Qantas group outlines customer and employee impact of coronavirus-related network cuts

The Qantas Group has outlined the customer and employee impact of a huge drop in travel demand triggered by the public health response to the Coronavirus crisis.

Earlier this week, cuts to 90 per cent of international flying and about 60 per cent of domestic flying were announced by Qantas and Jetstar. With the Federal Government now recommending against all overseas travel from Australia, regularly scheduled international flights will continue until late March to assist with repatriation and will then be suspended until at least the end of May 2020. As the national carrier, Qantas is in ongoing discussions with the Federal Government about continuation of some strategic links.

More than 150 aircraft will be temporarily grounded, including all of Qantas’ A380s, 747s and B787-9s and Jetstar’s B787-8s.  Discussions are progressing with airports and government about parking for these aircraft.

Essential domestic, regional and freight connections will be maintained as much as possible.

Qantas’ fleet of freighters will continue to be fully utilised. Some domestic passenger aircraft will also be used for freight-only flights to replace lost capacity from regular scheduled services. There is no impact on Qantas Loyalty’s operations.

  • All regularly scheduled Qantas and Jetstar international flights from Australia will be suspended from end March until at least end May 2020. Some flights may continue in order to maintain key links, based on ongoing discussions with the Federal Government.
  • Jetstar Asia (Singapore) will suspend all flights from 23 March to at least 15 April 2020.
  • Jetstar Japan has suspended international flights and cut domestic flying.
  • Jetstar Pacific (Vietnam) has suspended international flights and will significantly cut domestic flying.

The Group will maintain connectivity to almost all Australian domestic and regional destinations that Qantas, QantasLink and Jetstar currently operate to. The 60 per cent reduction in capacity will come mostly from a significant reduction in flight frequency, but also route suspensions and postponing a number of new route launches.

Comments from Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce:

“The efforts to contain the spread of Coronavirus have led to a huge drop in travel demand, the likes of which we have never seen before. This is having a devastating impact on all airlines.

“We’re in a strong financial position right now, but our wages bill is more than $4 billion a year. With the huge drop in revenue we’re facing, we have to make difficult decisions to guarantee the future of the national carrier.

“The reality is we’ll have 150 aircraft on the ground and sadly there’s no work for most of our people. Rather than lose these highly skilled employees who we’ll need when this crisis passes, we are instead standing down two-thirds of our 30,000 employees until at least the end of May.”

“Most of our people will be using various types of paid leave during this time, and we’ll have a number of support options in place. We’re also talking to our partners like Woolworths about temporary job opportunities for our people.”

Source: Qantas


Qantas unveils new safety video and centenary exhibition

Qantas has unveiled a new safety video featuring ‘80s mullets and ‘70s moustaches right through to 1940s flying boats and 1920s propeller aircraft to celebrate 100 years of the national carrier’s history.

The safety briefing is delivered by current Qantas crew in carefully recreated historical settings, including onboard aircraft and in airport terminals.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said safety videos are an important tool to communicate vital safety messages to the 55 million people who travel with Qantas every year – and that making it interesting helps keep their attention even after they’ve seen it multiple times.

“This safety video is a look back at the different styles of aircraft, service and uniforms that have been part of our long history. And it calls out the contribution Qantas and its people have made to aviation, like the invention of the slide raft, as well as the national carrier’s role in connecting Australia to the world,” said Mr Joyce.

“It’s really a tribute to a century of our people, the changing styles, and our innovation. The one thing that has never changed is our commitment to safety.”

The video features iconic aircraft, fashion and aviation milestones to create a 100-year time lapse from the 1920s to present day. Some of the scenes were recreated in real life, others such as the original Avro 504 and the 1930s De Havilland 86, were bought back to life using computer generated imagery.

The production team spent months researching information from the national archives, aviation museums. They also used photographs and artefacts from the extensive Qantas Heritage collection to perfect the details of each scene, from original life jackets to the wall panels from retired aircraft that were retrieved from the Mojave Desert.

With a soundtrack featuring Australian jazz legend James Morrison playing numerous brass instruments, the video is set to instrumental versions of the iconic Peter Allen anthem I Still Call Australia Home and tailored to the musical style of each era.

Current Qantas staff appear in historical versions of their present-day roles with Alastair Fysh, the grandson of Qantas co-founder Sir Hudson Fysh, also making a cameo appearance.

Various crew uniforms from throughout the decades were sourced from Qantas’s own collection and retired Qantas crew. The clothing for extras came from a combination of personal wardrobes and op shops in regional communities.

The new safety video will screen onboard all Qantas international and domestic flights from 1 March 2020.

