Category Archives: Aviation

Qatar to fly Doha-Skopje in July

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Qatar Airways confirmed the start date of its direct service to Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, with four-weekly flights beginning July 17, 2017. Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker said: “Our new four-weekly service to Skopje is a much anticipated addition to our global route map, connecting leisure and business passengers to and from the Republic of Macedonia. Those travelling on Qatar Airways from this destination onwards to our global network will be able to connect seamlessly through the state-of-the-art Hamad International Airport to destinations such as our recently launched gateways of Auckland, Sydney, Krabi and Windhoek.” Qatar Airways to fly four-weekly flights between Doha and Skopje beginning 17 July. The airline will fly the A320 aircraft direct to and from Skopje on the four-weekly schedule, featuring a two-class cabin configuration with 12 seats in Business Class and 132 Economy Class seats. Passengers can relax with individual television screens with up to 3,000 entertainment options, while those in Business Class will be treated to the World’s Best Business Class service, as nominated by the prestigious Skytrax awards. As the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, Skopje provides a gateway to a country of dramatic scenery, including lakes, mountains and historic towns, while the city itself is home to both Ottoman and European architecture. Visitors to the city can enjoy the National Gallery of Macedonia, while those venturing further afield can visit the lakeside city of Ohrid, which features its own picturesque castle.

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3 new destinations for summer by flydubai

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Batumi in Georgia, Qabala in Azerbaijan and Tivat in Montenegro are the latest destinations to join flydubai’s growing network and will operate from June to September 2017. flydubai will be the first carrier to offer direct flights from the UAE to Qabala and Tivat, and the first from Dubai to Batumi. GCC nationals will not need a visa to any of these three new destinations, while UAE residence will receive visa on arrival. Following the launch of its latest popular destination, Bangkok, at the end of 2016, flydubai continues to diversify its network with the addition of more popular summer destinations for passengers from Dubai and across the region. The decision to launch these seasonal routes is in direct response to customer feedback and demand for more leisure destinations on the flydubai network. “We would like to thank the authorities in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Montenegro for making it easier for the residents of the UAE and GCC to visit these countries by facilitating their visa requirements,” said Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer at flydubai, commenting on the announcement. “We continue to look for opportunities to further expand our network and offer our passengers more options to travel especially for the summer holiday season. These popular new routes in will complement our existing comprehensive network and will be a gateway to explore this part of the region,” added Al Ghaith. Supported by new aircraft deliveries in 2017, flydubai continues to widen its network which comprises 93 destinations in 44 countries spanning from Yekaterinburg in the north, Bangkok in the east, Zanzibar in the south and Prague in the west. Batumi, which will be served by three flights a week, will …

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PIA and Turkish Airlines expand code share

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Turkish Airlines and Pakistan International Airlines have expanded their code-share cooperation, w.e.f from February 1, 2017. Inclusion of the new routes will enable both airlines a step into a new market while offering passengers various possibilities to travel. Turkish Airlines currently operates 7 frequencies each on the Istanbul – Karachi/Islamabad/Lahore vv. routes. The expanded code-share cooperation provides passengers with more feasible connections as well as seamless travel opportunities between and beyond destinations of Turkey and Pakistan. Pakistan International Airlines’ Jeddah and Madinah flights and as well as 8 domestic routes from Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore are appended to the renewed SPA in force since January 1st, 2017, which abled Turkish Airlines to reach Pakistan domestic destinations. The new SPA also involves Turkish Airlines’ all American destinations besides most of the European points. With the expansion of the existing code-share agreement, Pakistan International Airlines will be able to sell Turkish Airlines’ beyond Istanbul points of Atlanta, Johannesburg, Atina, Amsterdam, Tashkent, Moskova, Miami, Boston, Houston, Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago with its own airline code and flight number in addition to the already existing cooperation on Istanbul – Karachi/ Islamabad/ Lahore vv. routes; while Turkish Airlines will market Pakistan International Airlines operating flights from Karachi and Islamabad to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat and from Lahore to Dubai and Abu Dhabi with its own airline code and flight number.

