Thursday, July 26, 2012

KLM restart flights to Harare, Zimbabwe!

Good news for Zimbabwean, Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) will restart flights between Harare and Amsterdam in October 2012, after 13 years, the airline said on Tuesday.
The Royal Ducth Airlines (KLM) first flights to Zimbabwe will be on October 29, 2012 and served in combination with a new KLM destination to neighbouring Zambia's capital, Lusaka.
KLM, which is part of the larger Air France-KLM group, said in a statement that Zimbabwe is "a strong growth market with a wide array of natural resources."
Its announcement came a day after the European Union said it was ready to lift sanctions if the country holds credible vote on a constitutional referendum.
Most international airlines, including Air France, Lufthansa and Qantas pulled out of Zimbabwe over the past decade citing dwindling passenger numbers as tourists were scared off by political violence.
The airline said it will offer 11 weekly services to Harare via Nairobi, in co-operation with Kenya Airways, in which KLM has a 26 percent stake.
Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways and South African Airways are some of the regional airlines that maintained flights into Zimbabwe despite the political turmoil.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Air Namibia optimistic about growth in Zimbabwe Routes!

Air Namibia is optimistic about the growth prospects in terms of passengers on the Windhoek-Harare route, which it re-introduced mid last month after 13 years. The airline is using a 37-seater Brazilian-made Embraer ERJ-135 twin-jet aircraft to service the route.
Air Namibia's country manager for Zimbabwe, Mr Forbes Zaranyika, said they were encouraged by the volume of business they have been attracting since the re-introduction of the route.
"Our load factor has been averaging 40 percent and rising to about 80 percent in some instances which is quite good given that we have just re-introduced this route," he said. The load factor is the ratio of passengers per available seat on an aeroplane.
Mr Zaranyika said there has been an encouraging response from Zimbabweans travelling to Walvis Bay to collect their vehicles imported mainly from the United Kingdom. In addition, he said Zimbabwean professionals working in Namibia have also welcomed the introduction of the route as it offers a convenient means for them to travel between Harare and Windhoek.
"We are very encouraged by the response that we have been getting and we are looking at the possibility of introducing daily flights in the near future. We are also looking at the possibility of introducing morning and evening flights," he said.
The airline is flying into Zimbabwe four times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and daily between Windhoek and Victoria Falls.
Mr Zaranyika said the airline stands ready to facilitate the cultural, political and business synergies that are being concluded between the two countries through the provision of a fast and reliable airline service.
Air Namibia's general manager commercial services, Mr Xavier Masule, who is in the country, said they have seen a growth in the number of passengers using the Harare-Windhoek route to connect to other destinations like West Africa and Cape Town.
"We have created synergies with Kenya Airways to carry passengers proceeding beyond Harare and we hope to conclude more synergies with other airlines to provide convenience for our passengers.
"We have seen the crystallisation of the ideas we had when we introduced this route. We hope to continue providing a comfortable and safe mode of transport for people intending to explore Namibia for business and leisure," he said.
He added that they were in the process of setting up an office in Harare that will be manned by a nine-member team made up of Zimbabweans.
"At the moment we have a three-member team headed by Mr Zaranyika that is currently operating from Meikles Hotel while we wait to move to our new offices at Joina City. Recruitment of additional staff is ongoing," he said.
Mr Masule said while they have been striving to grow their business as an airline they have been affected by high fuel costs, which they have had to absorb as passing on the costs to passengers would make the cost of travel prohibitive.
He added that the eurozone financial crisis has also seen travellers from Europe cutting down on long-haul flights and international airlines shifting their focus to Africa where the volumes of people travelling abroad has been increasing resulting in competition for African airlines.
"As African airlines we are not taking this lying down we are determined to grab opportunities as they come," he said.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Africa Travel Association (ATA) welcome more airlines to fly into zimbabwe!

 Africa Travel Association (ATA) congress begun in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe on Friday with the association's executive director saying Zimbabwe should encourage more airlines to fly into the is five days event held in vic falls this year to promote tourism in zimbabwe.
ATA executive director, Edward Bergman, Zimbabwe needs more airlines flying into the country to ensure tourists have easy access to the country’s resorts.
He said more players in the aviation industry would also help reduce airfares.
"The local aviation industry is in dire need of more players so that there is competition among the airlines," Bergman told journalists.
"More airlines will ensure easy accessibility to destinations in Zimbabwe. If more airlines come on board, it will make accessibility easy and it will also stimulate competition and growth."
The country’s flag career Air Zimbabwe was grounded for nearly five months due to massive debts and strikes by key staff such as pilots and engineers over pay.
However the airline resumed domestic flights recently but continues to stay away from international routes, fearing seizure of its aircraft by creditors.
At least 18 airlines, including major global carriers, have pulled of the country since 2000 as the country struggled with a major economic and political crisis.
An improving economy as well as the easing of political tensions have seen some airlines, among them Emirates Airlines, already began flights to Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, the ATA congress has been oversubscribed with almost 400 delegates and 16 government ministers confirming their participation.
Vice President Joice Mujuru is expected to officially open the conference.
The last time the ATA congress was held in Zimbabwe was in 1988 and its return is largely seen as an opportunity to promote the country’s tourism product in lost source markets such as the Americas and Europe.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Precision Air to launch flight to Lusaka

