                                         26th February 2015

17. Vietnam Embassy: 15th – 22nd February 2015


No visa applications will be processed during this period.

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Fairmont debuts in Jakarta

On 22nd January, Fairmont Jakarta has opened its doors in the capital of Indonesia last week. Located in the centre of Senaya Square, in the heart of Jakarta’s Central Business District, the hotel’s location puts it within minutes of high-end shopping and entertainment. Also nearby is the 18-hole Senayan National Golf Course and the Jakarta Convention Centre.

For meetings and events, the hotel offers a total of 3,500 square meters of function space with the latest in modern technology, including a prestigious 1,200 square meter ballroom.

The stunning new urban hotel features 380 guestrooms including Fairmont Gold accommodation, the brand’s exclusive ‘hotel within a hotel’ concept, and 108 Sky Suites, offering guests the best of both worlds: suite-style living in a five-star hotel with the comfort of home.

Remarkably spacious guest rooms feature plush bedding with elegant Japanese spa-inspired bathrooms and state-of-the-art in-room technology, complete with premium amenities for both business and leisure travellers. Five restaurants and lounges have been designed to create memorable destination experiences in their own right. Each aims to excite local and global gourmands by celebrating the distinct culinary culture from across Indonesia and around the globe.

The hotel’s gym provides the latest in fitness equipment, while a fourth floor outdoor swimming pool serves as an oasis from the bustling city below. 


For further information please contact your travel manager.

Alitalia flies to Asia

Alitalia is planning to launch a series of new routes to Asia as part of its restructuring plan. New Asian routes outlined under the turnaround plan include Rome-Beijing, Rome-Seoul, Milan-Shanghai and additional Milan-Tokyo flights.

The airline will also launch daily services to Abu Dhabi from Venice, Milan, Bologna and Catania, as well as additional flights from Rome, all of which will allow onward connections to destinations in the Asia Pacific region.

The “new” Alitalia started operating on 1 January 2015, following Etihad’s acquisition of a 49% stake in the loss-making carrier. The turnaround plan, which also includes new branding, customer service initiatives, new aircraft and codeshare partnerships, is intended to return Alitalia to profit by 2017.

The route expansion will be based on Alitalia developing a “three-hub strategy” in Italy, with increased long-haul services from Milan Malpensa, more connections with partner airlines at Milan Linate, and an increase in short-, medium- and long-haul traffic at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport.

As well as the new Asian flights, Alitalia plans to add new routes from Rome to San Francisco, Mexico City and Santiago, plus additional flights to New York, Chicago and Rio de Janeiro.


For further information please contact your travel manager.

New Shanghai Rail Link

A new rail link is under consideration that would cut the journey time between Shanghai’s two international airports to just 30 minutes, the chief of the Shanghai Transport Commission has revealed.

This new ‘Express Metro’ link would connect the city’s Pudong and Hongqiao airports, which lie 45km apart. But this is only one option being considered. Officials are contemplating the speed of the transport which will affect the journey between the two airports. It is said that the ideal distance time would be 30 minutes, however the present distance time is 45 minutes.

While no timetable for the project was given, it was said the fast rail link would need to be ready within five years.

Currently, Shanghai’s two airports are linked by the city’s Metro network, but the journey can take 90 minutes and includes a change of train.

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Lufthansa adds Premium Economy to its Asian routes

Lufthansa has started offering its new premium economy class on a series of routes connecting Asian cities with Munich.

The German carrier has now launched the cabins on flights linking Munich with Tokyo Haneda, Hong Kong and Shanghai, and from mid-February it will offer the new class on the Munich-Seoul route.

Additional routes will be added this summer, once Lufthansa has refitted more of its Airbus A340-600 aircraft. The new premium class was released to more of these long-haul routes to Asia due to significant demand in booking levels to date. The seats are up to 3cm wider than economy class seats, and each has its own broad armrest, which provides about 10cm more space at the side. The seat pitch of 97cm is almost 17cm greater than in economy class. Other seat features include a bottle holder, power socket and storage space for personal items.

For further information please contact your travel manager.

The Second Ritz-Carlton in Malaysia

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. has plans to open a second luxury hotel in one of Malaysia’s fastest growing catchment areas - Petaling Jaya Golden Triangle, within a development named Empire City. Marriott - The Ritz-Carlton

The new Ritz-Carlton will be a 53-storey building located on a 4-acre site. It will be one of the tallest buildings in the area.

Empire City is a sustainable project that that the government hopes will boost the Malaysian economy, igniting business and service trade opportunities while offering numerous job opportunities and lifestyle enhancements for Malaysians, particularly those residing in the Klang Valley. Empire City will take up 30 acres and will be built in phases with completion targeted for 2016. The components of the development include over 2.5 million square feet of retail space; 3,000 units of studios, Sohos and Service Suites; 1.2 million square feet of office space; and a world-class Ritz-Carlton hotel.

For further information please contact your travel manager.

Swiss unveils business class enhancements

Swiss International Air Lines is continuing its programme of investment in its fleet, products and services under its ‘Next-Generation Airline of Switzerland’ strategy. 

In latest developments, the airline will be substantially enhancing the quality of its Business Class product.

Business class travellers on European services will soon be able to enjoy more privacy and comfort, while an exclusive bus transfer will be available at selected airports.

Swiss is also expanding its Business Class culinary offering on long-haul routes alongside its convenient ‘quick meal’ option, plus new lounges will be opened in Zurich towards the end of the year.

Swiss’s European fleet of Airbus A320s and A321s are currently undergoing an extensive cabin refurbishment.

