Saturday, January 28, 2012

Demand for flights in Brazil triples, airports strained before Olympics, World Cup

DEMAND for flights to Brazil has nearly tripled in the past decade, with a strained system that is under pressure to prepare for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
Brazil's civil aviation agency said demand for air travel rose 194 percent in 10 years. Demand in 2011 alone increased 16 per cent over the previous year.
In 2002, airlines flew 34.3 million passengers on flights originating in Brazil. That rose to 107.8 million last year, the agency reported.
While airlines are enjoying the boom, air travelers are suffering from packed airports, jumps in ticket prices, and routine delays often caused by woeful airport infrastructure, from poor runways to problems with radar systems that air control operators rely upon.
At least seven airports in the nation require substantial work to make improvements Brazilian officials promised in winning the right to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. The work on the airports is expected to be the most expensive part of Brazil's preparations for the events.
Officials have said the total investment on airport upgrades has jumped from 5.5 billion reals (A$3.01 billion) at the beginning of 2011 to 6.4 billion reals ($3.7 billion) by the end of the year.
The government has said all airport upgrades will be finished in time for the World Cup, but none will be fully ready before the Confederations Cup to be held in 2013, the important warmup tournament for the World Cup.
Government officials previously said that five airports were expected to be ready by June 2013, when the Confederations Cup begins, but acknowledged recently that none will be completed by then. Among the key airports being upgraded are those in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Emirates expands capacity to Durban

Although most foreign airlines are so far declining to fly to Durban’s King Shaka International Airport, preferring to take Durban-bound passengers to Johannesburg from where they transfer to local flights, Emirates is boosting its capacity on the route “in response to strong demand”.
The Dubai-based airline announced yesterday that it would substitute a larger, 354-seat Boeing 777-Extended Range aircraft for the Airbus A330-200 it has been using on the route, increasing capacity by almost 30 percent.
So far the only other international airline flying to Durban is Air Mauritius, although British Airways (BA) has regularly investigated the market. BA/Comair suggested extending its BA franchise for southern Africa to serve the route last year, but was advised against it after BA carried out a feasibility study.
However, Jean-luc Grillet, Emirates senior vice-president for commercial operations in Africa, said yesterday that it had carried more than 165 000 passengers between Durban and its home airport of Dubai since October 2009, with average passenger loads of 83 percent. It has also carried more than 5 240 tons of high value export cargo on the route.
“We have experienced positive growth which we attribute to a growing recognition of this city as a popular tourist destination and one of the key trading hubs in South Africa,” Grillet said.
Emirates was the first airline from the Persian Gulf to fly into South Africa. After starting a daily service from Johannesburg in 1995, it expanded to Cape Town, from where it flies twice a day. It is also expanding throughout Africa, currently serving 20 passenger and cargo destinations on the continent.
Dubai has been developed as a hub airport serving destinations worldwide including Europe, North and South America and the Far East. It opened the first branch of Emirates Holidays outside Dubai in Johannesburg last year, enabling passengers and tour operators to book flights and accommodation to any of its destinations.
SAA views its expansion as a threat. SAA chief executive Siza Mzimela said in Parliament last year that the number of Emirates flights to South Africa meant that it was taking business from point-to-point airlines bringing passengers directly to this country.

Government committed to boosting Tourism Potential of Ghana

Ghana: Vice President John Dramani Mahama has directed the Minister of Tourism, Akua Sena Dansua, to conclude arrangements with the Cable News Network (CNN) for a documentary on the tourism potential of Ghana.

The Vice President in a meeting with the Minister and a team from CNN at the Castle, Osu in Accra, mentioned the potential of the tourism sector and said if properly harnessed could move up from its current position as the country’s 3rd largest contributor to the number one spot.

According to Vice President Mahama, Ghana is making strides in the new oil industry, which needs a credible media platform like the CNN to project its potential to attract businesses and investors across the globe.

The Vice President commended the Minister for initiating the project and assured her of government’s support to develop the tourism sector to its fullest potential.

He appealed to other corporate organisations and individuals to support the initiative of the Ministry of Tourism to market Ghana at the highest platform.

The Minister of Tourism, Akua Sena Dansua explained that at a World Tourism Organisation meeting held in Korea last year, it became imminent that Ghana’s tourism sector needed a boost and therefore the CNN became handy as a bigger platform to project its image.

She explained that at another meeting held in London in November last year, the details and modalities of the discussions were laid.

Madam Dansua said the CNN team then came down to Ghana to hold stakeholders meetings with all those who matter in the tourism business and it was very fruitful.

She noted that the decision is to re-promote and re-market Ghana as the Tourism destination in West Africa in particular and Africa in general in terms of both political and economic stabilities.

Madam Dansua mentioned that with the vast experience of Vice President Mahama as a media person and public relations acumen, the project is bound to market Ghana at the highest level.

She commended the Vice President for supporting the project and pledged to work with the CNN team to ensure its success.

The Tourism Minister also appealed to corporate organisations and individuals to support the project to make the tourism sector one of the best in Africa.

The CNN team explained that Ghana will be in charge of its own destiny as it tells its own story to the world.

The team assured the government that the documentary will open the country’s doors to potential investors.

Ethiopian Airlines to launch nonstop flight to Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Ethiopian Airlines is launching three-times-weekly service from Addis Ababa to Dammam, the capital of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, starting on February 12.
According to a press release Ethiopian sent to ENA on Friday, Dammam will be its 8th destination in the Middle East and its 64th worldwide.
Ethiopian CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam said the new flight to Dammam provides opportunities for business people as well as tourists to explore its investment and leisure potentials.
Dammam is a large metropolitan and industrial area that lies on a peninsula stretching out into the Persian Gulf. It is a major seaport, exporting and importing a wide variety of goods and commodities. It is a center for the oil and gas industry and is the commercial center for eastern Saudi Arabia.
Dammam is also well known for its tourist attractions such as the Coastal Sports Center, Half Moon Beech, King Fahd Park and Alkhleej Makarim Village where tourists can engage in mountain climbing, hiking, skiing or surfing.
Mr Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines says, ‘The new flight services to Dammam provide opportunities for business people as well as tourists to explore Dammam’s investment and leisure potentials.’ Dammam will be Ethiopian’s 8th destination in the Middle East and its 64th worldwide. The new flight schedule will be as follows:
With this new flight, Dammam will be connected to dozens of cities in Africa via Ethiopian’s hub at Addis Ababa. Convenient connections will be available to and from cities such as Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lagos, Accra, Dar es Salaam, Entebbe and Dakar.
Saudi Arabia is the oldest destination in the region for Ethiopian Airlines next to Yemen, and is the only country where the airline flies to three points in one country in that region. Ethiopian currently provides services to Jeddah and Riyadh.
As this route commences, Ethiopian announces a promotional fare from Addis Ababa to Dammam starting from USD 360 for a round trip ticket, which is valid for travel until 30 November 2012.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Qatar Airways announces launch dates for new routes

