Monday, April 23, 2012

SAA announces expansion with new direct flights to Maun in Botswana

South African Airways (SAA) is continuing to expand its network in Africa by launching a new daily direct flights to Maun, Botswana  from Johannesburg  on June 15.
According to Tim Clyde-Smith, SAA's Country Manager, Australasia, Maun is the gateway to the Okavango Delta, a 15,000 square kilometre area of swamp and water that is the world's largest inland delta and also the world's largest oasis.
"The Okavango Delta lies in northern Botswana on the north-eastern edge of the Kalahari Desert, and is close to the border with the Caprivi Strip panhandle in eastern Namibia," Tim said.
"Botswana is increasingly popular with Australians who are looking for a different travel experience in a region teaming with wildlife. Now, with direct services to the Delta, they can reach it in just one stop from Australia," he said.
The Delta's combination of lush wetland lying next to arid dry country makes it one of the world's most unique places to see game, in terms of the variety of dry-land and wetland species that co-exist in near proximity. Low-ecological-impact tourist camps and lodges are dotted throughout the area catering to group and individual safari visits.
SAA's service to Maun Airport (IATA code MUB) will be operated by its regional partner South African Airlink with 37-seat Embraer ERJ-135 regional jets. SA operates eight 37-seat Embraer ERJ135LR regional jets, as well as eight 83-seat Avro RJ85s and 13 29-seat BAE Systems Jetstream 4100 turboprops.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana recently made a decision to allow increased flights into the country, meaning SAA can commence the new service in addition to its existing flights to Gabarone, the capital city.
The schedule for the new daily Johannesburg-Maun service will see flight SA 8300 departing Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) at 11:45 am, arriving at MUB at 1:15 pm. In the other direction, flight SA 8301 will leave MUB at 2:00 pm and reach JNB at 3:40 pm.
"SAA's new service to Maun opens up a new and much more convenient way to access one of Botswana's most popular safari destinations through our partners at Airlink," Tim Clyde-Smith said.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Air Mauritius will increase flights between Cape Town and Mauritius

Air Mauritius will increase its flights to Cape Town from Mauritius, from two a week to three in November.
It will also increase the number of flights to the island from Joburg. But it will stop its service from Durban on October 26, leaving Emirates as the only airline flying overseas from Durban's new King Shaka International Airport. Its departure will be a further disillusionment for people living in Durban, who hoped for more international flights without the inconvenience of having to change planes in Joburg.
The airport was opened as one of the preparations for hosting the Fifa World Cup, despite the fact that international airlines warned that they would not use it – preferring to end their flights in Joburg to avoid having to change crews for the short onward flights to Durban, and allowing domestic airlines to carry their passengers further.
Taxes and advice
Comair considered starting a service between Durban and London/Gatwick, hoping to extend its British Airways (BA) franchise in SA to cover that route.
But it dropped the idea after research by BA – perhaps fortunately in view of the 8 percent rise in the already high air passenger duty that passengers are charged entering or leaving the UK, on top of the new EU carbon trading scheme. This effectively penalises passengers arriving on long-haul flights by forcing airlines to buy units to offset emissions of CO2 from the moment of take-off.
The combined effect of these two taxes on tourism to Britain may be disguised this year by the two major attractions – the queen's diamond jubilee celebrations and the London Olympics. It is likely that the effect on the British tourism industry next year may shock the government into dropping or severely reducing the air passenger duty.
For those who do travel to Britain this year, the British Civil Aviation Authority has some advice for all passengers. Some of it seems obvious, such as "write down exactly where you parked if coming to the airport by road", but it may be hard to remember if you left in a hurry and return days later to search in a crowded parkade.
Another, less obvious, is the warning that "code-share agreements mean that the airline you book with isn't always the one operating your flight, which may affect your rights if you are denied boarding or the service is cancelled or delayed".
Others include the fact that check-in times can differ from airline to airline. If you make a mistake you can miss your flight, and that if you don't take the outbound flight originally booked for, contact the airline immediately to ensure your return booking is not cancelled.
TAP-ing voyager miles
South African Airways and Portuguese National Airline TAP, which are both partners in the international Star Alliance, have expanded their code-share agreement.
SAA passengers who earn Voyager miles on flights with TAP from Joburg to Lisbon can now earn them on TAP flights between Lisbon and Funchal in Madeira and other domestic destinations in Portugal.
Africa's top airport
Cape Town International Airport will receive the annual Airports Council International (ACI) award for the best-performing airport in Africa on May 24 in Singapore. Awards include best improved airport and the Skytrax award for staff service excellence last year.
Deon Cloete, the airport's general manager, told a destination marketing conference last month that "it hopes to attract more airlines to fly to the city".
An African royal merger
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which flies to Cape Town all year round, has added Luanda, the capital of Angola, to its intercontinental destinations with two scheduled services a week from Amsterdam.
KLM and Air France, which now flies to Cape Town in summer as well as to Johannesburg all year round, have merged, but with each airline retaining its separate identity. They have announced plans to devote "special attention to Africa" this year. KLM will add Lusaka to its list of destinations next month.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ethiopian Airlines to be the first to operate 787 Dreamliner in Africa

