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QANTAS OPENS INTERNATIONAL BOOKINGS FROM JULY

In a boost to the entire travel industry and the Australian travelling public, Qantas is anticipating a return to international travel from the middle of the year.

The national carrier’s reservation system is now taking international bookings for travel from 01 July 2021, across its entire overseas network.

“We’re thrilled to see international Qantas services in our bookimg systems once again,” said Sarah Bush, Co-Founder & Director of The Travel Authority Group.

The available services even include destinations in North America and the UK that had previously been expected to be off the table until October at least.

The bringing forward of services at this time perhaps aligns with Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce’s comments back in November that passengers will need to have been vaccinated for COVID-19 before being allowed to travel on Qantas internationally, and the Australian government’s announcement that the country’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout has brought forward two weeks to early March.

Last week, Greg Hunt, the Federal Health Minister announced that the Australian vaccination rollout, should be complete in October 2021 ahead of schedule.

A Qantas spokesperson said the airline has aligned the selling of its international services “to reflect our expectation that international travel will begin to restart from July 2021.”

All of our wings have been clipped for the best part of a year now. Are you ready to fly again?

We’d love to hear from you, and help you navigate your way back into the air safely and with confidence.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US [1300 935 669] to discuss your specific requirements.

QANTAS Prepares for Easing Restrictions with Flexibility & ‘Fly Well’

Qantas and Jetstar are rolling out a series of wellbeing improvements from 12 June for peace-of-mind in preparation for domestic travel restrictions easing.

The ‘Fly Well’ initiative brings together a range of temporary measures, and represents a combination of best-practice medical advice and feedback from customers.

“We are so encouraged by this action from the Qantas Group, as it hints at the green shoots of recovery.”

Peter Hosper, CEO of The Travel Authority Group

Customer research shows 98 per cent of frequent flyers are planning their next trip once restrictions lift.

“We know we’re still a long way off returning to the travel industry ecosystem of the pre-Covid economy, but every step towards getting people flying again is a positive one,” added Hosper.

The Fly Well measures cover both pre-flight and in-flight experience, including masks being provided to all passengers on each flight. While not mandatory, they are recommended to be worn in the interests of everyone’s peace-of-mind.

The video below highlights some of the Fly Well measures.

You can DOWNLOAD the QANTAS FLY WELL Fact Sheet HERE

The airline points out, too, that the air conditioning systems of all Qantas and Jetstar aircraft are already fitted with hospital-grade HEPA filters, which remove 99.9% of all particles including viruses. Air inside the cabin is refreshed on average every five minutes during flight.

“We’re relying on the cooperation of passengers to help make these changes work for everyone’s benefit, and we thank them in advance for that. Given the great job Australians have done at flattening the curve, we’re confident they’ll respond positively to these temporary changes to how we fly.”

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce.


IMPROVED FLEXIBILITY FOR CUSTOMERS

With so many regular flyers planning their next trip as travel restrictions are steadily adjusted, Qantas and Jetstar have also announced more flexibility.

Domestic

Book any Qantas or Jetstar Australian domestic flight between 21 May and 30 June 2020, for travel between 12 June and 31 October 2020, and the airline will waive the change fee one time if you decide to change the date of your travel. Customers will have to cover any fare increase (if relevant) for the new booking.

International Flight Credit Extension

Further flexibility has been introduced for international bookings (excluding Trans-Tasman). Customers with an existing Qantas or Jetstar international flight booking, for travel between 1 August and 31 October 2020, who wish to change their plans, can cancel their booking and retain the full value as a flight credit.

Flight credits must be requested by 30 June 2020 and are valid for booking and travel across domestic and international services by 31 December 2021. Jetstar credit vouchers allow up to two years to travel from issue date. Customers will have to cover any fare increase (if relevant) for the new booking.

If your flight is cancelled by the airline, you will be rebooked on the next available flight at no additional cost. Alternatively, you can choose a flight credit or a refund.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

We’d love to hear from you.

QANTAS Network & Services Update

This update is based on airline information supplied on 10 March 2020.

