Shivani DDPPL

AirArabia unveils new livery on Airbus fleet

Reaching its milestone of 15 years, AirArabia has unveiled a new brand, including the new aircraft livery and interior through a live display of one of AirArabia’s newly-branded Airbus A320 aircraft, to attract the younger millennial travellers during a launch ceremony at the AirArabia hangar in Sharjah International Airport. Commenting on the occasion, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed Al Thani, Chairman, AirArabia said, “It was 15 years ago that AirArabia and the low-cost airline concept were just an idea in the region, an idea of connecting people at affordable cost. Today, we are gathered to celebrate the great success story that AirArabia has become, redefining air travel in the region and providing great travel experience for over 80 million passengers to date. We commemorate 15 years of success with the launch of AirArabia’s new brand identity that reflects the carrier’s successful journey and echoes the future with a fresh perspective while mirroring its ambitions and the next phase of international growth.” Since its launch on October 28, 2003, AirArabia has experienced solid and sustained growth. From the earliest days of serving just five routes with two aircraft, the airline has grown to currently serving over 155 routes from multiple hubs spreads across the UAE, Morocco and Egypt, served by a fleet of 53 aircraft, with plans for further expansion in 2019.

Read More »

216-roomed Courtyard by Marriott opens in Al Barsha

Marriott International has announced Courtyard by Marriott in Dubai’s prominent residential and business area of Al Barsha. Featuring flexible spaces to work, network and relax, Courtyard by Marriott Al Barsha provides the ideal destination for travellers looking to stay connected, productive and balanced while on the road. Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International, said, “Courtyard by Marriott represents one of the fastest growing brands in the region under our portfolio and we are delighted to be opening our third Courtyard in the UAE.”  He further added, “The brand is a great fit for the Al Barsha area, which is a prominent business area in the city.” Courtyard by Marriott Al Barsha features 216 spacious and light-filled guest rooms with a modern design, plush bedding and flexible workspaces. The hotel’s state-of-the-art lobby provides an innovative space where guests can work or relax, along with easy access to the latest news, weather and airport conditions via its GoBoard technology. Food and beverage offerings at the hotel include flavours, an all-day dining outlet catering to all tastes and moods, and the Star Buzz Lounge for those looking for a comfortable setting to connect and collaborate. For guests looking to sit back and relax, the hotel’s Upyard Rooftop Bar offers the ideal venue to soak in the views of Dubai’s mesmerising skyline while the Oak Bar provides a contemporary setting with a variety of beverages and snacks. Additional features in the property include three flexible meeting rooms, a fully-equipped fitness centre and outdoor swimming pool.

Read More »

DTCM certifies Dubai International Hotel with five-star rating

Dubai International Hotel has been officially certified by Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) as a five-star hotel in accordance with the standards set by Dubai’s principal tourism authority. The 5-star rating is a reflection of the high standards of features, facilities and services offered at the 530-room hotel located with Dubai International Airport. Khalid Hussain Mohammad – Supervisor, Abdulla Abbas Saleh – Inspector, Abdul Rahman Khalifa Alsuwaidi – Head of Inspection Unit and Bader Abdulla Mohammad – Deputy Director of Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTCM) presented the plaque to Ranjan Nadarajah Managing Director and Avinash Menon, General Manager, Dubai International Hotel. Dubai Tourism recognises Dubai as a leading tourism destination and a global commercial hub, and Dubai International Hotel continues to substantially contribute to this world-class standard. Part of Dubai Airport Authority, the multi-award winning luxury hotel caters to a myriad of international travellers each day, offering the finest hospitality standards and state-of-the-art facilities. The hotel features eight restaurants and bars, Ahlan Business Class and First Class Lounges, Timeless Spa treatment rooms and bespoke Ahlan Meet & Greet Services. Ranjan Nadarajah, Managing Director, commented at the ceremony, “We are honoured to receive this recognition. Being located within Dubai Airports, Terminal 1 and 3, we are the window to this multi-cultural city and a traveller’s first and often, only impression. For the past 18 years, we have worked in tandem with Dubai Tourism and Dubai Airports to keep Dubai relevant on the world map.”