Qatar Airways is gearing up for yet another year of massive expansion with the announcement of launch dates for new routes in Africa, Europe and Australia.
The African expansion drive is set to continue with scheduled services starting to the Rwandan capital Kigali on March 21.
Zagreb will boost the airline’s European portfolio further with the launch of flights to the Croatian capital from May 9.
And beginning July 3, Qatar Airways adds Perth as its second route in Australia.
Ahead of the newly-announced launch dates, Qatar Airways is busy preparing for its 2012 route expansion programme which starts on February 1 with new services to the south eastern European cities of Baku and Tbilisi in Azerbaijan and Georgia, respectively. Plans are also underway to begin flights to Zanzibar (Tanzania), Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Mombasa (Kenya) and Helsinki (Finland).
At the height of the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the airline unveils its second Australian route, to the Western city of Perth. Since launching flights to Australia in December 2009 with direct services to Melbourne, Qatar Airways has been considering additional capacity Down Under and will soon offer Perth.
Last year, Qatar Airways’ expansion focused on Europe with the introduction of seven new routes – Bucharest, Budapest, Brussels, Stuttgart, Venice, Sofia and Oslo, taking its European capacity to 27 destinations.
The addition of Baku, Tbilisi and Zagreb is a significant move for the airline, probing underserved markets which have limited capacity. All three routes will provide excellent connections to diverse destinations across the airline’s rapidly-growing international network.
Kigali, rich in mining and a key African business centre, becomes the latest stop on Qatar Airways’ 16-strong city African network, which last year saw two destinations added on the Continent – Entebbe and Benghazi.
Operating via Entebbe, the daily Kigali flights provide excellent connections over Qatar Airways’ Doha hub to cities across the Middle East, Europe and Far East.
Flights to Kigali and Zagreb will be operated with an Airbus A320 in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy.
Following on from a highly successful launch of scheduled flights to Melbourne, Qatar Airways is venturing further into Australia with thrice-weekly non-stop services to Perth. The route will be upgraded to a daily service from December 1.
The Perth route will be operated with the long range version of the airline’s flagship Boeing 777 aircraft featuring 259 seats, configured in two-classes – 42 seats in Business Class that convert into fully horizontal flat beds, and 217 seats in Economy Class.
Qatar Airways chief executive officer Akbar al-Baker said the airline was expanding on different continents as part of its aggressive growth strategy to open up new routes to key business and leisure destinations.
“We are delighted to be forging ahead with our expansion with today’s announcement of dates for three new routes on three continents,” he said.
“These are exciting times for Qatar Airways as we begin our route expansion programme in just a few days’ time by inaugurating services to two European capital cities.
“In keeping with our highly focused and tailored growth strategy to enter underserved and thriving markets all over the world, the latest additions very much match our plans to open up a host of new destinations.”
Added al-Baker: “I am extremely confident that the wave of new route announcements for 2012 will bring much excitement to our passengers and partners in the new destinations, as well as across our global network.”
Qatar Airways now flies to 110 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America with a modern fleet of 104 aircraft. By 2013, Qatar Airways plans to serve over 120 destinations worldwide with a fleet of more than 120 aircraft.

South African Airways launches flights to Kigali and Bujumbura

South African Airways launched flights to two more destinations on the African continent from Johannesburg to Kigali in Rwanda and onwards to Bujumbura in Burundi. This is in line with the airline’s Africa growth plans.
The flights will operate from Johannesburg to Kigali (Rwanda) and onwards to Bujumbura (Burundi). The return flights will operate from Bujumbura to Kigali and onwards to Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International airport. Travellers and freight on the Kigali-Bujumbura-Kigali sectors will allow for growth in the Great Lakes region of Central and Eastern Africa, thereby increasing intra-regional connectivity.
“South African Airways is focused on strengthening its intra-Africa network in line with its Africa Expansion strategy. Adding even more destinations to our already extensive Africa route network gives our customers more travel options to exciting destinations that were previously difficult to reach by air,” says Theunis Potgieter, SAA General Manager Commercial.
In addition to being the capital city of Rwanda, Kigali is also its economic, cultural and tourist transit hub. Bujumbura is Burundi’s capital and largest city and is close to the country’s main port, shipping coffee as its primary export. The route between Johannesburg to Kigali and onwards to Bujumbura will be serviced three times a week by SAA’s A319 aircraft which accommodate 120 passengers in a two class (business and economy) configuration. The flight is scheduled to connect with the rest of SAA’s African and international route network.

Kenya working towards conditions needed for direct flights to US

Kenya is yet to meet all conditions needed to allow for direct flights to the United States of America.
This has prompted the Government to look at the regulatory side of the aviation industry and align it to international standards called category one.
“The government has approved the re-categorisation and restructuring of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority as the first step towards attaining category one status,” Transport minister, Amos Kimunya said.
Category one status is the threshold required and recognised by the US to allow for aircraft to fly over its airspace.
Mr Kimunya said he met with authorities from the US on Tuesday and deliberated on outstanding issues to be met by Kenya before being granted the green-light to launch direct flights.
He was speaking during the official launch of the refurbished British Airways lounge at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Thursday.
The minister said the flights would reduce travelling time by passengers plying the two countries and the cost of horticultural produce in the US from Kenya.
Currently, the airport is limited by facilities to separate the arrivals and departure sections of the airport. The need for separation became more pronounced after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.
The aviation authority has also been riddled with personnel problems due to its incapacity to retain qualified staff.
The authority has faced an exodus of flights operators, inspectors and other technical experts because it cannot meet market pay rates.
The few that are available are absorbed by other private entities who offer them a better pay.

Kenya Airways route expansion lifts passengers by 15.4 pc

Kenyan’s national carrier, Kenya airways said on Thursday it registered a 15.4 per cent increase in passenger numbers for its third quarter with 956,742 passengers using the airline compared to the same period last year.
The airline said in a statement released in Nairobi that its capacity in the domestic front and to Europe registered the largest increases growing by 16.9 per cent and 14.7 per cent respectively.
"The European region registered the highest growth of 14.7 percent largely due to introduction of flights to Rome and double daily weekend flights to London," Kenya Airways said.
"The total passenger tally at 956,742, indicate a growth of 15.4 per cent over prior year.
"The achieved system wide average cabin factor of 72.0 percent was better than 69.8 per cent realised last year," Kenya Airways said.
The airline, one of the most successful airlines in Africa after South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines carried 502,435 passengers within Africa but excluding Kenya posting a growth of 14.1 per cent compared to last year’s 3.9 per cent growth.
"Passengers uplifted within Kenya at 205,654 showed a 26.0 percent growth.
"The resulting cabin factor of 74.6 per cent was above 70.3 percent realised last year.
"Cargo tonnage at 16,131 increased by 6.2 per cent compared to last year’s level indicating improved sales," it said.
Passenger traffic in the Middle East, Far East and India regions reached 131,126 showing an increase of 6.8 percent and also realized cabin factor of 75.4 percent which was marginally below prior year.
Kenya airways registered a stronger Q3 ending December 2011 putting in capacity totalling 3,560m seat kilometres as a result of increases in frequencies to several routes following the purchase of new jets as well as new destinations.
Northern Africa region capacity rose slightly by 1.9 per cent due to the introduction of double dailies to Juba in Southern Sudan on the Embraer aircraft to meet the rising demand for business travellers.
"Capacity availed into the East African region shrunk by 14.2 per cent compared to last year largely as a result of operating combined flights to Kigali and Bujumbura as opposed to direct flights evidenced last year," it said.
Central Africa region’s capacity declined by 15.5 per cent mainly due to reduced demand as a result of cancelling combined flights to Malabo via Douala and Kisangani via Entebbe.
The airline said the introduction of Nampula in December 2010 and increased frequencies to Maputo via Harare and to Lubumbashi via Ndola boosted Southern Africa capacity by 16.9 per cent while West Africa capacity grew by 4.0 per cent mainly from increased operations on Bamako Dakar and Yaounde.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

