Brisbane returns to the Starwood map as Four Points by Sheraton opens

Hotel GM Brad Mercer, Minister Jann Stuckey, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, Owner Paul Chong and Starwood Regional VP Seah Hunt at the opening

Today marks Brisbane’s return to the Starwood map, with the Four Points by Sheraton opening its doors to travellers.

The first new-build hotel to enter the Brisbane CBD market in over a decade, the property features 246 guest rooms within its 32-storey city tower.

As you’d expect, each room sports the Four Points Signature Bed, while food and beverage needs are covered by The Eatery – an all-day restaurant, and Wrapped – a casual deli-style café by day and a bar by night.

Business travellers can make use of 312 square metres of dedicated function space, including Attitude – a covered rooftop venue offering views across the city and river.

Guests can find free wireless internet in the lobby, while Gold and Platinum members of Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) will enjoy complimentary in-room internet access, along with other applicable SPG benefits.

To celebrate the return to Brisbane, ‘Opening Celebration’ rates are currently priced at $149 per night, which includes complimentary wi-fi (regardless of SPG tier status).

Additionally, SPG members can earn double Starpoints for stays booked until 3 September 2014, which can be redeemed for free nights or airline miles, amongst other things.

If you plan to redeem your Starpoints for a stay at this Category 4 hotel, a king or queen Comfort Room will set you back 10,000 Starpoints per night.


Source : Australian Business Traveller

Government to revise Qantas Sale Act, axe foreign ownership limits

Government to revise Qantas Sale Act, axe foreign ownership limits

The Federal Government will revise the Qantas Sale Act and lift all restrictions on foreign ownership of Qantas, paving the way for increased overseas investment and potentially 100% foreign ownership of the Flying Kangaroo.

“We will seek to repeal part three of the Qantas Sale Act in its entirety” said Prime Minister Toby Abbott this evening, calling out that part of the act which covers foreign ownership of the airline as well as anchoring most maintenance in Australia.

Read: The Qantas Sale Act explained

The government aims to introduce the legislation by the end of this week, although it’s unlikely to pass the Senate, with the Labor Party already ruling out support for the government’s amendment and earlier today describing removal of the 49% foreign ownership cap as “a red line.”

However, Labor has indicated willingness to abolish the current 25% limit on a single foreign investor and 35% cap on total stakeholding by all foreign airlines.

The legislation would likely be trotted out again when the new senate takes over mid-year, but the government would still need to take its chances with a clutch of new and unaligned senators including the Palmer United Party, Liberal Democratic Party, Family First and Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party.

The picture has been further muddied by last months’ High Court declaration that Western Australia’s 2013 Senate poll was invalid due to the loss of 1,370 ballot papers, with a new election for six senators to be held on April 5.

Qantas split into domestic, international

Should the legislation pass, however, Qantas would be forced to split its domestic and international arms into two effectively separate companies, rather than the current operational division.

This would be necessary because Australia’s Air Navigation Act requires that an international airline be majority Australian-owned, although it places no such restrictions on domestic airlines which can be entirely foreign-owned.

Under that arrangement Qantas Domestic would be able to take up to 100% foreign ownership while Qantas International would be capped at 49%.

The new structure would ironically mimic that of Virgin Australia – a structure which Qantas CEO Alan Joyce once labelled a “sham” and has repeatedly said provided the challenger with an unfair advantage due to investment from Virgin partners Air New Zealand, Etihad and Singapore Airlines, which together hold approximately 65% of Virgin Australia Holdings.

No debt guarantee

However, the government rejected providing Qantas with a debt guarantee.

“We certainly don’t believe in any normal circumstances that government should be playing favourites between competing private businesses” Abbott said, adding that Virgin Australia, like Qantas, employed Australians and operated in Australia.

“We want to ensure that both these fine airlines are operating under the same rules” he said.


Source : Australian Business Traveller

Etihad to fly Airbus A380 to Sydney, Melbourne in 2015

Etihad to fly Airbus A380 to Sydney, Melbourne in 2015

Etihad Airways will begin flying its new Airbus A380s to Sydney and Melbourne next year as the Gulf carrier fills out its fleet of 10 superjumbos.

Etihad’s first A380 is due for delivery by December, with the double-decker jets also slated for routes from its Abu Dhabi hub to New York and London.

Each of thee A380s will carry a standard three-class layout of first, business and economy.

Etihad will also open a new lounge at Sydney Airport towards the end of May, with a Melbourne lounge to follow in early 2015.

A spokesman for Etihad tells Australian Business Traveller that the new two-level lounge will open “in late May” and include restaurant-style dining and an international buffet plus a ‘VIP room’, although the lounge itself will be shared between business and first class passengers.

