From Donna's Desk
I keep saying it, and will no doubt continue to say it over and over as we experience steady growth at DBT - "We have the best team ever at DBT!"
2006 has been an exciting year for DBT with, and it gives me great pleasure to introduce our new team members, as at December 2006:
Christian - Business Manager
As usual, we've picked the best of the best. All three come with brilliant credentials and if you haven't already had the chance to speak to either of them, we'll tell you right now; they demonstrate all the right attributes, complimenting the family team we have.
LIQUIDS - AUSTRALIAN AIRPORTS & FLIGHTS (Important announcement)
Strict new security rules on airline hand luggage are set to include limits on the amount of liquid passengers can carry onto aircraft in Australia.
The measures, reported in The Australian, follow the foiled British plot to bring down US-bound airliners using liquid-based explosives.
The federal cabinet's national security committee considered the upgrade on Tuesday.
According to The Australian, containers with substances including drinks, creams, perfumes, sprays, gels, and toothpaste will be required to be carried in a resealable transparent plastic bag.
Exceptions will be made for passengers with medical conditions and baby food intended to be eaten on board.
The rules will mirror those introduced across Europe which restrict passengers to carrying less than 100ml of liquid per container.
The European regulations allow the purchase of duty-free alcohol and perfumes after security checks have been carried out.
British Airways New Club World Seat - Well it is finally here! BA held the public launch of the new Club World product late November in London.
BRITISH AIRWAYS SERVICE DESK MOVES TO INDIA - Australian passengers will now be talking to BA staff in India. British Airways announced yesterday afternoon that it would be transferring all Australian calls to the airline's wholly owned subsidiary in Delhi.
Foreign Hands Threaten Flying Kangaroo - Are the new claims that Qantas may be sold off to foreign hands media-hype, baseless speculation or political game playing? Call it what you will, but there must be at least a grain of truth in new speculation that Qantas may be sold off to foreign investors. Official take-over talks have taken place involving a consortium led by Australia's largest investment bank, the Macquarie Bank, and a foreign business marauder. However, many of the key players are remaining very 'hush-hush' about the whole affair and are refusing media requests for interviews. Shares in Qantas– mostly held by small investors have soared 15 per cent. However, no firm offer has yet been made for a stake in Qantas, which market analysts say is worth almost $11 billion. The proposal is believed to involve Macquarie and various associates each taking a 25 % stake in Qantas. Federal Treasurer Peter Costello, who is also refusing to comment, must sign off any bid involving foreigners. The media will undoubtedly continue to speculate and the public is likely to be kept in the dark until a deal is negotiated, signed and actioned.
Ozjet's Second Chance - If you blinked you may have missed Ozjet's short-lived aviation career, but they are back and have been granted exclusive access to a route linking Perth and Derby. The jet service will run three return flights each week and will begin operating in February. Ozjet has negotiated an arrangement with three local mining companies to guarantee the viability of the service.
ANOTHER STEP IN JETSTAR'S JOURNEY - It's been a long-time coming, but Jetstar's long haul flight service has finally taken off. Jetstar's first Bangkok- bound international flight was farewelled in celebratory style at Melbourne's international airport last month. Jetstar will fly long haul to seven international destinations including Bangkok, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City, Bali, Honolulu and Osaka and Nagoya in Western Japan. Key features of Jetstar's international services include:
Two classes of service including Starclass, Jetstar's business class
A Qantas code-share arrangement on all flights
Connectivity of Jetstar passengers and their luggage between Jetstar international services and Qantas international and domestic services.
Assigned seating with online seat selection
Qantas frequent flyer points and status credit points earned on Jetflex and Starclass fares.
Qantas lounge access for Qantas club members
Qantas frequent flyer redemptions on all flights.
Whether Jetstar international lives up to the hype and delivers all the promised benefits is yet to be determined. One potential Jetstar traveller has already complained of Jetstar's refusal to accept AMEX. Fresh claims have also arisen that Jetstar International fares are already aligned with Qantas fares, thus removing the ‘budget' from budget travel.
