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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Record ship numbers arriving in Australia this summer

Australia will welcome an unprecedented number of cruise ships this summer, with more than 40 vessels sailing in local waters - including eight ships making their maiden visits Down Under.

Among the flotilla will be the largest ship to visit Australia – Royal Caribbean’s 167,000-tonne Ovation of the Seas – as well as the youngest and most luxurious ship ever to cruise here, the boutique Seabourn Encore, which will arrive in Australia just two weeks after it is officially named in Singapore.

Detailing the upcoming peak cruise season, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Commercial Director Brett Jardine said a record 41 ships from CLIA member cruise lines would be based in Australia or visiting local waters between October 1, 2016, and April 30, 2017, compared to 38 ships over the same period last year.

Between them, the ships will make almost 900 calls to ports around Australia over that period – up 10 per cent on last year’s port calls numbers.

With more than half the ships (23) offering return cruises from our shores, Australians will be able to take advantage of almost 400 roundtrip itineraries from local ports, a 20 per cent rise on last summer’s offerings.

Mr Jardine said the record season reflected the continuing surge in Australian cruise passenger numbers as well as the nation’s growing popularity as an international cruise destination. Australia is the fourth largest source market for cruise passengers in the world with official CLIA figures showing more than one million Australians took a cruise in 2015 – a 14.6 per cent increase on the previous year. Australian cruise passenger numbers have grown by almost 20 per cent annually over the past decade

“Anyone wanting evidence of the continuing rapid growth of the cruise industry in Australia just needs to look at the horizon this summer – there is going to be a constant procession of ships visiting our ports, carrying hundreds of thousands of Australians and international tourists on great value and relaxing holidays,” Mr Jardine said.

Five cruise lines will be making their first ever calls to a range of ports from Darwin in the Northern Territory to Burnie in Tasmania, while across the fleets, individual ships will be making close to 70 maiden calls to coastal towns and cities.

“It’s going to be an exciting summer for communities around Australia as they welcome these wonderful ships and share in the $3.6 billion in economic benefits that flow from cruise tourism in Australia annually,” Mr Jardine said.

The start of the cruise season on October 1 coincides with the beginning of the local cruise industry’s first ever Cruise Month promotion, which will see cruise lines offering great deals through cruise specialist travel agents. Highlights of the peak summer period include:
  • The first international ship call for the summer season when Celebrity Solstice returns to Sydney on October 8
  • The first maiden ship call for the summer season when Holland America Line’s Maasdam debuts in Sydney on October 20
  • The inaugural Australian season of the largest Princess ship to sail from Australia this summer, the 3082-guest Emerald Princess, making her first Australian call in Fremantle on November 8, followed by Melbourne on November 13 and Sydney on November 15
  • The inaugural visit of the largest ship to visit Australia, Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas, arriving in Fremantle on December 6 to make the first of six maiden calls following her launch earlier this year
  • The Australian debut of the ultra-luxury Seabourn Encore arriving in Darwin on January 22 and sailing down the Australian coast to reach Sydney on February 2 and Melbourne on February 4. In all she will make nine maiden Australian calls
  • The first Australian visit of the luxury Azamara Journey, arriving in Darwin on February 8, the first of 12 maiden calls
  • The debut of the 92,000-tonne Norwegian Star which will make seven maiden Australian calls commencing with Darwin on January 29
  • The maiden Australian visit of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Europa 2 which will debut Down Under with her call to Hobart on December 26, making 13 inaugural calls around the country
  • The inaugural visit of Oceania Cruises’ Sirena which will arrive in Sydney on March 6, 2017 and make eight maiden calls to local ports
  • A Royal Rendezvous of Cunard’s remastered flagship Queen Mary 2 and her younger sister Queen Elizabeth in Sydney on February 25
  • Queen Mary 2’s first ever visit to Tasmania with calls to Port Arthur on February 27 and Hobart on February 28
  • Royal Caribbean’s first call to Wollongong with a visit by Radiance of the Seas on October 30
  • The first ever round trip cruise to South America from Australia - an 84-night cruise by Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess departing Sydney on January 11, 2017.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Anantara Kalutara Resort. Now open in Sri Lanka

Along Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, between the Indian Ocean and Kalu Ganga River, Anantara Kalutara Resort is welcoming its very first guests to a unique tropical shoreline hideaway. 

