Neha Rawat

756,640 domestic passengers passed through KSA airports: GACA

General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) revealed the number of travellers and flights across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s airports, after the issuance of the approval for resumption of domestic flights, started on Sunday May 31, 2020, through national air carriers. The recorded official statistics issued by GACA here today, indicated that the number of travellers who passed through the Kingdom’s airports, during the period from May 31 to June 30, has exceeded 756,644 passengers, departed through 9,558 flights from the Kingdom’s airports. GACA has gradually resumed domestic flights, with the aim of ensuring a safe travel journeys through the Kingdom’s airports. All necessary preventive and health measures have been taken, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and the relevant government agencies, at airport facilities. GACA is working in coordination with airports, air carriers and operators in the sector to meet the local market demand. Meanwhile, GACA revealed the arrival of more than 55,000 men and women on board of Saudi Arabian Airlines fleet, since April 5 with the participation of a number of government agencies.

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First scheduled Wizz Air flight lands at Abu Dhabi International Airport

Wizz Air and Abu Dhabi Airport celebrated the arrival of Wizz Air’s first scheduled Wizz Air Hungary flight to Abu Dhabi International Airport. Marking a great milestone in Wizz Air’s history and further strengthening of Abu Dhabi’s connectivity and accessibility as a destination of choice for business and leisure travel, the first Budapest-Abu Dhabi flight landed in the capital of the United Arab Emirates on July 1, 2020. The inaugural Wizz Air route from Bucharest will be followed in September by flights from Sofia, Katowice and Cluj-Napoca. With these services, Wizz Air will connect these exciting European cities with Abu Dhabi and will provide countless opportunities for travellers to visit the exciting Emirate of Abu Dhabi and discover its rich array of cultural, historic, culinary and entertainment-oriented tourist attractions. George Michalopoulos, Chief Commercial Officer of Wizz Air said, “Our new sanitising protocols will give our customers the confidence that they can safely rely on Wizz Air’s ultra-low fares to visit Abu Dhabi on board one of the world’s greenest fleet. Wizz Air’s ultra-low fares and route network will contribute to the further growth of Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector.” Khalil Lamrabet, Senior Vice President of Aviation Development at Abu Dhabi Airports said, “The arrival of Wizz Air is a testament to the strength of the Abu Dhabi market and a reflection of the success of our investments in transforming Abu Dhabi International Airport into a strategically positioned global hub for airlines from across the world.” “Abu Dhabi Airports has implemented comprehensive health and safety measures across its facilities and is committed to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of all passengers and employees. As commercial flights resume and the international aviation …

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New drone law to strengthen Dubai’s global position in the aviation sector

Dubai Aviation City Corporation (DACC) and its affiliated corporations Dubai South and Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP) welcomed the enactment of Law No. 4 of 2020 on the regulation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, saying it will help generate substantial new opportunities and business streams that will further strengthen the emirate’s regional and global position in the aviation sector. HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation, said, “The new Law represents a strategic step to reinforce the emirate’s leadership in the global smart aviation sector. DACC and its affiliated corporations are playing an integral role in creating a supportive environment for businesses in this sector as part of Dubai’s broader transformation into the world’s smartest city. As a future-ready city, Dubai is on track to becoming an international centre for drone manufacturing, smart transport, and innovation in air transport. I am grateful to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his forward-looking vision and determination to strengthen the sector in Dubai and position the emirate as a global pioneer.” The comprehensive new Law will create the optimal framework for regulating the operations of unmanned aerial vehicles for commercial and government purposes in Dubai while also paving the way to attract drone companies and expertise to the emirate. The growth of this sector will revolutionise many industries and open new avenues in the fields of transportation of goods and passengers, design and manufacturing, delivery services, drone-related educational and training, and R&D.

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Royal Commission for AlUla completes second phase of airport expansion

Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) announced the completion of the second phase of AlUla’s airport development project, a key component of its strategy to position the city as a major tourism destination and logistics hub. Encompassing the renovation of the airport’s main terminal building and the expansion of the apron to add 6 Code C and larger 4 Code E Aircraft Stands – an additional 150,000 metre square of taxiways with 2 additional connections to the runway – the second phase of the development project increases the airport’s annual capacity from 100,000 to 400,000 passengers. The completed Airside Works (Aprons & Taxiways) can facilitate the 15,000 aircraft movements per year required to serve the over 2,000,000 visitors to AlUla in 2035 and beyond. The development project also included the construction of a VIP lounge terminal, built using local materials and reflecting the picturesque AlUla environment, its rich heritage and includes a range of other amenities to improve passenger experience. The completion of the second phase of the airport development project is in line with RCU’s aim to continue reopen the area in readiness to receive visitors in October. Adil Jamil, Head of Infrastructure Development and Asset Management, RCU commented, “Vital infrastructure projects such as this provide the foundations for RCU’s sustainable growth strategy. The airport is continuing to create a range of employment opportunities for local residents as it emerges as a logistical hub catering to the northwest of the Kingdom.” In cooperation with Saudi Arabian Airlines, the Royal Commission for AlUla has also facilitated the resumption of flights from Riyadh to AlUla. Four flights currently run each week and it is expected that flights to AlUla from Jeddah and …

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Recovery of the travel industry: Ernesto Sanchez Beaumont

“Travel is once again becoming an option for many people in the world. However, how the world travels will change – so too will travellers behaviour. Maintaining the advances made over the past few years while offering new products and services to travellers is one of the biggest challenges facing sellers and suppliers.” said Ernesto Sanchez Beaumont, Managing Director, Amadeus Gulf said He added, “The recovery of travel will thus be built upon a foundation of information and collaboration. In the short term especially, brands need to put aside commercial considerations where possible and work collectively to help restore travellers’ trust in the industry. New forms of private – public partnerships should also be fostered. The bottom line is that the Middle East travel market was incredibly strong before COVID-19 and remains resilient. There is no reason why it can’t come back even better.”