The Qantas Group has announced further cuts to its international flying schedule, reducing capacity by almost a quarter for the next six months.

“We will be reducing some services and using smaller aircraft, which means we can maintain overall connectivity, and ensure our customers are still able to reach their destinations. The changes will be extended from end-May until mid-September 2020.”

Qantas spokesperson

The latest cuts follow the spread of the Coronavirus into Europe and North America over the past fortnight, as well as its continued spread through Asia, which has resulted in a significant drop in forward travel demand.

Qantas has advised that capacity reductions to the United States (down 19%), the UK (down 17%) and Trans-Tasman (down 10%) will also be made in line with forward booking trends.

More Perth-London services

Strong customer demand Qantas’ direct Perth-London service has led the airline to temporarily re-route the existing Sydney-Singapore-London return service (QF1 and QF2) to become a Sydney-Perth-London return service.

This will take effect from 20 April 2020.

Change fee waivers for new international bookings

Given the changing landscape, Qantas is offering customers some flexibility to encourage booking confidence.

A one-time fee-free change to new international flight bookings made between 10 – 31 March 2020, for travel before 30 June 2020, subject to availability.

Some conditions apply. Please contact us for details.

“We expect lower demand to continue for the next several months, so rather than taking a piecemeal approach we’re cutting capacity out to mid-September. This improves our ability to reduce costs as well as giving more certainty to the market, customers and our people,” said Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, announcing the changes.

Qantas stressed that it retains the flexibility to cut further or to reinstate capacity as this situation develops.

“If you have existing bookings held and confirmed by The Travel Authority Group, we will be in touch to discuss your options.”

The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper

In most cases, international passengers will be offered an alternative flight via another capital city or a partner airline, or an alternative day. Disruption to domestic passengers is expected to be minimal given the continued high frequency on most routes.

We continue to monitor all official sources of coronavirus-related information, and maintain contact with all of our airline partners to ensure we’re across all developments.

For more information, leave a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

QANTAS Makes ‘Project Sunrise’ Aircraft Decision

After detailed evaluation of Boeing 777X and Airbus A350 aircraft, Qantas has announced that Airbus’ A350-1000 is the preferred aircraft for its proposed ultra long haul ‘Project Sunrise’ routes.

Having said that, it’s worth noting that regulatory support for the new routes is still pending, and discussions with Qantas pilots are ongoing.

No aircraft orders have been placed yet, but Qantas will work closely with Airbus to prepare contract terms for up to 12 aircraft ahead of a final go/no-go decision by the Qantas Board in March 2020.

“Qantas’ Project Sunrise planning is really exciting,” said The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper.

“New aircraft, new in-flight experience, and new ultra long haul city-pairs mean exciting new opportunities for our business and our clients. We look forward to adding them to our service and expertise mix as they roll out”

Peter Hosper, Managing Director of The Travel Authority Group.

Trialling in-flight menus for Qantas’ ultra long-haul ‘Project Sunrise’ services.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the airline’s support for Project Sunrise was stronger than ever, particularly after the success of recent ‘dry run’ research flights.

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce, aboard the airline’s non-stop London to Sydney test flight.

“Between the research flights and what we’ve learned from two years of flying Perth to London, we have a lot of confidence in the market for direct services like New York and London to the east coast of Australia.

In-flight exercises aboard Qantas’ recent non-stop ‘Project Sunrise’ test flight between London and Sydney.

“The A350 is a fantastic aircraft and the deal on the table with Airbus gives us the best possible combination of commercial terms, fuel efficiency, operating cost and customer experience.”

Qantas Group CEO, Alan Joyce.

If things go to plan, the first commercial Project Sunrise flights will take to the air in the first half of 2023.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

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HISTORIC QANTAS Non-Stop London Flight Touches Down

Qantas’ Project Sunrise London to Sydney non-stop research flight lands after more than 19 hours in the air.

Qantas has kicked off 12 months of centenary celebrations as it marks a fresh milestone in aviation with a non-stop London to Sydney flight.