Discover elegance inspired by the famous architect Geoffrey Bawa. Refresh at two pools to suit your mood. Find peace in a yoga pavilion or healing Ayurvedic therapies. Stir your senses with exotic island flavours or savour refined Italian dining. Explore historic Kalutara and Colombo’s buzz, wild river life and picturesque tea plantations, colonial mansions and sacred treasures.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Silver Muse maiden voyage - get aboard

Silversea's new flagship, Silver Muse, is set to redefine ocean travel, enhancing the small-ship intimacy and spacious all-suite accommodations.  Igniting the start of an exciting 2017 Mediterranean cruising season, Silversea has tailored Silver Muse's maiden voyage to sail one of the most sought-after stretches of the European coastline.

Departing Monte Carlo, Monaco on 19 April 2017, Silver Muse sails west towards Spain.  The vibrant city of Marseille is the first port of call, where guests can be immersed in the countries rich history and culture, before exploring Barcelona, Spain.  Here guests can view ancient and modern architecture and relax on the sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches. Guests also have the option of a variety of shore excursions ranging from a relaxing day of golf, to soaring to new heights on a helicopter tour of the city.

The voyage continues toward Italy's picturesque coast, stopping at the beautiful ports in Sicily, Amalfi, Sorrento and Rome.  Here guests can savour a delightful array of traditional Italian food, and bask under the hot Italian sun.  Guests return to the enchanting French Riviera, disembarking in Nice, on 03 May 2017, where a guided tour of the Old City awaits to conclude the truly luxurious Silversea experience.

Soak up the ambience and award-winning gastronomic pedigree of what is surely the most comprehensive dining experience at sea. Eight superb restaurants mean more choice than ever while our unrivalled culinary excellence raises the bar in offshore dining.

As part of Silversea's Early Booking Bonus offer, guests can save 10% on the published fare when booked and paid in full before 31 October 2016. Prices are per person based on double occupancy, in a Classic Veranda Suite:

·         Published fare starting from AU$10,950
·         Early Booking Bonus fare starting from AU$9,855

Silversea fares include: all-suite accommodation with butler service; gourmet menus inspired by Relais & Châteaux; complimentary onboard champagne, wines and spirits; and one hour of complimentary WiFi per day for each guest and unlimited WiFi for the ship's top suites (Medallion and higher categories) and all gratuities.

This voyage is subject to availability.  Terms and conditions apply.  For more information, contact your travel professional or Silversea Cruises on +61 2 9255 0600 or 1300 306 872 or visit

Win a Trip in Thailand Based on Your Own Theme

#travelcompetitions .

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is inviting foreigners (residing either in Thailand or abroad) to put together itineraries of their "Amazing Dream Journey" in Thailand for a chance to win one of the six prizes of free trip and accommodation in Thailand. Each team must consist of 2 persons. Participants are required to register as a member of our website or login to such website via their facebook accounts. They have to write their 3 days 2 nights traveling plan in Thailand in relation to any of the following 6 themes in English language only, upload it and share on their Social Media accounts:

(i) Royal Project Culinary;

(ii) Luxurious Honeymoon;

(iii) Well-being Trail (Wellness break);

(iv) Life on the Green (Golf trip);

(v) Splendid Yacht (Boating travel); and

(vi) Extravagant Eco Shell (Back to nature trip)

For full terms and conditions, see

Only 1 team from each of the 6 themes will be selected by the Project Committee to award the prizes by participating in activities in Thailand related to the 6 aforementioned themes with free of charge through all the programs arranged by the TAT (personal expenses are excluded).

Applications are open between 1 September – 30 November 2016 and the six winning teams will be announced on 20 December 2016.

