Philippine Airlines boosts Toronto frequency

Toronto

Philippine Airlines is giving its flights to Toronto a frequency boost this winter with a fifth weekly service set to become available starting December 18.

The extra flight will take off from Manila on Tuesdays and from Toronto on Wednesdays, under the flight number PR118/PR119. That being said, the Tuesday flights out of Manila will operate at a slightly different schedule, taking off about an hour earlier than on other days of the week.

The schedule for the route as of December 18, 2018 is as follows:

 

The frequency increase comes almost exactly one year after Philippine Airlines cut the Vancouver stopover from its Manila-Toronto service to make it a non-stop flight.

Philippine Airlines currently flies a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on its Toronto route, which has business and economy class cabins.

The business class cabin has 42 seats configured in a 2-3-2 layout, making accessing the aisles difficult for passengers at the window seats and in the middle of the three centre seats.

While these are fully flat seats, they are a notably more dated product when compared to those on the airline’s newest long-haul aircraft, the Airbus A350. These are variants of Thompson Aero’s Vantage XL business class seat – the same base seat product used by Delta in its Delta One Suites and Qantas in its new Dreamliner seats, among others.

The airline also introduced a new fully flat regional business class seat product for its new A320neo aircraft, which began flying between Manila and Brisbane earlier this month.

Philippine Airlines took delivery of the aircraft earlier this month and has already earmarked its London Heathrow and New York routes for the aircraft.

In related news, Philippine Airlines’ flights to Toronto, Vancouver and New York have relocated to Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 1 starting today.

Jet Airways to launch new flight services from August

Jet Airways introduces 65 new weekly services on its network

From August 1, Jet Airways will be introducing daily direct flights between Bengaluru and Guwahati. Additionally, the full-service carrier will also be launching flight services on the Hyderabad – Indore – Chandigarh route. It will be operated four days a week- Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Jet Airways 9W 659 will depart from Bengaluru at 1015 and arrive into Guwahati at 1315. Return flight 9W 660 will take off from Guwahati at 1620 and arrive into Bengaluru at 1930.

For the Hyderabad – Indore – Chandigarh route, Jet Airways 9W 955 will depart from Hyderabad at 1050 and have a stopover at Indore, arriving into the city at 1215. The flight will depart from Indore at 1245, arriving into Chandigarh at 1445. On its return journey, flight 9W 958 will depart from Chandigarh at 1515 and land at Indore at 1715. The flight will then depart for Hyderabad at 1800.

Marnix Fruitema, executive vice president, Commercial, Jet Airways said, “With the aviation industry witnessing growth in travel from emerging to metro cities in India, we have introduced several direct flights between new city pairs. Providing enhanced connectivity, will enable more flyers to travel for both business and leisure across our network, and at the same time, experience Jet Airways’ famed service excellence. With the introduction of these new flights, guests can now travel to a host of other cities both on Jet Airways’ domestic and international network via convenient connections on offer.”  jetairways.com

From August 1, Jet Airways will be introducing daily direct flights between Bengaluru and Guwahati. Additionally, the full-service carrier will also be launching flight services on the Hyderabad – Indore – Chandigarh route. It will be operated four days a week- Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Jet Airways 9W 659 will depart from Bengaluru at 1015 and arrive into Guwahati at 1315. Return flight 9W 660 will take off from Guwahati at 1620 and arrive into Bengaluru at 1930.

For the Hyderabad – Indore – Chandigarh route, Jet Airways 9W 955 will depart from Hyderabad at 1050 and have a stopover at Indore, arriving into the city at 1215. The flight will depart from Indore at 1245, arriving into Chandigarh at 1445. On its return journey, flight 9W 958 will depart from Chandigarh at 1515 and land at Indore at 1715. The flight will then depart for Hyderabad at 1800.

Marnix Fruitema, executive vice president, Commercial, Jet Airways said, “With the aviation industry witnessing growth in travel from emerging to metro cities in India, we have introduced several direct flights between new city pairs. Providing enhanced connectivity, will enable more flyers to travel for both business and leisure across our network, and at the same time, experience Jet Airways’ famed service excellence. With the introduction of these new flights, guests can now travel to a host of other cities both on Jet Airways’ domestic and international network via convenient connections on offer.”  jetairways.com

Los Angeles-Sydney getting Delta One Suites next year

Delta One suite – seat closeup

Delta Air Lines has confirmed that its Los Angeles-Sydney route will be getting the carrier’s newest business class seat product next year, when it begins flying one of its newly retrofitted Boeing 777-200LR aircraft on the route.