SAA to benefit as Air Zimbabwe faces bankruptcy

Workers at Air Zimbabwe have successfully won a high court application to have the airline placed under judicial management, which will now see its affairs handled by a judicial manager, Innocent Mavhunga, and not the airline’s board.
South African Airways (SAA) and Emirates are set to cash in on the woes that have gripped Zimbabwe’s state-owned airline, Air Zimbabwe, which yesterday was placed under judicial management because of a $140m debt.
Workers at the embattled airline successfully won a high court application to have the airline placed under judicial management, which will now see its affairs handled by a judicial manager, Innocent Mavhunga, and not the Air Zimbabwe board.
At the heart of the court intervention is a salary dispute between Air Zimbabwe and its workers, who claim to be owed more than $35m in outstanding salaries since June 2009.
Caleb Mucheche, a lawyer for the workers’ union, said: "Since the court has appointed a judicial manager it means this is a prelude to liquidation. The judicial manager will now move in and the current Air Zimbabwe board will have to step aside.
"The judicial manager will assess if Air Zimbabwe is still a viable entity, but as the way things stand, all is not well, and he is likely to recommend liquidation. That is the process. Whenever a judicial manager comes in, the next step is liquidation," Mr Mucheche said.
Air Zimbabwe has had to suspend several international and regional flights to Johannesburg and  London as its debt crisis ballooned and saw its flagship Boeing aircraft seized by creditors for nonpayment of services.
The threat of liquidation is certain to work in favour of SAA, which holds the lion’s share in the airline market in Zimbabwe, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe.
In 2010, SAA "accounted for the lion’s share of the airline market with 29,3%, relegating Air Zimbabwe to second position at 22,1%. British Airways-Comair came close on third position with 18,4%, while South African Airlink holds fourth position at 10,1%," reads a civil aviation authority report.
The United Arab Emirates-owned Emirates Airlines will start flights to Harare from February 1, in what is expected to start a return of international airlines to Zimbabwe after a 10-year hiatus.
More than 15 international airlines have pulled out of Zimbabwe, among them Lufthansa, Qantas, Austrian Airlines, Swissair, Air India, Air France and TAP Air Portugal.

Emirates SkyCargo will landed in Zimbabwe as Air Zimbabwe Woes

Air Zimbabwe which is bedeviled by insolence, and a dearth of planes has been struggling to meet the growing demand and the entrance into the market of, one of the fastest growing international airlines, has bolstered its operations on the booming Africa trade route.
Supporting the thriving trade between Africa and the rest of the world, its weekly cargo capacity into and out of the continent will be over 6,000 tonnes after the launch of flights to Lusaka and Harare on 1st February.
The addition of flights to Zambia and Zimbabwe comes less than three months after the launch of a dedicated weekly flights to Accra and Lome and means Emirates SkyCargo now has a total annual capacity of more than 300,000 tonnes.
“While many regions are experiencing challenging economic conditions, Africa – with a population in excess of one billion and rich in natural resources - is one of the few areas to record growth and the long-term outlook is very positive,” said Ram Menen, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President Cargo. “We expect demand to be strong for a variety of commodities going into and out of Lusaka and Harare and have no doubt the two destinations will be a strong addition to our African network.”
The Dubai-Lusaka-Harare service will be operated five times a week by an A330-200, providing a total weekly cargo capacity of up to 160 tonnes.
“We have slowly built up our presence on the continent since we launched flights to Cairo in 1986 and in recent years, as Africa started to realise its huge potential, we began flights to Cape Town, Durban, Luanda and Dakar,” added Menen.
“With such a comprehensive service now in place we are in a good position to help sustain Africa’s continued economic development by facilitating international trade with its business partners and opening it up to new markets on our ever-expanding network.”
Zambia has been enjoying an economic boom, driven by record copper prices and continued foreign investment in its mining industry and infrastructure, while Zimbabwe's economy is growing at a brisk pace despite continuing political uncertainty.
Emirates SkyCargo expects to be transporting parts to support the mining and infrastructure sectors – as well as of commodities such as garments, computer parts, and pharmaceuticals - from the likes of the Far East, Australasia, the Indian Subcontinent, Middle East, Europe and North America. Fresh flowers, fruit and vegetables will be among the main commodities shipped in the other direction, while trade is also expected to be generated by neighbouring countries.
EK 713 will depart Dubai on every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 0925hrs, arriving in Lusaka at 1450hrs. The service will depart Lusaka at 1620hrs, arriving in Harare at 1720. The return flight leaves Harare at 1920, arriving Lusaka at 2020. It departs Lusaka at 2150 and lands in Dubai at 0710hrs the next day.
An A330-200 – with a weekly capacity of up to 160 tonnes – will operate every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from Lusaka and Harare to Dubai, providing businesses in Zimbabwe and Zambia the opportunity to connect with trading partners on Emirates SkyCargo’s network of more than 100 destinations.
Emirates SkyCargo operates dedicated freighter services to a number of points throughout Africa, including: Accra, Dakar, Eldoret, Entebbe, Johannesburg, Lilongwe, Lome and Nairobi.
Emirates SkyCargo is the freight division of Emirates and will serve 22 destinations in Africa after Lusaka/Harare comes online. Reflecting Emirates’ overall policy of excellence in every area of operation, Emirates SkyCargo’s investment in highly-qualified staff, the very latest information technology, the most efficient aircraft and the finest ground handling facilities, has made it a significant force in the global air cargo industry.
Following the launch of the Lusaka/Harare service, Emirates SkyCargo will serve a global route network that spans 120 points in 72 countries, including 11 cargo-only destinations, while more than 50 of the locations Emirates SkyCargo serves are e-freight compliant.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Turkish Airlines introduces three new flights to Manchester and Istanbul

Turkish Airlines has announced it will be introducing three extra flights per week between Manchester and Istanbul. The airline said due to strong demand for its services, it was increasing its flights between the two cities starting from March 25, when it will increase to nine weekly flights and then 10 weekly services from May 28 for the rest of the summer schedule. The additional flights will operate on Monday, Friday and Sunday, using 737-800 aircraft. Andrew Harrison, Manchester Airports Group’s chief operating officer, said: “It’s great to see an airline making bigger commitments to the airport and the north west region, which proves the demand is there. “Increasing their services will give our passengers more choice to travel to not only Istanbul but to more than 100 onward destinations.”