Traveloscopy | 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Novotel Phuket Phokeethra Opens Doors to Island's Colourful History

Novotel Phuket Phokeethra is AccorHotels' homage to the historic heart of this resort island. Situated close to the old quarter with its ancient architecture, Buddhist temples and Taoist shrines, the hotel offers inquisitive travellers an opportunity to immerse themselves in a time when prosperity first arrived on the island – not from tourists, but from the settlers who came from the Arabian Peninsula, China, India and Portugal, leaving behind a stunning heritage and blend of architecture.

This is Phuket beyond the beach, where the curious can meander down charming streets lined with well-preserved Sino-Portuguese shophouses and mansions, many of which have been repurposed as boutiques and fabric shops, galleries, coffee shops and restaurants. Foodies can embark on a culinary journey at the bustling markets, street stalls and shophouse restaurants that offer distinctive local flavours, or discover the town's fascinating past by exploring Dibuk, Thalang, Phang Nga, Yaowarat and Krabi roads by foot.

The midscale Novotel brand offers travellers an 'easy-living experience' with spacious and modular rooms and stand-out meeting facilities with a commitment to guest wellbeing. Patrick Basset, Chief Operating Officer of AccorHotels Upper Southeast and Northeast Asia, says, “Novotel Phuket Phokeethra showcases the brand's new eNergize identity with a collection of rejuvenating wellness facilities that sets a new benchmark under the Novotel brand. The hotel's location in historic Phuket Old Town offers guests travelling to the ever-popular island an opportunity to experience a colourful side of one of Thailand's oldest cities”

Featuring 180 spacious rooms and suites with city, mountain and bay views, the hotel's stylish rooms offer premium bathroom amenities, LCD TVs, and complimentary Wi-Fi and minibars. For wellness, fitness and relaxation, the hotel has a spa, gym and an indoor pool.

An elegant counterpoint to the abundant street fare outside the hotel, the all-day dining restaurant, AMOR, serves delicious local and international cuisine, and the Sino-Portuguese-inspired Estrela Sky Lounge offers breathtakingly panoramic views of the city, the bay and the mountains, while the chic lobby lounge, LUA, is an inviting rendezvous point.

For meetings, events and conferences, the hotel can accommodate up to 850 guests in its state-of-the-art Grand Ballroom with vaulted ceilings and offers four additional meeting rooms.

With more than 30 beaches on the island, guests will never be far from the sea – Patong Beach, Kata Beach and Karon Beach are just a short ride from the hotel. A five-minute drive to Thalang Road and Promthep Clock Tower in Phuket Old Town and 40 minutes from Phuket International Airport, the hotel is located at 40 Chanajaroen Road, Tambol Talad Yai, Amphur Muang Phuket.

From October 1st to November 30st, 2016, guests can enjoy a two-night stay at Novotel Phuket Phokeethra from THB 3,450++ per night inclusive of a THB 1,000 credit that can be used on dining or spa treatments.

For reservations please e-mail, call +66 (0) 76-397-777, or visit for more information.

MTA receives Insight Vacations 'Elite Agency Award' accolade for third year in a row

Pictured, MTA co-managing director, Karen Merricks (centre) receiving an Insight Vacations 'Elite Agency Award' from the tour operator's Global CEO, John Boulding (left) and Managing Director, Alexandra O'Connor (right) at the Insight Vacations High Achievers Awards dinner taking place in Brisbane.

This is the third year running MTA has received the high volume sales-based 'Elite Agency Award' having achieved similar accolades in 2014 and 2015.

Adding further reasons to celebrate on the night, MTA also received recognition to mark its double achievement in becoming one of Insight Vacations' top five best product sellers nationally and top three in Queensland.



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Kokomo: Fiji's newest private island resort

Forbes Life has listed Fiji’s Kokomo Island Resort on Kadavu as one of the hot new hotels to try in 2016.

Australian property magnate Lang Walker is planning to soft-open his first ever resort project, located in Fiji.

The Kokomo Yaukuve Island Resort on Yaukuve Island, which is part of the Kadavu Island Group - surrounded by the world famous Great Astrolabe Reef - is set to officially open in 2016. Opening in 2016 The West side of Yaukuve Island Fiji is now complete, with the East side coming soon

The 21-villa hideaway is set to open on a 135-acre private island, one of ten in Kadavu’s Great Astrolabe Reef.

