Category Archives: Aviation

Saudia partners with Expedia to launch Saudia Holidays

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Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), the national carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is entering into an agreement with Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN) in the launch of Saudia Holidays to offer tailored, world-class travel packages to the airline’s passengers. Saudia, which carried more than 29 million passengers last year, and has a network of 86 domestic and international destinations, is launching Saudia Holidays to provide exceptional value and choice across the Kingdom and internationally. Through its agreement with EAN, Saudia Holidays will offer travellers access to more than 260,000 quality hotel accommodations in over 29,000 destinations, including Makkah, Jeddah, Riyadh, Dubai, London, Paris and New York. It will access EAN’s full range of preferential rates and deals, creating competitive pricing for Saudia Holidays’ customers.  EAN was selected because of its worldwide accommodation portfolio, its dynamic packaging strengths and the flexibility of its technology, which includes the ability for travelers to pay for a hotel reservation at the time of booking or upon arrival. Also key was EAN’s ability to offer a fully outsourced, turnkey solution in collaboration with Bahrain-based travel technology and services specialist TCIG. Together, the businesses’ responsibilities include building and maintaining the Saudia Holidays ecommerce website; the fulfilment of air, hotel and vehicle reservations; the operation of customer call centres; and the delivery of outstanding service to all Saudia Holidays customers.f

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Deer Jet’s 787 Dream Jet makes ME debut in Qatar

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Leading global business aviation company Deer Jet, presented the world’s first 787 ‘Dream Jet’, with its Middle East debut, making a stopover at Doha International Airport. The ‘flying’ visit is part of a series of showcases across the globe in Deer Jet’s “Dreams Encounter the World” tour of key international charter destinations. Established 22 years ago as the very first business jet operator in China, Deer Jet has been dedicated to serving the global premium business travel market, including Middle East royal families since 2013. Deer Jet is set to serve the market across the GCC and wider Middle East region, with buyers from Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia expected to be key markets for the company. According to research by industry expert Hardy Sohanpal, in collaboration with Wealth-X and WingXAdvance, the Middle East has over 5,975 UHNW individuals (defined as having at least $30 million in assets) with a combined net worth of US$995 billion, further underscoring the company’s decision to target the region. Frank Fang, Vice President, Deer Jet, said, “We are delighted to bring this unique aircraft to Doha. Its showcases the signature service of Deer Jet which is inspired by the values of performance, elegance and distinction. With the 787 Dream Jet, we are proud to serve discerning business and leisure travellers in the Middle East and we recognise this market as one of the largest in the world for premium travel. Our goal is to provide the best flying experience for our customers and make travel an art.”

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Hamad International Airport partners with Huawei

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Huawei and Hamad International Airport (HIA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), formalising a strategic partnership to enable the airport’s digital transformation. The objective is to accelerate digital transformation at Hamad International Airport and to share the solutions with the community for wider benefit of the air transport industry. The MoU between HIA and Huawei provides a broad framework for collaboration between for co-creation of innovative concepts, prototypes and solutions using cutting-edge technologies, particularly in the areas of IoT and autonomous machines, to address real business challenges and opportunities. Through this cooperation, HIA aims to improve the passenger experience, enhance security and communication, and increase operational efficiency. Commenting on the cooperation with Huawei, Eng. Badr Mohammed Al Meer, Chief Operating Officer at HIA said: “Innovative technology will continue to drive digital transformation at Hamad International Airport. Through this strategic alliance with Huawei, which also provides access to its eco-system of niche partners, we aim to accelerate our journey and to demonstrate our commitment to the industry by sharing viable concepts and solutions that may be developed through this partnership”. Xilin Yuan, President of the Transportation Sector of Huawei’s Enterprise Business Group, commented: “It is a great pleasure for Huawei to collaborate with Hamad International Airport to enable a Smart Airport that can meet the future demands of passenger flows as well as the needs of digital-savvy customers. By placing digital transformation at the heart of its commercial strategy, HIA will deliver a user-centric connected experience to continue delighting its customers.”