Emirates and Alaska Airlines launch frequent flier alliance

Emirates said on Monday that it has launched a frequent flier partnership with Alaska Airlines as the Dubai carrier prepares to launch services to Seattle starting on March 1.
The Double Miles deal will offer travellers the opportunity to accrue Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles when they fly to any of Emirates' 118 destinations globally, including points across Africa, India and the Middle East, Emirates stated.
It added that Emirates Skywards members can also accrue miles across the Alaska Airlines network in the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii), Canada and Mexico.
Under the new partnership, travellers connecting between any point on Emirates and Alaska Airlines' networks will also be able to check in for their flights at either carrier's counter, receive their boarding passes and check their bags to their final destination.
Emirates will operate a daily non-stop flight from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Dubai aboard an ultra-long range B777-300ER from March 1 this year with Seattle becoming the airline's sixth US gateway , joining New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston and from February 2, Dallas/Fort Worth.
"As part of our commitment to Seattle, we are launching our service by partnering with Seattle's hometown airline to offer customers the convenience of a frequent flier partnership as well as one-stop check-in and through checked baggage, providing easier access to a vast range of points across the United States, Canada and Mexico," Nigel Page, Emirates' Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations for the Americas, said in a statement.
To celebrate the new partnership, both airlines are offering double miles on each others' flights starting March 1 through May 31, 2012. To earn Double Miles, members must register their Skywards number at or Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan number at prior to their first qualifying flight.

Qatar Airways showcases Boeing 777 long-haul in Bahrain International Air Show

Qatar Airways has taken part in its first major event of the year, displaying one of its flagship Boeing 777 long-haul aircraft at the Bahrain International Air Show.
Thousands of trade and public visitors attended the three-day event which took place at Sakhir Air Base in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Qatar Airways also had a luxury chalet at the show.
Now in its 15th year of operations, the airline has a modern fleet of 104 aircraft flying to 110 key business and leisure destinations across six continents.
Almost a quarter of Qatar Airways’ fleet is made up of Boeing 777 Long Range (LR) and Extended Range (ER) passenger and cargo aircraft, forming the backbone of its long-haul fleet.
On display in Bahrain was a 259-seat Boeing 777-200 Long Range (LR) aircraft, capable of flying to any ultra long-haul business or leisure destination worldwide non-stop from the airline’s hub in Doha, capital of the State of Qatar.
Qatar Airways currently operates nine Boeing 777-200LRs, deployed on many long-range routes from Doha, such as Sao Paulo, Houston, Melbourne and Montreal.
Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said: “We were extremely delighted to showcase our flagship Boeing 777 aircraft in Bahrain giving people an opportunity to see the aircraft and its wonderful features first hand during the static display.”
The Boeing 777-200LR on display featured 42 seats in Business Class in a 2–2–2 configuration, which is one less seat per row than competitors and offering far more space than other airlines.
Equipped with seat-back TV screens measuring 17 inches in Business Class, the seats recline to 180 degrees offering fully flat horizontal beds and have a pitch of 78 inches.
Economy Class onboard the Boeing 777-200LR features 217 seats in a 3–3–3 configuration, again more space than competitors with one less seat per row. With a pitch of up to 34 inches, all Economy seats also have individual TV monitors measuring 10.6-inches.

British Airways to resume Tripoli flights

British Airways has announced it will resume its flights to Tripoli in May. The carrier is to reintroduce the Heathrow flights on 1 May after the UK government and Libyan authorities deemed the country safe again. The flights will operate three times a week.
“We are delighted to be returning to Libya. Our flights to Tripoli have provided a vital economic link for many years, and it is good news for everyone that we can now restart operations,” said Keith Williams, chief executive at BA.
Qatar Airways also announced it will reintroduce thrice weekly flights to the Libyan capital, via Alexandria, on 2 February.

Ethiopian Airlines makes ad hoc flight to Seychelles with 152 Chinese tourists on eve of Spring Festival

The Ethiopian Airlines, one of the leading Airliners in Africa, on Sunday made a special flight to Seychelles, its newest destination with a group of about 152 Chinese tourists on the eve of the Chinese Spring Festival.
The Ethiopian which made test flight on Sunday promoting its new destination, will be starting regular flights to the Island on the Indian Ocean very close to Africa in April 2012 expecting good economic dividend from the business to Seychelles.
Esayas Woldemariam, Senior Vice President of Global Sales, and Xie Xiaoyan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, along with Chinese diplomats and Ethiopian Staff on Sunday welcomed the Chinese tourists who landed in Addis Ababa Bole International Airport for transit from Beijing. The tourists are to spend their holiday-times of Chinese Spring Festival enjoying sun scene, sand and sea in Seychelles which is a destination for holiday makers and honeymoon among others.
Esayas noted on the occasion of the welcoming ceremony at the Airport that the Ethiopian Airlines is very happy to welcome the Chinese to Seychelles, a tourist destination in Africa through Ethiopia, which is a gateway from China to the African continent.
"We are very happy to welcome this first group of Chinese to Seychelles, which is going to be one of our biggest destinations in the future," said the Vice President.
The Ethiopian Airlines has about 42 destinations in Africa, said Esayas.
He said the Ethiopian Airlines which has been flying to China since the 1970s being the first Airliner to fly to a destination of fastest growing economy, has now about 23 flights a week to China.
Esayas told Xinhua particularly that Seychelles, a tourist destination mostly visited by Europeans is now being visited by Chinese tourists, who are affording anything and travelling everywhere.
"Seychelles is the newest destination of the Ethiopian Airlines in the Indian Ocean and it is part of Africa and it is a holiday destination. Mostly, it is visited by European tourists and holiday makers, and honey moon destination. But, now the Chinese are affording anything and they are travelling everywhere; so, we now are trying to bring them to Africa in a very big way," said Esayas.
"When they come to Seychelles, Kenya or Tanzania or South Africa they also have a taste of Ethiopia and we arrange package tours for tourists also to stay in Ethiopia for a few days going to northern historic routes and southern cultural and natural routes for them also to explore Ethiopia," added Esayas.
According to the Vice President, the Ethiopian has been increasing number of flights to China, which is one of the largest trading partners of Africa.
Currently Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Hangzhou are the four destinations of the Ethiopian in China, said Esayas.
The Vice President also said the Ethiopian Airlines provides transport services of both passengers and cargo to help and facilitate the trade, investment and cultural exchanges Africa has with its giant economic partner.
"Now China is being the largest trading partner to Africa; and so, the Ethiopian Airlines should provide the transportation vehicle; the transport logistic is very much vital for facilitating trade and investment, tourism and cultural exchanges between China and Africa," said Esayas.
The Ethiopian Airlines has been one of Africa's carriers flying for the last 65 years with its efficiency, safety and operational success.
It made its maiden international flight to Cairo, Egypt in 1946.