The beach side villas, come with private pools and are well-positioned for Fiji’s great pleasures of scuba diving and snorkeling with manta rays.

Owner of a development company, Walker Corporation, Walker noted there were unexpected challenges creating the resort in this new market as the site had to be carved out of the jungle.

Walker admitted to The Australian that he is new to the hospitality business and may face a few initial challenges: “I’ve got my training wheels on a bit," said Walker. “We’re pitching it to be the best in Fiji."

He added that the family-friendly resort will be aimed at visitors from Australia, New Zealand, the US and Asia.

Forbes is a leading source for reliable news and updated analysis on Lifestyle and Fiji was the only country to make its Oceania list.

(Source: Fiji Broadcasting Corporation & Spa Opportunities January 2016 )

Flavours of NSW - Great regional foodie experiences

At the recent Australian Cruise Association conference, Visit NSW produced this superb booklet about regional NSW foodie experiences. They have kindly given me permission to share it with you. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Cruise numbers continue to ride a wave

The economic value of the cruise industry to Australia continues to grow according to the figures released today by the Australian Cruise Association at their annual conference.

The Economic Impact Report, produced by independent research company, AEC Group, is now in its 12th year and reports on the changing economics of the cruise industry observing key indicators in context with the current environment.

This helps the Association and its members to better understand the size, growth and economic significance of the industry to the Australian economy to assist with future planning and strategy.

The 2015- 16 report noted growth in several significant areas of the cruise sector:

 40 ports were visited in the last year - up from 31 in 2014-15. This is good news for the regional ports which are now seeing increased revenue from this source

 There were 2,762,000 passenger days in port – up from 2,400,000 last year

 Passenger and crew capacity on cruise ships has also shown an increase with 72,951 passenger capacity this year up from 68,134 in 2014-15, and crew capacity up from 29,582 to 31,230.

 Passenger expenditure increased to $1.069B from $903M the year before

 Crew expenditure also increased to $103M from $870,000

A total of 46 cruise ships visited Australia in 2015-16 with ten new ships arriving into port including Azamara Quest, Costa Luminosa, Explorer of the Seas, Golden Princess, Le Soleal and Noordam. The industry also celebrated P&Os five ship spectacular last November which saw Pacific Aria, Eden and Venus visiting for the first time.

This growth curve will continue with eight new ships scheduled to arrive this year including Norwegian Star, Maasdam, Emerald Princess, Seabourn Encore, Azamara Journey, Magellan, Sirena and RCI’s Ovation of the Seas – the largest ship to ever cruise Australian waters which will kick off a maiden season for Australia and New Zealand this summer.

The economic impact of cruise ship visits to Australia is the aggregation of all international passenger and crew expenditure and cruise ship expenditure at each port visited by a cruise ship. In 2015-16 this direct expenditure totalled $1.734B.

This year, the Association asked AEC to closely examine the cost of bunkering (refueling in port) to identify more accurately the costs incurred by the cruise lines while they are in port. This continuous evaluation of the methodology behind the report gives increased rigour to the findings.

As such, AEC examined in detail the costs of the price of crude oil - which have dropped dramatically - and the improvements in fuel burn practices and new technologies onboard. This has resulted in reduced costs to the cruise lines but also decreased port-related expenditure. Long term the Association believes this will only provide increased growth as it becomes more cost efficient for cruise lines to visit Australia.

Jill Abel, Chief Executive Officer of ACA said: “We are excited by these figures which show that the cruise sector is continuing to be a vital growth industry for this country, with strong economic benefits for all involved and positive signs that Australian ports feature highly on cruise line itineraries.”

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sunshine Coast to host 2017 Australian Cruise Association Conference

#ACA2016 .

The Australian Cruise Association will hold their annual conference and AGM on the Sunshine Coast in September, 2017, reinforcing the region's reputation as one of the fastest growing port destinations in the country.

The successful bid by Business Events Sunshine Coast (BESC) was announced today at the completion of the 2016 Conference held in Sydney.

