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Qantas First Class returns to Singapore

Australian national carrier Qantas Airways has reintroduced its First Class offering to its customers travelling to and from Singapore with the return of its superjumbo A380 aircraft and re-opening of its First Lounge at Changi Airport.

The airline will fly its recently refurbished A380 aircraft on flights between Australia and Singapore, and Singapore and London.

The aircraft’s premium cabins include fourteen First Suites, 70 Business Suites (increased by six) and 60 Premium Economy seats (increased by 25) as well as 341 Economy seats (decreased by 30).

The on-board lounge has been redesigned by David Caon in a supper club style with seating for ten people and a bespoke snack menu.

Singapore: an important role in Qantas’s worldwide network, says Stephanie Tully

Qantas has also re-opened its First Lounge at Changi Airport, which was launched in December 2019 and quickly became one of the most popular lounges on the Qantas international network. It operated for just three months before closing due to the pandemic.

The First Lounge operates alongside the existing Qantas Business Lounge ensuring all eligible customers travelling have a fantastic pre-flight experience.

Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully said Qantas is pleased to be offering its premium passenger experience to and from Singapore after an absence of more than two years.

We’d only just opened our brand-new First lounge before the pandemic forced its closure. Many of our Frequent Flyers never had the chance to see it.

We’re delighted to once again welcome our customers back to this beautiful lounge at Changi Airport. Our lounge team is excited to be back and eager to offer the warmest hospitality to Qantas and our partner airline customers.

Ms Tully added,

Singapore plays an important role in Qantas’s worldwide network as we continue to ramp up capacity in line with strong travel demand. It’s great to have our First offering back both in the air and on the ground at Changi Airport, which is consistently recognised as one of the best airports in the world.

The Qantas First Lounge has capacity for 240 guests and offers a Neil Perry fine dining experience with a menu inspired by Singapore’s vibrant dining scene featuring dishes such as a signature Laksa with Crayfish and Rice Noodles, Barramundi with Sambal Browned Butter and Shrimp-based Chicken Wings.

The Carrara marble bar invites guests to select from an extensive beverage menu featuring Champagne, bespoke cocktails including the Merlion Blush and barista coffee.

The 1,000 square metre lounge was designed by Australian industrial designer David Caon in collaboration with architect Kelvin Ho of Akin Atelier to provide a sense of calming luxury with a Singaporean twist featuring pops of greenery.

The lounge features classic furniture which is combined with both modern designed pieces to create a unique environment for customers.

There are zones for dining, working and relaxing as well as 10 shower suites for customers to freshen up.

Qantas will operate a daily return A380 flight from Sydney to Singapore and on to London as well as twenty A330 operated flights each week from Singapore to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.

Emirates launches full Premium Economy experience

Emirates has unveiled its full Premium Economy offering onboard and on ground, and announced it will open this highly sought-after cabin for sale from 1 June 2022.

The new cabin class, which offers luxurious seats, more legroom, and a service to rival many airlines’ business offering, will be available to customers travelling on popular A380 routes to London, Paris, Sydney from 1 August, and Christchurch from December.

Emirates is the only airline in the region to offer a Premium Economy cabin.

Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said:

As with everything we do, Emirates Premium Economy will be exceptional in its class, with minute attention given to every aspect of the customer experience. Customers trading up from Economy will be getting excellent value.

Since we first introduced our Premium Economy seats in January 2021, the positive response and demand has been tremendous. We currently have six A380s equipped with this cabin class, which limits our initial deployment, but our intention is to offer this experience to many more markets across our network.

This November, we will begin our retrofit programme to install Premium Economy on 67 A380s and 53 Boeing 777s. At the end of the programme, Emirates will have 126 aircraft fitted out with Premium Economy cabins, as well as our latest interiors across other cabins. It is a major investment to ensure our customers continue to have the best experience in the sky.

Dedicated airport experience: Customers can look forward to a dedicated check-in area for Premium Economy at Dubai International airport, or utilise one of the many convenient self-service check in kiosks in the hall to avoid queues.
Luxurious seats: Once onboard,customers will immediately notice the quiet luxury in Emirates’ Premium Economy cabin. A wood panel finishing similar to Business Class sets the cabin’s mood, and each seat is designed to provide optimal comfort and support with 6-way adjustable headrests.

The cream-coloured leather seats have a generous pitch of up to 40 inches, is 19.5 inches wide, and reclines 8 inches into a comfortable cradle position with ample room to stretch out. It also offers calf rests and footrests for additional comfort, in addition to many other thoughtful touches such as easily accessible in-seat charging points and a side cocktail table.

