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Mon 15 Sep: 10 things you need to know today


1. Touch down, Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand’s first 787-9 Dreamliner landed in Perth on 12 September.

It is set to become a familiar sight in the skies over Western Australia.

Air New Zealand will operate the aircraft most days over the coming month in the lead up to it being permanently scheduled on the airline’s daily direct Perth-Auckland service from 15 October.

Chief Flight Operations and Safety Officer, Captain David Morgan, was on board for the inaugural flight which will, like all of Air New Zealand’s trans-Tasman services, be operated in conjunction with alliance…

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1. Touch down, Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand’s first 787-9 Dreamliner landed in Perth on 12 September.

It is set to become a familiar sight in the skies over Western Australia.

Air New Zealand will operate the aircraft most days over the coming month in the lead up to it being permanently scheduled on the airline’s daily direct Perth-Auckland service from 15 October.

Chief Flight Operations and Safety Officer, Captain David Morgan, was on board for the inaugural flight which will, like all of Air New Zealand’s trans-Tasman services, be operated in conjunction with alliance partner Virgin Australia.

He says the touchdown on Perth soil was a moment worth celebrating.

“Today’s inaugural service between Auckland and Perth is another milestone for this remarkable aircraft,” he said.

“We’re excited to be bringing a whole new era in comfort for customers travelling this route which has long been a mainstay on Air New Zealand’s network.” Read more on this story

2. Abu Dhabi welcomes arrivals in style

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Etihad has decided to take their premium service offering a step further by opening a luxurious arrivals lounge at their home base Abu Dhabi airpot.

The lounge, a first for the company, is exclusive to their First and Business class passengers.

It features a ‘freshen-up’ area that includes shower units, a clothes steaming service and ‘SHAVE by Etihad Airways.’

The shave is a complimentary wet shave service executed by fully-qualified barbers.

Inside, guests will also find areas dedicated to relaxation, offering high-comfort seating and large screen televisions, an array of local and international newspapers, magazines and books.

Café style refreshments are served throughout the day, which are all freshly prepared by a culinary team and inspired by gourmet flavours from around the world. Read more on this story

3. Oman Air – from Manila to Jakarta

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Oman Air is launching new services from the country’s capital, Muscat, to Manila in the Philippines and Jakarta in Indonesia, from December 2014.

It will be the first carrier to offer non-stop flights between Muscat and Manila, as well as Muscat and Jakarta. Both the new routes will meet strong demand from air travellers in Oman, the Philippines and Indonesia.

The services from Muscat to Manila are scheduled to begin on 2 December.

The launch will see two flights scheduled per week, with a third beginning on 13 December.

The Jakarta flights will begin on 12 December, with three flights per week.

A fourth flight per week will be added as of 2 January, 2015.

“Oman Air is pleased to be offering, from December this year, two outstanding new services from our home base in Muscat,” Oman Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Gregorowitsch said.

“We will be offering flights aboard our award-winning Airbus A330 aircraft, to two of Asia’s most important cities, namely Manila and Jakarta.”

The announcement of Oman Air’s new services comes ahead of the arrival of the first of 24 aircraft that the airline currently has on order.

Oman Air’s current fleet of 30 aircraft will be joined by three Airbus A330s and 15 Boeing B737s, as well as six Boeing B787 Dreamliners, which will enable further expansion of the carrier’s network, as well as increased frequencies on some of its existing routes.

4. Travel Authority for the win!

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Pictured: TTA Co-Founder, Sarah Bush.

The Travel Authority Group (TTA) has added another major award to its portfolio, winning the prestigious NSW Business Chamber Excellence in Business Award 2014 for the North East.

“It’s providing a milestone year for The Travel Authority Group with the Excellence in Business Award following on from our recognition at this year’s National Travel Industry Awards as Australia’s Best Corporate Travel agency,” Managing Director Peter Hosper said.

“We are extremely honoured to have been chosen as the recipient of the NSW Business Chamber Excellence in Business Award 2014 for the North East and are excited at being considered for the top State Award. I would especially like to thank our exceptional team, our supportive business partners and suppliers, and our wonderful clients.”

5. The perfect travel trio: Trafalgar, Stackla and Kerri-Anne Kennerly

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Trafalgar is to make social channels the “heartbeat” of the brand as it prepares to unveil a tie-up with social media aggregator, Stackla.

The operator, part of The Travel Corporation stable of holiday brands that includes Contiki and AAT Kings, has relaunched its website with user generated content as its central pillar.

Trafalgar will also again employ Kerri-Anne Kennerley as its brand ambassador, with TV ads remaining a key element of its marketing mix.