Making the announcement, Jill Abel, CEO of Australia Cruise Association said “We are seeing the regional ports becoming increasingly critical to the growth of the cruise tourism sector in Australia. We wanted to recognise that in our selection of the destination for our 21st annual conference next year and look forward to working with the Sunshine Coast on creating a highly successful event.”

It is anticipated that around 140 people will attend the Conference to be held 6 – 9 September 2017. This includes leading national and international cruise executives and representatives from the supply side of the cruise sector - shore excursion operators, port authorities, providores, shipping agents and tour businesses. The conference, AGM and associated functions will be held in Mooloolaba at host venues Mantra Mooloolaba Beach and The Surf Club Mooloolaba.

Commenting on the successful bid, Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) CEO, Simon Latchford, said that hosting the Australian Cruise Association event was timely as the Sunshine Coast has gone from strength to strength as a popular destination for cruise itineraries, welcoming more than 24,000 passengers over the past two years.

Cruise ship at anchor in Mooloolaba
“Cruising is the one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in Australia, which is why VSC, in partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) and Sunshine Coast Council (SCC) has identified growing and supporting the cruise sector as part of our tourism strategy,” said Mr Latchford.

“In 2015-2016 the cruise industry was estimated to have generated $1.2million in total expenditure for the Sunshine Coast with cruise ships integral to our tourism industry. There's no doubt our swift growth in the cruise market can be attributed to our region's beachside culture, local food, nature, attractions and the warm Sunshine Coast welcome from our friendly Visitor Centre volunteers and community.

“As a bonus, research indicates passengers who have a pleasurable experience during a stopover are likely to talk about the experience and return to the destination for a longer, dedicated visit in the future.

“This is another great example of the power of partnerships achieving great things together. BESC working with SCC, TEQ and tourism businesses to host the 2017 Australian Cruise Association Conference provides another opportunity for the Sunshine Coast to showcase our destination to influential cruise executives and industry representatives and highlights we are serious players in the cruise sector,” added Mr Latchford.

Tourism and Events Queensland CEO Leanne Coddington said the conference was an opportunity to further leverage the cruise market for the Sunshine Coast and Queensland.

“The emergence of Mooloolaba as a highly popular cruise destination has given domestic and international passengers another great reason to visit Queensland,” Ms Coddington said.

“We welcomed 329 vessels, a 20 per cent increase, to Queensland in the past year and this conference will further showcase the Sunshine Coast as a leading Australian cruise destination.”

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said eight cruise ships from three different cruise lines had dropped anchor off Mooloolaba since July last year and in that short period of time our region had earned a reputation both domestically and internationally as a cruise ship stopover destination of choice.

“P&O's Pacific Pearl was the first cruise ship to arrive and from that initial visit we received the highest passenger review of any port in Australia and the South Pacific,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Earlier this year we welcomed five-star Royal Caribbean cruise ship Azamara Quest and guests from more than 20 different nationalities were absolutely thrilled by the warm welcome they received from Sunshine Coast businesses, tourism operators and the community during the day-long stopover.

“Council has worked hard to encourage and support the arrival of these cruise ships. It was fantastic to have the Pacific Pearl return here over the weekend and we're looking forward to welcoming two more ships this year along with 11 next year and we already have four visits scheduled for 2018.

“Our local businesses and tourism operators have done an outstanding job in recognising the opportunities these visits present and with each arrival they're getting better at showing guests a great time on the Sunshine Coast, from our coastal towns and attractions right up to the Hinterland.

“So on behalf of the Sunshine Coast community, I warmly welcome the 2017 Australian Cruise Association Conference and very much look forward to working with cruise executives, shore excursion and inbound tour operators and representatives from Australian and New Zealand cruise destinations during this event.”

The conference win follows a string of successful bids by Business Events Sunshine Coast including the Australian Event Awards and Symposium to be held on the Sunshine Coast from 21-23 September 2016 and the Australian Macadamia Industry Conference to be held 18-20 October 2016.

Image Caption (left to right) – Cory Gale (Visit Sunshine Coast), Jill Abel (Australian Cruise Association), Geoff Peters (Sunshine Coast Council) and Julie O'Brien (Tourism and Events Queensland).