Comfort: Customers can get comfortable under soft, sustainable blankets made from recycled plastic bottles, and snuggle into the generously sized pillow, both designed uniquely for Premium Economy. They can also refresh themselves with the complimentary amenity kits which come in reusable, sustainable bags, and contain items which are all made with some element of recycled or sustainable materials.

Dining experience: Incorporating elements inspired by Business Class, customers will be welcomed onboard with a welcome drink in fine glassware. During meal service, a selection of generous meals made with seasonal ingredients and regional influences will be served on chinaware, accompanied by stainless steel cutlery wrapped in linen napkin. The drinks menu will include a selection of beverages including premium wines and a sparkling Chandon wine. There are also liqueurs available after meals, with chocolates.

On a four-class Emirates A380, the Premium Economy cabin is located at the front of the main deck with 56 seats laid out in 2-4-2 configuration.

On the Emirates Boeing 777, up to 24 Premium Economy seats will be installed in a dedicated cabin section between Business and Economy.

United kicks off largest transatlantic expansion in its history

United Airlines has kicked off the launch of its largest transatlantic expansion in its history, in anticipation of a strong recovery in European travel.

Patrick Quayle: We have long anticipated a strong demand recovery

In total, United will launch or resume 30 transatlantic flights from mid-April to early June. This includes adding new nonstop flights to five destinations no other North American airline serves including Amman, Jordan; Bergen, Norway; Azores, Portugal; Palma de Mallorca, Spain and Tenerife in the Spanish Canary Islands.

The airline is also launching five new nonstop flights to some of Europe’s most popular business and tourist hubs including London, Milan, Zurich, Munich and Nice. United is also resuming fourteen Atlantic routes the airline has historically served and adding frequencies in six others.

United’s transatlantic route network will be more than 25% larger than it was in 2019.

With this expansion, United will serve more transatlantic destinations than every other U.S. carrier combined and will be the largest airline across the Atlantic for the first time in history.

Patrick Quayle, senior vice president of international network and alliances at United said,

We have long anticipated a strong demand recovery, evidenced by our large, strategic expansion in Europe, and with these new flights, we’re proud to offer our customers more options and access than ever before. United continues to leverage its leading global network in new and exciting ways to help our customers make meaningful memories and experience new cultures around the world.

In light of the increased demand for European travel, United is also launching new services to some of Europe’s most iconic cities, including:

  • New daily flights between Boston and London Heathrow, which began on 14 April, and is United’s only trans-oceanic point-to-point flight from Boston. This flight complements United’s nonstop service to London Heathrow from all seven of United’s hubs.
  • New daily flights between Denver and Munich, which began April 23 and joins existing service from Denver to Frankfurt and London. United is the only U.S. airline to offer transatlantic service from Denver.
  • New daily flights between Chicago and Zurich, which began April 23. United now offers more nonstop service between Switzerland and the U.S. than any other U.S. airline, and is the only U.S. airline with nonstop service to Geneva.
  • New daily flights between New York/Newark and Nice, beginning April 29. United will offer more premium seats to Nice than any other U.S. carrier.
  • New daily flights between Chicago and Milan, beginning May 6, joining existing seasonal flights between Chicago and Rome. United will be the only airline to offer nonstop service between Chicago and Milan, adding to its existing service between New York/Newark and Milan.

In addition to these new flights, United is increasing service to popular European travel destinations, including:

  • Second daily flights between New York/Newark and Dublin, which began 23 April.
  • Second daily flights between Denver and London Heathrow, beginning 7 May.
  • Second daily flight between New York/Newark and Frankfurt, beginning 26 May.
  • Second flight between New York/Newark and Rome five times weekly, beginning 27 May.
  • Adding a third daily flight between San Francisco and London Heathrow and increasing service between New York/Newark and London Heathrow to seven daily flights, beginning 28 May. With this additional service, United will offer 22 daily nonstop flights from the U.S. to London Heathrow.

To help generate excitement about these new routes, earlier this month United launched two unique out of home campaigns, including digital billboards in downtown Boston to highlight the airline’s new Boston-London Heathrow service. United also teamed up with Saks Fifth Avenue for a series of window displays featuring fashion inspired by United’s five unique transatlantic routes.