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Oman Air unveils new schemes for agents

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Oman Air’s new loyalty scheme for travel agents was unveiled by Senior Vice President – Network Planning & Revenue Management, Aboudy Nasser. As per the new scheme, the best-selling travel agent staff of every quarter will receive a grand prize of a Mini Cooper, apart from other attractive cash support to the agency for training and joint marketing. The new scheme announcement was followed by a Question and Answer session by Senior Vice President Sales Mahfood Saleem Al Harthy who answered the questions by the travel agents present. Appreciating the efforts of many people in the travel industry, from agents to managers to those in the executive offices, across many levels, who work daily to turn the concept of traveling into reality, Oman Air brought the focus to awarding the efforts of the best performing travel agents for their contribution during 2016. The awards distribution was followed by a modest gala dinner. The event named, Together we Succeed, Oman Air welcomed one of its most important stakeholder segment in Oman, the travel agents.

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Air Arabia delivers strong 2016 net profit of AED 509 million

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Air Arabia announced full-year financial results for 2016 as the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier continued to deliver healthy growth and strong levels of profitability despite challenging market conditions.  Air Arabia’s net profit for the full year ending December 31, 2016 was AED 509 million, a 4 per cent lower than 2015 figure of AED 531 million. Turnover for the full year 2016 was in line with the preceding 12 months reaching AED 3.8 billion. More than 8.4 million passengers flew with Air Arabia in 2016, a 12 per cent year-on-year increase. The average seat load factor – or passengers carried as a percentage of available seats – in 2016 stood at an impressive 79 per cent. Following its solid full year 2016 performance, Air Arabia’s Board of Directors proposed a dividend distribution of 7 per cent of share capital, which is equivalent to 7 fils per share. This proposal was made following a meeting of the board of directors of Air Arabia and is subject to ratification by Air Arabia’s shareholders at the company’s upcoming Annual General Meeting. Air Arabia added 9 new routes to its global network in 2016 from its five operating hubs in the UAE, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan. The carrier took delivery of 7 new aircraft and ended the year with a fleet of 46 Airbus A320 aircraft operating to 124 routes across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe.

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Gulf Air inks deal with Sabre

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Sabre Corporation has signed a new agreement with the Kingdom of Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air, to provide an expanded portfolio of core passenger services technology covering reservations, departure controls and all other aspects that touch passengers directly. For the past two decades, Gulf Air has been using SabreSonic core reservations and departure control systems to conduct the most critical services ranging from sales of tickets to checking in passengers on flights. “It is clearly evident that Gulf Air is enjoying much greater success and has a clear path for continued growth over the coming years,” said Dino Gelmetti, vice president Airline Solutions EMEA, at Sabre. “Sabre is proud to have played an integral role in its turn-around strategy by providing robust, reliable and flexible technology that forms an essential foundation for streamlining its operations, reducing costs and increasing revenue. We look forward to continuing to support Gulf Air in what continues to be an important and exciting period of change and growth.” Under this new agreement, Sabre will continue providing the latest developments and trends through its technology solutions to Gulf Air, giving the airline access to an expanded portfolio of progressive technologies including passenger re-accommodation, mobile concierge services, ancillary inventory and real time revenue integrity software. “We continue to invest in and focus on enhancing the passenger experience, and are doing so via a multi-faceted approach that includes cutting edge technology solutions to make the entire travel experience more convenient and comfortable for Gulf Air passengers,” said Gulf Air Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Ahmed Janahi. “We are pleased to utilise an expanded range of solutions provided by Sabre, geared towards increasing passenger satisfaction and giving them greater control …

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Etihad’s third daily flight to Bengaluru

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Etihad Airways is launching a third daily flight on the Abu Dhabi – Bengaluru route, effective 26 March 2017. The triple daily schedule will provide greater choice to local passengers travelling between the two cities, and improved connectivity to destinations across the GCC, North America and Europe via the airline’s Abu Dhabi hub. The capacity increase underscores the airline’s commitment to offer guests more travel options between Abu Dhabi and key destinations across its network. With a new daily late night departure from Abu Dhabi, and early morning service from Bengaluru operated with a two-class Airbus 321, the schedule provides additional online connectivity to and from a number of destinations, including Doha, Jeddah, London, Dublin, New York and Dallas. Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, said: “Our expanded services between Abu Dhabi and Bengaluru are in line with Etihad Airways’ strategy to offer greater travel options when aircraft availability and market conditions permit. The extra flights to Bengaluru will cater to the strong demand between both cities, and bring closer our global network to and from Bengaluru over our Abu Dhabi hub.” Etihad Airways launched flights to Bengaluru, capital of the southern Indian state of Karnataka, in January 2011 with four services a week, rising to daily two months later. It has steadily grown capacity with additional frequencies and aircraft upgrades to its current double daily operation. More than 700,000 guests have been flown on the route over the past six years.