TANZANIA'S private airline, Precision Air, will mid next month start flights to Lusaka and the Democratic Republic of Congo's Lubumbashi.
In a statement released in Lusaka, the airline commercial director Patrick Ndekana said Precision Air aims at mitigating the air transport woes that the Zambian market has been facing when travelling to and from Tanzania.
Mr Ndekana said with the absence of other airlines in the market, the company is proud to offer direct services to Dar es Salaam within two hours.
The airline will operate thrice weekly with a new Boeing 737 which it recently acquired from Singapore.
"We would like to inform the public that from 18th May, Precision Air will be providing new flights to Lusaka and Lubumbashi with operations every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
The addition of these two routes officially brings our list to 17 destinations-an achievement we cannot overlook in the growth of our airline," he added.
Mr Ndekana said the airline will operate from Dar es Salaam connecting via Congo's business complex, Lubumbashi, then Lusaka with the aim of trapping potential traffic on its way back to Dar es Salaam.
He said the airline is committed to eliminating the challenges that passengers face between Zambia and Tanzania by having to travel more than nine hours through South Africa or Nairobi to arrive in Lusaka or Dar es Salaam due to the lack of convenient and direct flights.
Precision Air was established in 1993 as a private charter air transport company, operating a five-seater piper Aztec aircraft providing connections to tourists visiting the country.
The airline currently offers connections to all major towns in Tanzania and regionally flights to Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya and Entebbe in Uganda.

Emirates Holidays Launches its Biggest Ever ‘A World of Choice’ Brochure for 2012-2013

Emirates Holidays, the tour operating arm of Emirates airline, has unveiled its new 600-page 'A World of Choice 2012-2013' brochure with the introduction of eight brand new destinations spanning six continents and featuring over 100 destinations.
Holidays to Zimbabwe, Argentina, Denmark, Ireland, and Zambia  all make their first appearances in the brochure, which has grown by 20 per cent – from 500 to 600 pages – since the 2011-2012 edition. Holidays to Dallas and Seattle in the USA, along with Vancouver in Canada, have also been introduced this year to coincide with the launch of new routes to these cities by Emirates airline.
In addition to the exciting new destinations, Russia, Morocco, Malta and South Korea have all been reintroduced into the brochure in response to customer demand. Offerings in popular countries such as China, Thailand, India, South Africa and Germany have also been expanded to provide more travel options with a wider choice of cruises, safaris, palace hotels and dedicated wellness retreats.
The once-popular Fly & Drive packages have also been re-launched this year in partnership with various car rental companies to satisfy customer desire for a more diverse range of holidays around the globe.
 "This really is a landmark year for Emirates Holidays," said Frederic Bardin, Senior Vice President, Emirates Holidays. "With the new destinations, travel offers and the reintroduction of some old favourites, 'A World of Choice 2012-2013' brochure is our best and biggest to date.
"At Emirates Holidays we offer a tailor-made holiday experience to each customer so the changes we have made this year reflect current travel trends and are based on what our customers have told us they want.  The expansion of our offering has been driven by the increased demand for a wider choice of destinations around the world. Places that were once considered out of reach are now easily accessible with the launch of new routes by Emirates airline and with the help of our new brochure, the travel opportunities are endless."
To reach out to its increasingly diverse customer base and to further reinforce its position as the leading holiday expert in the Middle East, Emirates Holidays is also expanding its 3 and 4-star hotel offerings – these are available when booking directly with Emirates Holidays or via travel agents.
As always, excellent service levels, destination knowledge and attention to detail play a core part in providing the impeccable customer service that Emirates Holidays has become known for. A wide network of well-trained Emirates Holidays staff  will help bring 'A World of Choice 2012-2013' to life for every customer through well-informed recommendations on flights, accommodation and sightseeing – all based on travel experience and extensive research.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Qatar Airways wins Skytrax 2012 World Airport Awards

Qatar Airways has been honoured with two major accolades at the annual Skytrax 2012 World Airport Awards held in Vienna. For the second year running, Qatar Airways' Premium Terminal at Doha International Airport (DIA) has been named World's Best Premium Service Airport, recognised for its superior Five Star service and excellent customer care.
Qatar Airways-owned Oryx Rotana, a five-star hotel at Doha International Airport, has won the Best Airport Hotel in the Middle East award and ranked 10th best airport hotel in the world - a remarkable feat for a property open only two years.