Flown by the latest addition to the national carrier’s fleet, a brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the airline’s Centenary livery landed in Sydney at 12:28pm, 19 hours and 19 minutes after leaving Heathrow.

It follows the non-stop New York to Sydney flight as the second of three research flights aimed at improving crew and passenger wellbeing on ultra long haul services being considered.

The flight was operated by a brand-new Boeing 787-9 registration VH ZNJ—named Longreach—and, on landing, was met by more than 1,000 Qantas employees to mark the flying kangaroo’s 99th birthday.

The service was a re-purposed delivery flight. Rather than flying from Boeing’s factory in Seattle back to Australia empty, the aircraft was positioned in London to simulate one of the Project Sunrise routes under consideration by Qantas. All carbon emissions were offset.

“This is another landmark flight from the national carrier,” said The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper.

“We look forward to a not-too-distant day now when our clients can travel extraordinary distances in a single hop. These are exciting times, and we’re delighted that Qantas is right at the forefront of them,” added Hosper.

The direct flight reduced total travel time by around two hours compared with current one-stop services from the east coast of Australia. It was only the second time any commercial airline has flown this route non-stop, after Qantas flew a near-empty 747-400 in 1989.

“Almost a century after our first flight, Qantas and Jetstar carry more than 50 million people around this country and the globe each year. I’m sure that would amaze our three founders, who held the early board meetings of this company at the local tailor’s shop because it was the longest table they could find,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

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All photos shown here are credited to James D Morgan/Qantas.

QANTAS Decks Out its Decade-Old A380s

Qantas has just revealed a revamped experience coming to its fleet Airbus A380 aircraft.

The multimillion-dollar upgrade of 12 aircraft includes new seating across expanded Business and Premium Economy cabins, and a refresh of the aircraft’s First and Economy seating. The on-board lounge has also been redesigned.

Each aircraft takes approximately eight weeks to upgrade. Take a peek at the results below.

Smarter use of space has created an all premium class upper deck (now occupied by Business and Premium Economy) and an expanded on-board lounge. There are now 30 fewer Economy seats and an increase in premium seating by 27 per cent.

Expanded upper deck lounge area.

Download a fact sheet here > Upgraded-Qantas-A380-factsheet

“We think the re-fit looks fabulous. Not just in terms of hard product, but the increase in premium capacity is a move our clients will love”, said The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper.

Expanded Qantas Premium Economy cabin.

The capacity of Qantas A380s after the upgrade will be: 14 First Suites (unchanged), 70 Business Suites (up by six), 60 Premium Economy (up by 25) and 341 Economy (down by 30) for a total of 485 passengers (up by one).

Qantas business class on the A380.

Key elements of the upgrade include:

  • Introduction of the Qantas Business Suite, replacing the previous Skybeds, in a 1:2:1 configuration that now gives aisle access to every passenger.
  • Installation of the new Premium Economy seat (first debuted on the Qantas Dreamliner) and increasing the number of seats from 35 to 60.
  • A larger on-board lounge space with seating for up to 10 Business and First passengers.
  • An update to the 14 First Class Suites with new contoured cushioning, seat finishes and a larger, higher resolution entertainment screen.
  • A new colour palette for the Economy cabin and improved in-flight entertainment.

Re-vamped Qantas First Class on the A380.

The first reconfigured aircraft, VH-OQK, will operate as QF2 from London to Sydney via Singapore, arriving in Australia on Wednesday 2 October.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said, “Working with Airbus, we’ve been able to use the cabin space more efficiently and improve the economics of the aircraft while also providing a better experience in every part of the aircraft.

“By the end of this upgrade, we’ll have next-generation seating across our entire long-haul fleet of A380s, A330s and 787s.”

Business Class cabin on the refurbished Qantas A380.

Qantas expects to complete the refurbishment of the remaining 11 aircraft by the end of 2020.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

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QANTAS Testing Non-Stop Flights to New York & London

Qantas has announced three ultra-long-haul research flights to collect data about passenger and crew health and wellbeing.