In addition to these European routes, United is also growing its presence in Africa as part of this transatlantic expansion. On 8 May, United will increase its service to offer daily flights between Washington/Dulles and Accra, Ghana. The airline will also extend its existing seasonal service to Cape Town to year-round, with nonstop flights from New York/Newark resuming 5 June, subject to government approval.

Norwegian to restart short-haul flights from London and Edinburgh

Norwegian has announced that, as a result of increased customer demand the airline will begin to operate flights between London Gatwick to Oslo, London Gatwick to Copenhagen, Edinburgh to Oslo and Edinburgh to Copenhagen from 1 July.

London to Oslo will be operated seven times a week, London to Copenhagen six times a week, Edinburgh to Oslo and Copenhagen twice a week respectively.

Jacob Schram, Norwegian CEO said:


Jacob Schram, CEO of Norwegian: “Norwegian will be in a position to continue to offer our customers great value”

Feedback from our customers has shown that they are keen to get back in the air and resume their travels with Norwegian beyond the current domestic services that we have been operating. Norwegian is returning to European skies with the reintroduction of more aircraft to serve our key destinations which will ensure that we remain in line with competing carriers.

Safety remains our top priority and we have introduced a number of specific measures to further reduce the already low risk of infection on board.

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO, said:

The restart of regular Norwegian services from Gatwick is very welcome news and reflects the strength of the relationship and success the airline has had at Gatwick in recent years, as well as the fact that consumer demand is picking up as more people want to start flying again. For our part, the airport is ready to go and we have implemented a range of measures to protect the we

Since April Norwegian has only operated eight aircraft on domestic routes in Norway. Now another 12 aircraft will re-join the fleet and be put into operation across Scandinavia to serve popular core destinations.

From July Norwegian will operate 76 routes across Europe from the airline’s Scandinavian hubs compared to the 13 domestic Norway only flights served previously. Other destinations include Spain, Greece and key European cities.

Further destinations and frequency increases will be announced in due course subject to passenger demand and government travel restrictions.

New name revealed for West Coast Main Line rail company

Avanti West Coast will be the name of the new InterCity West Coast rail franchise, FirstGroup and Trenitalia have revealed.

From 8 December 2019, FirstGroup and Trenitalia will take over the operation of InterCity West Coast rail services. The service will link London to cities and towns across England, North Wales and Scotland, serving as a “vital economic artery bringing cities and people closer together”.

The Avanti West Coast logo, created by design agency forpeople, is a bright orange triangle, symbolising the geographic extent of the 400-mile long route that serves cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow as well as London and North Wales.



Avanti is Italian for “Forward!”

Under the new West Coast Partnership, First Trenitalia is committed to delivering a range of passenger enhancements for InterCity West Coast services and passengers will benefit from more trains, more seats, simplified fares and more frequent services.

56 Pendolino trains will be completely refurbished with 25,000 brand new seats, more reliable Wi-Fi and improved catering. By 2022, there will be 263 more train services every week to more places and a fleet of new trains introduced.

Fares and ticket types will be simplified with mobile tickets and smartcards introduced. Stations will be improved with refreshed waiting rooms, better customer facilities, more car parking spaces and greater accessibility for those who need it. 

Speaking at the launch of the new brand, Steve Montgomery, Managing Director of First Rail, one of the UK’s most experienced rail operators, said:

We’re looking forward to taking over the franchise and we are very pleased and proud to be working with Trenitalia, a strong partner who is committed to playing an increasing role in UK rail and has many years of expertise in the high speed sector in Italy.

We are committed to our customers and over the next few years, we will work with our industry and local partners not only to invest in, and improve, rail services on the route, but also to attract more people to rail and connect communities across the country.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management, said:

These exciting investment plans on the West Coast Main Line will be a huge benefit to a lot of passengers.  And, with improved Wi-Fi and better catering, rail will become an attractive option for business travel between London, the north west of England and Scotland.

At Global Travel Management, we are looking forward to the feedback our clients give us on this new rail operator and we are excited to be able to add Avanti West Coast to the range of domestic and international rail services we provide.

You can book rail journeys on GTM Online or by contacting your GTM Account Manager.

Qantas to operate “Project Sunrise” research: Direct flights from London and New York to Sydney

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

The flights form part of planning for Project Sunrise – Qantas’ goal to operate regular, non-stop commercial flights from the east coast of Australia (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne) to London and New York.

The three flights over three months will use new Boeing 787-9s and re-route their planned delivery flights. Instead of flying empty from Seattle to Australia, the aircraft will simulate two Project Sunrise routes – London and New York to Sydney.