VIRGIN BLUE TO FLY TO THE USA - Budget airline Virgin Blue hopes to have long-haul services operating from Australia to the United States in 2008. But before you start packing your bags and booking advanced tickets there are a few flaws in the plan that need to be ironed out. Virgin Blue chief executive Brett Godfrey said that while a recommendation on the US option would be put to the company board before Christmas, there were some difficulties to resolve. The high cost of jet fuel is still causing the airline some concern. Mr Godfrey said the company was using forward selling and options to hedge against further rises and would drop the fuel surcharge on its ticket prices only when world oil and jet fuel prices fell further. Jet fuel is currently trading at about $US74, after declining from about $US90 in recent months. Virgin Blue's surcharge on domestic flights is $19 per sector. ''It's $19 at the moment, but get it [the jet fuel price] into the 50s and we will certainly be taking a fair whack of that off,'' Mr. Godfrey said. It is believed Virgin Blue will remain a low-cost carrier, despite the introduction this year of its VELOCITY PROGRAM, airport lounges and keen business market focus. Speculation, therefore, may be unfounded… for now!
VIRGIN AIR APARTHEID - Few things are more annoying than restless, tired, irritable children kicking the back of your seat on a long-haul flight. Virgin's policy sees unaccompanied children and minors seated together at the rear of the plane. Some argue the policy is discriminatory and outdated; it impinges on the children's fundamental rights as equal citizens. Some parents of well-behaved children are outraged that they too are forced to sit at the rear of the plane with other screaming children. Virgin justifies the policy by maintaining that at the rear of the plane the children have greater access to toilets and the attentions of two air-hostesses. To some the policy is blatant discrimination; to others it is the finest example of customer service Virgin has offered them in a long time.
Blue-Hawaiian agreement - The arrangement will allow Hawaii-bound passengers around Australia to check their luggage all the way to Honolulu when they check in for their Virgin Blue connecting flight, as well as allowing passengers transferring from Virgin Blue to Hawaiian in Sydney a free airside bus transfer between domestic terminal T2 and the international terminal. Our interline deal with Virgin Blue eliminates the need for connecting passengers to lug their baggage from the domestic terminal to the international terminal and recheck it for the flight to Hawaii.
Frequent Flyer Update
US Airways New Policy - US Airways have told their frequent flyers that they could lose miles if they do not use their accounts by 31 January. The new rule requires program members add or subtract miles from their account at least once in 18 months to keep the miles from expiring. The airline said members could have their miles reinstated by paying a $50 "processing fee" and a "reactivation fee". If the account is not used for 36 months, it will be closed.
Don't forget, DBT can now arrange to transfer your American Express Rewards points* into travel $$$'s to pay for flights (in confirmed seats!), accommodation, car hire, fees and taxes! (Conditions apply)
Rumours & Gossip
Close Encounter - Is it a bird, is it a plane? No it's a bolt. That's right folks; it appears bolts are falling randomly from the sky. An elderly man in Sydney was enjoying his morning coffee when an 11cm bolt dislodged from an aircraft overhead and plummeted through the roof of the man's home. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has confirmed that the bolt, which smashed through tiles on the roof of Angelo Margiotta's home at about 8.30am, was a type used on Boeing 737 and 747 planes. CASA had investigated three reports over the past 10 years of bolt-like objects falling from the sky into Sydney homes.
Plan for future at Perth Airport - Future plans for Perth Airport has been revealed during an event to mark the 20th anniversary of its international terminal. Airport operators will oversee a review into car parking, with detailed plans for the expansion expected to be announced in early 2007.
In cost-cutting move, airline wants fliers to use bathroom before flying - The airline industry's efforts to cut costs at every corner has crossed a new line. The latest report comes from China, where China Southern is urging customers to use the bathroom before boarding their flights, Reuter's reports, citing a report from China's Xinhua news agency. The effort isn't part an effort to reduce the weight of fliers, but rather an attempt to reduce the amount of fuel it takes to power the flush of airline toilet at 30,000 feet. China Southern calculates that such a flush uses about a liter of fuel –- or the equivalent of about a quarter of a gallon. "The energy used in one flush is enough for an economical car to run at least 10 kilometers [about 6 miles]," China Southern Captain Liu Zhiyuan is quoted as saying by Xinhua. China Southern is also considering fuel-saving methods already familiar at some U.S. carriers, including yanking pillows, blankets and magazines. In another move, "the company has asked logistics staff to fill the water tank only 60% full," Xinhua writes.
Christmas Strikes Barred - Airline baggage handlers have been barred from taking strike action that could disrupt the Christmas travel plans of thousands of passengers. The Australian Industrial Relations Commission has slapped a three-month ban on strikes by the handlers after Qantas asked it to intervene following a two-hour stoppage at Sydney airport. But their union warned that if its concerns were not addressed, services over the Christmas period would be jeopardised anyway by workers off sick or injured.
