Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Qatar Airways launches flights to Rwanda

Qatar Airways has further expanded operations in Africa with the launch of its 17th destination on the continent – daily scheduled flights to Rwanda.
The arrival of flight QR 536 to Rwanda's capital city of Kigali takes the airline's African capacity up to 132 passenger flights each week across a diverse network of cities.
A dramatic water salute soon after touchdown at Kigali International Airport signalled the arrival of Qatar Airways to its 113th international destination – a remarkable feat for an airline celebrating only 15 years of operations.
Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker flew on the inaugural service from Doha, and received a colourful welcome by traditional Rwandan dancers followed by an airport ceremony attended by over 150 guests, including government ministers, local dignitaries, business leaders, airport officials and media. Chief guest was Rwanda's minister of infrastructure, Albert Nsengiyumva.
With a strong focus on operating to underserved markets worldwide, Kigali is one destination which clearly fitted the bill for Qatar Airways, said Al Baker during an arrival speech at the city's international airport.
"We have extended our reach to yet another underserved market with today's launch of flights to Kigali," he said.
"I would like to thank the Rwandan government, the local airport authority and the people of Rwanda for supporting Qatar Airways' entry to this beautiful country.
"The direct daily air link between my home city of Doha and Kigali is further testament to Qatar Airways' commitment to expanding our presence in Africa and East Africa in particular, a dynamic region to where we already fly twice daily to both Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, and daily to Entebbe.
"Our newest route connects the mineral rich Rwandan landscape with the energy rich nation of Qatar, neighbouring Gulf states and cities around the world," added Al Baker, stressing that Africa continued to be a focus of growth for Qatar Airways this year as it plans further expansion across the Continent."
Nsengiyumva, in his welcome address, said the arrival of a young and dynamic airline from the Middle East was a great boost for the aviation sector in Rwanda.
"The coming of Qatar Airways signals mutual development which will have a positive impact on the economic growth of both Rwanda and Qatar," he said, adding that the chief executive's leadership of the award-winning airline was highly commendable.
In recent months, Qatar Airways launched new African services to Benghazi in Libya and the Ugandan city of Entebbe, with a further three route start-ups planned over the next few months – Mombasa in Kenya, and both Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar in Tanzania.

Emirates, Etihad cancel flights to Baghdad


UAE's flag carriers, Emirates Airlines and Etihad Airways, have cancelled their flights to Baghdad starting Monday, March 26, until Friday, March 30.

The flight cancellation came after Iraq authorities advised all airlines flying to Baghdad of the potential for restrictions on commercial airlines activity for four days ahead of the Arab League meeting on Thursday, March 29.

In the light of this development, Etihad Airways has cancelled all flights between Abu Dhabi and Baghdad over the corresponding period.
Etihad said all guests booked to travel with Etihad Airways on this route between these dates will be contacted to make alternative arrangements. "Guests can also call our local contact centre to make other arrangements."
Emirates Airline's daily flight to Baghdad, EK941/942 (Dubai-Baghdad-Dubai) also will not operate on these dates.
In its statement, Emirates Airline said that the Iraq Aviation Authority has closed the Baghdad International Airport for commercial operations from March 26 to 30 and hence, the daily flight to Baghdad will not be operational.

Air France Launch flights to Abuja Nigeria

As from 4 June 2012, Air France will be operating a daily flight to Abuja in Nigeria on departure from Paris-Charles de Gaulle. Flights will be operated by Airbus A330-200. With a total capacity of 208 seats, it has 40 seats in the Business class cabin, 21 in the Premium Voyageur cabin and 147 in the Voyageur (Economy) cabin. All Air France's Airbus A330-200s are equipped with the new "full sleep" Business class seat, which is longer, wider and more spacious. It is favoured by over 90% of Air France customers who appreciate the enhanced quality of sleep it provides during the flight. Five kilos lighter, it contributes to the reduction of CO² emissions and is therefore more environmentally friendly.

Flight AF 514 will leave Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 10:40 am and will arrive in Abuja at 3:35 pm before continuing on to Port Harcourt.