The flights form part of Project Sunrise – Qantas’ goal to operate regular, non-stop commercial flights from Australia’s east coast of to London and New York.

The three research flights will be operated by brand new 787-9s on re-routed delivery flights from Boeing. Rather than flying empty from Seattle, the aircraft will simulate two Project Sunrise routes – London and New York to Sydney.

This will represent the first ever flight by a commercial airline direct from New York to Sydney, and only the second time a commercial airline has flown direct from London to Sydney.

Each flight will have a maximum of 40 people, including crew, in order to minimise weight and ensure the necessary fuel range.

The passengers – mostly Qantas employees – will be fitted with wearable technology and take part in specific experiences at varying stages of the roughly 19 hour flights. Scientists and medical experts from the Charles Perkins Centre will monitor sleep patterns, food and beverage consumption, lighting, physical movement and inflight entertainment to assess impact on health, wellbeing and body clock.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said “flying from the East Coast of Australia to London and New York is truly the final frontier in aviation, so we’re determined to do all the groundwork to get this right.

“No airline has done this kind of dedicated research before and we’ll be using the results to help shape the cabin design, inflight service and crew roster patterns for Project Sunrise. We’ll also be looking at how we can use it to improve our existing long-haul flights,” he added.

An Airbus A350 in Qantas livery.

Airbus and Boeing have both pitched aircraft (A350 and 777X) to Qantas that are capable of operating Project Sunrise flights with a viable commercial payload. A final decision on Project Sunrise – which depends on aircraft economics, regulatory approvals and industrial agreements – is expected by the end of December 2019.

Watch this space.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

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QANTAS Aims for Brisbane-Chicago & San Francisco Flights

Qantas is set to grow its network in the United States, with the airline confirming it will fly directly from Brisbane to Chicago and San Francisco should its joint business with American Airlines be approved by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT).

The new routes, to be operated by Qantas’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, are expected to launch by the end of April 2020 and will add more than 170,000 seats across the Pacific each year.

“These are exciting times for Qantas flyers”, said The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper.

“Brand new routes operated by brand new aircraft opening up new destinations attractive to both business and leisure travellers is a smart move, indeed”, he added.

Directly linking Australia and the third-largest US city for the first time, Qantas would operate the flights four times per week between Brisbane and Chicago. The city is one of American Airlines’ major hubs, giving Qantas customers access to 30 additional unique one-stop destinations from Australia. With the added gateway, Qantas customers will be able to connect to more than 200 onward destinations from Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth.

The direct service from Brisbane will save customers flying between Australia and Chicago more than six hours of travel time on a return trip.

Brisbane – Chicago

  • The 14,326km flight will take approximately 16 hours 20 minutes (slightly more or less depending on winds).
  • When it launches, it is expected to be the fourth-longest passenger flight in the world.

The new three-times-per-week Brisbane to San Francisco service will complement Qantas’ existing flights from Sydney and Melbourne – meaning customers could choose from double daily Dreamliner services from Australia’s east coast to San Francisco.

Brisbane – San Francisco

  • The 11,367km flight will take approximately 12 hours 40 minutes (slightly more or less depending on winds).
  • 14 flights per week from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to San Francisco.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the launch of 787 flights from Brisbane to Chicago and San Francisco would be a win for customers and tourism.

“This will give Qantas and American Airlines customers unprecedented access. These flights will make it one stop from Chicago to Hamilton Island or San Francisco to Townsville”, he said.

For more information, simply leave us a note in the form below, or CALL US to discuss your specific requirements.

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QANTAS Frequent Flyer Program Overhauled

In what the airline claims is the biggest ever overhaul to its loyalty program, Qantas Frequent Flyers will soon pay significantly less fees for international reward flights, have access to more seats, and enjoy more rewards for earning points on the ground.

The changes represent a $25 million investment, and are designed to improve how members are recognised and rewarded as well as how they earn and redeem points.

“The changes are significant, with a number of benefits”, says The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper.