Each flight will have a maximum of 40 people, including crew, in order to minimise weight and give the necessary fuel range. Carbon emissions from the flights will be fully offset.

People in the cabin – mostly Qantas employees – will be fitted with wearable technology devices and take part in specific experiences at varying stages of the approximately 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.

Monash University researchers will work with pilots  to record crew melatonin levels before, during and after the flights.  Pilots will wear an EEG (electroencephalogram) device that tracks brain wave patterns and monitors alertness.  The aim is to establish data to assist in building the optimum work and rest pattern for pilots operating long haul services.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the flights will give medical experts the chance to do real-time research that will translate into health and wellbeing benefits.

Ultra-long haul flying presents a lot of common sense questions about the comfort and wellbeing of passengers and crew. These flights are going to provide invaluable data to help answer them.
Flying non-stop 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.

Qantas has already conducted data on passenger sleep strategies on its direct Perth–London service, and some of these initial findings will be assessed further as part of these dedicated research flights. Customer feedback on food choices, separate stretching and wellbeing zones and entertainment options will also be tested.

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.

Global Travel Management Sales Director Paul Baker commented:

This is an exciting innovation from Qantas, an airline we have been working with for many years.  We wish them all the best and look forward to being able to offer London-Sydney non-stop flights to GTM customers from the end of 2019.

JetBlue to launch services from London to Boston and New York

JetBlue has announced it intends to launch multiple daily flights from New York and Boston to London in 2021.

The new routes, which will be served by Airbus A321LR single-aisle aircraft, will mark the first-ever transatlantic service offered by the award-winning airline.

Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer of JetBlue, explained how the airline came to the decision to start services to London:

Twenty years ago, our founders had a simple formula for choosing a new market – it had to be overpriced, underserved, or both.

London is the largest metro area JetBlue doesn’t yet serve from both Boston and New York, and we could not be more thrilled to be changing that in the years ahead.

The fares being charged today by airlines on these routes, specifically on the premium end, are enough to make you blush.

Known in the U.S. for having the most legroom in economy, live television at every seat, free Wi-Fi internet, complimentary snacks and soft drinks, and great customer service, JetBlue’s entrance into the transatlantic market should introduce a new era of customer-focused, low-fare travel for both business and leisure travellers. The airline’s Mint premium experience, which disrupted transcontinental travel in the U.S. with accessible fares and a thoughtful reinvention of the business class cabin, promises to offer transatlantic customers a fresh choice.

Some of JetBlue’s 22,000 crewmembers

Growth into Europe seems to be the next natural step in JetBlue’s focus city expansion strategy. The new service will strengthen JetBlue’s relevance in its two largest focus cities while also answering calls from loyal business and leisure customers who have, until now, been forced to fly other carriers to and from London.

According to JetBlue, the airline is “developing a reimagined, transatlantic version of its premium Mint product” which will feature more lie-flat seats than currently offered on the airline’s existing A321 aircraft. Transatlantic Mint product features and design elements, combined with JetBlue’s specially trained Mint inflight crewmembers, will “create an intimate and exclusive travel experience”. And, like its transcontinental Mint business model, “JetBlue will offer the elevated flying experience for a fraction of what other airlines are charging today for premium seats”.

JetBlue’s domestic U.S, customers in JetBlue Mint are used to the longest lie-flat seat (6’ 8”) on domestic premium flights, featuring a massage function, adjustable cushions and the only private suite among U.S. airlines.

Joanna Geraghty commented further:

The success Mint has had on driving down the exorbitant airfares that our competitors were charging, stimulating new demand, and forcing the entrenched carriers to up their game, is a big reason we believe London is the next natural market for JetBlue to be successful and make a positive impact on consumers.

JetBlue will initially convert 13 aircraft in its existing Airbus A321 order book to the LR version with the ability to convert more. The A321LR will allow JetBlue to tap into new long-haul markets that were not previously accessible with its current single-aisle aircraft.


JetBlue is converting its orders of Airbus A321 to the longer-range A321LR.

Commenting on the new JetBlue relationship, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer, Christian Scherer said:

JetBlue has pioneered new travel possibilities for their customers for years,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer. “All of us at Airbus are honoured to provide the strategic aircraft platform to enable this next chapter in the story of our partners at JetBlue.

Today, JetBlue serves nearly two dozen countries. The airline has been flying internationally for nearly fifteen years with a significant portion of its operations in the Caribbean and Latin America with flights reaching as far south as Ecuador and Peru.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management commented:

Jetblue’s entry to the transatantic market will be a boost for UK-based companies doing business in New York or Boston.  They will bring a fresh approach to the market and we look forward to making their offer available to our clients.

