Category Archives: Aviation

Qatar unveils new transit visa rules

A new transit visa structure unveiled by Qatar will now allow passengers with a minimum transit time of five hours in Hamad International Airport, to stay in Qatar for up to 96 hours (four days), without the requirement to apply ahead of time for an entry visa. Qatar Airways, Qatar Tourism Authority and Qatar’s Ministry of Interior recently announced this revised tourism visa scheme in a move to promote Qatar as a world-class stopover destination. This is a significant increase from the previous transit visa scheme, which allowed travellers with a minimum layover of eight hours to spend a maximum of 48 hours (two days) in Qatar. This increase is designed to make stopovers easier and more attractive to Qatar Airways’ global passengers, and aims to deliver additional value to the local economy while strengthening Qatar’s position as an attractive tourist destination. The Qatar transit visa is free of charge and available on arrival at Hamad International Airport to passengers of all nationalities, upon confirmation of onward journey and completion of passport control procedures. All visas are approved and issued at the sole discretion of the Ministry of Interior. The development, announced on the eve of World Tourism Day, is the third in a series of enhancements that Qatar has made to facilitate entry into the country for visitors. Last week, officials announced a new process to quicken the entry of tourists arriving on board cruise ships, and earlier, representatives signed an agreement with VFS Global, which will see the development of a new, faster and more transparent tourist visa application mechanism.

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Emirates accords incentive for corporate travellers

Emirates has revamped its corporate loyalty programme, Emirates Business Rewards, to provide greater value and added features for customers. The new programme has been simplified and made more competitive to allow upgrades on last minute bookings. One of the biggest features is the ability to use Business Rewards Points to book any commercially available seat at any time giving members cash-like convenience. Emirates is the first and only airline in the region to offer such flexibility as part of its corporate loyalty programme – improving cost-effectiveness for business travel. Emirates Business Rewards has enhanced its user-experience with easy-to-use customer dashboards. These include tools to manage and book services for employees, and monitor the savings accumulated so far on the programme.

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Qatar Airways increase capacity to Brazil and Argentina

Qatar Airways will introduce additional capacity to its two South American gateways from December 1, 2016, when the airline upgrades its existing aircraft operating on the route, a Boeing 777-200LR, to a Boeing 777-300ER. The upgrade to the Extended Range aircraft will provide an additional 99 seats per day from the airline’s capital in Doha to Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. Qatar Airways’ existing aircraft operating on the route is the Boeing 777-200LR with 259 seats, which will increase to 358 seats. Commercial passenger traffic from the two cities to Qatar Airways’ network of more than 150 destinations via Doha provides travellers with some of the  shortest travel times from South America to popular destinations such as Bangkok, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Beirut, Singapore, Delhi and Maldives, and many other places can be conveniently reached via Qatar Airways’ Doha hub. All flights to South America feature three full meal services with three cuisine options in Economy Class, including vegetarian meals and complimentary beverages. In Business Class, Qatar Airways offers a bespoke dine-on-demand service where premium passengers can select a five course meal at their leisure. Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777 offers 42 seats in Business Class and 316 in Economy Class. The airline was recently voted World’s Best Business Class and features a state-of-the-art inflight entertainment system, Oryx One, with up to 3,000 options including the latest movies, TV series, music and games.

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16 million members on 16 years of Emirates Skywards

Emirates Skywards, the frequent flyer programme of Emirates Airline, marks its 16th year milestone with over 16 million members and the successful launch of new initiatives to enhance reward options for members. Since the programme’s inception in 2000, Emirates Skywards members have redeemed 220 billion Miles on reward flights, hotels stays and exclusive access to the biggest events worldwide. The diversity of the programme’s partners and rewards are reflected in the airline’s global customer base and network spanning six continents and over 150 destinations. With a focus on customer satisfaction, Emirates Skywards continuously forms exclusive partnerships and introduces new initiatives to offer greater value, choice and flexibility to its members. Most recently, Emirates Skywards has introduced Cash+Miles — allowing flight redemption using a combination of cash and Skywards Miles. Members in all four tiers — Blue, Silver, Gold and Platinum — can start redeeming flights with as little as 2,000 Miles. This popular new initiative instantly reduces the cost of the tickets and can be used on any Emirates flight across all classes, making any seat available to Emirates Skywards members. To date, Emirates Skywards has 14 airline partners including strategic partnerships with Easyjet and Qantas, offering members access to one of the world’s largest networks of global travel destinations. The programme also has 24 hotel partner brands covering nearly 20,000 properties worldwide. This includes a collaboration with the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) programme which gives members double rewards through the ability to earn both Skywards Miles and Starpoints when they fly with Emirates or stay with Starwood. Emirates Skywards members also enjoy access to a global network of 39 Emirates lounges in major airports including six lounges at Dubai …

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Azerbaijan Airlines appoint Aviareps in 12 markets

In recent times, Azerbaijan has become one of the most visited tourist destinations for the UAE nationals and expatriates as well.  Azerbaijan Airlines promoted special packages for Eid from Dubai to Azerbaijan.  In a move to further enhance their operations,  the airline has appointed Aviareps to represent the airline in 12 other markets apart from the UAE. The appointment, made with immediate effect, is the result of the airline strategy to broaden its brand and sales outreach among travellers and travel industry leaders both in markets with direct Azerbaijan Airlines flights, such as the online markets of China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Turkey, Spain and the United Kingdom, as well as in the strategically important offline markets of Denmark, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, where the airline does not operate direct flights. As part of the representation, AVIAREPS will act as the airlines’ sales agent, responsible for its sales and marketing activities within the specified markets. More details in our print version in October 2016.

