Category Archives: Aviation

Terminal Fee exemption for Filipino expats flying Cebu

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Filipino expats flying with Cebu Pacific to their job site do not need to pay Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal Fee, which is worth around AED 40.  The Philippines’ largest airline, Cebu Pacific (CEB), works hand-in-hand with the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to exempt Filipino expats from paying the International Passenger Service Charge (IPSC), or the Terminal Fee, at the (NAIA). Passengers who booked through CEB’s ticketing offices or travel agencies have to present valid documents at the time of purchase. For bookings made through the Cebu Pacific Reservation Hotlines or via the website, valid documents must be presented at the Airport Bag Drop Counter upon check-in. Valid documents include the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC); and those included under the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration’s Balik Manggagawa program such as a valid employment contract, recent pay slip, or Company ID. Bookings made through the Cebu Pacific mobile app and GetGo (points) redemption will allow exemptions soon. “After months of working with the MIAA on the details, Cebu Pacific is very proud to be the first carrier to make available such a benefit for our Filipino expats. We are pleased to offer our kababayans working abroad the convenience of not having to go through a process of reimbursement for fees they are already exempted from under the Migrant Workers Act,” said Atty. JR Mantaring, CEB Vice President for Corporate Affairs. Aside from Filipino expats, pilgrims with authorization from the Philippine Sports Commission, and guests who have been issued a MIAA exemption certificate (MEC) are also exempted from paying the IPSC, provided valid documents are presented. Recently, Cebu Pacific passengers have been given the option to pay for the travel on international …

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Dubai Airport welcomes Himalayan Airlines

Himalayan Airlines

Himalayan Airlines’ inaugural flight from the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu landed at Dubai World Central (DWC), Dubai’s second airport. The airline will operate three weekly flights from Tribhuvan International Airport to DWC, using an Airbus A320-214 aircraft with 150 economy class seats and eight business class seats. Himalayan Airlines’ arrival at DWC increases the number of passenger carriers serving the airport to 19 and the average number of weekly flights to 106.

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Emirates’ all-A380 service to Melbourne

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Emirates will provide an all-A380 service from Melbourne when it upgrades its third daily flight from the Australian city, EK408 and EK409, from a Boeing 777-300ER to an A380 operation. The move will add 945 seats per week to the Australian city from March 25, 2018, representing a 10 per cent increase in capacity. Emirates customers can enjoy a seamless “A380 to A380” connections via its hub in Dubai to 18 points in the UK and Europe. The additional weekly seats on the route will support more business and leisure travel between Dubai and Melbourne and together with Qantas’ new Melbourne, via Perth, London B789 Dreamliner service beginning on the 24th March 2018, offers customers more options to London and Europe under the joint partnership. The popular Emirates A380 offers 489 seats in a three-class cabin configuration with 14 private suites in First Class, 76 flat-bed seats in Business Class and 399 spacious seats in Economy. Passengers in all classes can enjoy over 2,500 channels of the latest films, TV shows, music, and games on Emirates’ ice Digital Widescreen, which has been named World’s Best Inflight Entertainment at the prestigious Skytrax World Airline Awards for a record 12 years running. First and Business Class passengers on the Emirates A380 can spend time during their flight socialising in the iconic Onboard Lounge on the upper deck of the aircraft, and First Class passengers can enjoy the exclusive use of the on-board shower spas to refresh during flights. Premium customers are also offered complimentary chauffeur drive to and from Melbourne airport, lounge access and priority check-in.