“For example, redemption fees are down by up to 50%, and fewer Qantas Points will be needed to book an International economy seat. And across the board more redemption seats will be made available. You will, however, need more points to secure a redemption seat in premium economy, business and first. And more points to upgrade, too”, noted Hosper.

Here are some sample changes to the program:

The major initiatives, to be rolled out to members over the next 12 months, include:

  • Adding more than 1 million extra reward seats available annually on Qantas and new partner airlines.
  • Cutting carrier charges and fees by up to 50% on international bookings.
  • Changing the points required for reward seats on domestic and international flights including an up to 10% reduction in the number of points required for international economy Classic Reward seats.
  • Increasing the points required for upgrades and Classic Reward seats in premium cabins.
  • Creating a new tiered Points Club for members who earn most of their points through on-the-ground transactions.
  • Introducing Lifetime Platinum status, the ultimate recognition for the airline’s most loyal flyers.

Lifetime Platinum launches in August this year. Eligible members who earn over 75,000 Lifetime Status Credits will enjoy the benefits of Platinum Status for life, regardless of how often they fly.

New to the mix: a Qantas Points Club to recognise members who earn most or all of their points on the ground as ‘frequent buyers’ rather than frequent flyers.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the changes are about strengthening Qantas Frequent Flyer to keep delivering for its almost 13 million members.

“We know the majority of our members want to use their points to take a dream trip overseas, so we are adding more reward seats including First, Business and Premium Economy, to places like London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Singapore as well as slashing carrier charges.

“While the points required for business class seats on international and domestic flights will increase slightly, it is the first increase in 15 years and the product has improved a lot in that time”, he said

Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth said they conducted extensive research into the habits and behaviours of frequent flyers to create a program that brings value to all types of members.

“There’s a lot about the Qantas Frequent Flyer program that our members tell us they love but there are also areas of the program that have increasingly come under pressure as a result of rapid expansion. What we’re announcing today is all about investing more into the heart of our program, the member experience,” Ms Wirth said.

A full breakdown of the program changes, including interactive tables showing the before-and-after pricing and new reward seat options on partner airlines is available HERE.

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QANTAS Perth-London Flights: One Year Down

Qantas’ landmark non-stop Perth-London services have been operating for more than a year now, and the airline reports that they’re exceeding expectations, breaking speed records and supporting more than $100 million in visitor spending in Western Australia.

“Qantas’ direct Perth-London services have really changed the way travellers and airlines think about long-haul”, says The Travel Authority Group’s Managing Director, Peter Hosper.

Business Class cabin aboard Qantas’ 787 Dreamliner. Image credit: Qantas.

“The very-near future of ultra-long-haul aircraft and flights promises to be very exciting indeed. We look forward to new city-pairs, and innovative offerings that take these services to new heights. We thrilled to see an Australian airline leading the way and inventing the future”, added Hosper.

Visiting Perth recently to mark the first anniversary of the service – which remains the only direct connection between Australia and Europe – Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce released a report card showing what Perth-London has achieved so far.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce. Image credit: Qantas.

Key among the insights was an independent analysis by Deloitte Access Economics, which found the non-stop 787 Dreamliner service had in its first year:

  • Facilitated more than $100 million increase in spending by visitors, 92% from international stopover passengers.
  • Supported creation of 601 full-time equivalent jobs, particularly in the tourism and hospitality sector.
  • With 71% of international visitors on the route choosing to stopover in Perth, helped to drive more than 1 million visitor nights spent in WA.

Other insights included:

  • UK residents make up the majority of overseas passengers at 31%.
  • Qantas has seen a 30 per cent increase in the total number of passengers travelling between Australia and London via Perth – including a 7% increase in visitors from the UK travelling to Perth.
  • Interestingly, 25% of outbound passengers on the new services start their journey in Melbourne.

Mr Joyce said, “The work we put into managing passenger jetlag and designing a comfortable cabin has paid off. It’s the longest flight on our entire network but it has the highest level of customer satisfaction.

“We didn’t plan to regularly break speed records in both directions. The current title holder arrived into Perth from London a full hour ahead schedule thanks to prevailing winds and our new flight planning system.”

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