Category Archives: Aviation

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

Qatar Airways plane.jpg

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 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


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

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Qatar Airways and British Airways expand codeshare


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


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


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


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


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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Qatar Airways & Orange County hold seminar for agents


Over 50 travel agents and tour operators from Dubai and Sharjah attended the Educational seminar session conducted by Qatar Airways and Orange County. The event took place at Raffles Dubai in association with AVIAREPS the representative for ME region for Orange County. They shared the importance of the destination and the many facilities, language, social etiquette etc to welcome guests from the ME region. Glenn Johnston, Vice President Corporate Communications & Public Relations, GM, UAE/Middle East, AVIAREPS, reiterated key ways to reach out to the clients with the many value added options with the one year partnership with Qatar Airways. They also launched the special privilege e-card for the travel agents and tour operators.

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New service to Baku by Air Arabia


Air Arabia has expanded its international route network with a new service to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. Starting 23 March 2017, the airline will operate four weekly flights from its primary Sharjah International Airport hub. On Thursdays and Sundays, the flight will depart Sharjah at 07:55 and arrive at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku at 10:50 local time, with the return flight scheduled from Baku at 11:30 destined to reach Sharjah at 14:10 local time. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, the flight will depart from Sharjah at 14:55 to land in Baku at 17:50 local time, and make its return journey starting 18:50 at Baku and land at Sharjah International Airport at 21:30 local time. The launch of the new flights follows a joint cooperation between Air Arabia, Azerbajian Airlines and local authorities aimed at promoting the new route connecting Baku and Sharjah. Sitting on the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan’s largest city also serves as the country’s financial nerve centre. Baku invites business and leisure travellers to its unique urban setting where ancient stone mansions co-exist with newly developed skyscrapers and mosques that stand as architectural marvels.

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