Category Archives: Aviation

Air Arabia increases flights to Yerevan to 4 times a week

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Air Arabia has increased services to Armenia’s Yerevan to four times a week as it is fast proving to be a popular holiday destination for GCC families, especially Indian citizens living in the Gulf, thanks to the latest visa-on-arrival policy that the country implemented earlier this year. Yerevan appeals to a wide spectrum of holiday goers, from thrill seeking adventurers to those looking for more family-orientated trips. Flying to Yerevan from Sharjah, Air Arabia, the Middle East and North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier, commenced operations to Armenia in 2013. The journey time is approximately three hours and the route is being served by an Airbus A320.

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Heathrow and Travelex join hands to make VAT refunds quick and easy

Left_Chris Annetts & Right_John Rayment

Travelex has partnered with Heathrow to provide a convenient way for VAT refund to the travellers reclaiming their tax when leaving the UK. Customers flying from Heathrow Terminal 5 can now book appointments for a fast, efficient VAT refund process at a time convenient to them. The VAT Refund by Appointment service offers one-to-one consultations at a screened desk within the VAT refund appointment office, with no waiting time – all appointments at a fixed time arranged in advance; meet-and-greet welcome at the door; help with form filling, if needed; English, Arabic and Chinese speaking hosts (subject to availability) and personal reminder by phone 24 hours before the appointed time (where possible). John Rayment, UK Commercial Director, Travelex, explains, “Tax-free shopping is one of the great benefits of coming to the UK. But we recognise that our customer’s time is precious. This new, exclusive experience will ensure customers can complete their VAT Refund in a relaxed environment, with the assurance that it will be completed in a timely fashion.”

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Mauritania Airlines spreads its reach; partners with Hahn Air

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The German airline Hahn Air announced the start of an interline partnership with Mauritania Airlines International. This agreement enables the national flag carrier of Mauritania to tap into new markets where they are not a member of the local Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP). Thereby, Mauritania Airlines International expands its commercial reach to over 100,000 travel agencies in 190 markets worldwide while its flights are now available on the HR-169 ticket in the Global Distribution Systems (GDSs) Amadeus and Galileo. Steve Knackstedt, Vice President of the Airline Business Group at Hahn Air, said, “We are proud to welcome Mauritania Airlines International into our network of partner carriers, further broadening our presence in the African market with now 49 partners connecting destinations across all 54 countries on the continent. Under the agreement, Mauritania International Airlines will benefit from additional ticket sales and our travel agent partners will have access to yet another carrier whose tickets they would normally not be able to issue.”

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Fast-track experience at DXB Terminal 3 soon

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Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 has announced the introduction of biometric system and automated border control gates within 12-18 months to make the check-in and immigration processes there smoother and quicker. The biometric system will help the travellers register and store their biometric data using a facial recognition solution integrated with the UAE Wallet, and that data can then be utilised to ease their journey through immigration at T3 departures, and later on, at other touch-points throughout the airport. It will also help to provide automated access to Emirates’ First- and Business-Class lounges. The smart border control or immigration gates will supplement the existing e-gates and manned immigration counters and help to skip the manual checking of travellers’ passports and boarding passes as they would use the biometric data to validate all the information.

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Etihad and China Southern Airlines sign codeshare agreement for enhanced services to guests

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Etihad Airways and China Southern Airlines have announced a new codeshare partnership, taking the number of codeshare agreements signed by the Abu Dhabi based airline to 53. Under the new agreement, China Southern Airlines will put its ‘CZ’ code on Etihad Airways’ daily services between Beijing (PEK)/Shanghai (PVG)/Chengdu (CTU) and Abu Dhabi. The codeshare partnership will give China Southern guests the opportunity to book codeshare flights to and from Abu Dhabi, and connect on to Etihad’s network of over 100 destinations worldwide. Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Airways’ Executive Vice President Commercial, said, “With this partnership, either airline can use its strengths to benefit the other and offer more choices, with enhanced connectivity, to all the guests, alongside world-class services and products offered by both the airlines.”

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Gulf Air celebrates launch of flight to Georgia

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Gulf Air recently celebrated the launch of its thrice-a-week direct service to the Georgian capital Tbilisi. The celebration took place at Bahrain International Airport, in the presence of the Georgian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Sultanate of Oman, H.E. George Janjgava, along with Bahrain Civil Aviation Affairs officials, Bahrain International Airport officials and members of Gulf Air’s executive management team. Commenting on the launch of Gulf Air’s newest destination, Gulf Air Chief Executive Officer, Mr Maher Salman Al Musallam, said, “I am delighted Gulf Air is directly connecting Bahrain and Georgia; and witnessing such a high demand as we commence operations is a positive indication of what is to come. I look forward to seeing passengers from across the GCC and MENA regions fly with us.”

