Category Archives: Aviation

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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Qatar launches world’s longest flight

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Qatar Airways has launched its new record-breaking Auckland service on one of the country’s most significant days of the year – Waitangi Day. It was the first Qatar Airways flight to touch down on the North Island of New Zealand. Auckland is the first city in New Zealand to be served by Qatar Airways and will provide a gateway for travellers to visit the stunning country, which is famous for its spectacular coastlines and lush forest landscapes. Celebrations to commemorate the launch of the world’s longest commercial flight, which takes 17 hours and 30 minutes and covers a distance of 14,535 kilometres, began at the airport with a traditional water salute as the Qatar Airways Boeing 777 taxied down the runway. The new daily flight to Auckland is served by a Boeing 777, which has a two-class configuration with 42 seats in Business Class and 217 seats in Economy Class. Passengers travelling on board the Qatar Airways Boeing 777 to and from Auckland in Business Class can enjoy one of the most comfortable fully-flat beds in the sky with 78 inches of seat pitch. In addition, the on-demand à la carte menu service allows Business Class passengers to order anything from the menu at any time during the flight. The aircraft also features the airline’s award-winning Oryx One entertainment system, offering up to 3,000 entertainment options on individual Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Akbar Al Baker travelled on board the inaugural flight from Doha to Auckland and was welcomed by The Hon Todd McClay, New Zealand’s Minister of Trade and State Owned Enterprises; and Auckland Airport Chief Executive, Adrian Littlewood. H.E. Al Baker said: “The launch of our …

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Emirates offers access to its premium lounges at DXB

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Emirates has launched an additional privilege to extend the usage of its luxury lounges at Dubai International Airport to its Loyalty Programme members and their guests at a minimal fee regardless of their class of travel. The pay-per-visit access will be available to Emirates Skywards members and their guests travelling on Emirates. Business Class travellers now also have the option to pay an upgrade fee to access the First Class lounges. Dubai International Airport is home to seven Emirates lounges spread over three concourses – A, B and C. In each of the concourses there is a dedicated Emirates First Class and Business Class lounge. Eligible guests can access the Emirates Business Class lounges in Dubai for a fee of $100 and the Emirates First Class lounges for a fee of $200. Business Class customers can also upgrade to First Class lounge access for a fee of $100. Guests who have paid a fee for entry can stay for up to four hours. Currently, First and Business Class customers as well as Silver, Gold and Platinum Skywards members receive complimentary access to the lounges in Dubai. “Our premium lounges here at our hub in Dubai are some of the best in the world and we are pleased that more of our customers can now experience them. We made the decision to expand access to our lounges in Dubai based on our customer feedback, and after a careful review to ensure that the same quality experience can be maintained. We are pleased to see many of our customers appreciate the opportunity to be able to pay for their additional guests and access the lounge which enables them to enjoy a relaxing …

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flydubai reports AED31.6 million in profit

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Flydubai has announced its Full-Year Results for 2016 reporting a profit of AED 31.6 million ($8.6 million). It has reported total revenue of AED 5 billion ($1.37 billion) an increase of 2.4 per cent compared to the same period last year. The stronger second half, driven by increased passenger numbers, was impacted by downward pressure on yield leading to lower overall revenue growth reflecting a continuation of the same adverse factors reported in the first half. His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman, flydubai, said: “These results see flydubai report its fifth consecutive full-year of profitability.  In 2012, our third year of operation, we carried 5.1 million passengers. This year, we have carried 10.4 million passengers demonstrating that flydubai continues to help change the way both business and leisure passengers travel around the region.  An established tourism destination and global centre for business together with the UAE’s geographic location has supported the need for increased connectivity.” Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai, reviewing the Annual Results for 2016, commented: “Over the last two years we have seen passenger traffic grow cumulatively by 52 per cent in terms of RPKM.  We continue to demonstrate that we gain loyal customers across our network who recognise the benefits of direct air links and enjoy our onboard offering.  The continuation of mainly lower fuel prices and ongoing cost management efforts are reflected in the 16% improvement in terms of ASKM over the last two years. We have however seen a difficult pricing and operating environment.” During 2017, flydubai will be the first airline in the Middle East to receive the new model Boeing 737 MAX 8 and the first of these aircraft will …

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MEA’s first IATA NDC-based search engine by Q2 2017

