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Aviation Cios ramp up digital technology investments to meet demands of swift recovery  

Faced with increased disruptions, baggage mountains, and staff shortages, airports and airlines are ramping up their investment in technology to digitalize their operations and speed up the passenger journey by offering more self-service options. SITA’s 2022 Air Transport IT Insights report, published reveals that with the post-pandemic recovery CIOs want to ensure operations are as agile and resilient as they are efficient, with IT solutions seen as central to their success. This has spurred an acceleration of digitalization, with airlines and airports looking to key technology solutions to fortify their operations against disruption while automating the passenger experience. The industry’s IT spend is projected to continue its steady year-on-year growth trend since 2020 to support this push for digitalization, with a full 96% of airlines and 93% of airports expecting their IT spend to stay the same or increase in 2023 compared to 2022. Last year airline and airport IT spend rose to an estimated 37 billion USD and 6.8 billion USD respectively. David Lavorel, CEO, SITA, said: “Air travel has recovered faster from the pandemic than anyone in the industry had initially expected, particularly in Europe and the US. While the recovery is welcome, airports and airlines have found themselves on the back foot with staff and resource shortages. This has put strain on operations, resulting in an increased risk of congestion, delays, cancellations and mishandled baggage. Digitalization is seen as key to addressing these challenges, providing more scalability and flexibility.” Airlines are placing great emphasis on IT tools to manage irregular operations and provide the best passenger experience possible even amid staff shortages. Over the next three years, 90% or more of airlines are investing in IT service …

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Singapore Airlines welcomes customers to a world class travel experience with its new global brand campaign

Singapore Airlines (SIA) launched its latest global brand campaign, which will run on television, print, digital, out-of-home, and social media platforms. Titled Welcome to World Class, the campaign reflects the Airline’s commitment to deliver an exceptional customer experience across the end-to-end travel journey. This is epitomised by SIA’s iconic cabin crew in the 90-second campaign video, which highlights their varied and personal experiences with people and cultures from around the world. The inimitable connection that they have with the Airline’s customers, along with their distinctive combination of empathy and confidence, enable SIA to deliver its world-class in-flight service on a daily basis. Mr Lee Lik Hsin, Executive Vice President Commercial, Singapore Airlines, said: “At Singapore Airlines, service excellence is deeply ingrained in our DNA and our customers are at the heart of everything we do. This campaign highlights our unwavering commitment to deliver a world-class travel experience, no matter the duration of the journey. Our award-winning cabin crew are central to this promise, with their rich and diverse experiences, as well as their dedication to customer service, having a positive impact on everyone around them.” Directed by filmmaker Liz Murphy, the uplifting video was filmed in Singapore, Auckland in New Zealand, Barcelona in Spain, Mumbai in India, and Shanghai in China. The Airline conducted in-depth research to measure its global brand perception, and used the findings to create a campaign that aims to resonate with customers around the world. SIA’s Welcome to World Class campaign video  and brand advertisements are available at https://bit.ly/3XU6kdJ.

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Kuwait Airways to begin flights to Greece; Athens and Mykonos among the summer destinations

As part of Kuwait Airways’ continuous endeavours to expand its network and in preparation for the upcoming summer season of 2023, the company announced the operation of its scheduled commercial flights to the Republic of Greece with two flights per week, consisting of one to Athens and the other to Mykonos from 14 June 2023. Kuwait Airways customers can make their reservations to Greece from 18 January 2023. Kuwait Airways Chief Executive Officer, Eng. Maen Razouqi stated, “Kuwait Airways is pleased to announce the launch of its scheduled commercial flights to the Republic of Greece, specifically to the destinations of Athens and Mykonos, in preparation for the 2023 summer season. These two destinations are among the important destinations for our valued customers based on their choice and because of its touristic attractions, diverse ancient heritage, as well as historical and cultural sites.” Razouqi pointed out, “Selecting the destinations of Athens and Mykonos coincides with the plans established by Kuwait Airways under the directives of the Board of Directors to expand its network of routes around the world to new and sought-after markets that meet the requirements of its valued customers. These two destinations were selected after systematic research of their feasibility, profitability, and their impact, in addition to the popularity of these routes.” Razouqi indicated that Kuwait Airways has a young fleet of diverse types of aircraft with the latest technology and features. Moreover, the Airbus A320neo aircraft with its advanced characteristics has been designated for passengers travelling to and from Athens and Mykonos, so that customers enjoy a comfortable journey. He added that Kuwait Airways was steadily progressing towards digital transformation and reaching beyond excellence. Moreover, he explained that …

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Sharjah Tourism to organise 12th Sharjah Light Festival from 8 to 19 February covering 13 sites in the emirate

