Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - UPFRONT -

AIR ASIA has signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with In­marsat to up­grade its in-flight con­nec­tiv­ity. The air­line will in­stall the GX Avi­a­tion sys­tem aboard its Air­bus A320s and A330s later this year, with the ser­vice sched­uled to go live in 2018. AIR CHINA launches its new Shang­hai Pudong-Barcelona route on May 5, op­er­ated by an A330-200 fly­ing three times weekly. AIR FRANCE will be­gin code­shar­ing with Sin­ga­pore Air­lines and Silk Air. The Euro­pean car­rier will place its code on SIA flights to Mel­bourne and Syd­ney, and Silk Air’s flights to Kuala Lumpur, Pe­nang and Phuket. In re­turn SIA’s code (SQ) will ap­pear on Air France con­nec­tions via Paris CDG to ten des­ti­na­tions. AMER­I­CAN AIR­LINES has an­nounced plans to code­share with China South­ern Air­lines later this year, fol­low­ing the air­line’s US$200 mil­lion eq­uity in­vest­ment in the Chi­nese car­rier. ASIANA AIR­LINES and Hong Kong Air­lines have be­gun code­shar­ing on all flights be­tween Hong Kong and Seoul. Asiana flies the route four times daily while Hong Kong Air­lines op­er­ates a daily ser­vice. CATHAY DRAGON will cut its Tokyo Haneda ser­vice in October, but par­ent air­line Cathay Pacific will con­tinue to op­er­ate a twice-daily ser­vice be­tween Tokyo Haneda and Hong Kong. CATHAY PACIFIC has con­firmed a ten-across seat­ing con­fig­u­ra­tion on its B777 fleet; the change is ex­pected to take place from mid-2018 to 2020 with a new “er­gonom­i­cally de­signed seat” with a 17.2 inch-width, six-inch re­cline and 32-inch pitch. CHINA SOUTH­ERN has launched its new Guangzhou-Mexico City ser­vice, which tran­sits via Vancouver – the car­rier’s first route to Latin Amer­ica and now the long­est in its route net­work. HAINAN AIR­LINES now op­er­ates its Dream­liner air­craft be­tween Bei­jing and Manchester, fea­tur­ing 36 flat-bed busi­ness class seats and 177 in econ­omy. QANTAS has launched in-flight wifi on its Boe­ing 737-800 air­craft, en­abling in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity across its do­mes­tic flights. The launch marks the start of wifi roll­out across 80 of Qantas’s air­craft, due for com­ple­tion by the end of 2018. UNITED’s new B777-300ER now con­nects San Fran­cisco and Hong Kong af­ter be­gin­ning op­er­a­tion in late March. The new air­craft fea­tures United’s re­cently un­veiled Po­laris Busi­ness seat. VIR­GIN AUSTRALIA has launched a new Econ­omy X prod­uct, of­fer­ing ex­tra legroom (be­tween 34- and 39-inch pitch), lo­cated at the front of the air­craft and emer­gency exit rows. In­ter­na­tional pas­sen­gers will also re­ceive noise­can­celling head­phones.

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