Shivani DDPPL

AITO’s annual conference to be held in Ras Al Khaimah from November 22-25

2. Thomas Cook to open in Ras Al Khaimah

The UK’s Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) annual conference is set to be held in Ras Al Khaimah from November 22-25, 2018. Derek Moore, Chairman, AITO comments, “We’re thrilled to have been invited by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourist Development Authority (RAKTDA). It is particularly exciting for AITO members to visit such a fascinating destination that is on the cusp of change in terms of tourism. We are also pleased to be flying with Emirates to the conference – its vast network of airports in the UK will make travel to Ras Al Khaimah so convenient for our members who are spread across the country.” Gemma Antrobus, Chair, AITO Specialist Travel Agents, said, “This is a destination with enormous potential for AITO Specialist Travel Agents who are always on the look-out for something different. Ras Al Khaimah offers the perfect balance of beach, activity, history and culture, providing the variety that many of our discerning clients seek and that AITO agents enjoy selling!”

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Air Arabia expands fleet to 53 with delivery of two new Airbus A320 aircraft

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Taking two new Airbus A320 aircraft deliveries, Air Arabia has brought its total operating fleet to 53. The latest Airbus A320 arrived on schedule from the Airbus facility in Toulouse, France, marking the completion of all deliveries this year. The new A320 aircraft have gone straight into service across the airline’s over 150 destination networks served from the main carrier hubs in the UAE, Morocco and Egypt. Air Arabia added 12 new routes from its hubs in the first half of 2018. The next delivery will be Air Arabia’s first A321neo LR to join the fleet early next year. Adding the A321 to the fleet will enable the low-cost carrier to extend its fleet reach and therefore, enter new markets as well as better serve existing high-density routes. Adel Al Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia, said, “The delivery of our last two aircraft for 2018 marks a significant step in the development of our fleet expansion strategy, especially as we added 12 new routes this year. We are proud to have created one of the industry’s most modern fleets through exceptional organic growth which helped us offer customers a wider range of destinations at great value.”

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Emirates A380 one-off to Islamabad on July 8

An Emirates Airbus A380

In an effort to launch a scheduled A380 service to Pakistan, Emirates will deploy a one-off A380 to Islamabad on July 8. The airline’s iconic double-decker will make its inaugural arrival in Islamabad on a special flight EK2524/EK2525. The A380 flight will depart Dubai on July 8 at 08:00 hrs and arrive in Islamabad at 12:10 hrs. The flight will depart Islamabad at 15:40 hrs and arrive in Dubai at 17:45 hrs on the same day. “We are proud to bring our flagship A380 aircraft to Islamabad, and we look forward to showcasing our innovative products on-board this iconic aircraft with the signature Emirates service. While this is a special flight, we are very keen to launch a scheduled A380 service to Pakistan and will continue to work with authorities to realise these plans,” said Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Divisional Senior Vice President – Commercial Operations Centre, Emirates. The Emirates A380 aircraft on this special one-off service will be in a two-class configuration offering spacious seats in Economy Class and fully flat-bed seats in Business Class as well as Emirates’ popular Onboard Lounge. Passengers in all classes enjoy free Wi-Fi to stay in touch with family and friends and Emirates’ multi-award winning ‘ice’ inflight entertainment with up to 3,500 channels of movies, TV programmes, music and podcasts on the industry’s biggest personal screens in each class of travel.

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flydubai integrates Emirates Skywards from August 1, 2018

flydubai & Emirates

flydubai has announced that Emirates Skywards will now become the loyalty programme for both the airlines. The partnership, announced in July last year, goes beyond code-sharing to a number of initiatives spanning commercial, network planning, airport operations, customer journey. From August 1, 2018, OPEN members will be enrolled into Emirates Skywards to continue to be rewarded when travelling with flydubai. Members will be able to earn both Skywards Miles and Tier Miles every time they fly with Emirates or flydubai, enhancing collection and spending opportunities. During July, OPEN Gold members and Emirates Skywards Silver members and above, who are also OPEN members, can convert their OPEN reward points to Skywards Miles (2 OPEN reward points = 1 Skywards Mile). OPEN reward points held in existing accounts can be redeemed until July 31, 2018 for future flights with flydubai. Since the launch, more than 650,000 passengers have benefitted from the Emirates and flydubai partnership. The seamless approach to travel committed to by both airlines is further cemented with this collaboration, passing on the benefits to passengers who now have the choice to travel to over 200 unique destinations on the combined network of both airlines.

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Campbell Gray Hotels to debut in Bahrain with The Merchant House this September

campbell manama

The Merchant House in Manama, Bahrain, is set to open doors in September this year. Located next to the vibrant Bab el-Bahrain Souk, the hotel development comes at an exciting time as the surrounding area is currently being regenerated, re-establishing the prominence of the old Souk and original heart of Manama. The Merchant House will be an all-suite boutique hotel with 47 suites in total, each featuring an open plan kitchen and dining area, as well as open plan sitting rooms which have been designed to be ideal for both business and leisure. As with all Campbell Gray Hotels, artwork will be a prominent feature of the interior design and Gordon Campbell Gray has, over the past year, been putting together an exciting art collection comprising of well-established Bahraini artists as well as new and upcoming young talent from both Bahrain and the region. The design is, as with all Campbell Gray Hotels, completely original and has been created specifically for The Merchant House. The rooftop – another Campbell Gray speciality – is where you will find the main restaurant and the bar with options to eat indoors or outdoors. Commenting on the project, Gordon Campbell Gray, Founder, Campbell Gray Hotels said, “We are so looking forward to bringing our special brand of hospitality to Bahrain this year with the opening of The Merchant House in Manama. We are confident that with its central location, beautiful facilities and comfortable all-suite accommodation, it will be rather special, and we are eager to welcome our first guests through the door.”