Read More »

Emirates set to unveil world’s first integrated ‘biometric path’

Emirates is gearing up to launch the world’s first “biometric path” that will offer its customers a smooth and truly seamless airport journey at the airline’s hub in Dubai International airport. Utilising the latest biometric technology – a mix of facial and iris recognition, Emirates passengers can soon check in for their flight, complete immigration formalities, enter the Emirates lounge and board their flights, simply by strolling through the airport. The latest biometric equipment has already been installed at Emirates Terminal 3, Dubai International airport. It can be found at select check-in counters, at the Emirates Lounge in Concourse B for premium passengers, and at select boarding gates. Areas where biometric equipment are installed will be clearly marked.  Adel Al Redha, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Emirates, said, “Guided by our chairman His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Emirates continuously innovates and strives to improve our day-to-day business. After extensive research and evaluation of numerous technologies and new approaches to enhance our passenger journey, we are now satisfied with the preliminary work we have carried out and are ready to commence live trials of the world’s first biometric path at Emirates Terminal 3. These ground-breaking initiatives are a result of close collaboration with our stakeholders – particularly GDRFA who have been instrumental in the programme to bring the biometric path to fruition.” Major General Mohammed Ahmed Almarri, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), Dubai,  said, “We are pleased to roll-out these new initiatives at Terminal 3 in collaboration with Emirates and our airport stakeholders. The Smart Tunnel tests are running smoothly, and we are now preparing to mobilise the other biometric systems at the other areas …

Read More »

Al Noor Island launches five unique destination experiences

Al Noor Island, one of Sharjah’s prominent destinations, is rolling out new and revamped education packages, which combines nature, art and entertainment by introducing five unique experiences. Visitors will be able to learn about butterflies, plants, trees, birds, photography and even practise yoga and learn more about sky objects. “With the winters at our doorstep, Al Noor Island has customised experiences for visitors to explore and appreciate nature in all its forms. From pure adventure to relaxed leisure, or wondrous discoveries about our environment, I encourage all UAE citizens and residents to visit and enjoy the new immersive and educational natural experiences at the destination. This will be a part in raising the community awareness when it comes to green and eco-friendly programmes and activities at the island.” said Mahmoud Rashid Al Suwaidi, Manager, Al Noor Island. The five new activities that are being rolled out for visitors of all ages and experience levels are as follows – Explore the Island with ‘Tropical Labyrinth’, Explore the Night Sky with ‘Sky Watch’, Learn about Bird Life with ‘Bird Watching and Photography’, Stretch your limbs with ‘Yoga at Sunrise Workshops’ and Learn Special Gardening Techniques with ‘Nurture Nature Workshops’. In this new workshop, families, schoolchildren and individuals can learn about various indoor gardening techniques (including the Japanese art of Kokedama) with experts at the island. The eco-educational activities will be hosted from October until December. All the workshops can be viewed on the island’s social media platforms.

Read More »

ADNEC launches first online interactive chatbot platform for MiCE venues in MENA

Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) has announced the launch of an online chatbot platform ‘Jawab,’ which has been designed and developed to effectively respond directly and automatically to enquiries from exhibitors, organisers and visitors on all event-related aspects, including the diverse range of services provided by ADNEC. With this launch, ADNEC becomes the first venue within the exhibitions and conferences sector in the MENA region to launch a customer interactive machine learning chatbot, and among the top companies globally to adopt this new technology, which contributes to facilitating and accelerating the process of providing information to public and private sector customers. Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Group CEO, ADNEC said, “It is our constant endeavor to integrate the latest technological advancements seamlessly into our products and service offerings, as part of our mission to foster a culture of innovation and excellence, which effectively contributes to enhancing our competitiveness and capabilities to emphasise Abu Dhabi’s position as the regional capital for business tourism.”

Read More »

Germany opens visa application centre in Kuwait

The German Embassy has announced the opening of a new visa application centre in Kuwait in a move aimed at bringing greater efficiency to visa application processing services and enhanced customer experience to the residents of Kuwait. The centre operated by VFS Global will also provide biometric enrolment facilities to residents of Kuwait applying for Schengen visas. The processing time for a Schengen visa takes a maximum of 15 days and can be applied for up to three months before the planned date of travel. The VFS Global German Visa Application Centre in Kuwait is located at Level 25, Arraya Tower 2, Al Shuhada Street, Kuwait City, Kuwait. Inaugurating the visa application centre, H E Karlfried Bergner, Ambassador of Germany to the State of Kuwait, said, “The opening of the new centre is in line with the mandate the Federal Republic of Germany has awarded VFS Global to open external visa application facilities in 10 countries world over, including the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.” Vinay Malhotra, Regional Group COO—Middle East, South Asia & China, VFS Global, said, “VFS Global has a robust and long standing relationship with the Federal Republic of Germany and in the MENA region alone, it is expected that we will handle some 200,000 visa applications a year. While the decision of granting visas will rest with the German Embassy, our endeavor will be to provide visa application submission services efficiently and diligently and to the delight of our customers in Kuwait.”

