For week ending 26 January
Singapore Airlines overhaul Australian operations
Singapore Airlines plans to boost the frequency of its Canberra services. Effective from 1 May, the current four times weekly service will rise to a daily operation thanks to a new triangular Singapore-Sydney-Canberra-Singapore service, but will lose its onward service to Wellington. The change will also see the flight SQ288 operating on a B777-300ER, which features both first class and premium economy cabins in addition to the business and economy options offered on the previous B777-200 aircraft. The addition of the triangular route also represents a fifth daily travel option to/from Sydney. Meanwhile, flights SQ247/248 between Singapore and Melbourne will also see an aircraft change, as the three-times weekly A320 service, becomes a four times weekly B777-200 operation with a new onward link to Wellington.
Hyatt Centric Tokyo
Hyatt Hotels has opened a new property in Japan. The 164-room Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo is the first Centric-branded property to open in the Asia-Pacific region. It features a restaurant, a 24-hour gym and meeting space for up to 24 people.
IHG adds Indigo brand to Vietnam
InterContinental Hotels Group has plans for a new property in Vietnam. The new-build Hotel Indigo Saigon The City is set to open in 2019. Located just six kilometres from the airport, the property will feature 150 guestrooms, a cafe and three meeting rooms.
China expands visa-free entry
The Chinese government has expanded its six-day visa-free program to the provinces of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. Travellers from 53 countries, including Australia, arriving by air, train or cruise ship can obtain 144-hr visa-free entry provided they have a valid travel itinerary with onward ticket. Locations offering by the visa-free entry program include Beijing Capital International Airport, Railway West Station, Tianjin Binhai International Airport, Tianjin International Cruise Homeport, Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport and Qinhuangdao Harbour.
New SmartGates for Dubai
Dubai International Airport has introduced new SmartGate technology, which screens biometric data to speed up the passenger security process.
Europcar chauffeur services
Europcar has introduced chauffeur services in select European countries ahead of a network-wide rollout. The Global Driver Service can be booked for quick transfers or for a few hours and is available in three levels to cater for all budget types.