The Ethiopian Airlines will be the first to operate the 787 Dream-liner in Africa, Ethiopian CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said.
While in Seattle to meet with Boeing executives to discuss delivery of the airline's first 787 Dreamliner, Tewolde took a special tour of the airline's first 787 to be delivered later this year, according to a statement Ethiopian sent to ENA on Tuesday.
The statement said Tewolde met with President and CEO of Commercial Airplanes, Jim Albaugh as well as 787 vice president and General Manager, Larry Loftis and other program leaders to talk about the airline's first delivery and to receive an update on the 787 program and production.
"All of Ethiopia is excited about the delivery of our first Dreamliner and the whole country can be proud of being the first in all of Africa to receive this game-changing airplane," the statement quoted Tewolde as saying.
Ethiopian Airlines was the first African airline to order the 787 Dreamliner when they placed their order for ten 787s in February 2005.
The airline currently operates an all-Boeing fleet of 737,757,767 and 777 airplanes in passenger service and a 757, MD11 and 747 in cargo operations.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Singapore Airlines will launch direct flights to Osaka

Singapore Airline's customers travelling to Osaka this August are in for a special treat.
 The airline will be celebrating 40 years of direct flights to Osaka from Singapore by operating daily Airbus A380 flights from 10 to 15 August 2012.
 The special daily A380 service, which replaces an existing daily Airbus A330 service, will be the first A380 commercial flight to Kansai International Airport.
Singapore Airlines was the first airline in the world to operate the superjumbo in October 2007. Since its inaugural flight to Sydney, the Singapore Airlines A380 has proven exceptionally popular, having flown more than 7 million customers, with strong loads on all routes it serves.
The aircraft is currently operated to ten destinations in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. Singapore Airlines has 17 A380s in service and a further 2 on firm order.
"We are grateful for the continued support of our customers and service partners over the last 40 years of operations between Singapore and Osaka. The special A380 services symbolise our appreciation, and we are delighted to offer our customers the opportunity to experience some of our latest products on board the superjumbo," said Regional Vice President North Asia, Mr Lim Wee Kok.
The special A380 service is the latest in a series of activities to commemorate the 40th anniversary milestone. Promotional return fares from Osaka to Singapore as well as other destinations are also on offer.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Qatar Airways operate flights 14 times a week between Manila to Doha

Qatar Airways clarified yesterday that it has 14 weekly flights to Philippines between Manila and Doha, and not twice weekly as reported in The STAR on April 3.
The airline recently ended its thrice-a-week direct flights between Cebu and Qatar, which is not part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It was the only direct flight from Cebu to the Middle East. Passengers from the Visayas who want to fly to Doha must now go to Manila first.
The end of the direct flights from Cebu was reported shortly before the visit in Manila of Qatar's emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.
"Sheikh Hamad is the Emir of the State of Qatar and not the Emirates leader," Qatar Airways country manager Abdallah Okasha pointed out in a letter to The STAR.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Qatar Airways will start flights to Atlanta, Chicago as 787 Deliveries Begin