The US carrier first debuted the enclosed seat on its Airbus A350-900 aircraft last November, flying between Detroit and Tokyo Narita.

Since then, however, Delta has been on a US$100 million mission to retrofit its 777 fleet with its newest seat products, including its eight 777-200ERs and ten 777-200LRs. The first retrofitted 777-200ER began flying between Detroit and Beijing in early July.

Delta has yet to confirm exactly when the switch to the new seat products on the Los Angeles-Sydney route will be taking place, saying that it will be announcing this “at a later date”. However, as previously reported by Business Traveller, a schedule update earlier this year indicated the change would be taking place from March 31, 2019.

The Delta One Suite is an enclosed variant of the Vantage XL seat from Thompson Aero – the same base model used by Qantas for its newest business class seats on its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, which it flies between Melbourne and Los Angeles.

Both Delta’s 777s and the A350s lay out the suites in a 1-2-1 configuration, and seats are able to recline to a fully flat bed.

But it’s not just business class passengers that will see a change with the retrofitted aircraft. Delta currently flies its current-configuration 777-200ER on the Los Angeles-Sydney route, which only offers business, Delta Comfort+ (extra legroom economy) and Main Cabin (economy) seating.

The new configuration for the aircraft, however, will feature 48 Delta Premium Select (premium economy) seats, which come with a 38-inch pitch (legroom) and a 13.3-inch seat-back screen.

Meanwhile the all-new Main Cabin seats will be laid out in a nine-abreast configuration and are “the widest in the Delta international fleet” according to the carrier. All classes will also have access to in-flight wifi and in-seat USB and power ports.

Los Angeles-Sydney isn’t the only trans-Pacific route set to see Delta’s newest cabins. Between November 2018 and March 2019, four of the airline’s Tokyo routes will also see upgauges to either the A350 or the retrofitted 777.

This notably includes Delta’s Los Angeles-Tokyo Haneda route. Once the Sydney service also gets the refreshed aircraft next year, Delta will offer Delta One Suites and Delta Premium Select on all of its trans-Pacific flights out of Los Angeles.

Singapore Airlines’ first A350-900ULR emerges from paint shop

The first of Singapore Airlines’ seven Airbus A350-900ULR (ultra long range) aircraft has rolled out of the Airbus paint shop ahead of its expected delivery to the carrier this September.

The Singaporean airline is set to be the launch customer for the aircraft, which is an extended-range variant of Airbus’ current A350-900 model. The ultra-long-range aircraft is capable of flying up to 9,700 nautical miles for a duration of more than 20 hours.

The aircraft notably will allow Singapore Airlines to launch a number of non-stop routes to the US, including what will be the world’s longest commercial flight between Singapore and New York (Newark) on October 11 this year. The A350-900ULR will also be used on the airline’s upcoming non-stop flights between Singapore and Los Angeles in November.

Aside from its extended range, the most notable thing about Singapore Airlines’ soon-to-be newest addition to its fleet is that its 161 seats will be offered in just two classes – business and premium economy.

Fans of Singapore Airlines’ new A380 business class seat products will be pleased to know that the A350-900ULR will feature the exact same seat with 67 in total. These are slightly less roomy than its current A350-900 seats, though they do offer notably more storage space.

Business Traveller reviewed the new seat product on its debut A380 flight from Singapore to Sydney back in December.

Premium economy, meanwhile, will feature the same product as is currently offered on both the A350-900 and the new A380s and will offer a total of 94 seats.

Reviews of the airline’s premium economy offering on both of these aircraft can be read below.

Singapore Airlines is among the largest operators of the A350, with 21 A350-900s already in its fleet. To date, the carrier has ordered a total of 67 A350-900s, including the seven ultra long range variants.

Meanwhile, regional rival Cathay Pacific took delivery of its first A350-1000 aircraft in June – the second airline to fly the aircraft after launch customer Qatar Airways.

The A350-1000 is a longer variant of the A350-900, offering a higher capacity than its predecessor. Cathay Pacific is set to debut the aircraft on its upcoming Hong Kong-Washington DC route this September.

Business Traveller was on the delivery flight of Cathay Pacific’s first A350-1000 and will be on board Singapore Airlines’ inaugural Singapore-New York flight in October.