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IndiGo’s two new daily non-stop to Sharjah

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IndiGo, India’s largest budget-carrier, plans to introduce two daily routes to Sharjah International Airport, which will become its sixth international destination. The airline announced the launch of daily non-stop Sharjah-Kozhikode (CCJ) flights from 20 March and daily non-stop Sharjah-Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) flights from April 8. Headquartered in Gurgaon (Gurugram), India, IndiGo is India’s largest passenger airline with a market share of 40.3 percent (December 2016). IndiGo is ranked among the top ten best low-cost airlines in the world by leading consumer aviation website Skytrax and among the 10 On-Time Performers in the Asia Pacific region by FlightStats, a leader in global flight information services. The airline plans to to operate 857 daily flights connecting 43 destinations from March 2017. Sharjah-based Air Arabia already operates flights between the emirate and 13 key Indian destinations. Meanwhile, Air India Express added three new routes last 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 now flies daily to Sharjah from Kozhikode, or Calicut (CCJ) and Kochi (COK), both in the south-west coast Indian state of Kerala. The airline launched a daily service from Mangaluru in Karnataka state in 2016, but stopped flying the route at the end of the year due to operational reasons.

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Dubai Airports and Shaheen support UAE Olympic 7’s dream

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Dubai Airports’ three-year long sponsorship of the UAE’s Shaheen Rugby programme is paying huge dividends for the team and the sport by boosting participation levels tenfold, improving fitness levels and fuelling the team’s drive to support the UAE Olympic 7’s dream. The Shaheen Rugby Development programme started with the support of Dubai Airports in 2014 and is responsible for a key Emirati element of the UAE Rugby Development and Performance Pathway. The programme, which commenced with 20 Emirati players who had no real rugby background, now boasts over 250 players aged 16 or over. Shaheen is the development squad for the UAE national rugby team. “Dubai Airports’ support of UAE Rugby Shaheen programme changed the lives of those who have been involved and have created role models for others to follow,” said HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum – Chairman UAE Rugby. “It has been a huge success story and not only in terms of the growing number of participants,” said Shaheen spokesperson Qais Abdulla Al Dhalai. “The enthusiasm of the group, love of the game, improving skills and fitness levels are also important success factors. Dubai Airports’ sponsorship and influence not only touches the players, but their families and friends. We estimate since the start of the programme over 420 different individual players which have been involved in the Shaheen programme and over 2,000 Emirati families and friends have also been exposed to the sport as a result.”

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Etihad partners with Lufthansa for aircraft maintenance

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Etihad Aviation Group and Lufthansa German Airlines, part of Europe’s largest aviation group unveiled details of a new commercial partnership.  The two airline groups have concluded a $100 million global catering agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate in aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul. Addressing a press conference in Abu Dhabi, the chief executives of both airline groups spelled out plans to broaden their commercial partnership. James Hogan, Etihad Aviation Group President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Partnerships are at the heart of our strategy and remain fundamental for us to compete effectively and efficiently in a complex and competitive global market. Our collaboration with one of the aviation industry’s most established and recognised brands is undoubtedly the most significant non-equity partnership with an airline we have ever announced. This partnership is the platform for a much wider strategic collaboration between our two organisations. It demonstrates the commitment of the Etihad Aviation Group Board and Abu Dhabi to our European growth strategy.” Carsten Spohr, Lufthansa Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We welcome the opportunity to strengthen our cooperation with the Etihad Aviation Group. Together we can create added value for our customers and shareholders. Partnering with the Etihad Aviation Group fits perfectly the Lufthansa Group’s global strategy for our passenger airlines and service companies.” The four-year catering contract will see Lufthansa’s LSG Sky Chefs provide catering services to Etihad Airways in 16 cities in Europe, Asia and the Americas. This makes LSG the largest provider of catering services to the UAE’s national airline, outside its Abu Dhabi home base. Etihad Aviation Group and Lufthansa Technik (LHT) also signed an MoU to explore cooperation in maintenance, repair …

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