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Emirates third daily to Brisbane from Dec 2017

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Emirates will introduce a third daily service to Brisbane, Australia from December 1,2017, complementing Emirates’ existing two daily services. The direct service, to be operated on a B777-200LR aircraft with eight seats in First Class, 42 in Business Class and 216 in Economy Class, will increase capacity on the route by 3,724 seats a week, inbound and outbound between Brisbane and Emirates’ hub Dubai. This will give passengers in the United Kingdom, France and North America greater access to Australia with just one stop in Dubai as part of Emirates’ global route network. The inbound service EK430 will depart Dubai at 22:00 hrs, arriving in Brisbane at 18:15hrs the following day. While the outbound flight EK431 will depart Brisbane at 22:25 hrs, arriving in Dubai at 07:00hrs the following day. The service will operate alongside two existing daily services to Dubai. Flights EK434 and EK435 operate non-stop between Dubai and Brisbane and onwards to Auckland, New Zealand, while flights EK432 and EK433 operate between Dubai and Brisbane via Singapore. Additionally, with codeshare partner Qantas, Emirates offers services to Singapore twice daily from Brisbane. The news comes as Emirates announced it would be upgauging its third daily service to Melbourne from a B777-300ER to an A380 operation from 25 March 2018, allowing passengers to travel aboard Emirates’ A380 on all three daily flights between Melbourne and Dubai.

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300 exhibitors from 50 countries at 17th Airport Show

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His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airlines and Group officially inaugurated the 17th Airport Show 2017. He stated,  “the aviation industry expansion in the Middle East continues to surpass average global growth rates. Future projections are equally promising and are behind the ongoing and considerable investment in aircraft, technology and infrastructure. The Airport Show brings together solution providers from around the world giving them the opportunity to explore the latest trends and bring forward innovative products and services designed to support ongoing industry growth and service enhancements.” The 3-day Airport Show, expected to be attended by over 7,500 aviation industry professionals, will bring more than 300 companies from more than 50 countries showcasing a diverse portfolio of technologies and innovative solutions amid rapidly growing Middle East aviation industry and massive regional aviation infrastructure investments. This year’s show will consist of  have Global Airport Leaders Forum (GALF), World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo (WTCEME) and Women in Aviation Middle East General Assembly as co-located events. Huawei hosted a ‘Global Aviation Summit’ on May 15, which witnessed discussions on innovative ICT constructions in the aviation industry. The Airport Show will also feature a ‘New Security Day’ on May 17 where experts will discuss latest security solutions and systems live on stage as well as meet the suppliers.

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Etihad A380 double daily to Sydney from October

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Etihad Airways announced all 14 weekly flights on the popular Abu Dhabi–Sydney route will be operated with its flagship A380 aircraft, effective October 29, 2017. The current daily A380 Sydney flights will be joined by a second daily superjumbo service, upgraded from a 328-seat Boeing 777-300ER. The announcement comes as Etihad Airways marks the 10th anniversary of flying to Sydney, its first Australian destination. Featuring the carrier’s revolutionary The Residence – the world’s first three-room suite on a commercial airliner – the additional deployment of the 496-seat double decker aircraft means one of Australia’s largest cities will join London and New York as an all-A380 operation. Business and leisure travellers to and from Abu Dhabi, the airline’s operational hub, will enjoy increased capacity. The carrier will meet growing demand from the UAE and connecting cities across the Gulf region, Middle East and Europe. The Sydney – London Heathrow route, via Abu Dhabi, will also offer guests the consistency, convenience and comfort of a seamless all-A380 service in both directions. Etihad Airways’ three daily London Heathrow flights are operated with an A380. Beginning June 1, the second daily New York service will be upgraded to the superjumbo.

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Emirates renews partnership with Mauritius and Seychelles

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Emirates has renewed individual global marketing agreements with Mauritius and Seychelles in the form of Memorandum of Understandings with the respective tourism boards. The MoUs were signed by Orhan Abbas, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations for Africa, Kevin Ramkaloan, Director of the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority, and Sherin Francis, Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Tourism Board in presence of Maurice Loustau-Lalanne, Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine in Seychelles. Various joint activities will be developed under the agreement, such as attendance of tourism trade shows and fairs, trade familiarisation trips, product presentations and workshops. Emirates started operations to the Mauritius in September 2002 with three weekly flights. The daily A380 service was launched in December 2013, and the double-daily service was introduced in October 2014, following a strong demand for Emirates’ flagship aircraft on this route. In 2016, more than 1,200,000 tourists visited Mauritius. In June 2015, Emirates increased its capacity to the Seychelles, when it switched from the Airbus 330-200 used on one of the two daily services to a larger Boeing 777-300ER. The introduction of the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER, which operates as flight EK 705 from Dubai and as EK 706 on the return flight, increased the overall capacity on the route by 1722 seats per week and made the route an all-Boeing 777 operation.