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Deluxe and Premium Departure Services at DXB T1 & T3

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Now skip the queues and experience a completely relaxed exit from one of the world’s busiest airports, Dubai International Airport. The 530-key Dubai International Hotel, located at Terminal 3, invites passengers to experience a luxurious and hassle-free departure from the Airport, with Ahlan Services. Ahlan Services, DXB International’s concierge service, has now expanded its services to include ‘Deluxe’ and ‘Premium’ Departure Services for passengers looking for a luxurious exit from Dubai, from Terminals 1 and 3. Passengers need not be guests of the hotel to opt for this service. Also to be noted is that the services are not available at Terminal 2 or Dubai World Central (DWC). Priced at AED 150 per person, the Deluxe Meet and Greet Departure Service provides a Guest Services Agent and a Bellboy who meet the guest at the airport’s departure drop-off point. The guest is then fast-tracked through the Check-in Counter, towards Immigration/Passport Control, through Security Check, and finally guided to the boarding gate of their flight. This service is priced at AED 315 for a family of four, with additional AED 85 per additional member. Ahlan’s Premium Meet and Greet Departure Services, priced at AED 295 per person, offers a guest, in addition to all the features offered with the Deluxe Services, the opportunity to relax at the plush Ahlan Departures’ Lounge at Terminal 1 or 3, with complimentary refreshments (hot and cold buffet), a wide selection of beverages, access to the Business Centre facilities, and also shower facilities to freshen up. Guests can also avail a complimentary 15-minute foot massage, back massage or Indian head massage at the Timeless Spa.

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Ethiopian Airlines places repeat order for 10 A350-900 aircraft

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Ethiopian Airlines has placed an order for 10 additional Airbus A350-900 aircraft, enabling further development to its fast expanding long-haul route network. Last June, Ethiopian Airlines became the first African carrier to operate the A350 when it took delivery of the first of 12 aircrafts in order. Today the carrier operates a fleet of four A350s. Ethiopian Airlines’ A350-900s are configured in a two class layout, seating 30 passengers in Business Class and 313 in Economy Class. The spacious, quiet interior and mood lighting in the cabin contribute to superior levels of passenger comfort and well-being. “Operating the youngest fleet in the industry with modern and comfortable customer features in cabin is one of the four pillars in our 15 years strategic road map and this order placement for additional A-350s is one component of this strategy. The performance, operational and cost efficiencies we have achieved with our initial A350-900s have resulted in these additional ten aircraft order placement and thereby suffice our ever-expanding global network. We will deploy the additional aircraft on our long haul routes connecting Addis Ababa with destinations in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia,” explained Tewolde GebreMariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines.

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Arrive Early for Summer Rush, says Emirates

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Emirates reminds customers to arrive at the airport at least three hours before flight departure because of ongoing heavy road works, construction around the main airport highways and summer rush. Passengers can physically check in at the airport as early as six hours before departing on their flight. They are requested to check in no later than 90 minutes prior to departure and those who check in less than 60 minutes prior to departure will not be accepted for travel. Customers can also check in online on both their desktops and mobile devices from 48 hours to 90 minutes before flight departure or use the facilities near its car park area to check in and drop off luggage 24 hours to six hours prior to departure. Along with checked in baggage, passengers are strongly advised to adhere to carry-on baggage weight limits, which are 7kg for Economy Class and 14kg for Business and First Class. Alternatively, customers heading to Emirates Terminal 3 can choose to drop their luggage at one of the 46 dedicated bag drop counters. Passengers on US-bound flights starting their journeys in Dubai are encouraged to pack their electronic devices into their check-in luggage to avoid delays.

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Etihad Airways doubles A380 service to New York JFK

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Etihad Airways has introduced its flagship Airbus A380 on its second daily service between Abu Dhabi and New York JFK. All 14 weekly flights between the two cities are now operated by the double-decker aircraft. The superjumbo has replaced a three-class Boeing 777-300ER previously operating one of the airline’s twice-daily flights. The new deployment means New York will join London and Sydney as an all-A380 operation. Etihad Airways launched daily non-stop flights to New York JFK on October 26, 2006 and introduced a second daily service in March 2014. It subsequently upgraded one of the daily flights to an A-380 aircraft in November 2015. Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, said, “The response we have received from our guests travelling between Abu Dhabi and New York since we first launched the A380 service two years ago has been phenomenal. We are delighted to further expand our world-leading product to all guests flying to and from the Big Apple.

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