Qantas and Jetstar Code-share - Jetstar has announced its intention to share passengers with Qantas on routes to Singapore. Qantas has applied to the International Air Services Commission for the two airlines "to code share freely on each other's services on the route".
Europe next on Jet-Stars Hit List - Jetstar is investigating expanding its international operations to include Europe. Jetstar is considering running services to Paris, Rome and Athens. Jetstar is as much as 50% cheaper to run than Qantas flights, meaning the move could be a major profit-maker.
VEGEMITE BAN - Before you start strapping vegemite to your chest and inserting it in the lining of your suitcase, the ban on vegemite in the US may just be a myth. The US government dismissed media reports that they had banned vegemite. The Controversy centres on folate, an ingredient in vegemite. Under US regulations, folate can be added only to breads and cereals. One of the vitamin B components in vegemite is folate. According to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spokesman Mike Herndon “In and of itself, it is not a violation. If they're adding folate to it, boosting it up, technically it would be a violation”. So rest assured, Vegemite can remain part of your staple diet wherever you go!
Bangkok's new airport is open for business - All flights scheduled to land in Bangkok, now land at Suvarnabhoumi Airport, which has taken over the airport code BKK from Don Muang. The general consensus in the industry is that the airport opened approximately 1 month before it was ready and has been fully tested. Following are some important points to consider regarding the new Airport:
Transfer to airport: Pick up at hotel 3 ½ hours before departure time.
Transfer time estimated to be 40-60 minutes depending on traffic.
Transit: Minimum 2 hours transit time between flights.
Please carry all-important documents or valuables in hand luggage as there is a chance there may be some baggage handling problems.
Also note that the business class and first class airline lounges are only just ready and travellers may still have to use Louis Tavern lounge.
Before travelling overseas register your details online or, when overseas, register in-person at any Australian embassy, high commission/consulate or click DFAT Registration on our home age at www.dbt.com.au
PARADISE RESORT Gold Coast Voted best Australian family resort & Includes million dollar Kids Club. (Formerly The Mercure Resort, Surfers Paradise) Heaven for Kids...Paradise for Parents! Kids Stay & Play Free. Ask our DBT Leisure specialists Sally or Eva about Paradise Resort. Call 02 98885555
New luxury hotel for Perth - A new international five-star boutique hotel has been opened in Perth. The Richardson Hotel, Suites and S pa features 74 guestrooms and suites, Business Centre, The Spa Club, The Palm Terrace, Opus Restaurant and Cocktail Bar. The hotel guestrooms and suites feature air-conditioning, 24-hour room service, cable TV, broadband internet access via wireless and cable, as well as galley-bars featuring Nespresso coffee machines. The state-of-the-art business centre has 15 offices, a boardroom and two meeting rooms, while the Spa Club that occupies the entire first floor of the hotel has an indoor pool, six treatment rooms, gymnasium, sauna and steam rooms. The hotel is located in West Perth, about 400 metres from Kings Park and midway between the CBD and Subiaco.
Third Renaissance-Branded Hotel Planned for Shanghai in 2007 - Renaissance Shanghai Zhongshan Park Hotel to Have 680 Guest Rooms
Marriott International to Open 11th Hotel in Beijing in 2008 - Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall to have 615 guestrooms
Mandarin Oriental Opens in Marrakech - Mandarin Oriental To Open Hideaway Resort And Residences In Marrakech.
Conference & Venue News
Call our DBT Conference & Incentive Specialists Samantha or Jacqui at DBT on 02 98885555 to enquire about any one of the following Conference or Incentive deals.
Hamilton Island's great offer for March/April 2007 - Hamilton Island is offering some amazing value adds for groups travelling in March/April 2007 so it's a great time to experience Hamilton Island and see why they are known as the “Business Centre of the Great Barrier Reef”. Perfectly situated in the heart of The Great Barrier Reef, nestled among the 74 Whitsunday Islands, Hamilton Island offers an experience like no other. An ideal conference or incentive destination for up to 1,000 delegates, Hamilton Island offers 10 meeting rooms including a purpose built conference centre and over 13 unique function areas - from sandy beaches to airport hangars. With a dedicated team of event professionals including a renowned audio-visual company based on island, you have the confidence that your program will be a success.
TASMANIA Tours take in devil refuge - Fully guided field trips into a Tasmanian devil refuge area are to be offered by the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Park from this month. The tours from Hobart will take visitors into the trapping areas of a refuge area where wild devils are constantly caught and released for disease monitoring. Visitors will join the wildlife team as the devils are identified by microchips, weighed, tested and checked before being sent back to the bush. Tour fees will go towards efforts to save the famous little devil from being wiped out by a cancerous facial tumour. Devil feedings and conservation talks will take place throughout the day. The park, which also has a new visitor centre due to open in December, is situated on the Tasman Peninsula south east of Hobart.