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New norm of air travel: Timothy Njihia

“The sterilisation programmes, safety protocols and regulations guiding airports and airlines have made it all possible for the country and Dubai, one of the world’s leading tourist destinations and hub to reopen for visitors,” said Timothy Njihia – Country Manager U.A.E – RwandAir. “As an aviation and Tourism stakeholder, this is a key milestone that signals a safe return of tourism (visitors). The re-opening also coincides with Dubai Summer Surprises 2020 a return to business and finally the elusive revenues that were lost since the cessation of flights on the 25th March. What is important are the safety protocols and precautions in place and the continuous monitoring as this is what led to informed decisions on the resumption of key sectors of business and flights. One cannot underscore the importance of tourism for Dubai and the reassuring messages that have been continuously communicated. They have been very encouraging and a big boost!” “I personally cannot wait for the July 7, 2020 to welcome incoming visitors who will come to experience the diverse attractions, as well as being amongst the first of Dubai’s residents to travel overseas whilst observing the strict new rules for safety. As an airline, we look forward to resuming our daily passenger flights to Dubai at the earliest opportunity and being a contributor and driver to Dubai’s tourism,” he concluded.

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Ready for international visitors: Alexander Suski

“We are ready to welcome any travellers and guests from July 7, 2020 onwards in the region and Dubai specifically. Under the large umbrella of our initiative, ‘We Care.We Clean.We Welcome.’” said Alexander Suski, Associate Vice President Sales & Marketing, Millennium Hotels & Resorts Middle East, Africa and Turkey. “Millennium Hotels and Resorts MEA has kept its guests well-informed with regular updates on the developments of the current situation. It’s essential to communicate any improvement in your services to your clients’ base. Through this campaign, we are endorsing and supporting any marketing activities from DTCM to kick-start Global inbound travel to Dubai, starting in a controlled inbound ‘bubble’ of selected source markets who are approved by Dubai Government,” he said.

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Boost to the tourism sector: Ravi Santiago

“As one of the gateways to global visitors in the Northern Emirates, the reopening of Dubai to international travellers signifies optimism on the recovery of the tourism sector,” said Ravi Santiago – Cluster General Manager – Ramada Hotel & Suites by Wyndham Ajman, Ramada by Wyndham Beach Hotel Ajman, and Wyndham Garden Ajman Corniche. “We are closely monitoring updates on our existing key source markets including CIS, Germany and GCC, and strengthening our presence in these regions by offering better-value packages to the markets which we expect to recover quickly. For the third quarter, our main focus is boosting our share in the local tourism scene through staycation promos, as we are expecting pick up on international guests towards the fourth quarter of 2020,” he said.

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Wellness ambassadors at Abu Dhabi Airport ensures safety

Abu Dhabi Airports announced the introduction of wellness ambassadors to Abu Dhabi International Airport. This team of specially trained service professionals are part of Abu Dhabi Airports’ commitment to protecting the health and wellbeing of passengers throughout their journey through the airport. Abu Dhabi Airports’ Wellness Ambassadors will support passengers by answering common questions relating to keeping healthy during travel, provide advice and recommendations on how to stay safe and provide additional support to passengers who need it. Mohammed Husain Ahmed, General Manager of Abu Dhabi International Airport, said, “We are pleased to introduce our Wellness Ambassadors, who are a reflection of Abu Dhabi Airports’ commitment to delivering exceptional services and prioritising health and safety. The ambassadors will ensure every traveller feels cared for and comfortable at Abu Dhabi International Airport.” “We have introduced a comprehensive range of new precautionary measures – ranging from touchless elevator systems to autonomous sterilisation robots – and are confident that passengers will find their journey through Abu Dhabi to be smooth and seamless, safe and assuring.” added Ahmed. In addition to addressing passenger needs, the Wellness Ambassadors work to ensure that the airport and its travellers continue to comply with all the relevant UAE Government regulations and guidelines issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).This entails encouraging social distancing amongst travellers, monitoring the regular sanitisation of surfaces, communicating testing and isolation procedures, and providing hand sanitiser and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves to passengers.

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Quarantine measures threaten aviation restart in Africa & the Middle East

International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged governments in Africa and the Middle East (AME) to implement alternatives to quarantine on arrival that would allow economies to re-start while avoiding the importation of COVID-19 cases. Government-imposed quarantine measures in 36 countries across Africa and the Middle East (AME) account for 40% of all quarantine measures globally. With over 80% of travellers unwilling to travel when quarantine is required, the impact of these measures is that countries remain in lockdown even if their borders are open. “It is critical that AME governments implement alternatives to quarantine measures. AME has the highest number of countries in the world with government-imposed quarantine measures on arriving passengers. The region is effectively in complete lockdown with the travel and tourism sector shuttered. This is detrimental in a region where 8.6 million people depend on aviation for their livelihoods,” said Muhammad Albakri, Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, IATA.

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