SYDNEY - Australia’s cruise industry growth continues to lead the world, with passenger numbers surgeing 11% last year to a record high of 694,062. For a second consecutive year, growth in the Australian cruise passenger market surpassed other major cruise markets, with 11% in 2012 equalled only by Germany. North American passenger numbers grew just 2% in 2012, and the UK remained steady.
HONG KONG – The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has opened its second city hotel in China, Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai, and is offering guests two packages, both priced from CN 3,600 (plus 15% service charge), until September 30.
TOKYO – Japan Airlines is planning to introduce its new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner to more international routes from June 1, including Boston, San Diego, Singapore and Beijing (from June), Delhi (from July), Moscow and San Francisco (from September) and Sydney and Bangkok (from December). JAL will launch a new (daily) service from Narita to Helsinki on July 1.
DUBAI – Emirates is increasing capacity on its Bangkok and Hong Kong services. There will be a second daily, non-stop Airbus A380 service to Bangkok and a fourth daily service from Dubai to Hong Kong from October 27. Emirates currently has five flights daily to Bangkok, including one A-380. The second A-380 will replace a smaller aircraft. www.emirates.com (ATI).
GENEVA - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says global passenger traffic results for March show strong demand growth led by emerging markets, with all regions showing gains. Total traffic rose 5.9% compared to March 2012. Part of the rise may be attributed to traffic related to the Easter holiday, but the seasonally-adjusted trend continues to show strong growth, with demand expanding at an 8% annualised rate in the six months since October 2012. Capacity rose 3.5% compared to the year-ago period, pushing up load factor 1.8 percentage points to 80.3%.
SYDNEY – China Southern Airlines will begin a daily A380 service from Guangzhou to Sydney effective October 27. The airline’s new A300-300 and A300-200 aircraft with flat beds in Business Class will also be deployed onto Australian services – to Melbourne and Sydney – by the end of October. The new A300-223 aircraft entered service on routes to Brisbane and Perth from the beginning of April.