A multi million dollar debt for Air Zimbabwe

State owned Air Zimbabwe is now under judicial management and faces liquidation after its debts shot to $140 million.
The application to place the national carrier under judicial control was made by the airline's employees on Friday, 20 January at the High Court in Harare.
Shepherd Chimutanda, a chartered accountant was immediately appointed judicial manager.
The order also barred the Air Zimbabwe board from involvement in the running of the company.
Workers sought the intervention of the courts after they went for more than a year without salaries. They are owed over $ 35 million in salaries dating back back to 2009.
It has since emerged that January 16, Air Zimbabwe's acting chief executive officer Innocent Mavhunga wrote to President Robert Mugabe warning him of the gathering crisis.  He pleaded for government assistance to  keep the airline afloat.
"We wish to advise that the non-payment of salaries and other statutory obligations for the period in question has not been deliberate, but rather a manifestation of underlying viability challenges that our company has been experiencing where we have even suspended international and regional flights with domestic flights having become erratic," reads part of the letter signed by Mavhunga and dated January 16.
Last week, Air Zimbabwe took delivery of a second hand A320-200 Airbus plane from France, in a deal brokered in secrecy.
Caleb Mucheche, the workers' lawyer said his clients had not been paid their salaries since 2009.
"Since the court has appointed a judicial manager it means that this is a prelude to liquidation.
"The judicial manager will now move in and the current AirZim board will have to step aside," Mucheche told the local media.
Creditors, in December seized the company's planes in South Africa and the United Kingdom over unpaid debts.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hundreds of US flights canceled due to snow

Hundreds of flights were canceled to and from Chicago's busy airports Friday, disrupting air travel across the country as an arctic storm dumped heavy snow in the region.
As of 3.30 pm (2130 GMT) a total of 700 flights had been canceled at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport -- the second busiest in the country after Atlanta -- and Midway International Airport.
Both airports reported "significant delays and cancelations," the Chicago Department of Aviation said.
O'Hare is a major hub for United Airlines and American Airlines, two major US carriers, while Midway is used by low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines.
The greater Chicago area, home to nearly 10 million people, was under a winter storm warning Friday until midnight as a storm moving from the central United States pounded the region with snow, sleet and freezing rain.
The city's full fleet of around 280 snowplows was on duty, but struggled to keep the main roads clear.
Snow fell so quickly that, fearing accidents, Chicago officials ordered city buses off Lake Shore Drive, the busy highway that runs alongside Lake Michigan.
"Our snowplows have been out salting and plowing our roadways since this morning, but there are areas along our system that have begun to collect snow," Kristi Lafleur, with the busy Illinois Tollway, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Police and firefighters reported helping scores of drivers whose cars had spun out of control in the ice, but no injuries or deaths.
In an urgent winter storm warning, the National Weather Service said snowfall totals of four to six inches [10 to 15 centimeters] can be expected in the Chicago area, "with locally higher amounts possible."
"Accumulating snow will cause significantly increased travel times, resulting in a particularly treacherous afternoon commute," the NWS said.
The especially low temperatures will make salt less effective and combine with heavy snowfall rates to make it harder for road crews to keep roads clear of snow and ice, it added, noting people should "only travel in an emergency."
Local Chicago forecasters however said there could be up to nine inches (23 centimeters) of snow by the time the storm had moved through.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported delays at O'Hare airport averaging 1.5 hours due to snow and ice, though the Chicago Department of Aviation said the hold-ups averaged 45 minutes.
"Airlines at O'Hare have also canceled more than 600 in and out bound flights for the day," the Department said.
Some 100 flights scheduled to and from Midway airport had also been canceled, the Department said in a recorded message.
The storm was expected to move past Chicago overnight towards the east coast, affecting New York and as far south as the Washington area.

Air Mauritius to increase flight frequency to Mumbai from April 2012

In a bid to consolidate their presence in the Indian market, Air Mauritius will increase flight to Mumbai to four flights a week from April 2012. Currently, the airline operates three flights to Mumbai a week. The airline, which is also the national carrier of Mauritius, also inaugurated its Mumbai office in Andheri East yesterday. The Mumbai office is the first space to be owned by Air Mauritius in its entire network in India. Speaking at the inauguration, Donald E Payen, Executive Vice-President - Commercial & Communications, Air Mauritius, said that India was an important market for the airline and this year, its focus would be on increasing capacities and frequencies in the country and not on adding new destinations.
The airline also recognised some of its leading travel trade partners in India with awards at the inauguration. Among those felicitated were Akbar Travels India, Cox & Kings, Kuoni India, MakeMyTrip, Riya Tours & Travels Ltd, Thomas Cook India, Travel Services International, Yatra Online, Cleartrip and Sachin Travels.
Currently, besides Mumbai, Air Mauritius operates one flight each from Chennai, Bengaluru and New Delhi. With the increase in frequency to Mumbai, the airline will operate a total of seven from India per week, and will offer a cumulative 2,900 seats per week, which is a 12 per cent increase in capacity. Payen said, “Currently, we are averaging a healthy load factor of 80 per cent on our flights and we will look to maintain this throughout the year. Our main aim is to develop exchanges between India and Mauritius as well as the countries in the Indian Ocean rim.”

Inflight connectivity takes to the skies with Etihad Airways

Guests of Etihad Airways, considered the World’s Leading Airline by the prestigious World Travel Awards are now better connected than ever before.
The airline’s first aircraft to offer inflight connectivity for passengers have officially taken to the skies.
The aircraft - three Airbus A330-300 and one Airbus A320 aircraft - are equipped with inflight passenger connectivity services. Another connectivity-enabled Airbus A320 will be delivered in March 2012.
On the A320, guests of the airline will have full mobile connectivity, enabling them to use their own mobile phones and Smartphones to make and receive phone-calls, send and receive text messages and emails, and access mobile data services. The A320 is used primarily for short-haul routes throughout the Middle East, and some mid-length routes such as Istanbul, Athens, Minsk, Cochin, Bangalore and Mahé in the Seychelles.
Onboard Etihad Airways’ A330-300 aircraft, guests will have the same mobile connectivity in addition to Wi-Fi internet capability for personal laptop and tablet use. The A330-300 is used for long-haul destinations across the network, such as London, Frankfurt, Paris, Geneva, Casablanca and Seoul.
Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Commercial Officer, said: “The modern traveller is increasingly reliant on mobile devices and the internet, not only to plan travel, but also to stay in touch throughout their journey. The introduction of these connectivity-enabled aircraft is an exciting first step in Etihad Airways’ long-term strategy to offer inflight connectivity solutions across our entire fleet of passenger aircraft.”
During the launch phase, Etihad Airways will offer inflight mobile and tablet connectivity from USD 10 and laptop Wi-Fi internet connectivity from USD 20. Mobile telephone calls will be charged according to the international roaming rates of guests’ mobile network provider.

