Category Archives: Aviation

Etihad Airways extends global covid-19 insurance

Etihad Airways has extended its COVID-19 global wellness insurance cover until 30 September 2021. Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Sales & Cargo, Etihad Airways, said, “Extending Etihad’s COVID-19 global wellness insurance reinforces the effectiveness of Etihad Wellness, the airline’s health, and hygiene programme. It’s an added benefit automatically provided to all guests – no exceptions. “As Etihad continues to gradually expand its services to up to 60 destinations this spring, the airline wants to instill confidence to travel and hopes this additional cover will reassure guests Etihad is doing everything it can to keep them safe and protected.” Guests who are diagnosed with COVID-19 during their trip won’t have to worry about medical expenses or quarantine costs when they fly with Etihad.

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Emirates introduces empty-seat booking option for Economy Class

Emirates’ Economy Class customers can now enjoy even more personal space and privacy onboard with the ability to purchase up to three empty adjoining seats on their flight. These seats will be offered to all Economy Class customers holding a confirmed booking. Customers will not be able to pre-book empty seats, as these are subject to availability. Empty seats will only be offered for purchase at the airport check-in counter prior to flight departure, and costs range from AED 200 to AED 600 (US$ 55 to US$ 165) per empty seat, plus applicable taxes depending on flight sector. Emirates has introduced this new seat product on the back of customer feedback, addressing the needs of a range of customers seeking extra privacy and space while still flying in Economy Class. This includes couples who wish to have the entire row to themselves (maximum of three seats in the same row), parents travelling with in-lap infants, or those who simply want the added assurance of more space while travelling during pandemic times.  

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Cebu Pacific celebrates 25 years of serving passengers

During the pandemic Cebu Pacific has been tirelessly working to ensure the confidence of the travellers. Speaking to TravTalk ME Alex Reyes – Vice President for Commercial at Cebu Pacific shared, “proving further its unyielding commitment to provide ease of travel for passengers amidst the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, CEB has been operating 20 per cent of its pre-COVID domestic network as of February 2021, operating flights to 28 Philippine destinations—of which, six destinations are already open for non-essential or leisure travel. As of this date, the airline has already restored flights to 86 per cent of our domestic destinations. Frequencies may be less than before, but it is also important to note that we are now providing access to more local destinations. We remain keen to make travel easier by providing flexibility in hopes of restoring passenger confidence in air travel.” CEB has remained unswerving in its mandate to provide the highest level of aviation service for passengers and tourists, even amidst the hurdles of the pandemic. We continue to implement a multi-layered approach to safety, in accordance with global aviation standards. These include daily extensive cleaning and disinfection protocols for all aircraft and facilities, antigen testing before duty for all frontliners and crew members, and contactless flight procedures. These are all in accordance with global best practices and the highest safety standards. Aircraft are equipped with hospital-grade HEPA air filters, which make the inflight transmission of COVID-19 low or virtually non-existent. We have also ensured that cargo operations have remained active to ensure the transport of goods isn’t hampered. In terms of new products Reyes reiterated, “One the new undertakings CEB has introduced in order to restore …

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UAE’s Omeir Travel Agency renews Amadeus partnership

Omeir Travel has strengthened its long-term relationship with Amadeus by extending its partnership. Since 2003, Amadeus has accompanied Omeir Travel in its digital transformation and the development of integrated travel services for consumers in the UAE and from around the world. This continued collaboration comes as Omeir Travel plans expansion into more B2B and retail outlets in the UAE. The latest engagement also includes the development of an Omeir Travel one-stop-shop mobile app that meets customers’ hotel and flight needs and is expected to be introduced to the UAE market very soon. Abdulla Bin Omeir, CEO at Omeir Travel Agency, said, “With the travel sector constantly evolving, our business must stay agile to not only keep up, but to stay ahead. Our partnership with Amadeus has allowed us to do this with resounding success. It makes me very pleased to extend our relationship once more. Our ambition is to provide customers with tailored services and a superior experience, which Amadeus helps make possible.” Ernesto Sanchez Beaumont, Managing Director of Amadeus Gulf, noted, “ We are pleased to see the role our technology has played in the growth, digitisation, and optimisation of Omeir Travel during our ongoing collaboration that spans nearly two decades. We will continue to support them with our worldwide experience and leading technology-based solutions as the business enter an exciting new stage of expansion.”