Source: Qantas


AAT Kings Launches Bushfire Relief consumer bus trips including #emptyesky

In collaboration with the #EmptyEsky movement and regional tourism businesses, AAT Kings welcome travellers and the wider community to join them on one of their newly launched not-for-profit Bushfire Relief Giveback Experiences – a selection of Day Tours and Short Breaks across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Designed to help provide immediate support directly to tourism communities that have been affected by this season’s devastating bushfires.

Experiences have been developed respectfully and in conjunction with local communities, and while onboard AAT Kings will transport you and your empty esky, to visit local markets, cafes and stores, where you’ll have free time to wander through the town, spend with the local shopkeepers and fill your esky or reusable bag with locally made products.

To enrich the experience, guests will also meet some of the locals who will tell stories of recovery and share firsthand how best to help these destinations.

Matthew Cameron-Smith, Managing Director for AAT Kings, stated: “Having worked with Australian tourism operators for over 100 years, AAT Kings live and breathe these communities, and they need us now more than ever. We’ve worked with local businesses to bring much-needed benefit through the tourism economy directly back to restaurants, cafes, farmers markets and local stores, to help start providing immediate support to the regions that need it the most.”

Erin Boutros, Co-founder of Empty Esky, commented: “We are so excited to be partnering with AAT Kings to offer our community the opportunity to put their pledges into action and visit fire affected towns. Since the Empty Esky campaign launched, we have witnessed first-hand how powerful the Australian spirit is. The ‘Empty Esky’ trips will lead the way in effectively supporting bushfire affected towns as they recover.”

All Bushfire Recovery Giveback trips are 100% not-for-profit for AAT Kings, and have been designed in collaboration with the local community to inject funds into small businesses and support farmers.

Cameron-Smith concludes, “Our nation and the world have been deeply affected as we watched parts of our country and wildlife ravaged by the fires, we are so privileged to be able to take advantage of our experience and network, to facilitate bringing as many visitors as we can back to our most affected townships. Working in partnership is the best way that we know how to help, and we invite the industry to join us in supporting our fellow Australians to get back on their feet for the long-term.”

Bushfire Recovery Giveback Experience: #EmptyEsky to Shoalhaven Ex-Sydney ($110, $56 child)
Journey to Kangaroo Valley and take in morning tea at a local café, before heading to Nowra Farmers Market. The market is jam packed with local farmers produce for you to taste and buy and fill up your #emptyesky, knowing every cent goes directly to the growers. You’ll then have the opportunity to meet up with some of the community who have been affected by the bushfires, as they share stories of recovery over a sumptuous, locally sourced lunch sharing stories with locals at Bangalay Dining.

Bushfire Recovery Giveback Trip: #EmptyEsky 4 day Short Break, NSW South Coast (prices start at $700; $420 child) Head to the south coast region of NSW, an area which has been one of the country’s most bushfire affected – support local communities by visiting charming riverside towns and beachside gems, wander through local markets and cafes to fill your #emptyesky with local produce.

On this trip you’ll head to Cobargo and meet local farmers, hear their stories and have the opportunity to volunteer and rebuild fences for their farms. You’ll be shown the best way to help, and work with a local to make this happen. After a rewarding and hard-working day, relax in Cobargo Pub and enjoy a quiet drink, with dinner included, also includes the coastal town of Batemans Bay, before returning to Sydney.

To make a booking – go to aatkings.com/bushfire-recovery, call 1300 228 546, or visit your local travel agent.

Source: AAT Kings


Red Carnation Hotels Celebrates Greatest Success to date in Forbes Travel Guide’s 2020 Star Awards

Red Carnation Hotels has proudly announced that four of its award- winning properties have achieved the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide (“FTG”) Five-Star rating in the annual Forbes Travel Guide Star Awards. Joining sister property Hotel 41 in receiving the highest FTG accolade are London’s The Milestone Hotel and The Egerton House Hotel, alongside Virtuoso’s 2015 ‘Hotel of the Year’ Ashford Castle, which is the only hotel in Ireland to achieve five-star status.

Forbes Travel Guide is the world-renowned and only global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants and spas and is widely recognised as being the gold standard of hospitality rating systems, with a meticulous and anonymous process assessing all areas of a hotel’s product and service.

Red Carnation Hotels’ Managing Director Jonathan Raggett said: “The Forbes Travel Guide Star Rating award system is one of the most meticulous, globally respected and highly sought-after accolades in the industry. To have Ashford Castle, The Milestone Hotel and the Egerton House Hotel join Hotel 41 as Forbes Five Star properties is great testament to the generous hospitality and levels of service, luxury and attention to detail that guests consistently receive at our properties.

“Every day our teams go above and beyond to make every stay special, and these awards are a reflection of their hard work and passion, and the leadership and values of our President and Founder Beatrice Tollman.”