Mandarin Oriental Munich introduces “Celebrate Oktoberfest” package

Mandarin Oriental Munich introduces “Celebrate Oktoberfest” package

Mandarin Oriental Munich has introduced special package for guests looking to explore Oktoberfest 2018 in Germany. The package offers an exclusive vintage bus tour to the Oktoberfest tent, serving drinks and Bavarian baked goods. A VIP host will also be accompanying the guests on this bus tour.

Additionally, guests can enjoy a three-course dinner and two litres of beer (per person) at the Schützen-Festzelt tent of this German festival.

Other features of the “Celebrate Oktoberfest” package include a luxury accommodation, breakfast and Bavarian treats including Mandarin Oriental Munich beer mug, gingerbread heart and traditional appetizers.

Celebrate Oktoberfest package is valid from September 22 to October 7, 2018.

Price: EUR 750 (60,126) onwards

mandarinoriental.com

Mandarin Oriental Munich has introduced special package for guests looking to explore Oktoberfest 2018 in Germany. The package offers an exclusive vintage bus tour to the Oktoberfest tent, serving drinks and Bavarian baked goods. A VIP host will also be accompanying the guests on this bus tour.

Additionally, guests can enjoy a three-course dinner and two litres of beer (per person) at the Schützen-Festzelt tent of this German festival.

Other features of the “Celebrate Oktoberfest” package include a luxury accommodation, breakfast and Bavarian treats including Mandarin Oriental Munich beer mug, gingerbread heart and traditional appetizers.

Celebrate Oktoberfest package is valid from September 22 to October 7, 2018.

Price: EUR 750 (60,126) onwards

mandarinoriental.com

 

Delta One Suites are coming to yet more Tokyo routes

Delta One Suite on the B777-200ER

Delta Air Lines is upgauging aircraft on four of its Tokyo routes starting this winter with both its new Airbus A350-900 and recently revamped Boeing 777s set to take over.

Business Traveller was alerted to the change of equipment by industry website routesonline.com and has confirmed the upgauges on Delta’s online schedule.

The US airline has been undergoing a retrofit of its 777 fleet to outfit them with its latest seat products and the aircraft upgauge notably means the airline’s newest business class seat product, the enclosed Delta One Suite, will become available to travellers.

The Delta One Suite first debuted in November last year on Delta’s Detroit-Tokyo Narita route last year on its A350. These seats are laid out 1-2-1 on both the A350 and retrofitted B777s and recline to offer fully flat beds.

The first of Delta’s Tokyo service to see a new aircraft will be its Minneapolis/St Paul-Tokyo Haneda flights, which will be taken over by its revamped 777-200/777-200ER starting November 16 this year.

This will be followed by Atlanta-Tokyo Narita, which will be getting the 777-200/777-200ER from March 1, 2019. Business Traveller previously reported that the A350 would be taking over this route from Delta’s 777-200LR – these are also being retrofitted with new products – starting March 31 next year, though the date and aircraft now appears to have changed.

On the same day, the A350 is scheduled to take over Delta’s Seattle-Tokyo Narita flights, replacing the current Boeing 767-300. Meanwhile on March 31, Los Angeles-Tokyo Haneda will also be getting the A350, replacing Delta’s A330-300 aircraft.

Along with the Delta One Suite in business class, the A350 and retrofitted B777s also feature a Delta Premium Select (premium economy) cabin.

Delta has been focusing its attention heavily on Asia recently, with its Asia-Pacific hubs in Tokyo and Seoul in South Korea seeing aircraft upgauges and new routes.

Notably, the US carrier recently announced it would begin a new non-stop service between Seattle and Osaka starting April 1, 2019. However, this news was unfortunately accompanied by the revelation that its Seattle-Hong Kong service – the carrier’s only flights serving the Chinese city – would cease to operate as of October 4, 2017.

Anantara Hotels and Resorts to open a new property in China

Anantara Hotels and Resorts to open a new property in China

Anantara Hotels and Resorts will be expanding its portfolio in China with the launch of a new property in the Qingyang district of Chengdu. This luxury hotel is a part of the Essence Chengdu integrated project, and is slated to open in 2021.

Anantara Jinsha Chengdu Hotel will include 150 guestrooms and suites, an all-day dining restaurant, a specialty restaurant, a lobby lounge and a bar/tea lounge. A fitness centre, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a spa and children’s club are some of the recreational facilities that will be available at this property.

Additionally, the hotel will also be offering spacious rooms for organising meetings and social events.