Qatar Airways Ltd. plans to start flights to Atlanta, Chicago, Boston and Detroit within the next year, doubling its U.S. network, as the carrier begins receiving Boeing Co. (BA) 787 Dreamliners.
A daily New York service will also be increased to three flights a day, with the addition of links via cities in Eastern and Western Europe, Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said yesterday in Montreal. The airline has daily flights to Washington and Houston.
"Qatar Airways is in the midst of a very aggressive expansion plan," Al Baker said. "The only thing that stopped us from going earlier is the delayed delivery of the 787s," he said about the U.S. flights.
The carrier has placed orders for 60 Dreamliners as it works toward boosting its global network to 170 destinations from 113 over three years. Like Dubai-based Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways PJSC, the carrier is using a Middle East hub to link markets in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Qatar Air also plans to resume services to Rangoon, Myanmar in October, Al Baker said. The carrier's order backlog also includes 60 A350s and 10 A380s made by Airbus SAS.
Boeing began delivering 787s last year ending more than three years of delays caused by struggles with new materials and production techniques.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Singapore Airlines Adds third A380 flights to London

People planning to catch flights to Singapore later this year will have more opportunities to travel on the Airbus A380.

Singapore Airlines has announced that all three of its daily services from London Heathrow to its Changi airport hub will be operated by the A380 from 1 June.

The Airbus plane, which is currently used on two daily connections to Singapore, will replace a Boeing 777-300ER, providing an increase of 17% in seat capacity.

London became the first destination in Europe to host the Singapore Airlines A380 in March 2008, with frequency increasing from one to two services per day six months later.

The carrier also uses the aircraft to operate regular flights to Sydney, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Zurich, Los Angeles, Frankfurt and New York.

Singapore Airlines served as the Airbus A380's launch customer in October 2007 and has since carried more than 7m customers on the superjumbo system-wide.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Etihad Airways expands codesharing with Brussels Airlines

Etihad Airways is growing its European reach with the expansion of a codeshare with Brussels Airlines.
The agreement with the Belgian carrier now includes services to the French regional cities of Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse.
These are in addition to Brussels Airlines' services to Barcelona, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Madrid, Oslo and Stockholm, on which Etihad Airways already codeshares.
The Gulf carrier's president and chief executive James Hogan said: "This adds three very popular destinations to the Etihad Airways network, and opens up more of Europe for our customers.
"This expansion is as a natural next step in what has been a very successful partnership since 2006, and we look forward to continuing to work with Brussels Airlines to also enable passengers from various points on their network to travel to Abu Dhabi and further afield."
Etihad operates eight weekly Abu Dhabi-Brussels flights in a two-class aircraft configuration.
The airline owns nearly 30% of Europe's sixth largest carrier airberlin and 40% of Air Seychelles.

Iberia Airline will begins Flights to Accra from Madrid in July

Accra-Ghana: Madrid-based Airline, Iberia, is set to begin scheduled flights to Accra from Madrid from July this year.

The airline will however start its operations in partnership with British Airways which merged with Iberia in 2010.

Ghana's commercial manager for British Airways James Wooldridge told Joy Business they will offer seamless travelling experience to their passengers.

He added that Iberia hopes to capitalize on the structures of British Airways to reduce their cost of operations

About 40 airlines could be operating from the Kotoka International Airport by the close of this year as four international airlines are due to start operations. They include: China Eastern Airlines, Qatar Airways, Air Canada and Royal Jordanian Airlines

United continues international network shifts and drops flights to Accra in Ghana