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Bahrain Airport expansion to start in October

According to sources the Bahrain airport expansion work is to start next month (October). The project will boost passenger capacity to 14 million with an estimated cost of $1.1 billion. The foundation work includes the transfer of Bahrain Aviation Fuelling Company facilities, the building of a main access security gate, the setting up of a new fire station, and the establishment of new staff car parks. It is one of the biggest projects ever held under the Gulf Development Fund. More details to be released soon.

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Turkish Airlines launches flights to Seychelles

Seychelles becomes Turkish Airlines’ third Island in the Vanilla Islands Group, with the addition of three weekly return flights to Mahe, Seychelles. Already flying to 48 destinations in Africa, Turkish Airlines will increase its flight network by adding Seychelles as another destination in the continent, bringing the total number of destinations that Europe’s best airline serves to 243 worldwide, and 49 in Africa. With the addition of Seychelles, Turkish Airlines, the airline that flies to more countries than any other airline by serving 117 countries will promise a great experience for users of the new route from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with a one stop in Istanbul, Turkey. Three weekly flights will be operated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, and the passengers will depart from Istanbul at 01:05 on board TK748 arriving at 10:55, with a return service on TK749 departing from Seychelles at 12:25 to arrive in Istanbul at 18:10 on the same days.

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Over 1 million fliers expected at DXB over holiday weekend

It was announced that Eid holiday traffic will top 1 million passengers at Dubai International over the next four days as travellers seek a quick escape as summer draws to a close. During the Eid break passengers coming through the airport will be able to enjoy performances by African drummers, jugglers and dabka dancers, while virtual reality gaming enthusiasts will have the opportunity to try their hand at finding Pedro, DXB’s ‘resident penguin’. There will be games across the terminals and prizes will be handed out to hundreds of lucky winners.  In addition to the festivities, the airport is also implementing detailed operational plans, boosting staff levels, intensifying communication efforts with it business partners to ensure a smooth operation. Dubai Airports has also issued travel tips for passengers to help ease their flow through the facility during the holiday travel season. Smart Travel Tips Be sure to check which airport and terminal you are departing from/arriving into beforehand. Passengers can confirm with their airline or check www.dubaiairports.ae Arrive early at the airport. It is best to leave a minimum of three hours for check-in and passport control. Take into consideration daily rush hours and available routes in calculating your commuting time to the airport. Leave extra time for your journey to the airport as the roads will be very busy. Please say your goodbyes at home. Check with the airline in advance for information on your baggage allowance. Irrespective of the allowance, a single unit of baggage weighing more than 32kgs will not be accepted at check-in. You should expect to be charged for baggage in excess of the limit set by your respective airline. It is always simpler to …

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New GSA and new premises for SriLankan Airlines

SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka, has appointed Sharaf Travel as their GSA for Dubai and moved their commercial and business activities to 2nd floor, Sharaf Building, adjacent to Burjuman Metro Station, Bur Dubai, recently.  On the eve of new office opening, following dignitaries graced the occasion: Charitha Yattogoda, Consul General for Sri Lanka in Dubai, Ibrahim Sharaf, Chairman and President Sharaf Group, Siva Ramachandran, Chief Commercial Officer SriLankan Airlines,  V. Jayaram, Managing Director Sharaf Travels, Veersen Tamhane, Managing Director Sharaf Cargo (GSA – SriLankan Airlines Cargo UAE) and Desiree Premachandra, Country Manager UAE, SriLankan Airlines. Part of the Sharaf Group conglomerate, Sharaf Travel is one of the leading TMCs of the region. For over two decades, the General Sales Agency division has established and nurtured long and enduring partnerships with 21 leading airlines from all over the world; representing all of them in the UAE, some in Oman, and a few in other GCC countries. An ISO compliant company with certifications in ISO 9001-2008 Quality Management, ISO 14001-2004 Environmental Management, and OHSAS 18001/2007 Health and Safety, Sharaf Travel has played an integral role in driving Sales and Marketing strategies for its principal partners across multiple channels, robust business continuity plans to ensure regular revenue streams, and contribute towards their overall profitability. SriLankan Airlines, commenced flights to Dubai 35 years ago, which is almost from the time of its inception in 1979 and known then as Air Lanka, and still continues today operating a direct daily flight to the emirate of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, deploying a combination of its Airbus 330, A320 and A321 aircraft.

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Etihad partners with Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai

Etihad Airways teamed up with renowned Indian fashion designer Manish Malhotra to showcase the artiste’s latest collection at the Lakmé Fashion Week in Mumbai. Known for designing lavish costumes for Bollywood film stars and Indian cinema for more than two decades, Manish Malhotra has captured the imagination of fashionistas around the world. His opening night show on August 24, ‘Etihad Airways Presents Manish Malhotra’, was shot in virtual reality allowing viewers to feel the excitement of being present at the show, whether backstage, front row or at the post-show party. It comes just months after Etihad Airways used the pioneering technology to give viewers unprecedented access to the airline’s award-winning Airbus A380 by immersing them in the aircraft cabins in a virtual reality film ‘Reimagine’ featuring Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman. The collaboration with Manish Malhotra is the latest initiative by the Abu Dhabi-based airline following its recently-announced sponsorship efforts to become the fashion industry’s preferred airline. This will help further elevate the airline’s premium brand positioning alongside the world’s most revered luxury brands. Earlier this year, Etihad Airways struck a comprehensive global agreement with WME | IMG as a long-term partner of the fashion industry, connecting the airline with the fashion capitals of the world. The agreement is the first multinational, multi-year airline sponsorship supporting the fashion industry. Mumbai is the latest stop in Etihad Airways’ global fashion sponsorship, supporting 17 fashion week events in London, Milan, Sydney, New York and Mumbai, worldwide every year. It follows on from the airline’s recent participation at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.

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