Traveloscopy | 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Great Australian adventures from World Expeditions

A specially crafted getaway for adventurous women on the iconic Larapinta Trail in the red centre, rafting on the Snowy River and a new Flinders Island walk are just some of the unique new itineraries featured in the World Expeditions 2016-17 Australia New Zealand Pacific Brochure.

World Expeditions CEO, Sue Badyari, says the company has expanded its range of itineraries to ensure the best possible wilderness experiences in the Australia, NZ and Pacific region.

“From the reds of  Central Australia to the azure bays of Freycinet National Park to Flinders Island’s ‘mountains in the sea’ and New Zealand’s North and South Islands,  our new trips are 'bucket list' contenders for anyone who appreciates the outdoors,” she said. “As always, responsible practice is at the core of all of our Australasian Adventures, meaning our footprint in our natural environments is minimal, something that our travellers find extremely appealing”.

New trips in the 2016-17 Australia New Zealand Pacific Brochure include:

Larapinta Goddess Walk
A specially-crafted getaway for adventurous women looking to experience the beauty of the Larapinta whilst harnessing their inner yogi. This revitalising three-day program combines morning yoga and meditation sessions with invigorating walks to breathtaking highlights of the Larapinta Trail. These all female departures incorporate a rejuvenating and enriching combination of cultural and wellness activities to revitalise the mind and body while enjoying all the comforts of our award-winning exclusive permanent campsites, including hot showers, comfortable lounges and heated dining shelter - all in the spectacular surrounds of the Australian Red Centre. Larapinta Goddess Walk departs April – June 2017. Cost from $1,495 per person excluding airfares.

Larapinta Challenger Trek
Crafted for the most adventurous hikers, this itinerary combines the six most challenging sections of the 223km Larapinta track in the rugged Australian outback. This camping based trek is designed for seasoned trekkers and fitness enthusiasts who are prepared to dig deep to tackle the ‘gutsy’ stages of the Larapinta Trail and walk up to 30km a day along the remote MacDonnell Ranges. Camping gear is transported to each campsite. The six-day Larapinta Challenge Trek departs from May 2017. Cost $2495 per person, departing Alice Springs.

Flinders Island Walking Adventure
With its mesmerising mix of spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife, Flinders Island is the hidden gem in the crown of great Tasmanian walks. The largest of the Tasmania’s offshore islands, Flinders Island offers a wonderful mix of rugged peaks, sweeping coast lines and the crystal clear waters of its many bays and beaches. This six-day adventure includes an option to climb the challenging 700m summit of Mt Strzelecki and be rewarded with 360 degree views of the island. Flinders Island Walking Adventure costs from $2190 per person. Includes return scenic flights from Launceston.

South Island Mountain Bike Adventure
A superb one-week mountain bike adventure along the South Island's most iconic trails. Experience sweeping alpine landscapes, ancient podocarp rainforests and wild West Coast beaches and finish up in with a relaxing soak in hot springs in a beautiful alpine thermal resort. South Island Mountain Bike Adventure departs Christchurch. From NZD $2245.

Freycinet Circuit Walk
This four-day walk follows the circuit track deep into the lesser visited parts of the spectacular Freycinet National Park on the East Coast of Tasmania. Discover the pristine beauty of secluded bays, white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and visit highlights such as Wineglass Bay & Mt Freycinet. Freycinet Circuit Walk departs from Launceston. From $1695 per person.

Snowy River Rafting Adventure
Paddle one of the most iconic Australian rivers in Australia, the majestic Snowy River on this five-day white water rafting adventure through towering granite gorges and over heart pumping rapids while enjoying the  all the peace and tranquillity of the river and its surrounding pristine wilderness. Snowy River Rafting Adventure departs from 22 September 2016. From $1500 per person.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Cathay Pacific Airways Airbus A350 Hong Kong to Gatwick

New service offers travellers more choice and flexibility

Cathay Pacific Airways operated a near-full flight on its brand-new, state-of-the-art Airbus A350 aircraft from Hong Kong International Airport to London's Gatwick Airport on 2 September 2016 – the latest destination in the airline's expanding network. Flight CX343 departed Hong Kong at 00:55 and arrived at Gatwick Airport on schedule at 06:30 local time.

