Category Archives: Aviation

Qatar code shares with Air Botswana

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Qatar Airways has announced a code-share partnership with Air Botswana, offering Qatar Airways travellers access to three key destinations in Botswana, Africa. The partnership with Air Botswana, the national airline of Botswana, will provide Qatar Airways passengers with connections to the Botswana cities of Gaborone, Francistown and Maun via Qatar Airways’ South Africa gateway Johannesburg. Qatar Airways operates double-daily flights between Johannesburg and its state-of-the-art hub, Hamad International Airport in Doha, with onward flights to more than 150 destinations worldwide. The new code-share agreement allows business and leisure travellers fast and convenient access to the home of Botswana’s rich mineral industry, abundant game reserves, and luxury safari lodges. Botswana’s luxurious tourism experiences are complemented by Qatar Airways’ ultra-modern fleet of aircraft featuring the world’s best Business Class on services to South Africa.

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13% increase in passengers at Sharjah airport this summer

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Sharjah International Airport handled 2,996,433 passengers during July, August and September this year, a 13 percent increase over the same period in 2015. Overall, the number of inbound, outbound, transit and transfer passengers handled during the first nine months of the year increased by 12 percent, compared to the same period last year, to total 8,344,293. Sharjah airport recorded its first million-passenger month in August, with the months of July and September falling just slightly short of the million passenger mark. Meanwhile, 20,362 aircraft take-offs and landings were handled during the July to September period, 8 percent more than the equivalent period during 2015. Airlines have added a number of new connections from Sharjah International Airport this year, including new Air Arabia routes from Sharjah to Batumi (Georgia) and to Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Indian international airlines Air India Express and Jet Airways have both launched new Sharjah routes this year catering to business travellers and tourists, plus Indian expatriates working in the UAE. Jet Airways added new daily routes to Mangaluru (IXE) and Kozhikode (CCJ), while Air India Express has introduced new flights to Mumbai (SAHAR), Chandigarh (IXC) and Tiruchirapalli (TRZ) airports. Turkish airline, AtlasGlobal, also launched a new Sharjah route in April, adding a three-times-weekly service to Istanbul Atatürk International Airport. More new airline routes are planned for the next few months including the addition of a Hyderabad to Sharjah service from Jet Airways in December 2016 and a new Sharjah to Baku service from Air Arabia scheduled for 23 March 2017. Sharjah International Airport surpassed 10 million passengers per annum for the first time during 2015 and plans to handle 25 million passengers per annum by the …

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British Airways’ direct flight to Muscat

A mock-up of the British Airways Airbus A380.

British Airways has launched a direct flight between Muscat and London, further adding convenience to customers travelling between the two regions. Customers, who previously flew between the two cities via Abu Dhabi, can now experience an uninterrupted service, and a reduced flying time of seven hours and 15 minutes, two and a half hours shorter than the previous nine hours and 45 minutes’ journey. The service is operated by the airline’s Boeing 777, five times per week, featuring four cabins of travel – First, Club World (British Airways’ business cabin), World Traveller Plus and World Traveller (British Airways’ economy cabin). The UK carrier, which first began flying to Oman in 1972, inaugurated the new service with a water cannon salute as it landed at Muscat International Airport a few days ago. Anjulika Dutton, Commercial Manager UAE, Oman, Egypt and Central Asia, said that British Airways has successfully served the Omani market for more than four decades. During this period, they have witnessed a strong growth in passengers travelling between these two regions, and anticipate that this new direct service will further enhance connectivity for business and leisure travellers between Oman and the UK. Departing Muscat International Airport at 10.55am, the flight lands at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 at 2.55pm on the same day, with the return journey departing the British capital at 7.50pm and arriving in Muscat at 7.05am the following morning. A full timetable of British Airways flights is available online here where customers can find the lowest fares and book, pay and check-in online for their flights.  

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Qatar commences A350 to Heathrow

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Qatar Airways’ first daily regularly-scheduled Airbus A350 service to London Heathrow arrived in the United Kingdom on Sunday October 30, as the airline introduced the state-of-the-art aircraft on the route, complementing the existing ‘best of fleet’ on its six daily flights from Hamad International Airport. To mark the occasion Qatar Airways followers on social media were able to follow a live tour of the interior cabin of the A350 while on the ground at London Heathrow. The video can is now available at https://www.facebook.com/qatarairways/ The landing of the A350 on Sunday 30 October also marked another milestone for the airline as it took place on the same day as the start of a new joint business agreement between Qatar Airways and British Airways. The agreement benefits customers by offering a wider choice of flights by code sharing on all seven Qatar Airways and British Airways direct daily flights between London and Doha. Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said that Qatar Airways Airbus A350 is one of the most advanced aircraft in their fleet, offering passengers an unrivalled level of comfort while experiencing our award-winning hospitality. It is only right that such an aircraft serves one of their six daily scheduled flights from Doha to London, a route further strengthened by their continued partnership with British Airways.