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Dubai Airports traffic grows by 7.4% during Q1

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Passenger traffic at the world’s number one airport for international passenger numbers, Dubai International (DXB), climbed 7.4 per cent during the first quarter of 2017 to 22,496,596 compared to 20,948,690 recorded during the same period last year, according to traffic results released by Dubai Airports.  The year to date totals follow March results which saw a 3.8 per cent increase in passenger numbers to 7,511,431 compared to 7,237,509 reported in March 2016. The more modest growth rate in March was due to the timing of the Easter holiday which fell during March in 2016 and during April in 2017. The number of passenger flights in March grew 1.0 percent to 34,634 compared to 34,303 last year while year-to-date flight numbers were up 0.5 percent to 100,638 compared to 100,116 recorded during the first quarter of 2016. The average number of passengers per flight in the first three months of the year was 224, compared to 209 during the corresponding period in 2016, an increase of 6.8 per cent. During the first three months of the year, Eastern Europe was the fastest expanding market in terms of percentage growth (33.3 per cent) as the appreciation of the ruble against the US dollar over the past year has increased spending power in Dubai and spiked demand in the Russian market. Asia was the next fastest growing market (22.6 per cent) which benefited from additional capacity provided by Emirates and flydubai in markets such as Thailand, China and the Philippines, followed by South America (22.2 percent). Conversely, the impact of travel bans and electronic device restrictions is starting to be felt on North American traffic figures, which were down 4.3 per cent during …

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Gulf Air appoints VFS to aid visas to Bahrain

Gulf Air-VFS Global

Gulf Air, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s national carrier, partnered with VFS Global, the largest visa service provider in the world, to facilitate visa issuance for passengers flying to the Kingdom of Bahrain. The online visa facility will launch this summer on gulfair.com. Signing the agreement with VFS Global, Gulf Air Chief Commercial Officer, Ahmed Janahi, said: “We are partnering with VFS Global to provide a much needed service to Gulf Air passengers that will support our national carrier’s longstanding efforts to promote the Kingdom as a destination to a broad spectrum of travellers while making the process of obtaining a visa to Bahrain easier and more convenient. Soon, Gulf Air passengers will be able to easily obtain short term visit visas to Bahrain via our website gulfair.com – allowing them to come to Bahrain and experience all that our Kingdom has to offer in terms of tourism, business opportunities and more.” Said Zubin Karkaria, Chief Executive Officer, VFS Global Group, “Integrating next-generation convenience into the traditional visa process lies at the heart of our services. We are pleased to synergise our efforts with Gulf Air and the Government of Bahrain to ensure greater flexibility and digital-friendly services for visitors to Bahrain, while maintaining the security requirements of the visa process. We believe the online e-visa platform will make visa application much more convenient for Gulf Air customers, providing them with greater speed and transparency in the process, thereby enhancing their overall experience.” Added Vinay Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer – Middle East & South Asia, VFS Global, “Applying for an eVisa through our dedicated online platform, designed exclusively for Gulf Air passengers, will transform the visa application experience for passengers, offering …

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flydubai adds Batumi, Qabala and Tivat for summer

Flydubai Boeing 737-800

flydubai has announced its latest destinations for the upcoming summer season at the Arabian Travel Market. Flights to Batumi in Georgia, Qabala in Azerbaijan and Tivat in Montenegro will operate from June to September 2017, creating a network of 93 destinations in 44 countries for the Dubai-based airline. This reflects the growth and maturity of flydubai which since 2015 has added 18 new destinations. “At flydubai we remain committed to providing our passengers with a variety of destinations to travel to, especially during the summer season,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer, flydubai. “The decision to launch our seasonal routes to complement our existing network is a direct response to customer feedback and we hope our passengers enjoy what these hidden gems have to offer,” he added. flydubai’s popular leisure destinations reflect the diversity of its network. Last year, its top four destinations for a beach getaway in terms of passenger numbers were Colombo, Salalah, Male’ and Zanzibar. The airline has seen passenger numbers to Colombo grow by 24% in 2016 compared to the previous year, with passenger numbers to Salalah and Male’ increasing by 40% and 29% respectively during the same period.