United is moving international capacity around its largest hubs in what appears to be an effort to maximize its network now that a crucial passenger service system cutover is complete. The IT system cutover allows United and Continental, whose merger is now complete, to fully utilize the combined networks and properly cross-fleet to operate optimal-sized aircraft in United's markets. One of the more prominent changes is the elimination of flights to Accra from United's Washington Dulles hub, which was the carrier's first point in Africa when the route was launched in 2010. Other changes include the seasonal elimination of flights from Washington to Moscow and from Newark to Rome.
The changes will support an overall revised capacity forecast for United this year. The carrier has refined its 2012 capacity guidance from an overall decrease of 0.5% to 1.5%, compared with a previous estimate of between growth of 0.5% and a drop of 0.5%. United's international capacity is now projected to grow this year by 0.3% to 1.3%, but some of that will be driven by new long-haul flights from Washington Dulles to Doha beginning in May, followed by Dulles to Manchester and Dublin.
United has just introduced flights from its Newark hub, which was a legacy Continental stronghold, to Buenos Aires. The new service is in essence a route transfer from United's Washington Dulles hub. Flights to Buenos Aires from Continental's legacy Houston hub, which is the carrier's gateway from Latin America, are remaining intact.
US DoT data show for 2011 United's load factor on the Washington-Buenos Aires pairing was roughly 70.5%, while the Houston flights recorded loads of 79%. The New York market is much larger than the Washington, DC metro market, so United saw an opportunity to increase passenger flows by moving the flights to Newark. It has a broader international footprint from Newark, which allows a wider breadth of passengers from Europe to connect to the Buenos Aires flights.
Feed to and from Latin America is becoming increasingly important to United and all US carriers operating to and from the region, since its performance has remained consistent while traffic to other regions has suffered due to economic uncertainty. IATA's figures show traffic growth to Latin America of 7.6% in January and 13.3% in February, though the association did warn February traffic levels where somewhat inflated due to the Brazilian carnival holiday occurring a month earlier in 2012.
United has said that Latin America was its best performing entity during the fourth quarter and full year 2011. United earlier reported that passenger unit revenue grew in Latin America by 11.7% year-over-year for 4Q2011 and 17.6% for the full year.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Emirates proposes more Heathrow flights

Emirates bosses are hopeful that a radical plan involving steep landing descents will allow the airline to operate more flights in and out of London's Heathrow airport, reports the Financial Times.
The Gulf carrier says it can cut noise levels on its A380 fleet by flying the big airliners into Heathrow on steeper descents and landing them part way down the tarmac to reduce the volume for nearby homes.
Aircraft are currently banned from take-off and landing at Heathrow between midnight and 6am, but Emirates hope to reduce the curfew to between 1am and 4am.
"If you can demonstrate the noise profile is much quieter, why not look at that as a means of growing capacity," Emirates president Tim Clark told the Financial Times.
He insists the plan - which would allow the jumbos to land 1km along the 4km runway - is safe, although admits it needs further development.
The British government has committed to maintaining the Heathrow curfew until 2014 while the Transport Department will later this year start to consider future operating hours.

Air France-KLM March Traffic, Capacity Rise - Update

Franco-Dutch airline Air France-KLM reported Tuesday increases in passenger traffic, capacity and load factor for the month of March and its first quarter. The company saw favorable comparisons in March, absent events such as the Japanese tsunami and the political crisis in Ivory Coast that hit last year's traffic.
Passenger traffic for the month grew 6.8 percent 18.34 billion revenue pax-kilometers or RPKs from 17.17 billion RPKs in the previous year. The company said it has restated passenger data to include the passenger business of Martinair.
Capacity, measured in available seat-kilometers or ASKs, improved 1.8 percent to 22.22 billion ASKs. Unit revenue per available seat kilometer ex-currency improved in a context of a sharp rise in the fuel price, the company stated.
Load factor for the month increased 3.8 points to 82.5 percent from 78.7 percent a year ago. The number of passengers carried stood at 6.37 million, up 6.3 percent from last year.
The European network traffic, including France, improved 7.2 percent and capacity was up 2.7 percent. Load factor increased 3 points and stood at 71.9 percent.
On the Americas network, capacity increased 2.5 percent and traffic rose 9.7 percent. Load factor increased 5.8 points to 88.2 percent.
Meanwhile, cargo traffic for the month declined 3.4 percent to 995 revenue tonne-km and load factor dropped 2 points to 69.2 percent. Capacity edged down 0.6 percent to 1,438 available tonne-km.
For the first quarter, passenger traffic grew 5.5 percent to 51.73 billion RPKs and capacity increased 1.6 percent to 63.39 billion ASKs. The number of passengers grew 5.6 percent to 17.46 million and load factor improved 3.1 points to 81.6 percent.
In Paris, Air France-KLM shares are currently trading at 3.92 euros, down 0.08 percent.