A favourite among premium passengers worldwide, Qatar Airways' Premium Terminal remains a unique facility in the world and, indeed, to the State of Qatar. Opened in 2006, the Premium Terminal is for exclusive use by Qatar Airways' First and Business Class passengers and is renowned for its world-class facilities including fine dining, luxurious spa amenities, as well as business facilities for transiting and departing passengers.

Doha International Airport beat two other high profile contenders for the title of Best Premium Service Airport - Frankfurt Airport's Lufthansa First Class Lounge and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport's Thai Airways First Class check-in and lounge facilities - both placed second and third respectively.

The 400-room Oryx Rotana is a leading business hotel in the Qatari capital with features including six exquisite and exclusive signature dining options, high tech business facilities, car limousine rental, multi-lingual staff, and wireless internet connection in all guest rooms.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker was delighted on the news of two key airport accolades for the Qatar Airways Group.

"We're extremely proud of our Premium Terminal, the first of its kind in the world to provide check-in, duty free, fine dining and transit services exclusively for our First and Business Class passengers," said Al Baker.

"Our passengers always comment on how much they enjoy the experience of the Premium Terminal. It really is a one of its kind. Our focus on providing the best service to all our customers is what keeps us ahead of the rest and ensures we remain committed to delivering the ultimate in Five Star service both in the air and on the ground," he said.

"After all, passengers' entire journey experience starts at an airport and it is vitally important that airlines and airports deliver what passengers expect," he added.

Al Baker added that the Oryx Rotana was a great asset for the company, its first venture into the hotel business in 2010.

Oryx Rotana General Manager Kevork Deldelian said it was a real coup to win the award, given the high level of competition that the hotel faced across the region.

"We are so proud of this award - it symbolises all that we set out to achieve since opening our doors two years ago," said Deldelian.

"Doha is growing at an incredible rate and with so many new hotels and restaurants planning to open, the competition is very high. But our commitment to delivering a Five Star service with the backing our airline parent company and our attention to detail is what makes our hotel a favourite not only among travellers, but locals as well," Deldelian added.

On winning both awards, Skytrax Chairman Edward Plaisted said, "We congratulate Doha International Airport and Qatar Airways on this fantastic achievement, winning the Best Premium Service Airport award. The Qatar Airways Premium Terminal remains a unique passenger facility worldwide, unmatched in terms of exclusivity and passenger amenities. With the New Doha International Airport due to open at the end of 2012, we will watch with interest to check that the quality of product and service remains at this award winning level."

Plaisted said, "In a region where is seems there is a new luxury 5-star hotel opening each month, the Oryx Rotana Doha should be pleased with their success being named as the Best Airport Hotel in the Middle East. To deliver such exacting standards in one of the most competitive high end hotel markets is no small achievement, and the management and staff should be proud of their place as the jewel of Middle East airport hotels."

Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 108 aircraft to 113 key business and leisure destinations worldwide. Last year was a landmark 12 months for Qatar Airways, which inducted 15 new destinations to its network, and won the coveted Skytrax 2011 Airline of the Year Award.

As part of its 2012 expansion programme, Qatar Airways launches flights to Perth (Australia) from July 3, a further 11 destinations - Zagreb (Croatia) from May 9;  and others cities during the year, including Mombasa (Kenya), Zanzibar (Tanzania), Helsinki (Finland), Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Belgrade (Serbia), Erbil (Iraq), Baghdad (Iraq), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) and Yangon (Myanmar). In February, the carrier launched services to the Azerbaijan capital Baku and Georgia's capital city of Tbilisi, and last month began flights to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda in East Africa.

Etihad Airways celebrates premier flight to Kenya

With the touchdown at the JKIA of the inaugural flight to Kenya by Etihad Airways, came the promise to be a force to reckon with in the airline industry in East Africa and around Africa. Led by Etihad's Chief Commercial Officer Peter Baumgartner, the Etihad Kenya team was unveiled at a press briefing at Ole Sereni Hotel and guests treated to an elaborate cocktail at the Zen Gardens.
Kenya has the distinct honour of being the first country in East Africa to welcome the airline's airbus A320 service. Other countries currently on the airline's roster are Egypt, South Africa, Sudan and Morocco.
While Etihad may be new to the East African market, it is certainly not a stranger to international destinations resulting in over 30 awards since its inauguration in 2003. Top of the list has been 'World's Leading Airline' for the second consecutive year at the 2010 World Travel Awards (WTA) in London.
"We hope this trend continues here in East Africa,' Etihad Airways CEO James Hogan said. The well-attended cocktail provided the airline management and Kenyan team to interact with people relevant to the industry and also sell their brand.