Keeping you updated with Travel Advice and News during COVID-19
STATE BORDER RESTRICTIONS
The Virgin Australia Group will increase its domestic flying schedule and introduce new safety and well-being measures as state travel restrictions being to ease.
The additional services will see Virgin double current capacity by early July, adding approximately 30,000 seats across 320 flights per week to its domestic schedule. The full domestic schedule can be viewed here.
Virgin Australia Group chief commercial officer John MacLeod said: “It’s early days, but these services will be a welcomed boost to Australia’s tourism industry and help the nation’s economy and aviation sector to rebuild.
“The services will also give us the opportunity to bring team members back to work, who I know have been looking forward to welcoming and sharing our award-winning customer service.”
The move comes shortly after Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack announced the federal government’s Domestic Aviation Network Support (DANS) program would be extended to 30 September 2020 to maintain connectivity on major domestic air routes.
Virgin will also introduce a comprehensive new set of safety and wellbeing measures, including pre-departure eligibility and health screening, contactless check-in, more frequent cleaning on board and at the airport, and expanded social distancing measures.
The measures, which will be fully implemented by today (12 June) have been developed in close collaboration with airlines and airports across Australia as part of the Australian Aviation Recovery Coalition.
The measures will continue to be reviewed in line with any changes to Virgin’s schedule, the latest medical advice, government restrictions and guest feedback.
“Importantly, as travel begins to increase, the safety and wellbeing of guests remains crucial, which is why measures to minimise risks associated with COVID-19 are being introduced,” MacLeod said.
“WE RECOMMEND THAT ANY GUEST WHO IS FEELING UNWELL OR HAS FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS, DO NOT TRAVEL. FLIGHTS FOR TRAVEL UP UNTIL 30 SEPTEMBER CAN BE CHANGED WITHOUT FEES IF NEEDED.”
Virgin Australia Group medical officer Dr Sara Souter said the new measures will ensure that the airline appropriately manages the latest advice from government and remain vigilant when it comes to hygiene and personal protection.
“We will be adopting contactless check-in, a new sequenced boarding and disembarkation process and guests will see more frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces on the aircraft and within the airport,” she said.
“In addition, a new health questionnaire will be rolled out as part of the check-in process to ensure passengers are fit to fly and to assist with contact tracing.
“It’s important to remember that the inflight environment is very different to that of other modes of group transport, with a range of protective features including hospital-grade air filtration systems, directional airflow and high seat backs between travellers.
“The international evidence supports very low-risk of COVID-19 transmission inflight, which is also our experience to date in Australia.
Souter said Virgin is also asking guests to be mindful of their own personal protection and others when moving around the cabin.
“Team members and guests are being encouraged to regularly wash their hands and avoid touching their face, and hand sanitiser and masks will be available to all guests on request,” she said.
“Wherever possible, we will try to do our best to keep an empty seat between guests travelling alone; however, this may not always be available. Families and travelling companions will be able to sit together.”
Friday 29 May
To check country entry restrictions, rules, and quarantine information for travellers visit https://www.tripsguard.com/
Tuesday 5 May
- Qantas and Jetstar will now extend existing domestic and Trans-Tasman flight cancellations beyond end-May through to the end of June 2020. International flight cancellations will be extended through to end-July 2020. More info.
Monday 27 April
- The Australian Government has released the COVIDSafe app for download. More info.
24 April , 2020
- Virgin Australia has entered voluntary administration. They have released a statement to the ASX here. (last updated 21 April 2020)
- To help travel managers stay up-to-date on current hotel closures, we’ve partnered with 4th Dimension to create a live list of hotels that have temporarily closed in Australia and New Zealand. You can access the map here. (last updated 20 April 2020)
- Qantas has also responded to the Federal Government’s request to resume flying a minimal domestic schedule. Qantas’s additional flights will roll out from today and will be fully operational by Monday 20 April. The flight routes can be viewed here. (last updated 17 April 2020)
- Virgin Australia has announced it has responded to a request from the Federal Government to resume flying a minimal domestic schedule of commercial services commencing tomorrow (Friday 17 April, 2020). The schedule will operate for a period of eight weeks, until 7 June 2020, and flights will gradually go on sale from today (Thursday 16 April, 2020) through the VA website. More info. (last updated 16 April 2020)
- Alliance Airlines (sold via Virgin Australia) will continue to operate a regular schedule between Brisbane, Bundaberg and Gladstone. These services currently run 6 days weekly (Mon-Fri, Sun). (last updated 15 April 2020)
- Air New Zealand is extending the time frame for its significantly reduced network by a month, with its minimal international operations to continue through to 30 June 2020. More info. (last updated 14 April 2020)
We understand that this is a stressful time for our customers. Our first priority is to ensure that customers travelling to areas with advice in place are aware of the situation and we are looking at ways to re-accommodate customers to alternative destinations.
As the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus extends throughout the world, Executive Travel Management is monitoring the situation daily and how this affects your current and future travel itineraries.