Kenya Airways to start direct flights to New Delhi

Kenya Airways has announced its commencement of flights to New Delhi the Indian Capital city, starting May 15, 2012. The much anticipated service marks Kenya Airways' 57th global destination and second in India. The launch of this new route highlights KQ's efforts to provide seamless travel and accessibility to travellers from Africa to Indian subcontinent and vice versa.
Kenya Airways flights to New Delhi will be four times a week on a Boeing 767-300. The new route highlights Kenya Airways ambitious growth plans to expand its network as part of its 10-year growth strategy. "New Delhi is the second city after Mumbai that we will be flying to India, we intend to open four more destinations in the subcontinent as part of our 10-year expansion strategy," said Dr Titus Naikuni, Kenya Airways Group Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer.
Kenya Airways remains the fastest growing airline in the continent and is pursuing a network expansion strategy that targets to link all African countries with the world, making it the airline of choice for travellers in the continent. India has been aggressively promoting trade with Africa as it seeks to gain access to the continent's emerging markets.
The new route to Delhi seeks to expand and promote the bilateral and commercial relations between India and the African region. Kenya Airways, a Sky Team Member, operates 3 flights a week from Muscat to Nairobi and offers excellent Holiday Safari packages to Kenya.

Ethiopian Airlines announces flights to Seychelles

Addis Ababa: Ethiopian Airlines announced the launch of nonstop flights to Seychelles from Addis Ababa beginning 01 April 2012.
The Airlines is pleased to begin services to Seychelles, which is famous for its beauty and the home of two UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites, according to Tewolde Gebremariam, Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian.
The CEO underscored that the Airlines is among the leading transporters and has fulfilled the necessary safety requirements.
Ethiopian Airlines used to fly to the Seychelles 32 years ago, which was disrupted due to capacity and other reasons.
In a harsh time where many airlines companies are closing due to the rising fuel cost, Ethiopian Airlines has managed to fly to more destinations with its established cost effective system to fulfil its aim of becoming a globally leading one by 2025.
Culture and Tourism Minister of the Seychelles, Alain St. Ange for his part said Ethiopian Airlines flight to his country will ensure mutual benefits.
According to ERTA, Ethiopian Airlines has introduced complete travel packages to the Seychelles, which include airfare, multiple-night stays at a variety of properties and unforgettable activity offerings.
Seychelles would be the 41st African destination and the 66th globally for Ethiopian Airlines.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Discover the World of 7th Wonders in Zimbabwe

The Africa Travel Association (ATA) announced that registration is now open for the 37th Annual World Congress, to be held from May 18-22, in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, one of the world's top natural wonders and adventure capitals.
ATA's hallmark event on the African continent will be hosted by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) under the auspices of Honorable Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Walter Mzembi. The theme of this year's event is "Africa Tourism: Partnering for the Future."

Among the expected 300 participants are tourism ministers and industry experts representing tourism boards, tour operators and their product development executives, front-line agents, ground operator companies, airlines, and hotels. Participants from the travel trade media and the corporate, non profit and academic sectors are also expected to attend, along with African Diaspora representatives and ATA's Young Professionals Program participants.
Zimbabwe is home to a diverse range of tourist attractions, including its own seven wonders: (1) people and culture; (2) history and heritage; (3) Great Zimbabwe (grand medieval palace); (4) Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya); (5) wildlife and nature; (6) Eastern Highlands; and (7) Lake Kariba. Delegates will sample some of these wonders during the Host Country Day and by participating in pre and post congress tours.
The ATA International Board of Directors meeting will be held on Friday, May 18. Saturday, May 19 begins with sessions focusing on Destination Zimbabwe, followed by an opening ceremony with cultural entertainment. The next few days include ample networking, learning and professional development panels and workshops, addressing industry topics, such as community-based travel, agro-tourism, academic travel, faith-based tourism, e-tourism, marketing, branding, private sector investment, women and tourism, sustainable tourism, and African culinary products. Delegates will also participate in roundtables for tourism ministers, a media marketplace, networking events, host country day(s), and gala dinners. Zimbabwe will also organize a marketplace, featuring art, sculpture and daily excursions in Victoria Falls.
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