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Ireland opens first visa application centre in Abu Dhabi

Ireland Visa Application Centre (3)

The Embassy of Ireland in Abu Dhabi has opened UAE’s first external visa application centre in partnership with VFS Global. All non-UAE Nationals who are based in the UAE and require a visa to enter Ireland will no longer need to visit the Embassy. They should instead route their visa applications through VFS Global’s centre located in downtown Abu Dhabi. H E Paul Kavanagh, Ambassador of Ireland to the UAE, said, “The new external visa application centre will provide an excellent streamlined service for non-UAE Nationals who are based in the UAE and who require a visa in order to enter Ireland.” UAE Nationals wishing to visit Ireland are exempt from all visa requirements. The Ireland visa application centre in the UAE is the third outsourced processing centre of Ireland in the GCC region in partnership with VFS Global, which now operates such centres for Ireland in 15 countries across the world. The VFS Global visa application centre for Ireland in Abu Dhabi is located at Level 25, Shining Tower on Mubarak bin Mohammed Street next to Khalidiyah Mall. Visa applicants based in the UAE can direct their queries to the call centre number +971 4 2055910 or communicate with the centre via email at info.irelandUAE@vfshelpline.com.

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Abu Dhabi ranks top in the Middle East in ‘Smart City’ chart

Abu Dhabi Tops Ranking of Smart Cities in the Middle East

Abu Dhabi has been ranked top in a list of cities in Africa and the Middle East in the McKinsey Global Institute’s study ‘Smart Cities: Digital Solutions for a More Livable Future.’ With a rating of 18.4, Abu Dhabi ranked first in the region ahead of Dubai, which was placed second with a rating of 17.3. Covering 50 international cities, the study looked at how cities all over the world use technology to increase the quality of life across a wide range of criteria, including healthcare, security, mobility, economic development and housing. HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) said, “In today’s digital age, metropolitan cities in the world over are delivering creative ways in which data is used to reinvent the way their city is perceived, explored, interacted with and how services are delivered. Abu Dhabi ranking number one in the study is testimony to our ongoing efforts to establish the emirate as both a destination of distinction and a highly modern location in which international communities want to work, live and do business.”

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Etihad Cargo launches ‘FlightValet’ to transport luxury vehicles

ETIHAD CARGO - SKYVALET

Ahead of the seasonal surge in demand for luxury vehicle shipments to popular holiday destinations, Etihad Cargo celebrates the launch of ‘FlightValet’, its newly designed product aimed to ease the process of moving motor vehicles across the globe. Etihad Cargo transports hundreds of high-value vehicles annually on its passenger and freighter aircraft, and this new product will further simplify customers’ booking experience. Commenting on the launch, Abdulla Mohamed Shadid, Managing Director – Cargo and Logistics, Etihad Airways said, “We are delighted to introduce this new tailored product to the marketplace. Demand from our customers has grown significantly in recent years, and in an effort to improve our service offering, we have introduced vehicle handling capability at key new stations in 2018.” FlightValet is available to those who wish to transport their luxury vehicles immediately. Customers choosing the service will benefit from Etihad Cargo’s proven track record in handling some of the world’s most valuable cars. FlightValet is offered through a dedicated team that will oversee the swift, safe and secure delivery of the vehicle to its final destination. Throughout the year, it will also cater to racing enthusiasts worldwide wishing to take their cars around iconic racetracks such as Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit, home to the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2009.

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Emirates launches second daily flight to Prague

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Emirates has launched a second daily flight between Dubai and Prague to meet the increasing demand for travel on the route. The airline has been serving the Czech market since 2010 and has carried some 1.7 million passengers on the route during this time. To meet the rising demand for both inbound and outbound travel, Emirates has added this new daily flight operated by a Boeing 777-300 ER with a capacity of 360 seats, boosting tourism into the Czech Republic by 262,800 seats a year. The new flight will accommodate three classes on board, with eight private suites in First Class, 42 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 310 spacious seats in Economy. Flight EK137 leaves Dubai at 15:30 and arrives in Prague at 19:55. The return flight EK138 leaves Prague at 21:35 and arrives in Dubai at 05:30 the following day, giving travellers the full day in Dubai to kick-start their holiday, short break or business trip, and take advantage of the wealth of activity and dining options the cosmopolitan city has to offer.

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First Bvlgari Residences ready for delivery to owners

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Meraas and Bvlgari have announced the handover of Bvlgari Residences Dubai, in the city’s most exclusive residential community. Residences are located within the 1.7 million square foot Bvlgari Resort & Residences Dubai. The resort includes the world’s first Bvlgari Yacht Club, which exudes the unmistakable atmosphere of the Italian Riviera, famous for its glamour and exuberance. As part of the spectacular Bvlgari Resort & Residences Dubai, Bvlgari Residences Dubai sets a new benchmark for exclusive lifestyles and exceptional living spaces. With a range of amenities and services within the community, the homes combine convenience and comfort with luxury living. The handover process affirms Meraas’ commitment to delivering quality projects that enrich life in Dubai. The island neighbourhood is comprised of 168 apartments ranging from one- to three-bedroom units, six four-bedroom penthouses, and 15 mansions ranging from three- to six-bedrooms. Designed by renowned Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, the residences are managed by the adjacent Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, and residents can benefit from the ‘Hotel a la carte services’, including housekeeping, catering, butler services, personal shopper and impeccable 24-hour concierge services. Buildings are also equipped with a Private Fitness Centre, a swimming pool and a steam room for the residents’ comfort. Pep Lozano, General Manager of Bvlgari Resort & Residences, said, “We are thrilled to welcome our first residents, who will be living in the Bvlgari residential community on the island.”

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