Emirates strengthens East Africa service with direct flights

Emirates, one of the world’s fastest growing airlines, will soon offer customers a quicker and more convenient link to Uganda, with the introduction of a direct service.
“As demand for our Entebbe service continues to grow, customers can now enjoy the convenience of a non-stop air link with Dubai. Our new direct service will offer seamless connections to key destinations in the Middle East, Indian Sub-continent, Asia and the Far East, together with the award-winning in-flight service for which Emirates is renowned," said Jean Luc Grillet, Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations for Africa.
Starting 25th March, EK 729 will depart Dubai at 0825hrs each day, arriving in Entebbe at 12:35hrs. The return leg, EK 730, will leave the Ugandan city at 1540hrs and get into Dubai at 2155hrs.
“At Emirates, we continually look for new ways to improve the service we provide to our customers. Entebbe is an important market for Emirates in the East African region and we are dedicated to ensuring our customers have access to the highest service standards both in the air and on the ground,” added Jean Luc. Emirates will operate an Airbus A330-200 on its Entebbe routes in a three-class configuration, featuring 12 luxurious First Class seats, 42 seats in Business Class and generous space for 183 passengers in Economy Class. Onboard, passengers can enjoy delicacies from an exclusive menu served to them by Emirates’ cabin crew representing over 120 nations.
With a fleet of 168 aircraft and the largest A380 and Boeing 777 operator in the world, Emirates currently serves 20 destinations in the African continent, with new flights to Zambia and Zimbabwe starting from February 2012.
To date, Emirates’ Entebbe route has been operated as a linked service with Addis Adaba.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Turkish Airlines begins a Freesale Codeshare Agreement with THAI

Turkish Airlines (TK) and Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI) concluded a Free Sale Codeshare Agreement that allows both airlines to market selected flights using their own code and flight numbers on a free sale basis within the scope of the codeshare agreement.
According to Dr Temel Kotil, Turkish Airlines CEO, “Turkish Airlines is pleased to join with Thai Airways International on this code share collaboration, which will expand potential air traffic between Turkey and Thailand.  Code-sharing with Turkish Airlines expands THAI’s network to destinations in Turkey and Europe that THAI does not operate.
The code share cooperation on flights operated by the two carriers also supports business and tourism conducted between Turkey and the Asian and Australian regions.  This agreement successfully feeds traffic from Turkish Airlines into THAI’s route network, especially to and from Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Australia.  In addition, Istanbul becomes another gateway into Europe for THAI on Turkish Airlines’ route network.”
Piyasvasti Amranand, Thai Airways International (THAI) president said, “This code share agreement between THAI and Turkish Airlines is a significant step forward to expand our respective market presence extensively into Europe and into Asia.  By code sharing with Turkish Airlines, THAI can reach many other European cities through Istanbul, which is another gateway for THAI into Europe as well as destinations in Turkey.  Both our airlines can look forward to mutual strengthening of potential markets through Turkish Airlines’ extensive route net into Europe and through THAI’s strong network in Asia and Australia.”

Air France and Air Mauritius extend their partnership

This commercial partnership comes within the framework of the agreements signed between the two airlines in 2008,  which already enables Air Mauritius to use its code on Air France flights from the hub at Paris-Charles de Gaulle in Metropolitan France and to several destinations in Europe,according to Air France.
This code-share agreement increases capacity to Reunion Island and Mauritius by creating new travel opportunities via  Mauritius and via Reunion Island.  Moreover, Air France enables its customers to earn miles between Reunion Island and Mauritius.
Air Mauritius operates up to 7 daily frequencies on departure from Mauritius to Reunion Island, Roland Garros and Pierrefonds Airport s.
Air Mauritius and Air France together operate up to 18 weekly flights to Mauritius at peak periods on departure from Paris-CDG Airport . Air Mauritius operates up to 9 weekly flights by Airbus A340-300 and Air France operates up to 9 weekly flights by Boeing 747-400.
Air France operates up to 12 weekly flights to Reunion Island by Boeing 777-300ER at peak periods on departure from Paris-Orly Airport .

Etihad dials-up in-flight connectivity

Etihad Airways the Abu-Dhabi carrier officially launched its first aircraft equipped with in-flight connectivity this week, allowing passengers to receive calls and message on their mobiles.
Hooked up to the carrier’s three Airbus A330-300 and one A320 and expected to be available on their second A320 from March this year, the carrier said the system will give passengers full mobile connectivity.
On top of the international roaming rates of the traveller's mobile network provides, the carrier will also charge US$10 for inflight mobile and tablet connection as well as US$20 for laptop Wi-Fi internet.
Etihad Airways chief commercial officer Peter Baumgartner said in an online statement that the launch of in-flight connectivity was the carrier’s first step in a long-term strategy of in-flight connection solutions.
“The modern traveller is increasingly reliant on mobile devices and the internet, not only to plan travel, but also to stay in touch throughout their journey,” he said.
The carrier’s A320 is often used to service short-haul service across the Middle East while the A330-300 is used for longer flights to London, Frankfurt, Paris, Geneva, Casablanca and Seoul.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Emirates to add more flights to Pakistan

KARACHI: Emirates has announced two additional flights a week to Northern Pakistan. From February 7th Emirates will serve its passengers in Lahore and Islamabad eight times a week. The airline will now be operating 47 flights into and out of Pakistan with an additional weekly flight operating to both Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore and Benazir Bhutto International Airport Islamabad. Commenting on the occasion, Badr Abbas, Emirates’ Vice President, Pakistan and Afghanistan, said: “The increased frequencies are testament to our long-term plan in Pakistan. In just a few months we have increased our flights from 39 flights a week to 47 flights a week.

Kenya Airways opens up for South Africa Travellers

Kenya Airways says passengers stranded in Malawi to travelling to South Africa can still use the airline but via Nairobi to OR Tambo Airport in Joburg.
The development comes at a time when the business sector and the general travelling public has complained of over-booked and unavailable air travel options to South Africa since the suspension of Air Malawi flights in November last year.
In reaction, the Economic Empowerment Action Group (EEAG) said much as the route provides an option for entrepreneurs, it could be viable if air ticket costs can be negotiated to manageable levels.
Responding to a questionnaire on Wednesday, Kenya Airways Country Manager for Malawi Ruth Maweu said the company has some solutions for those flying to South Africa.
"For stranded passengers, they can fly via Nairobi as we offer 10 weekly flights out of Lilongwe with perfect connections into Johannesburg.
"This includes three night flights that only have two hours connection time in Nairobi which is fantastic," said Maweu.
She, however, said Kenya Airways cannot fly direct to South Africa as it has not been given as an immediate point by the Bilateral Air Service Agreement between the governments of Kenya and Malawi.
"Therefore, it's not possible for Kenya Airways to fly directly to South Africa from Malawi, rather has to go through its hub Nairobi.
"However, we welcome any move by the government in allowing us to do so, Kenya Airways will gladly step in and serve the traveling public by offering a direct product," Maweu said.
But in an interview on Wednesday EEAG president Louis Chiwalo said the option by Kenya Airways can be relevant if entrepreneurs consider time and costs involved.
"Because of the pressure on the route, this would be acceptable only if it makes business sense that time and air ticket including baggage costs is negotiable.
"But still we feel Air Malawi's planes must be brought back into operation because their absence has shown that air business is there on this one route and the airline's shareholder must also seriously consider buying new aircraft to utilise this business potential which is also a forex earning avenue," Chiwalo said.
Air Malawi said it is expected to resume its flights to Johannesburg as its newly leased Boeing aircraft would be in the country this week.