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The first dual International Air Transport Association (IATA) New Distribution Capability (NDC) Certified travel technology provider unveiled that it will be launching ihlah.com – Middle East and Africa’s first Travel Search Engine, by the second quarter of 2017.  ihlah.com is a travel search website accompanied by top-ranked mobile Apps for travellers living in the Middle East & Africa region. “Ihlah.com is Africa & Middle East’s Region’s first Travel Search Site targeting a market of 482 million Internet users in the region and 232 million passengers who travelled by air. We help travellers with a comprehensive browsing experience to compare flight and hotel options and pricing from various suppliers while keeping shoppers engaged in a single tab. Ihlah.com presents an unbiased comparison of all travel products and prices offered in the marketplace by merchants both local and global and enables shoppers to quickly find the best deal and place to book, whether from airline, hotel direct or with a third party aggregator website. Ihlah.com harnesses powerful yet simple to use technology based on IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) that automates the process of searching and comparing results from hundreds of airline, hotel and online travel agency websites,” said Praveen Kumar, Chief Technology Officer of TPConnects. For registered users, to search and compare travel products on ihlah.com will be offered as free of cost, while it works on a Cost Per Acquisition and/or Cost Per Click business model with airlines, hotels and online travel agencies.

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Etihad and TAT sign $1mn deal to boost tourism

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Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, and The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) signed a landmark $1 million agreement to increase tourism to Thailand. Under the new agreement, the Abu Dhabi-based airline and TAT will jointly promote travel to Thailand from priority markets including the United Arab Emirates, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Egypt and Kuwait. The agreement was signed by Etihad Airways Vice President Marketing,  Tim Burnell, and TAT’s Deputy Governor Tanes Petsuwan at a commemorative event in Bangkok at the Executive Lounge, Grande Centre Point Terminal 21. They were joined by Etihad Airways Senior Manager Marketing, Lamya Al Nuaimi. Burnell said: “Etihad Airways has a long and proud association with Thailand – in fact Bangkok was one of our first international routes. It continues to be one of the busiest in our network enjoying strong year-round demand, particularly from the UAE, GCC, Middle East, Africa and Europe. “With five daily flights to Thailand – four to Bangkok and one to Phuket – Etihad Airways has a significant investment in Thai tourism and the new agreement with Tourism Authority of Thailand supports and extends that commitment.Through innovative joint marketing campaigns, we aim to bring hundreds of thousands of first-time and repeat travellers from Europe and the Middle East to Thailand to enjoy this beautiful country and to experience the warm, friendly hospitality for which the Thai people are world-renowned.” Bangkok continues to be one of Etihad Airways’ busiest routes – around 800,000 guests travelled to and from Bangkok in 2016 alone. In all, more than 6 million guests have flown on the airline’s Thailand routes since 2007 and further growth is expected. Tanes Petsuwan said: “Europe …

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Flynas on Travelport platform

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Travelport and Flynas, a low-cost carrier from Saudi Arabia, have announced the signing of a multi-year, full content agreement. Launched in 2007, Flynas operates nearly 1,000 weekly flights to 30 destinations within and outside Saudi Arabia. The new agreement will see Flynas’ full content and inventory, including its branded fares and ancillaries become available to over 68,000 travel agencies, across 180 countries through Travelport’s Travel Commerce Platform. Furthermore, the airline now joins over 180 airlines which are currently live on Travelport’s merchandising technology solution for airlines, Travelport Rich Content and Branding. Through Travelport, the airline will be able to effectively promote Flynas’ products and services, including its dedicated Business Class Cabin, which has seen a significant investment from Flynas since 2013. Agents will also be able to access naSmiles, the frequent flyer program of Flynas, through which travellers can earn SMILE Points when booking flights and ancillaries. Also, Rich Content and Branding will enable the airline’s content to appear on travel agents’ screens, with rich, graphical product descriptions, boosting upselling opportunities for the travel agent community at the time of booking. Paul Byrne, Chief Executive Officer at Flynas, commented: “This new agreement with Travelport will provide the platform for our business to further improve our customer service, expand our presence across the globe and grow our revenues. Travelport’s industry leading Travel Commerce Platform has impressive capabilities and we are pleased to have signed this partnership. “ Matthew Powell, Managing Director, Middle East and South Asia, Travelport said: “We are delighted that Flynas has seen the value in our innovative Travel Commerce Platform. Our platform enables travel providers and their evolving technologies to deliver the widest choice of relevant content for …

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