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Qatar’s five daily to Bangkok from June

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Qatar Airways announced plans to introduce a fifth daily non-stop service from Doha to Bangkok from June 1, 2017. The increased frequency, along with its double-daily Phuket flights and the five-month-old Krabi operations (four flights a week), will take the number of weekly Qatar Airways departures from Thailand to Doha to 53. In tandem with its expansion into Thailand, Qatar Airways has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to come together and boost inbound tourism to Thailand. The MoU was signed by Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer Ehab Amin, in the presence of Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker and TAT’s Deputy Governor for International Marketing, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas, Tanes Petsuwan on day one of the Arabian Travel Market taking place in Dubai. They were joined by Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand; Chalermsak Suranant, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Dubai and Middle East Office; and other high-ranking executives from both organisations. H.E. Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said, “Boosting our Bangkok flight frequency to five daily flights is a significant commitment from us to the Thai market and testament to the strong year-round demand on this iconic Far East route. We are delighted to be able to dedicate additional capacity to Thailand, providing even more flexibility and convenience for our passengers travelling to and from the Land of Smiles. Bangkok has long been a hugely popular destination for both business and leisure travellers. The partnership with the Tourism Authority of Thailand allows us to jointly work together to attract more travellers from secondary cities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa …

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UAE-Turkey passengers numbers increased by 14% in last 12 months

TURKISH AIRLINES 4X3

Turkish Airlines has reported a significant growth in the number of inbound and outbound tourists for Turkey and the GCC, at ATM being held at Dubai International Convention Centre until April 27, 2017. According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Turkey, the number of visitors from GCC nationals who travelled to Turkey in 2016 increased by 10.5 per cent in comparison with the previous year reaching 822,849 people, with the biggest increase belonging to travellers from Saudi Arabia which saw a growth of 18 percent to reach 530,410 people. The second largest growth in tourist numbers was from the UAE to Turkey reporting an increase of 14 per cent. M. İlker Aycı, Turkish Airlines’ Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, said: “2016 has been a successful year for Turkish Airlines in terms of our global fleet and network expansion as we continue to build momentum for our excellent in-flight and customer service. Our network expansion has also been a pivotal step in supporting the increasing customer demand in all our markets, including the UAE and the wider GCC. Through new and innovative features, as well as having a growing fleet, our aim is to provide customers with the best possible options, both in terms of new destinations and innovative products and services.” The airline also reported that the top three outbound destinations from Turkey to travel in the GCC region are Jeddah, Dubai and Kuwait reflecting that the GCC market continues to be a popular attraction for many.

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Qatar Airways and TAT ink deal to boost tourism

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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Qatar Airways, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on April 24 at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2017 in Dubai. With this latest partnership, TAT seeks to leverage the strength of Qatar Airways’ extensive global network, particularly its presence in secondary cities in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, to increase the number of tourist arrivals to Thailand in 2017/18. Under the MoU, TAT and Qatar Airways will develop joint promotions to mutually increase tourism and visibility for Thailand to travellers in more than 150 destinations the airline flies to. Effective 1 June, Qatar Airways will have five daily flights from Doha to Bangkok. The increased frequency, along with its double-daily Phuket flights and the five-month-old Krabi operations (4 flights a week), take the number of weekly Qatar Airways departures from Thailand to Doha to 53. Besides the existing three popular Thai destinations, Qatar Airways has also set its sights on Chiang Mai, the largest city in Northern Thailand. The MoU was signed by Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer Ehab Amin and Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Deputy Governor for International Marketing, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas, Tanes Petsuwan. They were joined by Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chalermsak Suranant, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Dubai and Middle East Office and other high-ranking executives from both organisations.

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6.3% growth at UAE airports in 2017

Sharjah Airport

Despite sluggish global economic growth, the UAE will lead Middle East passenger growth in 2017 with an annual increase of more than 6.3 per cent, according to estimates from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Middle East carriers have reported the strongest annual traffic growth of any region globally for the fifth year running in 2016, according to the IATA. RPKs (revenue passenger kilometres) grew 11.8 per cent consolidating the region’s position as the third-largest market for global passengers. Capacity growth of 13.7 per cent outstripped demand however, driving down the average load factor by 1.3 percentage points to 74.7 per cent. With a number of aviation mega-projects underway across the GCC and wider Middle East, airports are expanding slightly ahead of the curve in demand, with capacity in 2016 increasing by 13.9 per cent and a forecast for 2017 of 10.1 per cent.

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