Prior to the subsequent departure of Flight CX344, the first Cathay Pacific flight from Gatwick to Hong Kong, a ceremony was organised at the boarding gate to celebrate the special occasion with the airline's passengers. CX344 departed Gatwick Airport with more than 90 per cent of seats filled.

The new four-times weekly service between Hong Kong and Gatwick is ideally placed to serve both leisure and business travellers. With a real focus on providing passengers with more choice and flexibility, Cathay Pacific now provides 39 non-stop flights to the United Kingdom per week, including five daily services to Heathrow and four weekly flights to Manchester.

The addition of Gatwick to the airline's network continues Cathay Pacific's recent expansion in Europe, following the launch of Zurich and Düsseldorf last year and Madrid in June. In total, the airline operates 96 direct flights to 10 European cities each week.

For passengers living in London, the South East and South of England, the Gatwick service offers a convenient way to travel to Hong Kong and beyond via the airline's hub in Hong Kong.

To date, Cathay Pacific has taken delivery of four Airbus A350-900 aircraft. Incorporating innovative technology and design, the environmentally-friendly A350 provides a superior travelling experience for passengers in all classes.

Featuring the airline's newest products in Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class, the design of the A350's cabin has been carefully considered to give passengers greater control over how they spend their time on-board. In addition to the latest seats and an enhanced inflight entertainment system, the aircraft is WiFi-equipped, meaning passengers can stay connected throughout their journey.

Cathay Pacific website:

Thursday, September 1, 2016

THAI Takes Delivery of First Airbus A350XWB

Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) today took delivery of its first Airbus A350XWB aircraft, at the ceremony at Airbus Delivery Centre.

Mr. Charamporn Jotikasthira (fourth from left), THAI President, was joined by Mr. Fabrice Bregier (third left), CEO and President of Airbus, Mr. Eric Schulz (fifth from left), President of Civil Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, and Mr. Jeff Knittel (second left), President Transportation Finance of CIT in the exchange of symbolic handover trophies.

The delivery flight TG8948 departs Toulouse, France directly to Bangkok, Thailand on 30 August and will arrive on 31 August 2016.

THAI has 12 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft on order, with four on purchase orders and eight on lease. THAI's first A350-900, a mid-size, long-range commercial aircraft, will operate its first intercontinental route to Melbourne, Australia in mid-September. The second A350 aircraft delivered in the third quarter will also operate on the Melbourne route for a double daily operation.

Official Delivery Ceremony A350 Toulouse France
THAI's first A350XWB has been royally bestowed “WICHIAN BURI”. The aircraft is made of weight-efficient airframe, consisting of advanced composite materials such as titanium and advanced aluminum as well as an all-new Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) fuselage which results in lower fuel burn as well as less maintenance. The A350 XWB is powered with Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines that are the newest, fuel efficient engines, with 25 percent less carbon dioxide emissions.

The A350 XWB cabin is designed in Thai contemporary concept with mood lighting adjustment system. Some cabin features include an extended overhead area to increase headroom, larger overhead luggage compartment and wider windows. The aircraft can accommodate 321 passengers.

Royal Silk Class

There are 32 seats in Royal Silk Class, which was designed for maximum individual Business Class passenger comfort, by placing a distance of 41-46 inches between seat rows. The seat width is 21 inches, with 180 degree recline, and allowing individual easy access. Each seat is fully equipped with a 16-inch touch screen that connects to the in-flight entertainment, Wi-Fi, communication devices, and electrical plugs.

Economy Class

There are 289 seats in Economy Class, with each seat having a 32-inch pitch and an 18-inch seat width. Each seat is equipped with an 11-inch touch screen that connects to in-flight entertainment, Wi-Fi, communication devices, and electrical plugs.

The first Airbus A350 will arrive at Suvarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport on Wed, 31 August and will commence flights between Melbourne and Bangkok from 16 September 2016.


For more information, visit

THAI in Australia : 1300 651 960

Traveloscopy | 

The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
Venturing to the world's special places