6. W hotels plans to wow for a third time

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W Hotels plans to add a third notch on their luxury hotel belt in Thailand with plans to develop the W Retreat Phuket on the picturesque limestone cliffs of Phang Nga Bay.

“We are very excited to bring the iconic W brand to Phang Nga Bay in Southern Thailand as we continue to grow our resorts portfolio in the country,” said Stephen Ho, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific.

“As proven by the success of W Bangkok and W Retreat Koh Samui, W Retreat Phuket – Phang Nga Bay will further leverage Thailand’s exemplary service in hospitality with the W brand’s cutting-edge design and whatever/whenever philosophy to provide a new style of modern luxury in the local hotel scene.”

W Retreat Phuket, scheduled to open in Januray 2018, will be located on Koh Yao Noi, one of the largest islands in Phang Nga Bay.

It will provide an integrated lifestyle experience with 79 standalone villas, starting from 155 square meters in space.

All villas will feature private outdoor areas and plunge pools as well as superlative views of the limestone cliffs that dot Phang Nga Bay.

7. Apple alters travel

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Image Source: Skift.

Just when you thought near field communication (NFC) technology was set to gather dust in airports and on airlines, along comes Apple with its Apple Pay announcement, making tap-and-go payment relevant to the industry.

With the launch of Apple Pay on the 9 September, travel experts are predicting that, by 2018, the number of NFC phones in circulation is expected to reach 1.9 billion.

NCR, which supports payments at duty-free shops and also provides special terminals to book travel services and purchase tickets to events at the airport, also celebrated the Apple NFC adoption.

“With Apple Pay, Apple has transformed mobile payments and will have an impact on the industry like never before,” Jimmy Fortuna, Vice President of Product Development and Chief Technology Officer, NCR Hospitality to Skift.

“We are thrilled to be working closely with Apple to help Retail and Hospitality customers integrate this new method of payment into their operations, providing an easy, safe and secure way to pay with a single touch.”

8. Contiki launches legendary new collection of European summer trips for 2015/2016

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Iconic Australian youth travel brand Contiki has unveiled its Europe Summer 2015/2016  brochure  with eight new epic travel styles, three new itineraries taking in the magic of new destinations Morocco and Portugal and  12 additional new itineraries throughout Europe, serving up the ultimate collection of adventures for 18-35’s.

Alongside three Morocco and Portugal adventures, Contiki has also added 12 new itineraries throughout Europe including ‘Island Cruising and Santorini’, the eight-day ‘Western Quest’ and Amsterdam’s colourful ‘Kings Day’ celebration.

Knowing that no two travellers are the same, Contiki’s European trips have been categorised to give customers more choice when deciding on a travel experience that suits them. See and do it all with Discovery Plus, pack your days and nights with adventure on one of the High Energy trips, spend time getting into the heart of a region with In-Depth Explorer or relax and take it slow with Easy Pace. In addition, with Classic and Freestyle camping, Sailing and Cruise and the ever-popular Festivals and Short Stays, Contiki is offering more choice, more ME Time and a better experience than ever before.

Contiki’s 2015 Europe Summer 2015/2016 program is available now. For more information speak to your local sales representative or visit www.contiki.com

9. Move over, Neil Armstrong

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The ability for travellers to board commercial flights to space is nearing, with the latest development an aircraft called Bloon, developed by Spanish company Zero2Infinity.

The company will soon be launching “near-space flights” onboard the emissions-free pod that is chained to a helium-filled balloon. Once fully inflated, the balloon will pull the aircraft to an altitude of about 116,000 feet, rising above some 99.5 per cent of the mass of Earth’s atmosphere.

A maximum of four passengers join two pilots in the pod’s cabin, with all-round windows permitting views of the planet that stretch on for some 1,450 kilometres.

10. Get familiar with Uzbekistan

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Uzbekistan will begin its familiarisation tours from the first week of November 2014 to promote its tourism products.

The family tours will be conducted by Silk Road Destinations.

In an interview with Dispatch News Desk (DND) Vladimir Kim,  Silk Road Destinations Sales Manager for Europe and Americas, said that the idea behind offering fam tours is to “keep Central Asia at the top of the tourism map and so that a focal point of Central Asian tourism will remain Uzbekistan.”

The famils will hit all major destinations in Uzbekistan – Samarkand and Bukhara, village of Mitan (which is under the project of Ecotourism/Collective tourism) and the capital of Tashkent.

The offer ends in August, 2015.

What’s your reaction to today’s news? Share your comments and feedback below or send us your news stories for the next edition of Need to Know.