Read: Etihad to open Sydney airport lounge in May

Etihad will commence daily flights between Perth and Abu Dhabi from July 15 this year and has its eye on additional flights for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

“I would expect over time for us to move to three flights a day out of Sydney, two flights a day out of Melbourne and two flights a day out of Brisbane,” Etihad Airways President and CEO James Hogan told theAustralian Financial Review, “but that is over time.”


Source : Australian Business Traveller

South African Airways expands Virgin Australia alliance to Sydney-Perth

South African Airways expands Virgin Australia alliance to Sydney-Perth

Virgin Australia and South African Airways will extend their codeshare relationship from June 1st to include Virgin Australia’s flights between Sydney and Perth, following Qantas’ decision to abandon its alliance with South African Airways from May 31st.

The new hookup, confirmed to Australian Business Traveller this evening by SAA and due to be officially announced tomorrow, will allow passengers to book onto SAA’s Perth-Johannesburg flight using Virgin’s Sydney-Perth A330 services.

Virgin Australia will continue its own Johannesburg service through Singapore Airlines, as a full codeshare on SQ flights via Singapore, with full Velocity points and status credits earnings.

South African Airways last month began codesharing Virgin Australia flights from Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide to Perth, but was prevented from adding Sydney to the roster due to the then-current QF/SAA tie-up.

“We have had a tremendous response since we first announced our new relationship with Virgin Australia” said SAA’s Country Manager for Australasia Tim Clyde-Smith.

Qantas retains its Sydney-Johannesburg route but will no longer offer bookings on South African Airways’ flight from Perth to Johannesburg, instead offering flights via Dubai with its partner Emirates.

Emirates operates three daily services between Perth and Dubai with onward connections to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, which means a long trek for the Flying Kangaroo’s Perth passengers.

South African Airways’ Perth-Johannesburg flight takes around 10.5 hours – the same amount of time as flying from Perth to Dubai on Emirates.

Qantas says that “customers who choose to travel on Emirates operated services to Johannesburg will have a connection time in Dubai of 1 hour and 40 minutes”, after which there’s another eight hours in the air – meaning that the Dubai detour will add almost 10 hours to the trip.


Source : Australian Business Traveller

Qantas upgrades Honolulu route to Airbus A330s

Qantas upgrades Honolulu route to Airbus A330s

Qantas expects to upgrade its Sydney-Honolulu route from ageing Boeing 767s to newer Airbus A330s this year, finally bringing true international-grade seating to the Hawaiian flights.

The change is part of an early retirement program for the Flying Kangaroo’s Boeing 767 fleet, although the airline hasn’t yet advised exactly when the switch will take place.

QF3/4 will see the A330 aircraft on its thrice-weekly service, providing travellers with a seatback in-flight entertainment system as opposed to the iPads used with the Boeing 767’s wireless Q Streaming system.

Of greater appeal at the pointy end will be the A330’s angled flat Skybed seats in business class, replacing the Boeing 767’s recliners, with the promise of better things to come.

Qantas will eventually be ditching the A330’s ‘sloping sleepers’ with its impressive new lie-flat Business Suite, pictured below.

However, with the first of these reconfigured birds not due until the end of this year and the fleet-wide upgrade process carrying on until mid-2016, consistency won’t be a strong point on the A330 routes until the seat upgrades are completed.

Source : Australian Business Traveller

Flávio Ricco critica local do torneio internacional de tênis no Ibirapuera

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O BandSports transmitiu o torneio internacional de tênis, no Ibirapuera, em São Paulo. Acontece que as condições de trabalho oferecidas são as piores possíveis. Ninguém suporta o calor dentro do ginásio. É uma panela de pressão. E as cabines de imprensa ficam em cima da parte superior, bem longe da quadra.

Algo bastante desconfortável para o público, imprensa e aos próprios atletas.


Flávio Ricco com colaboração de José Carlos Nery

SBT não contratou ninguém para a apresentar atração na faixa das 18:00

Na semana passada, alguém tratou de espalhar que o SBT vinha com uma grande bomba…
…. Que poderia ser uma contratação de impacto, para estrear um novo programa na faixa das 18 horas…
… Pura invencionice. Nunca se cogitou nada por aí.


Flávio Ricco com colaboração de José Carlos Nery

Preparação do Fox Sports para a cobertura da Copa do Mundo da FIFA Brasil 2014 está quase pronto

Todos os trabalhos de organização do Fox Sports para cobertura da Copa do Mundo estarão concluídos até o fim desta semana…
… Edu Zebini, à frente de tudo, revela que só está faltando uma coisinha ou outra…
… No domingo, o Edu acompanhou as finais do torneio de tênis em São Paulo.


Flávio Ricco com colaboração de José Carlos Nery