Read More »

Etihad Airways to introduce Boeing 787-9 to Kuala Lumpur and Brussels routes

Etihad Airways will introduce Boeing 787-9 on its daily scheduled services from Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur, effective December 20, 2018 and to Brussels, effective January 3, 2019. The new two-class 787 Dreamliner service features Etihad Airways’ next-generation Business and Economy Class cabins, configured with 299 seats – 28 Business Studios and 271 Economy Smart Seats. Etihad Airways’ modern fleet of 21 Boeing 787-9 aircraft feature innovative, award-winning cabin designs and products, complemented by the airline’s acclaimed service and hospitality offering. Flights include Food and Beverage Managers in Business Class and a Flying Nanny in Economy Class to provide specialised care for families with young children. Robin Kamark, Chief Commercial Officer, Etihad Aviation Group said, “Kuala Lumpur and Brussels are two very important destinations on the Etihad network, popular with both business and leisure customers and we are delighted to be introducing the 787-9 Dreamliner on these routes. Our customers can expect the quietest cabins and our latest in-flight products and technology, one of the world’s most technologically advanced and fuel-efficient aircraft. Our customers flying between Abu Dhabi and these capitals continue to benefit from convenient departure and arrival times at both ends, and those transiting through Abu Dhabi enjoy seamless connections onto Etihad’s global route network.”

Read More »

New Al Hosn cultural site to open this December

The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced that the much-anticipated grand opening of Al Hosn, will take place on December 7, 2018. Al Hosn is the city’s original urban block and will comprise four interrelated components: the historic Qasr Al Hosn Fort, the Cultural Foundation, the National Consultative Council building, and the House of Artisans. The official launch will be a celebration of Abu Dhabi’s rich history and culture, with days of public programming to mark the occasion. The newly renovated premises of the Cultural Foundation will host a diverse visual and performing arts programme, alongside the opening of the first children’s library of its kind. To mark the occasion of its reopening in December, the Foundation’s Visual Arts Centre will present a landmark exhibition which will focus on the building’s history as a beacon for local artists. Cultural Foundation will re-open in phases with December 7 allowing access to the Visual Arts Centre, which will feature exhibition halls and art studios. The two remaining components – a theatre and the Children’s Library – will open in 2019. HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman, DCT Abu Dhabi, said, “Qasr Al Hosn retraces the history of the city of Abu Dhabi. It stands as a constant in our evolving city. It is a testament to the heart and spirit of our people and the repository of our collective memories, and its reopening is a key moment for both the citizens of Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE. In addition, we are thrilled to reopen the Cultural Foundation, which has always played an integral role in the cultural scene of Abu Dhabi, the UAE and …

Read More »

Travelport becomes first GDS operator to offer NDC content

Travelport has become the first GDS operator to manage the live booking of flights using the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) New Distribution Capability (NDC) technical standard. The first transaction was made by a British agency, Meon Valley Travel, on October 19 for a short-haul low-cost flight from London to Milan issued by a major European carrier. The new capability allows bookings to be made for any services on the airline without incurring a surcharge. Travelport’s new NDC capability is enabled using similar XML connections to those Travelport already deploys with APIs for over 20 low-cost carriers. The company published a roadmap for its initial range of NDC products in February, having been the first GDS operator in December 2017 to acquire Level 3 certification from IATA as an aggregator. It will also be followed by a series of product enhancements, including a version for online agents in 2019. Gordon Wilson, President and CEO, Travelport, said: “We are delighted to have taken a lead in bringing the NDC era to life. It has required an extraordinary amount of skill and expertise to make this happen and I want to thank my own colleagues at Travelport as well as our partners. We are still at the earliest stages of NDC deployment. Its evolution will continue to take time as we learn from the practical experience of its first use. Meanwhile, we continue to offer a comprehensive global travel commerce platform capable of handling mass volumes of searchable and bookable content at speed for the world’s travel providers and agents.”

Read More »