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Etihad expands capacity to Kerala

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Etihad Airways has launched a fourth daily non-stop service between Kozhikode in Kerala and its Abu Dhabi hub offering convenient onward connections to cities worldwide. The airline is celebrating 10 years of flying to the southern Indian state with the introduction of additional flights to the destination. The extra capacity takes to 63 the total number of weekly services between Abu Dhabi and its three Kerala gateways of Kochi, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. This represents over 30 per cent of Etihad Airways’ frequencies from across 11 Indian cities it serves. In addition, strategic Indian partner Jet Airways operates seven flights a week from Kochi to Abu Dhabi. The services largely cater to the huge expatriate population from all three Kerala cities and the surrounding areas, living and working in the Gulf region. Neerja Bhatia, Etihad Airways Vice President Indian Subcontinent, said: “With our multi-frequency scheduled flights to and from Kerala, Etihad Airways has demonstrated a commitment to this vibrant state by offering convenient global access and boosting the domestic tourism industry. We have been able to bring the world closer to this beautiful state and connect the people of Kerala to destinations in the Gulf, including our Abu Dhabi home, which has also been the base for thriving ventures by Kerala business houses. Reaching a 10-year milestone is fitting tribute to the support Etihad Airways has received from the state government of Kerala in making our operations a success.” Dr Venu Vasudevan, Principal Secretary Kerala Tourism, said: “Kerala Tourism is delighted to learn of the extra flights launched by Etihad Airways, which adds more connectivity to Kerala. We congratulate Etihad Airways on a decade of flying to Kerala and look forward …

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Sharjah Airport sees 2.7 million passengers in Q1

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Sharjah International Airport handled 2.741 million passengers during the first quarter of 2017, registering 2 percent growth compared to the first three months of last year. The airport has experienced continuous growth during the past five years, handling 11 million passengers during 2016. Sharjah handled 969,633 passengers in January, 827,369 February and 944,038 in March 2017, peaking at 4 percent growth in January (compared to 2016 levels). Aircraft movements at the airport increased by 3 percent to 18,569 scheduled and non-scheduled movements in Q1 2017 compared with 18,054 in Q1 2016. Several airlines have added new Sharjah flights this year. Sharjah-headquartered Air Arabia launched a new services to Baku in March, operating four weekly flights from the Azarbajiani capital. The airline also launched a schedule of seasonal flights between Iran’s Kermanshah airport and Sharjah on the occasion of ‘Nowruz’, the new Iranian year. Later in the year, Air Arabia plans to operate a new seasonal non-stop service to the historic Turkish port city of Trabzon starting on June 23. Meanwhile, IndiGo, India’s largest budget-carrier, introduced a daily non-stop service from Kozhikode (CCJ) to Sharjah on 20 March and from Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) to Sharjah during April. Another Indian budget carrier, SpiceJet, plans to launch new flights to Sharjah by the end of 2017. Sharjah International Airport’s growth has been driven by its strategic location, the success of the emirate’s in-bound tourism industry and the expansion of Sharjah-headquartered Airquarter of 2017, registering 2 percent growth compared to the first three months of last year. The airport has experienced continuous growth during the past five years, handling 11 million passengers during 2016.

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Emirates to fly only A380s on Spain route

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Emirates announced that all of its flights to Spain will be operated by the iconic A380. In addition to the existing double daily A380 service to Barcelona, the airline will operate a double daily A380 service to Madrid, significantly boosting seat capacity from Dubai to Spain. Commencing on September 1, 2017, Emirates flights EK143/144 will be operated by an Airbus A380 aircraft in a 3-class configuration with 14 Private Suites in First Class, 76 flat-bed seats in Business Class and 399 comfortable seats in Economy Class. Passengers in all classes will enjoy access to Wi-Fi and over 2,500 channels of films, TV shows, music and games, with an impressive selection in Spanish, through ice Digital Widescreen, Emirates’ award-winning inflight entertainment system. This change enables more A380 to A380 connections to and from key business and leisure destinations such as Australia, China, South Korea and South East Asia with just one stop in Dubai. The fliers will also experience the famed hospitality of the airline’s multi-cultural cabin crew, with Spanish speakers on all flights to and from Spain, as well as fine wines and regionally inspired cuisine prepared using the finest ingredients. What’s more, First and Business Class passengers can travel to and from the airport in style with Emirates complimentary Chauffeur-drive service as well as enjoy Emirates exclusive lounges at select airports around the world. Once on board, passengers in premium class seating receive a luxurious amenity kit featuring Italian-made Bulgari products and can enjoy the Emirates Onboard Lounge; First Class passengers can also take advantage of the Emirates Shower Spa to freshen up. Emirates’ flight EK143 departs from Dubai International Airport at 14:30hrs and arrives in Madrid at 20:20hrs. …

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