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority announced plans to organise the 12th Sharjah Light Festival from 8 to 19 February 2023. The festival covers locations all around the Emirate of Sharjah over the course of 12 days, offering a busy agenda packed with light shows, art displays, and entertainment activities that cater to all visitors, individuals and families of all ages from the UAE and abroad. The Authority revealed details of this year’s edition of the Sharjah Light Festival in a press conference held last night at the Light Village, opposite University City Hall in Sharjah, in the presence of His Excellency Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, along with officials and representatives of various government entities, and reporters from local and international media in the UAE. Speaking at the conference, H.E. Al Midfa asserted: “Over the years, the Emirate of Sharjah has established itself as an exceptional family destination with an enormous and diverse range of tourist attractions and activities that cater to varying tastes and anticipate the aspirations of visitors to Sharjah from around the world. Guided by the forward-looking vision and directives of H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the tourism sector in the emirate is moving steadily towards a bright future and sustainable economic growth.” “By constantly renewing and reinventing itself, the Sharjah Light Festival has become a leading destination of its own and a staple event on the emirate’s annual agenda,” H.E. Al Midfa added. “Every …

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Skyscanner lifts the lid on the real value of popular travel hacks

With February being the peak time for travel planning, world leading travel site Skyscanner responds to heightened travel demand* and increasingly cost-conscious travelers**, with guidance on how to make their money go further. Comparing two key – and often shared – travel hacks: when to book & when to travel, Skyscanner is able to reveal how booking and travelling at the right time can save UAE travelers on average 349 AED for optimum booking timing and 311 AED for travelling on the cheapest day per person. Currently, the overall best time to book flights from the UAE is on average 21 weeks before departure and the cheapest day of the week to travel from the UAE is a Friday. However, the global travel site has data crunched millions of flight bookings over the last year across its most popular destinations and the results reveal this doesn’t in fact tell the whole story. Not only do these hacks change depending on the destination but also, travelers will find differing results for the same destination but a different month i.e.: From Dubai, the cheapest day of the week to travel to Doha in December is a Tuesday vs Sharjah which is a Wednesday The best time to book a flight from Dubai to London in July is 27 weeks ahead vs Abu Dhabi to London which is 23 weeks The cheapest day of the week to travel to Malé from Dubai in December is a Wednesday but in April it is a Thursday   Flight pricing algorithms have long been the source of much fascination, but this new data reveals that post-pandemic, the science behind pricing is more complex than ever. Travelers …

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Etihad Airways boosts frequency to Frankfurt from 1st May 2023

Etihad Airways is showing it means business by increasing services to Frankfurt, Germany. From 1 May, the airline will add an extra four services a week to its current daily frequency, bringing the total number of flights to Frankfurt up to 11 weekly. The additional flights will be operated by one of Etihad’s ultra-modern Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, designed with customer comfort in mind, boasting 28 seats in Business and 262 in Economy. The jump in flights underlines Etihad’s commitment to the important German market and comes days after it announced the start of flights to Düsseldorf from 1 October.  Arik De, Chief Revenue Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “We are pleased to offer our guests more flights to Frankfurt, one of Europe’s most important airports. The increase in frequency also means greater connectivity to our growing network and the opportunity to welcome more visitors to Abu Dhabi where they can enjoy our world-renowned hospitality, culture, leisure activities and cuisine.” Although famed for its financial activities, Frankfurt has a rich cultural history too and the old town with its half-timbered houses, the cathedral, the museum embankment and the Goethe House are popular with the thousands of tourists the city welcomes each year. Customers flying to or from Frankfurt with Etihad can use the airline’s Rail & Fly service to travel by train from any station on the Deutsche Bahn or SNCF network. Tickets are currently on sale on Etihad.com and the airline’s mobile app.

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Saudi reinforces commitment to the Indian market with an impressive lineup of trade engagements to strengthen presence

With an aim to maintain strong visibility in India, Saudi has announced an exciting lineup of trade engagements, including roadshows in major Indian cities and participation in prominent trade events. The strategy follows Saudi Tourism Authority’s (STA) ongoing efforts to increase awareness about Saudi as a unique, diverse, authentic tourism destination and ultimately, drive visits, as one of the key priority source markets for the country. Saudi is gearing up to take part in One World Travel Market (OTM) from 2nd -4th February 2023 at the Jio World Convention Centre, Mumbai. This will be followed by two roadshows in Mumbai and Ahmedabad on 6th and 7th February, respectively. Saudi will also mark its presence at the 30th edition of South Asian Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE), which will be held from 9th -11th February 2023 at the India Expo Mart, Greater Noida, Delhi-NCR. “India is a key source market for Saudi and over the past 18 months, we have both established and deepened relationships with key trade partners, to inspire them about the breadth and depth of the country’s offering and to reinforce our commitment to helping them grow their businesses,” said Alhasan Aldabbagh, President – APAC, Saudi Tourism Authority. “The Saudi destination offering is unparalleled. Authentic Arabian culture, rich heritage, unique landscapes and a rapidly expanding entertainment and lifestyle scene is at the heart of what Saudi offers the Indian traveler and our role is to support our partners, to showcase the new, undiscovered experiences and unlock the wealth of opportunity the destination presents.” “These engagements are critical in helping us achieve our ambitious goals, to drive volume and growth. The roadshow and trade events will provide a platform …