Stamford Plaza Auckland unveils new look - The Stamford Plaza Auckland is setting a new benchmark in luxury hotel accommodation following the completion of a $10 million dollar refurbishment to the property's rooms and public areas. Having been closed for four months during the intensive refurbishment, the five-star property officially re-opened for business in October. The multi-million dollar renovation has re-introduced a unique international ‘flavour' to the luxuriously appointed hotel, capitalising on new technology and service that will add significantly to the guest experience. In addition to the new design of the hotel's 282 rooms and 19 suites, refurbishment has been extended to include a new grand entrance foyer, along with a new lobby bar and two new restaurants and the refitting of the hotel's popular Ballroom and conference rooms.
Couran Cove Island Resort - Take time to do nothing or take time to do everything. There are over 100 sports and leisure activities to enjoy at Couran Cove Island Resort….. and every 5th conference delegate receives their team building activity free of charge. Couran's conference day package is $55 per person per day or $49 per person per half day, and stay in a waterfront marine deluxe accommodation room for $97.50 per person twin share mid week. Ask about our new activity special when you contact Samantha Devlin or Jacqui Hall on Phone +61 2 98885555
Event Planners' Tip - Planning a healthy alternative - When your delegates are from health-related organisations then you'd better give them healthy menu options. The 10th International Congress on Obesity convened recently in Sydney provided a near-perfect example of a meeting being designed and delivered in a way that reflected the ultimate mission of the organisers and delegates. In preparation, the executive chef of the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre worked closely with the organisers to ensure healthy and nutritious meals and snacks were in line with the objectives of the overall scientific program. The congress party at Wharf 8 was hugely successful, thanks in part to the healthy yet tasty fare our delegates enjoyed.
QE2 AND QM2 - EUROPE 2007 SPECIAL GROUP DEPARTURES
HOT OFF THE PRESS !!! SPECIAL GROUP DEPARTURES - EUROPE 2007
14 NIGHTS FLY/CRUISE/STAY PACKAGE Starting from just..... $6399.00pp
CRUISESCENE in conjunction with Cunard has just released SPECIAL GROUP DEPARTURES on five Europe sailings ex Southampton in 2007. Experience the grandeur that is the Queen Elizabeth 2 and the Queen Mary 2 . Sail in traditional luxury, and be pampered with the exceptional service & culinary splendour that will leave you wanting more!!
With 5 different sailings to choose from you have so much to discover!! Visit places such as the Baltic Region and Scandinavia on " Norwegian Fjords" or emerse yourself in the history of the Mediterranean region with one of the many cruises available such as the " Mediterranean Odyssey " or " Mediterranean Splendour ".
QM2 : 06 MAY 07 - "MEDITERRANEAN EXPLORER"
QE2 : 24 JUNE 07 - "NORWEGIAN FJORDS"
QE2: 08 JULY 07 - "MEDITERRANEAN ODYSSEY"
QE2 : 31 AUGUST 07 - "MEDITERRANEAN SPLENDOUR"
QM2 :10 SEPTEMBER 07 - "MEDITERRANEAN MEDLEY"
For more great Cruise deals visit www.cruisescene.com.au or call our DBT Leisure & Cruise Specialists Sally Williams or Eva Budzynska on 1800 678555 or 02 98885555
Need a Holiday ?
Kids' club for Norfolk - A kids' club has begun operating on Norfolk Island. Tour operator Bounty Excursions has set up the club to provide supervised activities and care for children aged three to 12 on selected weekdays. Activities include glass bottom boat trips, horse and carriage tours, traditional island cooking and craftwork lessons, mini golf, grass sliding, folk dancing, beach cricket, sand modelling, shell collecting, rock pool forays and beach picnics in beautiful Emily Bay. Transfers to any hotel, guesthouse or holiday unit, as well as lunch and morning tea are included in the price of $90 a day per child. Norfolk Island is becoming increasingly popular for family holidays and the club is a response to a desire for holidaying parents for free time for them and stimulating activities for their children, Norfolk Island Tourism General Manager Steve McInnes said.
Thought for the day:
"The future depends on what we do in the present." Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian political and spiritual leader
Thought for Everyday:
"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." Bill Gates (1955 - ) founder of Microsoft