Regional News - Asia / Pacific.

 
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New York (AirGuide - Regional News Asia / Pacific) Mar 4, 2012

Air Australia Refunds to passengers of Air Australia likely to "be nil''. There are fears some passengers will never get their money back after the revelation collapsed budget airline Air Australia owes creditors up to $90 million. The grounding of the airline earlier this month left 4000 people left stranded in Hawaii, Phuket and Bali and another 100,000 who bought tickets appear to be at the back of the creditor's queue. Approximately 50,000 passengers have applied for refunds through various means so far, a KordaMentha spokesperson said. The remaining 50,000 or so have not yet applied for refunds or have already received them. Passengers who used a travel agent to book their trip may or may not be able to get a refund, depending on the relationship with the agent, while those who paid for their flight with cash are "not so well off". Those who paid via credit card will be able to get their money back from the banks. Administrators for the airline met about 100 creditors at The Greek Club in Brisbane today. The meeting heard a Federal Government scheme would cover some of the 300-plus employees' unpaid wages, but limited payouts to $118,000. Only $5 million of the $8 million owed in unpaid wages would be paid by the scheme. Air Australia founder and chief executive Michael James, who has gone to ground since the collapse, did not attend the meeting. Mr Korda told creditors the company would most likely go into liquidation. Air Australia was previously known as Strategic Airlines but relaunched in November 2011 to cash in on under-serviced routes. Source: news.com.au Feb 29, 2012

Air New Zealand Air New Zealand picks up new services. Air New Zealand has announced its adding flights between Auckland and several North American destinations, after Qantas decided to withdraw its Auckland-Los Angeles route in May. This move closely follows the mid-February collapse of Australian regional Air Australia (formerly Strategic Airlines), which grounded its fleet Feb. 17, after it said there were Ono funds available to meet operational expenses.O Air New Zealand will increase its 12X-weekly Los Angeles-Auckland (AKL) service to 14X-weekly in mid-June, using a combination of 304-seat Boeing 777-200 and 332-seat 777-300 aircraft. It will begin using 379-seat 747-400 on its San Francisco-AKL service, moving the route to 5X-weekly beginning in April, and upgrading to a daily service during peak demand periods. Its AKL-Vancouver service, which has previously operated between 2X- and 4X-weekly, will move to a 5X-weekly 777-200 service during the peak December-February season. Mar 2, 2012

Air Pacific Air Pacific Launches OFiji is In the AirO Promotion . Air Pacific is holding a OFiji is in the AirO promotion, with fares starting at $1,078 per person for roundtrip flights from Los Angeles to Nadi, Fiji. This a savings of more than 20 percent on Air Pacific's normal published fare of $1,357. Flights are valid for booking from March 1 through May 31, and travel is valid to Dec. 14. Black-out dates are June 15 through Aug. 31. Feb 27, 2012

Alamo Rent A Car Alamo Rent A Car to Open Waikiki Rental Facility. Alamo Rent A Car is opening a new branch serving customers in Waikiki. The new branch extends the Alamo network in Oahu Island, Hawaii, by adding to the existing Alamo locations at the Honolulu International Airport, the Disney Aulani Resort & Spa and Waikiki Discovery Bay. The new Waikiki Kaiulani branch is located at 151 Kaiulani Ave. in downtown Waikiki near several major hotels. To serve international travelers, the Alamo branch is staffed with Asian and European bilingual rental agents and the vehicles at this location are outfitted with GPS devices that communicate in multiple languages, including Japanese, Korean and Chinese. Along with electric vehicles and charging stations for customer use, this location is equipped with a full range of vehicles including convertibles and SUVs. Mar 1, 2012

Alaska Rail link would spur economic development in Alaska. It's time to create a 32-mile rail link project to connect Port MacKenzie -- which has 9,000 developable acres -- with the Alaska Railroad, write John Moosey, manager of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, and Chris Aadnesen, president and CEO of Alaska Railroad Corp. The two argue that the link would yield economic benefits to the port and the state. "This project is an important step toward assuring a brighter economic future for Alaska," said Bill Popp of Anchorage Economic Development. Feb 28, 2012

