SINGAPORE AIRLINES' A380 AUCTION
To celebrate the launch of the Airbus A380, Singapore Airlines is auctioning seats on the aircraft's maiden passenger flight through its own website and global marketplace website, ebay. The airline says that every dollar raised will go to two Australian and a Singapore-based charity.
Singapore Airlines will take delivery of the Airbus A380 this October. The airline will initially using the A380 on the Singapore-Sydney route, around eight hours each way, allowing the aircraft to return to its Singapore home base every night with enough time to deal with any possible teething problems.
Australia's domestic operator Virgin Blue is launching a long-haul airline that it hopes will begin serving west coast US destinations from November 2008. The new carrier V Australia will operate a fleet of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
V Australia will operate trans-Pacific routes
Virgin Blue has already received confirmation from Australia's International Air Services Commission (IASC) to operate flights from its eastern seaboard to the US but still requires regulatory permission from U.S. authorities.
V Australia looks set to open up competition on trans-Pacific routes. Currently the Sydney-Los Angeles route is flown by Qantas and United Airlines.
In Skytrax's largest passenger survey, Singapore Airlines came out on top as the airline of the year. There were more than 14 million eligible nominations around the world during the 11-month survey.
Singapore Airlines also won the award for the best business class cabin. Best business class catering went to Austrian airline and Virgin Atlantic took the best business class lounge award.
Global travel technology company, Sabre Travel Network, has introduced a new web-based tool enabling corporate travel agents and travel managers to quickly locate clients on the road. The Traveler Security and Data Suite is an interactive application, which connects users with up-to-date information on the possible challenges, threats and dangers facing clients. Its capability includes ensuring the number of employees or VIPs per flight does not exceed the corporate travel policy, and identifying the location of clients in the event of a terrorist or natural disaster.
MIXED MESSAGES FOR BEIJING OLYMPICS
The official airline partner for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Air China, says it is working hard to cut delays and improve the English language skills of employees, ahead of next year's Olympic Games. The Hong Kong-listed airline, which is part owned by Cathay Pacific, suffers from a mixed reputation when it comes to customer service and prompt flights.
Passenger frustration over delays, diversions and cancellations have at times erupted in violence at Chinese airports. Police force has been brought in to control passengers storming grounded aircraft. The government says it is keen to improve service standards both at airports and on Chinese airlines, ahead of the Games. They fear delays and rudeness could tarnish China's image.
Raising English skills is another area Air China is concentrating on. English is the international language of aviation but many Chinese pilots are ex-military and speak little or even no English. China's civil aviation regulator issued a terse statement last month demanding Chinese pilots improve their English. E-mail to a friend