JetBlue will be a new name to many businesses in the UK, but, at GTM, we have years of experience with the airline: they’re one of the best-known airline brands in the United States. They make more than 1,000 flights a day, to more than 100 destinations, serving 42 million passengers annually. We book passengers on JetBlue flights very frequently and we have done for years. More competition on transatlantic routes will be of great benefit to our clients. 

GTM’s clients will benefit not just from the new service from London to Boston and New York, but also to JetBlue’s extensive onward network connections.

We will be able to pass on more information about these services – including prices and London airport details – when they become available.


1,500 children take-off with British Airways

More than 1,500 children were given a unique insight into a career in aviation when they attended a careers event hosted by British Airways and KidZania. The two-day event saw them take the controls of an aircraft and try out the airline’s safety demonstration with cabin crew.

The children were provided with replica uniforms and taught on board the British Airways A319 aircraft, learning some of the important skills needed to become real life flight and cabin crew.  Many received a lesson on the flight deck simulator where they were given the opportunity to fly around London and land into Heathrow Terminal 5.

  • British Airways teamed up with KidZania in Westfield to inspire children to pursue a career in aviation
  • More than 1,500 children from 19 schools visited the Aviation Academy at the two-day careers fair
  • British Airways customers receive 15% discount to the KidZania activity centre

The British Airways Aviation Academy is the most popular activity with children visiting KidZania, and the behind-the-scenes, hands-on training aims to both inspire and enthuse children about future careers they might previously not have considered.

Currently more than 6% of British Airways pilots are women, which is double the national average, but the airline is actively seeking to encourage more women into the profession.

Mel Kose, British Airways’ Community Education Manager said that events like this aim to inspire and excite young girls to see a career as a pilot to be an achievable goal and to pursue STEM subjects at school:

We’re delighted that so many students attended the event, which is just one of many initiatives we offer to inspire children and young girls to enter a STEM career. Last year 600 students took part in our work experience programme across 30 departments at British Airways, and this year we will host more young people than ever before. We’ve also introduced ‘Teacher Take-Off Days’, with teachers taking part in one-day work experience sessions and taking their learnings back to the classroom. Plus, we’ve launched a scheme we call Your Flying Future, where we regularly run events for children to meet our pilots, to encourage them to feel that this is a career available to them.

Goodyers End Primary School in Bedworth, Warwickshire was one of almost 20 schools that attended the event at KidZania. Year 6 Teacher Adele Johnson said:

Lots of our children will have never even been a passenger on a plane before, let alone thought about a career in aviation, so this event provides an invaluable opportunity to inspire the children and raise their aspirations for the future – coming to KidZania is one of the most important things we do all year.

Rachel Woods, Head of Brands Development at KidZania London, said:

The British Airways A319 aeroplane is a big hit in the city, and it was fantastic to have ambassadors offering insights into their careers through a STEM-based interactive activity. The workshop offered hands-on opportunities to support and inspire key-stage 1-3 children through real life experiences.

Air New Zealand extends free Wi-Fi offer

Air New Zealand’s complimentary inflight Wi-Fi summer offer to customers has been such a hit the airline is extending it. 

Wi-Fi is now available on 12 international aircraft, including six Boeing 777-200s and four Boeing 777-300s which predominantly fly the airline’s trans-Tasman, US and London routes and two A321neo aircraft which operate Tasman and Pacific Island services. 

Air New Zealand General Manager Customer Experience Anita Hawthorne says more than 80,000 people have connected to complimentary Wi-Fi on international flights since 1 December, which is the equivalent to the population of Palmerston North. 

We’re so pleased with the uptake of our summer Wi-Fi offer and the feedback we’ve received from customers during this period that we’ve decided to extend it until the end of March.

 Standard Wi-Fi on Air New Zealand services is charged at $30 NZD for a full flight to Australia and the Pacific Islands and $40 for the duration of a flight to North America, Europe and Asia destinations.  There is also a 1-hour pass available for $9 on North America, Europe and Asia services.

The Business Travel Show 2018

The Business Travel Show is the biggest event in Europe for business travel professionals, taking place at Olympia London on 21-22 February 2018. Over 7,500 visitors and 260 suppliers are expected to attend, including all of the world’s major airlines and hotel brands, ground transfer companies, serviced apartment providers and, of course, us – Global Travel Management!

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