All Nippon Airways ANA streamlines Group operations. All Nippon Airways (ANA) will become the wholly owning parent company of ANA Sales (ASX) and ANA Airport Handling (AAH), two consolidated subsidiary companies. The announcement was made Friday at ANAOs board of directorsO meeting. A share exchange agreement will take effect March 31. The move is part of a broader ANA Group strategic plan to streamline operations. OTo further our growth, we will be able to respond to the intensifying competition and the changes in the business environment as well as improve our corporate and shareholder values,O the company said in a financial statement. ASX runs sales functions for the Group and AAH carries out handling operations at JapanOs Tokyo Haneda Airport. Feb 27, 2012

Apple Apple is No. 1 in smartphones, but will that last?. The increasing ubiquity of iPhones and the lower prices of Android-based smartphones, many of which offer features not yet available on the Apple handset, may combine to challenge Apple's position in the global smartphone market, according to this news analysis. "I cannot say with certainty that five years on, Apple will still be on top," said T. Michael Walkley, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity. "I assume they will be, but it is difficult to predict anything in this dynamic market." Feb 28, 2012

Ariara Resort Ariara Luxury Resort Opens in PhilippinesO Calamian Islands. In the PhilippinesO undiscovered Calamian Islands lies a newly developed private island property called Ariara. One of over 7,000 islands which make up the Philippines, this 125-acre tropical island is covered in part by jungle, edged with white sand beaches and surrounded by coral reefs. Conceived over six years by British owners Charles and Carrie McCulloch, Ariara introduces a private retreat, designed and staffed like a luxurious private home, to accommodate up to 17 guests on an exclusive basis. The McCullochs appointed Filipino architect Jorge Yulo and Belgian expatriate Peter Ponnet as project manager. Together they went to great lengths to design the property with the least impact on its environment to provide 25,000 square feet of luxury accommodation. Accommodations consist of eight villas and cottages situated along AriaraOs main beach with uninterrupted views out to the sea and neighboring islands. All bedrooms have private terraces and gardens, scattered with hanging chairs and hammocks. Many have vaulted ceilings, four-poster beds, walk-in wardrobes, enormous bathrooms and open-air showers. Every item of furniture on Ariara has been designed, made and upholstered in house using local carpenters and craftsmen in the islandOs own workshops or outsourced to Filipino artisans. Materials were sourced locally and all furnishings created with traditional skills -- huge marble baths carved from single blocks of Romblon marble and wooden baths crafted using traditional boat-building techniques; local wood and rattan sourced from sustainable supplies; cushions made from tribal fabrics, woven by craftspeople from Mindanao in the south; and intricate wooden chests carved by indigenous Palawan woodcarvers. AriaraOs decorative flair is accentuated by striking wall hangings, heliographs and ceramics made by Filipino artist Ugu Bigyan. The focal point of day-to-day life on Ariara is The Lodge, positioned at the end of the islandOs pier and designed for dining and entertaining. A marble-floored dining sala has a high vaulted ceiling, wall-to-wall full-height glass doors -- which open to catch the sea views and breezes -- and a first-floor viewing gallery above with a shaded terrace. A spacious lounge leads onto the beach with an infinity pool and extensive deck area. Inside, oversized sofas and a cinema projector offers a cocoon to relax and unwind. Each party of guests has exclusive use of this 125-acre tropical island and its 30 staff that includes a European manager, two PADI dive instructors, spa therapist and private chef. Ariara features a number of activities and excursions. Each party of guests has unlimited use of AriaraOs six different boats including a refitted 100-foot traditional Filipino tri-maran, the Karen-Joy. With her five en-suite air conditioned cabins and expansive deck-space, the Karen-Joy is one of AriaraOs biggest highlights for guests to enjoy island-hopping excursions, overnight cruises and live-on-board dive trips to the more remote islands. Clients can visit deserted islands, local villages, or the remains of a 17th century Spanish fort being swallowed up by the jungle or venture further afield to the northern tip of Palawan to see paddy fields, trek to waterfalls and hidden lagoons in Bacuit Bay where striking limestone rock formations are reminiscent of Halong Bay. From the protected waters of the islandOs house reef to wreck diving on WWII Japanese and U.S. wrecks, the Calamian Islands offer some of the provocative diving with spectacular corals and a huge diversity of marine species. Additional watersports include fishing, wind surfing, jet skiing, kayaking, water skiing, wake boarding, knee boarding and ringo-ing. Ariara Island is priced from $19,000 (small group of up to six guests in low season) to $41,000 (large group of up to 17 guests in high season) per week. Price includes exclusive private rental of the entire island and its 30-member staff, plus all meals and the use of all watersports...

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