Filip Boyen, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide said: “We have been committed to championing genuine Five-Star service for more than 60 years, and this year’s winners, as always, exemplify the very highest standards in hospitality.”

“It is difficult to earn a Forbes Travel Guide rating, and all our Star-Rated winners have shown how incredibly deserving they are of their accolades by demonstrating sheer dedication in their passion for service. We congratulate them all.”

Source: The Red Carnation Hotel Collection


UNIWORLD BOUTIQUE RIVER CRUISES LAUNCHES ITS 2021 COLLECTION

As the global cruise community grows bigger and bigger each year, luxury cruise company Uniworld, unveiled a new way to see Europe, including a train journey on one of their river journeys. Travel enthusiasts ventured to Reign in Sydney’s QVB for a champagne breakfast and to meet the president and CEO of Uniworld, LA-based Ellen Bettrige.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, the world’s most luxurious all-inclusive river cruise line, has evealed its 2021 collection, promising to, yet again, elevate river cruising to a whole new level of luxury. The 2021 line-up continues to offer the award- winning service and luxurious fleet that Uniworld is renowned for and strives to deliver more, with two new itineraries in Europe, additional departures in growing destinations such as Peru and Egypt, and an exceptional air-offer.

Uniworld’s President & CEO Ellen Bettridge was in Sydney to launch the collection. She believes 2021 is an exciting opportunity to show Uniworld’s continued excellence and response to the needs of guests and travel partners. “I’m thrilled to show our guests that we’re aiming to elevate again in 2021 to provide them the best destinations, the best fleet and the best luxury river cruise experience.”

Onboard a Uniworld voyage, the guest is at the heart of every decision, they are committed to providing guests with the ultimate experience, which is why they’re providing guests with a choice of three offers when booking a 2021 river cruise:

  • Economy flights free, or
  • Business Class from $3,999 per person, or
  • No flights – save $1,000pp on their cruise

These offers are combinable with Uniworld’s River Heritage Club loyalty benefits, as well as available early payment discounts until 14 March.

In 2021, Uniworld has added two exciting new itineraries to their product line up. The 8-day Classic Germany & Amsterdam aboard the River Princess, cruises along the Main River from Amsterdam to Nuremberg (and reverse on some departures), taking in the best of the serene villages, renaissance architecture and medieval towns.

Uniworld has combined this new itinerary with its popular Authentic Danube to create a new grand itinerary, the 15-day Rhine, Maine & Danube Discovery. From Amsterdam all the way to Vienna, this itinerary cruises along the scenic Rhine, Main and Danube rivers, appealing to guests looking for an in-depth exploration of Central Europe’s quaint villages, exquisite castles and colourful cities.

In addition to these two itineraries, Uniworld is also thrilled to announce a new luxury train journey available to guests as an extension on select sailings of the Venice & The Gems of Northern Italy itinerary. Guests can now complete their voyage on the S.S. La Venezia and continue onboard the luxurious Golden Eagle Danube Express train, travelling from Venice to Zurich. The extension includes three nights onboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express and once night accommodation in Zurich on arrival.

In continuing to elevate their guests with the best possible experience, Uniworld will also continue to enhance its ships and itineraries into 2021. This year will see an additional four super ships added to the Uniworld fleet – S.S. Sphinx, S.S. La Venezia, S.S. Sao Gabriel and Mekong Jewel, totaling 20 ships in 2020.

Bettridge believes that 2021 will only see the fleet improve even further, with transformations across the super ship fleet, transforming the S.S. Queen and S.S. Empress in 2021. “Our guests deserve the best and we’re excited to be able deliver the best with the addition of four new super ships and enhancements to our one-of-a-kind fleet, as well as increased sailings on destinations where we’ve seen increasing demand.”

In December 2019, Uniworld announced a new destination- the Peruvian Amazon, chartering the eco- friendly, all suite Aria Amazon. Since launching the destination, Uniworld have almost completely sold all scheduled sailings and in response, have added more dates to accommodate for guests excited to see this exotic destination.

Egypt is another destination where Uniworld has seen an increasing demand, with travellers searching for a luxurious journey along the infamous Nile river. In recognising this, Uniworld will, in 2021, provide guests with two ships to choose from for the popular 12-day Splendours of Egypt & The Nile itinerary, onboard the River Tosca or S.S. Sphinx (launching in 2020).

“In finishing 2019, we’re proud of the growth of the Uniworld brand and in 2020 we’re striving to exceed that in both bookings and delivering for our guests with the introduction for four new super ships. 2021 is no different. Each year brings enhancements within our fleet, exciting new itineraries and a goal to elevate our guest’s luxury experience even more,” said Bettridge.

Source: UniWorld