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96 hour complimentary transit visa by Qatar

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A new free entry transit visa effective from November 1, 2016 was announced by Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority for travellers to explore the destination within 96 hours.  This scheme allows passengers with layovers of five hours or more in Hamad International Airport to request a complimentary transit visa. The new system will allow transiting passengers of all nationalities to enter Qatar for up to 96 hours in between flights. All visas are granted at the sole discretion of the Qatari Ministry of Interior. Passengers can apply for their free transit visa through any of Qatar Airways’ offices, or online. To be eligible for the transit visa, passengers must have a confirmed ticket for a journey into Qatar, with a confirmed onward journey out of Qatar on a Qatar Airways-operated flight. Terms and conditions apply, which can be found at qatarairways.com/transitvisa

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Qatar Airways and British Airways expand codeshare

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Qatar Airways has announced an expanded codeshare agreement with British Airways, which will provide travellers with a wider choice of flights and an enhanced network. With the launch of British Airway’s non-stop service between London and Doha, travellers will benefit from seven daily flights to Heathrow, improving connectivity on to each airline’s network. The expanded code-share network will now also include all of British Airways’ flights within the United Kingdom, covering Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Leeds, Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle. Additionally, Qatar Airways will code-share on a number of routes from London Heathrow to Europe, including all services to Dublin in Ireland; Hamburg and Stuttgart in Germany; Luxembourg; Basel in Switzerland; Bilbao, Malaga, Ibiza and Palma in Spain; Lisbon and Faro in Portugal; and Billund in Denmark. This codeshare follows the recent announcement that Qatar Airways and British Airways will commence a joint business agreement from October 30, the same date as the first direct scheduled daily British Airways flight flies between London Heathrow and Doha. As part of the agreement, all non-stop flights between the United Kingdom and Doha will operate under the code-share agreement allowing both Oneworld carriers to provide passengers with better links between the UK, Asia, Middle East and Africa.

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Qatar Airways adds 9 flights to KSA

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Qatar Airways has added another eight flights a week to Riyadh and one more daily flight to Dammam, increasing its connectivity to the two major Saudi cities, starting October 30, 2016. Through its hub in Hamad International Airport, Qatar Airways will operate four flights a day to King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh, and five daily flights to King Fahad International Airport in Dammam. The additional flights take Qatar Airways’ total connectivity within the Kingdom to 158 flights a week, serving eight destinations: Riyadh, Jeddah, Madinah, Dammam, Hofuf, Gassim, Taif, and Abha. Qatar Airways, the official sponsor of Al-Ahli Saudi FC and F.C. Barcelona recently announced hosting a friendly football match bringing together both teams to play at Shiekh Thani Bin Jassim Stadium (Al-Gharrafa Stadium) on December 13, 2016. Travellers from Saudi Arabia can take advantage of the increased frequencies to visit the new destinations that Qatar Airways has announced this year, which include exciting cities all around the globe, such as Los Angeles and Atlanta in the USA, Adelaide in Australia, Auckland in New Zealand, and numerous others in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

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Etihad Airways’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner touches down in Riyadh

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Etihad Airways’ latest Boeing 787 Dreamliner route was launched with the art aircraft touching down in Riyadh, capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The aircraft operates on one of the twice-daily flights between Abu Dhabi International Airport and Khalid International Airport. The occasion was marked with an official welcome ceremony attended by the airline’s senior management led by Hareb Almuhairy, Etihad Airways Senior Vice President Corporate and International Affairs, together with Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Airways Vice President UAE and GCC Commercial, Sultan AL Mansoori, GCC Country Manager, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and Adel Al Ragadi, Terminal Operation Manager, King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. The Dreamliner offers more seats and features the airline’s award-winning interiors in a two-class configuration – 28 Business Studios, each providing aisle access and equipped with an in-seat massage and air cushion control system, and 271 Economy Smart Seats with unique ‘fixed wing’ headrests. Riyadh becomes Etihad Airways’ newest B787 destination this year following the induction of the aircraft on flights to Perth, Dusseldorf and Shanghai, with Abu Dhabi – Johannesburg set to become a Dreamliner route on 1 November. Etihad Airways’ current fleet of nine B787s also operates to Singapore, Washington DC, Brisbane and Zurich. The aircraft is equipped with full mobile and Wi-Fi services as well as the latest Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment system featuring seven satellite channels of live TV including BBC World News, Sport 24 and CNN to name a few.   Etihad Airways currently operates 14 weekly non-stop flights to and from Riyadh; 21 weekly services to Jeddah; 21 weekly flights to Dammam, in addition to a daily operation to Medina.

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Air India and Jet Airways ramp up Sharjah flights

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Air India Express and Jet Airways have both launched new Sharjah routes this year catering to business travellers and tourists, plus Indian expatriates working in the UAE. Jet Airways introduced a new daily route to Sharjah International Airport from Mangaluru (IXE) in India’s southern state of Karnataka in August and has just announced a new daily service from Kozhikode, or Calicut (CCJ) in Kerala, beginning 30 October 2016. Meanwhile, Kochi-headquartered Air India Express has, so far, added three new routes this year connecting Sharjah with Mumbai (SAHAR), Chandigarh (IXC) and Tiruchirapalli (TRZ) airports, bringing its total number of direct Sharjah services to seven. The low-cost airline also operates direct flights to Sharjah from Kochi (COK), Kozhikode (CCJ), Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) and Varanasi (VNS). Jet Airways also plans to launch a daily service from Hyderabad to Sharjah in December 2016. Jet Airways is India’s second largest airline operating flights to 67 destinations.

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Saudia implements IATA’s NDC programme

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Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has announced its decision to implement International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) New Distribution Capability (NDC) in a modular approach. Saudia has appointed TPConnects, a leading technology solutions provider, as its NDC distribution partner to manage the NDC standard platform. At Saudia, implementation of NDC is seen as a major Transformation project focusing on revenue drivers, major cost reducing programs and implementing ONE Order initiatives, beyond opportunities in distribution. NDC standards enable Saudia to offer our guests the opportunity to have a consistent shopping experience, including access to rich content, ability to buy ancillary products and services and to be recognized and receive personalized offers, wherever they shop for Saudia products, especially from the travel agents and Online Travel Agency channels. The introduction of NDC could help travel agents to improve the offering to the customer, to upsell additional services including branded fares or fare families which are of value to both the traveler and the corporation and create business process improvements.

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