Zimbabwe: National Airline Looking At Leasing Aircraft

AIR ZIMBABWE has decided to lease aircraft because neither the Government nor the national airline have resources to buy new planes, an official has said.
Transport, Communications and Infrastructure Development Permanent Secretary Mr Partson Mbiriri, yesterday said contrary to media reports that Airzim had purchased an Airbus A350, the national airline was assessing which planes to lease.
"Not every plane that lands at the Airport belongs to Airzim, it is true that the national airline needs new aircraft but neither Government nor Airzim has the resources to purchase them," he said. "What is happening is that Airzim is exploring and assessing the leasing route because it's cheaper to lease than buy one when we don't have the resources."
Mr Mbiriri said since Airzim was assessing which planes to lease, it was inevitable that some planes would be seen at the Airport. He said some companies would send their aircraft to Airzim to market them.
"Some of the vendors even go as far as painting the planes in Airzim colours as a marketing gimmick. This has been happening over the years that I have been at the Ministry of Transport. Government is obviously determined to see the national airline continue flying the Zimbabwean flag," Mr Mbiriri said.
He said the Airbus 350 that had been reported as having been bought by Airzim was just being assessed for leasing by the national airline.
Meanwhile, State Enterprises and Parastatals Minister Gorden Moyo on Tuesday said Government would "ring fence" the US$140 million debt, which the airline would repay when it becomes profitable.
Last year, Cabinet resolved to incur the over US$140 million debt which would pave way for the restructuring of Airzim.
This also comes amid indications that the Cabinet Committee on the national airline has only met once despite several Cabinet directives.
MDC-T's national council last year met and called on the Government to stop funding the national airline saying it would rather be shutdown.
Minister Moyo said Cabinet resolutions were policies that had to be implemented than party positions.
"The Cabinet position is what matters because it becomes a policy and that resolution (debt takeover) is awaiting implementation," Minister Moyo said.
He said the decision to takeover the debt was motivated by the need to make the airline's balance sheet attractive to investors.
Minister Moyo said Cabinet resolved that Airzim should be restructured through a joint venture approach.
"Implementation of the restructuring is now in the hands of the Minister of Transport, Communications and Infrastructure Development (Nicholas Goche).
"The decision was that we are going to use the model of the Ethiopian Airways and the Kenyan Airways. It is up to the Minister of Transport to implement that decision," he said.
Minister Moyo said Cabinet had instructed Finance Minister Tendai Biti to raise the funds for "right sizing" the workforce at the airline.
He said the delay to clear the debt was due to financial constraints at the Treasury.
Minister Moyo said Cabinet would also restructure the National Handling Services whose proceeds would be channelled towards recapitalisation of the national airline.
Minister Goche and Minister Moyo have the responsibility to finalise the restructuring exercise.
Minister Moyo said the restructuring documentation for NHS was ready to be presented in Cabinet for approval. Cabinet, Minister Moyo said, also agreed that there was need to properly constitute the Airzim board and management.
"As we speak those people can't make decisions on their own thus they keep referring most of the issues to the Ministry of Transport, consequently leaving us with a kind of micro management of Airzim against the norms and values of corporate governance," he said.
Zanu-PF and MDC say there is need for the national airline to be recapitalised so that it can be profitable while the MDC-T argues the solution lies with the shutting down of the airline.
Zanu-PF spokesperson, Cde Rugare Gumbo, said there was need for the Government to implement the Cabinet resolutions.
"Like any other parastatals, we can't allow Airzim to liquidate, we have a responsibility to make sure that Airzim is capitalised and that is possible if Government takes the debt," Cde Gumbo said.
"The airline has to recapitalise so that it can fly the Zimbabwe flag because we believe an airline is a marketing strategy for the country. We want it to be run on a commercial basis so that it generates profits."
MDC deputy spokesperson, Mr Kurauone Chihwayi, said there was need for the Government to engage an investor who can help resuscitate the national airline.
"We cannot dump Airzim, the only dumping we can do is in the hands of an investor," Mr Chihwayi said.
"We expect the major shareholder to capitalise the national airline and if Government can't do that then an investor should come in with the money because it cannot continue in the state that it is in where workers can go for seven without getting paid."
He said Government was supposed to be flexible and allow the investor to own more than 49 percent stake in the airline.
However, MDC-T spokesperson, Mr Douglas Mwonzora, said the only way to solve the problems at Airzim was to implement the MDC-T resolutions on the airline.
"If Cabinet has failed to implement its resolutions it shows there is something wrong. We believe the problems at Airzim are persistent and our view is shut down Airzim, pay workers their packages, get a partner and then run it commercially," he said.
Mr Mwonzora said there was, however, need for the Government to find other ways of settling the Airzim debts.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Etihad Airways in training partnership with IATA

Etihad Airways announced a training partnership with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) during the Aeropolitical Affairs Forum in Abu Dhabi.
The partnership, a joint effort to develop the human capital of the Middle East aviation industry, is commencing with the implementation of the Airline Customer Service programme and will extend afterwards to other fields in aviation, cargo, travel and tourism.
It will also aim at upgrading the leadership competencies of various industry resources by introducing the IATA-Harvard Leadership & Management training programme in collaboration with Harvard Business School Publishing.
“The United Arab Emirates is expecting to handle 86.6 million international passengers by 2015, an 8.5% average annual growth. If that materialises, in 2015 it will handle nearly 30 million more passengers than in 2010. Skills and knowledge will be critical to support this extraordinary growth,“ said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO.
IATA’s partnership with Etihad Airways in the training field falls within a shared vision of reaching out to the next generation of leaders in the aviation industry as well as the overall development of the human capital to fullfill the need for new talent and skills to meet the challenges and opportunities in a dynamic industry.
“We are delighted to be involved in this partnership as there is no more important resource for any organisation than its people,” said Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan. “This joint initiative should help provide access to opportunity as we build a talent pool across all facets of the aviation industry, and provide a career path for appropriately trained professionals.”