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Saudi introduces first of its kind, a new stopover visa

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism (MT), Ministry of Interior (MOI), the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah (MOHU), Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), SAUDIA and flynas, has announced the launch of a new Stopover Visa.  The free-of-charge Stopover Visa is open to a wider number of countries than the historic tourism eVisa and is Saudi’s latest move to make the destination more accessible. In Q1 this year airline capacity into Saudi Arabia is expected to grow by over 65% compared to the same period in 2022 when four of the Top Ten busiest international routes were to or from Saudi. The Stopover Visa will allow passengers to stay in the country for up to 96 hours, enabling more visitors than ever to explore Saudi’s incomparable historical, cultural, and spiritual sites. Travelers will also be able to use the Stopover Visa to perform the spiritual Umrah ritual. Spiritual travelers can book flights through SAUDIA and flynas, but must also register for Umrah through the Nusuk platform. Even more exciting for visitors, Stopover Visa holders will be eligible for a complimentary one-night hotel stay during the stopover when booking through SAUDIA. To help visitors make the most of their stopover, custom 24, 48, 72 and 96-hour itineraries have been developed to inspire visitors to stroll through Jeddah’s Al-Balad, or visit the Al-Turaif district in Diriyah, one of Saudi’s six UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Visitors can also use the Stopover Visa to break up long-haul flights or book a bonus trip to experience Saudi’s burgeoning entertainment and seasonal events calendar or even extend a business trip on the way to their final destination. The Stopover Visa application will …

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flynas celebrates the inauguration of its Doha office, being the first LCC Operator between KSA-Qatar

flynas, the Saudi air carrier and the leading low-cost airline in the Middle East celebrated the opening of its office in Doha on January 30, 2023, after operating daily flights between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to be the first low-cost operator linking the two brotherly countries. flynas held a press conference and a dinner party in Doha, in the presence of the Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to Qatar, HH Prince Mansour bin Khalid bin Farhan Al-Saud, and the officials of the Qatar Tourism, and the General Authority of Civil Aviation in Qatar. flynas is the first low-cost carrier linking the Kingdom and Qatar with daily flights to Doha from Riyadh and Jeddah, within the expansion strategy it launched early last year under the slogan “We Connect the World to the Kingdom”, and in line with the objectives of the Saudi civil aviation strategy to reach 330 million passengers and increase the international destinations connected with the Kingdom to more than 250 destinations by 2030. The Saudi carrier started last November operating up to 6 daily flights from King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh and King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah to Doha, providing its guests with multiple options with the launch of the FIFA World Cup 2022 hosted by Qatar. It is noteworthy that Flynas has reported double annual growth in operation and performance in 2022, with increasing passengers by 91% to 8.7 million, flights by 45% to 66,000, and seat capacity by 46%, in addition to launching 16 destinations and 30 routes as fleet upscaled to 43 aircraft. The success of flynas was recognised with many international awards, including Skytrax International Award as the …

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Jubail Island launches new fully-fledged and innovative mobile application as a central database for all users

Jubail Island has announced the launch of its fully-fledged, innovative mobile phone application – the latest addition to Jubail Island’s touch points. The mobile application will further elevate customers’ satisfaction by providing a simplified user experience and an optimised journey. The launch of the new application will bring more visibility to all type of users by providing them with seamless access to an extensive range of services and essential key features. It will allow users to explore a comprehensive portfolio of leisure activities and property services on Jubail Island through a user-friendly interface. Engineer Abdulla Saeed Al Shamsi, Operations Corporate Director for Jubail Island, said: “At Jubail Island, the goal is to continuously offer our community of visitors and residents a unique and fully integrated experience. The aim of launching this mobile application is to create a defined central platform, through which all related parties will gain clearer visibility and easy access to different features and offerings in the island. Bringing together the real estate and destination aspects under one umbrella, the platforms will serve as a one-stop-shop for an integrated experience at Jubail Island.” Users on mobile application and the website can create their own accounts, access community insights and latest updates on the island. Furthermore, the platforms will also enable users to book their preferred activities, track bookings and transactions history, and proceed with online payments in just a few clicks. The user-centric platforms also offer a wide range of services through which they can book appointments and request a call-back from sales relationship managers, and raise queries and concerns. In addition, property owners will be provided with convenient access to their property data,  documents, and process and …

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