Dillip Rajakarier, chief executive officer of Minor Hotels (owner of Anantara Hotels and Resorts) said, “We are excited to announce the first Anantara in Chengdu, China in partnership with Chengdu Tai Hang Rui Hong Real Estate Co., Ltd. This addition to our portfolio demonstrates our commitment to growth in up and coming destinations, while foreseeing and responding to demand in a way that places us firmly as a strong market leader in Asia Pacific, and beyond.”

Currently, Anantara Hotels and Resorts operates 39 hotels and resorts in 13 countries across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and the Indian Ocean. anantara.com

Anantara Hotels and Resorts will be expanding its portfolio in China with the launch of a new property in the Qingyang district of Chengdu. This luxury hotel is a part of the Essence Chengdu integrated project, and is slated to open in 2021.

Anantara Jinsha Chengdu Hotel will include 150 guestrooms and suites, an all-day dining restaurant, a specialty restaurant, a lobby lounge and a bar/tea lounge. A fitness centre, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a spa and children’s club are some of the recreational facilities that will be available at this property.

Additionally, the hotel will also be offering spacious rooms for organising meetings and social events.

Dillip Rajakarier, chief executive officer of Minor Hotels (owner of Anantara Hotels and Resorts) said, “We are excited to announce the first Anantara in Chengdu, China in partnership with Chengdu Tai Hang Rui Hong Real Estate Co., Ltd. This addition to our portfolio demonstrates our commitment to growth in up and coming destinations, while foreseeing and responding to demand in a way that places us firmly as a strong market leader in Asia Pacific, and beyond.”

Currently, Anantara Hotels and Resorts operates 39 hotels and resorts in 13 countries across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and the Indian Ocean. anantara.com

China Eastern eyes Shanghai-Xian-Madrid flights

China Eastern Boeing 777-300ER

China Eastern has plans to launch a new connection to Spain later this year with the Shanghai-based carrier looking to begin flights between Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport and Madrid via Xian starting this December.

The Chinese carrier recently filed an application to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) for a new service connecting the three cities that would operate on a twice-per-week basis using one of its Airbus A330 aircraft, according to a CAAC statement.

This won’t be China Eastern’s first connection between Shanghai and Madrid, however. Flights MU709/MU710 already travel non-stop between the two cities four times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays using the following schedule:

Flight No. From To Departs Arrives Days
MU709 Shanghai (PVG) Madrid (MAD) 1230 2035 Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun
MU710 Madrid (MAD) Shanghai (PVG) 2325 1810+1 Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun

These flights are similarly flown using the airline’s A330s.

The new route follows fellow Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines’ recent launch of non-stop flights to Madrid from Shenzhen in March this year.

Spain is becoming an increasingly popular destination for among Asian with a number of new routes to destinations in the country recently taking off.

Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific began a seasonal service to Barcelona last July – just over a year after it launched its flights to Madrid. As of April this year, the Barcelona route has gone year-round.

Last July also saw Singapore Airlines begin flying non-stop between Singapore and Barcelona when it cut out the route’s previous stopover at Milan-Malpensa Airport.

Meanwhile, following the launch of non-stop flights between Seoul Incheon and Barcelona by Korean Air last May, Asiana Airlines is also due to begin flying the route starting this August.

TSA installs 3D scanners at JFK security checkpoint

New 3D scanner at New York's JFK airport, in partnership with American Airlines

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is testing a scanner that provides three-dimensional images of baggage contents at American Airlines’ security checkpoint at New York’s JFK airport.

The computed tomography scanner (CT) generates 3D images that TSA agents can rotate on three axes to examine items contained in hand and carryon luggage. The CT scanner will be tested at a single JFK security checkpoint lane in cooperation with American Airlines.

The technology is similar to that already used to scan checked luggage for explosives, with the equipment sized down to be used effectively at TSA security checkpoints.

The scanner creates “such a clear image of a bag’s contents that the system can automatically detect explosives, including liquids, by shooting hundreds of images with an X-ray camera spinning around the conveyor belt,” according to TSA.

“Use of CT technology substantially improves TSA’s threat detection capability at a checkpoint,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske.

The equipment also is being tested at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport. CBS News reports that TSA hopes to have 15 of the CT scanners installed this year and hundreds in place by 2019.

“We think in perhaps five years or so, the passengers won’t have to take anything out of their carry-on bags,” Pekoske told CBS News.

“What it’s capable of doing is detecting a wider range of explosives, which is very important, [as well as] a much lower weight of explosives. They’re just much better at detection, so you really get better security faster, essentially.”

tsa.gov