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Wizz Air Abu Dhabi enables passenger refunds in one week

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi has launched an automated refund process that handles cash conversion refund requests within just one week, offering travellers an easy way to manage their bookings. The automated process means that for passengers whose flights have been cancelled, based on the option selected by the customer, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will automatically refund 120% of the original fare in airline credit, or provide passengers with the option to receive a 100% cash refund to their original payment method or provide the chance to rebook for free. Passengers can easily request a refund, with just one click in their Wizz Air Abu Dhabi account at wizzair.com or by following the link received via email. Kees Van Schaick, Managing Director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi said, “We are committed to offering our customers the best experience when travelling with Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, which is why we have invested heavily in automating our refund process and are proud to be able to handle cash refund requests within just seven days. We are continuing to invest in new technologies across our business to make travelling with Wizz Air Abu Dhabi an exceptionally smooth and seamless experience.”

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flydubai expands its operations to Romania-Cluj-Napoca from March 20

flydubai announced the launch of flights to Cluj-Napoca in Romania. The airline will operate twice-weekly flights between Dubai International (DXB) and Avram Iancu International Airport Cluj (CLJ) starting from 20 March 2021. flydubai operates a double daily service between Dubai International (DXB) and Bucharest Henri Coanda International Airport (OTP). With the start of flights to Cluj-Napoca in March, the carrier will serve the Romanian market with a total of 16 weekly flights. Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer at flydubai, said, “We first started operating to Bucharest with four flights a week in 2012. Since then, flydubai has more than tripled its operations to the market as demand has grown for commercial and cargo traffic between Romania and the UAE. We are excited to offer more options for convenient direct air links to the market with the start of our flights to Cluj-Napoca and we look forward to further stimulating travel and trade flows in both directions.” Jeyhun Efendi, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations and E-commerce at flydubai, added, “flydubai’s new service will offer more than 3.5 million people, living within a few hours drive from the airport, the convenience of direct airlinks to Dubai. There is also the opportunity for passengers to connect travel beyond on our network to popular destinations like Colombo, Malé and Zanzibar. The twice-weekly service will also benefit the Romanian expatriate population in the UAE to travel home more easily.”

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GDRFA launches face and iris scan at 122 smart gates in DXB

General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai (GDRFA-Dubai) has launched a new fast-track passport control service that uses face and iris-recognition technologies. Director-General of GDRFA-Dubai Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Deputy CEO of Dubai Airports Jamal Al Hay, Chief Operating Officer of Emirates Airline Adel Al Redha, Assistant Director General of the Airport Immigration Department at GDRFA-Dubai Colonel Talal Al Shanqeti, and several senior officials attended the launch event for the new service. New biometric systems deployed at 122 smart gates at arrival and departure terminals in Dubai airports enable passengers to complete passport control procedures in five to nine seconds depending on the movement and steps of the passenger. Pre-registration is required to avail of the service. GDRFA-Dubai organised a tour for media at Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 to introduce the new smart service. Outbound passengers can avail themselves of the new fast-track service at the smart gates located at the departure terminal after obtaining their boarding pass and completing pre-registration. Using advanced artificial intelligence (AI), the new service enhances passengers’ travel experience by expediting immigration procedures. The newly developed system is part of GDRFA-Dubai’s efforts to develop innovative smart services in line with the leadership’s directives to integrate advanced technologies into all government services to enhance people’s quality of life. Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri said GDRFA-Dubai is keen to launch new projects and initiatives that use state-of-the-art technologies to transform service efficiency. He said the department will continue developing its services to enhance customer experience, as part of efforts to contribute to the leadership’s vision to make Dubai one of the smartest cities in the world. Al Marri noted that GDRFA-Dubai is …

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Etihad Airways and Gulf Air signs commercial cooperation deal