Our travel advisors are here to assist you with your travel plans, focusing on your health and safety as well as mitigating the financial risk of your bookings. We encourage you to contact your advisors to talk through your travel arrangements. In the meantime please also refer to these reliable sources for the most up to date information.
If you are travelling please be mindful to allow more time check-in and transit time for health screening procedures.
21 april 2020
|A MESSAGE REGARDING VIRGIN AUSTRALIA|
Virgin Australia this morning have announced this morning that they have appointed voluntary administrators to restructure the business. As such, we wanted to assure you that Executive Travel Management are working hard to ensure that any future credits or bookings we and yourselves might have with the airline are secure.
We also wanted you to know that as more information becomes available we will be contacting our individual clients who currently have bookings or credits with Virgin Australia to let them know how we and they will be able to proceed in the short and long term.
In their statement, Virgin Australia has confirmed that they will still be operating all scheduled flights in the future which are helping to transport essential workers, maintain important freight corridors, and return Australians home.
Virgin Australia have also reassured both ourselves and the public that the Velocity Frequent Flyer program, while owned by Virgin Australia, is a seperate entity and has not entered administration. This means that it will remain unaffected for the forseeable future.
We’re still open.
With social distancing in place, Executive Travel Management remains open and operational to ensure that all required business travel needs are cared for. Our offices are being continually cleaned and we do ask that all visits are by appointment only. We are also able to meet with you virtually through either video conferencing tools or by calling us at 1300 301 127.
For any further information about how we’re helping stop the spread of coronavirus or about Virgin Australia’s announcement please email us firstname.lastname@example.org
26 february 2020
Air New Zealand unveils ‘Skynest’ economy class lie-flat beds concept
Air New Zealand Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Mike Tod says that as the airline operates some of the world’s longest flights, such as the upcoming Auckland-New York service at up to 17 hours 40 minutes one way, it is committed to putting more comfort into flying.
“We have a tremendous amount of development work underway looking at product innovations we can bring across all cabins of the aircraft,” said Tod
“A clear pain point for economy travellers on long-haul flights is the inability to stretch out. The development of the Economy Skynest is a direct response to that challenge.”
Air New Zealand will make a final decision on whether to operate the Economy Skynest next year after it has assessed the performance of its inaugural year of Auckland-New York operations.
The exact positioning of the Economy Skynest within the aircraft has still to be confirmed, however, it will be in the economy cabin. The pods, which will be in excess of 200cm in length and over 58cm in width, will include a full-size pillow, sheets and blanket, ear plugs along with privacy curtains and lighting designed for sleep.
Other features such as separate reading light, personal device USB outlet and ventilation outlet, are being looked at.
When asked about the pricing of the product, a spokesperson for the airline said: “We have yet to determine the costs and are still assessing the commercial proposition and viability of this product.”
Also, the airline said that children won’t be allowed to use the new pods: “The Skynest is designed to be used by adults with each pod for one person.”
Commentators on social media have been full of praise for the idea.
“YES!!!! I can never sleep in normal seats, it’s exhausting! Take my money,” said one.
“That would be a kiwi dream come true!” wrote one commentator.
“Cool photo, looks like a backpackers up in the air,” was another.
Although, some said there may be drawbacks: “Sounds good as long as doesn’t include a snorer.”
The Skynest follows Air New Zealand’s previous economy class innovation, the Skycouch launched in 2011.
Nicknamed “cuddle class”, the design consists of a row of three economy seats that convert into a “couch” through folding the armrests and raising the padded footrests into a position parallel to the seat.
Designed for couples and families, the Skycouch requires the purchase of three seats but a couple can buy the extra seat at a 50 per cent discount.
24 January 2020 – Novel coronavirus
The Australian Government’s Smartraveller website has issued new advice on the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The official advice is as follows:
- There is an active outbreak of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China, originating from the Wuhan region. There have been reports of individuals with the novel coronavirus outside of China.
- This new type of coronavirus was initially linked to a large seafood and live animal market in Wuhan City, in China’s Hubei Province. The majority of reported cases are in the Wuhan region.
- The World Health Organisation is closely monitoring the situation. As the situation in Wuhan is rapidly evolving and information about the new coronavirus is still limited, it is recommended that you exercise a high degree of caution if you are travelling to Wuhan.
- Screening procedures have commenced at airports in Australia and in China’s Hubei province, where the virus was discovered in the city of Wuhan.
- Authorities in Wuhan have also announced that all outbound rail, long-distance bus, air, and ferry travel from the city will be prohibited indefinitely from 23 January.
- Additionally, all public transportation within the city, including buses and subways, will be closed indefinitely. Significant transport and business disruptions likely.
For the latest information please visit the Smartraveller website.
22 JAN 2020 – Air NZ’s new 2020 Auckland-New York flights
The new service will be the first non-stop link between Australasia and New York.
Air New Zealand will operate three return services a week between Auckland and Newark Liberty International Airport using its latest configuration Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner from 29 October 2020. Flight time is expected to be 15 hours 40 minutes northbound and 17 hours 40 minutes southbound.
Fares are available now and customers can book flights between Auckland and New York through to 4 January 2021.