Airberlin and Etihad Airways combine frequent flyer programs

airberlin and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will integrate their frequent flyer programs from January 15, 2012, as they roll out their recent partnership.
airberlin topbonus and Etihad Guest frequent flyer program members will earn award and status miles on both airberlin and Etihad Airways flights.
topbonus Silver and Gold Card holders will enjoy additional status benefits such as use of Etihad Airways’ priority check-in and increased baggage allowances.
topbonus Gold Card holders will also be able to access exclusive Etihad Airways lounges in Abu Dhabi, Dublin, Frankfurt, London and Manchester. Etihad Guest Silver, Gold and Gold Elite members travelling with airberlin will also be able to enjoy exclusive benefits such as access to airberlin’s Exclusive Waiting Areas.
Paul Gregorowitsch, Chief Commercial Officer airberlin, said: “Extending our strategic partnership with Etihad Airways to include our topbonus frequent flyer program is a further key step towards making airberlin topbonus even more attractive. Status benefits such as using our new partner’s exclusive lounges and the option of earning topbonus miles on Etihad Airways’ flights are ways of adding real value.”
Etihad Airways Chief Commercial Officer Peter Baumgartner said: “This is another tangible step in the roll-out and integration of our extensive partnership with airberlin. Across our combined network of 239 destinations, this frequent flyer deal amounts to a fantastic proposition for airberlin’s topbonus frequent flyer members and our own Etihad Guest members.”
To celebrate airberlin’s partnership with Etihad Airways and the new non-stop flight from Berlin to Abu Dhabi, airberlin is giving double award miles to all topbonus members on flights marketed and operated by Etihad Airways.
Over the same period, airberlin is also giving away double award miles on tickets booked for their new connection from Berlin to Abu Dhabi.
For getting more information regarding cheap flights to any destinations in the world, please call our reservation experts on 02079936219 or visit our website

Emirates airline signs deal with Mauritius

Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority has signed an extensive deal with Emirates, the national airline of Dubai, to globally promote Mauritius holidays and bring passengers to the island on one of the presently 11 flights the airline operates from Dubai. The two partners will engage in a range of marketing and promotional activities aimed to stimulate demand and increase the ‘visibility’ of Mauritius across the global network that Emirates has built in recent years.
Present at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding at the airline’s head office in Dubai were the Mauritius Tourism Minister Mr. Sik Yuen, his Permanent Secretary Premila Roy, the Chairman of MTPA Robert Desvaux and the CEO of MTPA Karl Mootoosamy, while Emirates was represented by Majid Mualla, Emirates’s Senior Vice President Commercial Operations West Asia and Indian Ocean and Omar Ramtoola, General Manager Emirates General Manager (Indian Ocean Islands).
It is understood from usually well informed sources that Emirates is seeking more flights and possibly even 5th freedom rights, counting on the support of hotel and resort operators in Mauritius, who have for long asked their own government to grant greater access to foreign airlines to bring more tourists to the country. These developments are very similar to what the airline was trying to achieve in neighboring Seychelles, where the opening of the skies has led to Air Seychelles axing all their European and Asian destinations as a result of not being able to compete with the Gulf based giants on fares and frequencies.

Ethiopian Airlines sells Fokker 50s, seeks Q400s

Ethiopian Airlines has sold its five Fokker 50 regional turboprops to Fortran Aviation Limited, and is negotiating with Bombardier to replace them with five new Q400 turboprops.
Ethiopian Airlines Chief Executive Oficer Tewolde Gebremariam said the aircraft were sold so that the airline could buy new aircraft. He added that the aircraft were transferred at the end of last year.
Earlier this month Singapore-based aircraft and engine parts company Fortran said the five Fokker 50s were being sold on to the Indonesian start up airline Pacific Royale. The five aircraft were manufactured between 1995 and 1997 and were sold by Ethiopian after a decade of use to ensure compliance with European safety regulators, which release strict guidelines to African operators not to operate old aircraft.
After selling the Fokker 50s, Ethiopian is planning to acquire five more Bombardier Q400 regional turboprops. Gebremariam said a deal to acquire more Q400s is still in the early stages of negotiation, and inside sources say Ethiopian has been negotiating with Bombardier for several months.
“The two parties are now discussing the details of the purchase contract. Hopefully, it would be concluded in the coming couple of months,” a senior executive at Ethiopian told Ethiopia’s The Reporter last month.
The Canadian manufacturer said it was not allowed to discuss possible sales but would make a formal announcement following a firm order.
Ethiopian Airlines ordered eight Q400s in November 2008 for US$192 million. The first aircraft arrived in March 2010 and began replacing the carrier’s Fokker 50s.
Ethiopian has around 40 aircraft on order as it implements its vigorous fleet renewal project. Ethiopian has an order for ten Dreamliners and will be the first African airline to receive the aircraft, when the first 787 arrives in the second quarter of 2012. Ethiopian plans to use the 787 to expand its existing destinations as well as its presence in more markets worldwide, including new destinations in the Far East.
The airline currently operates eleven 767-300s, with eight of the type slated for retirement by 2016. It also operates five 777-200LRs, eight 757-200ERs, five 737-700s, five 737-800s and eight Bombardier Q400s. It intends expanding its jet fleet to 112 by 2025.
In December 2011 Ethiopian joined the Star Alliance and plans to strengthen its route network in Singapore, South Korea and China. It is also planning to open new routes to the United States and Canada.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Singapore Airlines A380 Superjumbo Aircraft Now Serving New York

The Singapore Airlines A380 is now serving New York's JFK Airport, with the inaugural flight departing JFK, January 16th at 8:10 p.m. The world's largest commercial aircraft introduces the industry's only Double Suites -- a private cabin equipped with a double bed for two passengers -- as well as a host of enhanced seating, entertainment and dining options in every class, to travelers from the New York area.
Fly to Europe, Asia in a Private Suite
With only two Double Suites available on each aircraft, the Singapore Airlines Suites offer the luxury of an unprecedented level of personal space inflight. Each private cabin offers a 23-inch video screen with more than 1000 on-demand entertainment options, the industry's only choice of Dom Perignon or Krug Champagne, down duvet turndown service at bedtime, personal care amenities by Kiehl's, and exclusive sleeper suits designed by Givenchy. Coupled with the service of Singapore Airlines' award-winning cabin crew, SIA Suites' dramatically generous cabin size provides customers with a luxurious travel experience in a class unlike any other. Single Suite cabins are also available for solo travelers, offering the same privacy, amenities and features.
"Suite-to-Suite" Private Jet Connections
SIA has also announced an expansion of its partnership with JetSuite, the nation's fastest-growing private jet company, for travelers connecting to SIA A380 services at JFK. This expanded relationship enables Singapore Airlines to offer special rates on domestic and international private jet connections for travelers at airports located within 1,000 miles of JFK.
The SIA A380 superjumbo aircraft, operating as flight SQ26, is scheduled to make its maiden touchdown in New York's JFK at 11:10 a.m. local time. The Big Apple is the tenth destination in Singapore Airlines' network and its second point in North America, following LAX, to receive the world's largest commercial aircraft.
Singapore Airlines was the first carrier to operate the A380 in October 2007. The Singapore Airlines A380 will operate daily flights between Singapore and New York JFK (via Frankfurt) following the inaugural service. The schedule is as follows:
        (FROM 16 JANUARY, 2012)
        All times stated are local
        Singapore - Frankfurt - New York JFK
        Flight number Departs      Arrives    Departs    Arrives New
                      Singapore    Frankfurt  Frankfurt  York JFK
        SQ26          11:55 p.m.   6:10 a.m.  8:20 a.m.  11:10 a.m.
        New York JFK - Frankfurt - Singapore
        Flight number Departs      Arrives    Departs    Arrives
                      New York JFK Frankfurt  Frankfurt  Singapore
        SQ25          8:10 p.m.    10:00 a.m. 11:50 a.m. 6:50 a.m.