Etihad Airways and Gulf Air signed a Strategic Commercial Cooperation Agreement (SCCA) to deepen their partnership between Abu Dhabi and Bahrain and beyond the respective hubs. The wide-ranging SCCA, subject to obtaining applicable governmental and regulatory approvals, sets out specific actions for deepening and broadening commercial cooperation, building on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the airlines signed in 2018. The SCCA envisages a phased approach to closer collaboration between the partners. In the first phase, by June 2021, the scope of the partners’ codeshare agreement, first signed in 2019, will be significantly expanded. Etihad and Gulf Air will be able to offer up to an additional 30 combined destinations beyond the Abu Dhabi and Bahrain hubs, across the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia. The Strategic Commercial Cooperation Agreement was signed by Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, and Captain Waleed AlAlawi, Gulf Air’s Acting Chief Executive Officer. Tony Douglas said, “This agreement reinforces the strength of the ongoing partnership between our two airlines. We look forward to exploring pragmatic ways in which the two carriers can increasingly work seamlessly between our two capitals, enhance benefits and customer experience for our most frequent travelers and further extend the reach of our joint networks beyond our hubs.” Captain AlAlawi said,  “Our relationship with Etihad Airways has always been strong and today we are reaching a higher level of collaboration with many more opportunities on the horizon between the national carriers of the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. This agreement will empower both of us to offer a more elevated experience to passengers and widen their travel options.”  

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Qatar Airways offers 100% touchless in-flight entertainment

Qatar Airways to become the first global airline to offer passengers 100 percent Zero-Touch technology for its award-winning Oryx One in-flight entertainment system across the A350 fleet as part of the airline’s latest COVID-19 safety measures. The Zero-Touch technology, introduced in partnership with the Thales AVANT IFE system, will enable A350 passengers to pair their personal electronic devices (PEDs) with their seat-back IFE screen by connecting to ‘Oryxcomms’ Wi-Fi and simply scanning a QR code displayed on the screen. They can then use their PEDs to navigate and enjoy more than 4,000 options on offer through the airline’s award-winning Oryx One in-flight entertainment system, limiting the frequency of on board surface contact and providing greater peace of mind throughout the duration of their journey. Qatar Airways is also set to become the first airline in Europe and the Middle East and North Africa region to offer passengers in Business and Economy the option to pair their personal Bluetooth headphones with the onboard seatback IFE system in all cabins on the Boeing 787-9 fleet. His Excellency Akbar Al Baker, Group Chief Executive, Qatar Airways, said, “As an industry leader in the fight against COVID-19 and the first global airline to recently achieving a 5-Star rating in the coveted Skytrax Airline Safety Rating, Qatar Airways is committed to ensuring the highest standards of safety and hygiene onboard its aircraft at all times. “The introduction of the state-of-the-art Zero-Touch technology, and enabling passengers to use their personal Bluetooth headset on board is an important step in taking our already rigorous and stringent COVID-19 precautions to another level, limiting passenger surface contact and preventing any possible spread of infection on board. We hope it …

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Bahrain International Airport receives smart low touch solutions

Backed by SITA’s state-of-the-art technology, Bahrain International Airport’s (BIA) newly opened Passenger Terminal is better prepared to respond to the changing demands of travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ultra-modern facility positions BIA as the most advanced boutique airport in the Gulf, increasing its capacity to 14 million passengers per year. A key focus for Bahrain Airport Company (BAC), the airport’s operator and managing body, was to optimize the passenger experience and operations to quickly recover from the pandemic through 2021 and beyond. Using SITA’s Operations at Airports portfolio, the airport benefits from real-time insights, improved stakeholder collaboration, and increased agility to optimize operations. The solution includes SITA’s Flight Info Displays Systems (FIDS), providing a dynamic platform for communicating important information and managing the passenger flow. Roger Nakouzi, Vice President Sales, SITA, said, “Thanks to new SITA technology, Bahrain International Airport can leap forward and make operations resilient, agile, and safer for all passengers. The implementation allows for deeper integration of Smart Path throughout the airport and further installation of automated systems, future-proofing the airport for decades to come.” Mohamed Yousif Al Binfalah, Chief Executive Officer, BAC  said, “In addition to the new Passenger Terminal, the AMP includes several infrastructure development projects that will contribute to the realization of Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030, laying the foundation for a more sustainable and diversified economy. With SITA’s support, we have enhanced operational efficiency and are in a stronger position to meet the new standards and measures required during COVID-19.”

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