The programme, which began last month, extends to ergonomic new seats and a new cabin and seating design that tangibly raise in-flight comfort levels.

Swiss will also guarantee to keep the neighbouring seat vacant for all its Business Class guests in Europe from the end of March onwards, to offer more privacy on board.

As a further new service, inbound Business Class travellers will be provided with their own exclusive bus transfer from the aircraft to the terminal from the end of March 2015 on.

The new facility will be offered at Europe’s major airports for flights which arrive at non-terminal stands.


For further information please contact your travel manager.

Third Golden Tulip hotel opens in Indonesia

Louvre Hotels Group is opening the third Golden Tulip hotel in Indonesia. Strategically located in the heart of Pontiani city, the newly built Golden Tulip Essential Pontianak features 186 rooms, free wi-fi, 40” LCD TV, 6 function rooms and a luxury ballroom.

The brand’s signature restaurant “Branche Restaurant, Bar & Lounge” offers a unique culinary experience with ‘fun-dining’ concept that combines the design of tea lounge and restaurant with wide range selection of Western – Eastern signature dishes and drinks.

The 5th floor is a ‘recreation’ area with “Copacabana Pool & Lounge” that is hotel’s semi-outdoor swimming pool, Sport and Fitness center also a luxury “Dedari Spa” offering a range of treatments.


For further information please contact your travel manager

Hilton Garden Inn opens at Istanbul International Ataturk Airport

Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Worldwide’s award-winning brand of upscale yet affordable hotels, announced today the opening of Hilton Garden Inn Istanbul Airport, representing an addition to the brand’s growing portfolio of more than 600 hotels worldwide. It is the brand’s seventh property in Turkey and offers 217 beautiful guest rooms.

The new hotel provides travellers with welcoming social spaces, and high-end amenities ensuring a comfortable stay at a great value.

The hotel also features six meeting rooms offering more than 250 square metres of flexible meeting space, as well as a ballroom of 373 square metres which can host receptions with up to 500 people to suit any occasion. All Hilton Garden Inn guests enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, 24-hour business centre, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, and an indoor pool.

The Garden Grille & Bar offers a full cooked-to-order breakfast and dinner, cocktails, and evening room service.

The Pavilion Pantry is open 24 hours and features a complete selection of salty snacks, sweet treats, cold beverages and frozen items.


For further information please contact your travel manager

Qatar's additional flight to Singapore starting June

Qatar Airways is to launch an additional daily flight to Singapore from June 1, 2015, as part of its global expansion drive and to cater to the increase in passenger demand.

The airline has also announced that it will be operating the new additional flight and the existing two daily flights to Singapore with its third, fourth and fifth A350 XWB aircraft, commencing service in June, July and August 2015.

Passengers will benefit from the new boarding experience achieved by the unique dome-design entrance with welcome light distribution. The aircraft also offers wide seats with generous room in all classes of service thanks to a number of design developments. 

The Business Class cabin has 36 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration featuring an 80” full flat bed and 17” HD in-flight entertainment screen. The Economy Class features 247 18-inch wide seats in a 3-3-3 configuration, each with a 10.6” in-flight entertainment screen, and more space at shoulder level for passengers in window seats due to the vertical side wall panel design.

The aircraft features the state-of-the-art Oryx entertainment system, with more than 1,000 entertainment options on individual screens in all classes. The A350 XWB also offers advanced air conditioning technology and LED mood lighting to enhance the comfort of passengers while reducing fatigue after a long flight, as well as in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity for all passengers allowing them to surf the web on the go.


Triple Daily Doha – Singapore Schedules from 1st June 2015:

Departure in Doha QR944 at 02:25, arriving in Singapore at 15:15

Departure from Singapore QR945 02:30, arriving in Doha at 05:05

Departure in Doha QR938 at 07:00, arriving in Singapore at 19:50

Departure from Singapore QR939 at 21:20, arriving in Doha at 23:55

Departure in Doha QR942 at 20:25, arriving in Singapore at 09:15 (next day)

Departure from Singapore QR943 10:40, arriving in Doha at 13:15


For further information please contact your travel manager

Ibis Styles in Jakarta’s Mangga Dua Square

Accor has launched the 211-room ibis Styles Jakarta Mangga Dua Square in northern Jakarta, located within Mangga Dua Square mall, next to Novotel Jakarta Mangga Dua Square.

The hotels at Mangga Dua Square mall area is Accor’s fourth multi-branded concept in Indonesia after Novotel and ibis Solo, Novotel and ibis Balikpapan, as well as ibis Budget Semarang and Novotel Semarang.

Coming up soon is the 400-room ibis Budget Jakarta Airport, which will complement the existing 251-room ibis Style Jakarta Airport.

Ibis Style Mangga Dua Square has one 196-seat restaurant, three meeting rooms, a ballroom for up to 300 people, fitness centre, spa and kids’ club.


For further information please contact your travel manager.

Qantas new bid-to-upgrade service

Qantas Frequent Flyers now have another way to request an upgrade with the launch of the new online invite-only bidding system.

Bid Now Upgrades will be introduced across the Qantas network starting 10th February, allowing invited Frequent Flyers booked in Economy and Premium Economy to make an offer for a Business upgrade with a combination of cash and Qantas Points – this makes Qanta’s bid for upgrades unique in the market.

The program will be allocated after all Classic Upgrade Rewards (points-only upgrades) have been processed. The new system ranks below Classic Upgrade in terms of priority and value, but gives members the flexibility to supplement points with a cash payment.

The new upgrade option follows other changes by Qantas to unlock revenue opportunities, including a significant increase in aircraft utilisation that has seen new routes and extra services added to its network.


For further information please contact your travel manager.