Flight AF 513 from Port Harcourt will leave Abuja at 11:15 pm and will arrive the following day at Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 6:10 am, offering excellent connecting opportunities to the 254 Air France and KLM destinations.

This new non-stop route is in addition to the daily flights to Lagos and flights to Port Harcourt and strengthens Air France's services to Nigeria, while at the same time illustrating Air France and KLM's continuous growth strategy in Africa.

With its network of 69 destinations1 in Africa and Middle-East in summer 2012, Air France, KLM and its partners are offering even more destinations and non-stop flights between these regions and the hubs at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam Schiphol.

Tanzanian airline setting flights to Zimbabwe

TANZANIAN airline, Precision Air, set flights to Zimbabwe soon, as it emerged that officials from the airline will visit the country this week to meet authorities in the aviation industry. The team will also meet officials from the tourism industry.

Precision Air's national sales manager, Tuntufye Mwambusi, told a Zimbabwean delegation on the sidelines of the premier world and travel fair in Berlin of its intentions to fly into the country soon.

The Zimbabwean team had officials from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).

Mwambusi further revealed that they recently acquired a Boeing 737 aircraft, which is set to be delivered in April this year.

The aircraft will service the Harare-Dar-es-Salam ro-ute.

Previously, this route was being serviced by the national carriers of the two countries, Air Zimbabwe and Air Tanzania, both of which have since pulled out owing to viability problems.

Commenting on this development, ZTA chief operating officer, Givemore Chidzidzi, said that the coming of Precision Air would certainly boost tourism, trade and commerce between the connected countries.
"This is a morale booster from a tourism perspective and we are convinced that this development will further enhance our tourism and bilateral cooperation with Tanzania in all spheres of life including trade and commerce", said Chidzidzi.

Precision Air was established in 1993 and listed on the Dar-es-Salam Stock Exchange last year.

Kenya Airways has 49% in the airline with the remainder owned by a Tanzanian businessman, according to its website.

Its fleet include five 70-seater ATR 72-500, four 47-seater ATR 42 and one Boeing 737. Plans are underway to expand the fleet further by acquiring a second Boeing 737-300, more E-jets and ATRs.

The carrier set flights to Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya as well as flights to Entebbe in Uganda.

Meanwhile, Air Namibia, which has been launching flights to Victoria Falls twice a week, has announced that it will be doubling its frequency and start flights to Harare on March 15 2012.

Air Namibia sales executive Ireen Schroder said this development has been prompted by the unprecedented and renewed interest in Zimbabwe by travellers.

"We used to fly two times a week into Victoria Falls but we are going to be setting flights to Harare now four times a week starting from 15 March", said Schroder.

Despite efforts being invested by the ZTA to market Zimbabwe globally, the issue of air access has continued to pose a menace to tourism development and this has been aggravated by the failure of Air Zimbabwe to service its routes.

Monday, March 26, 2012

British Airways to increase flights to East Africa

British Airways plans to introduce seven new flights to the East African Community this year, although fears over Kenya's political stability and aircraft delivery could delay the expansion.
The rise in the number of flights is expected to heighten competition in regional route, as more airlines launch flights to EAC.
BA will be launching 10 times flights to Nairobi from Europe compared to the current seven. To Tanzania, the airline will have two more flights up from the current three. In Uganda, it will now fly five times.
BA plans to re-introduce a bigger plane on its Nairobi route, a Boeing 747-400 it grounded in 2008, to replace the Boeing 777-300 in use.
BA's financial results released two weeks ago showed that Africa operations contributed 11 per cent of its operating profits that shot to £518 million ($818 million) in 2011 from £197 million ($311.4 million) in 2010.
"We are expecting delivery of 767 aircraft in the last quarter of 2012 for Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia routes but political tension is a determinant to our expansion plans," said George Mawadri, area commercial manager East and Central Africa.
"As a business, we are worried of the risks in Kenya among them insecurity and uncertainty over the coming general elections," said Mr Mawadri.
Political tension has seen the airline withdraw its operations in Zimbabwe and Libya with the latter's flights anticipated to resume in April. Zimbabwe would have to wait for the country's general elections to be held this year.
"We need the aircraft first, we can't predict increased performance without having the capacity in place heavily determined by Boeing," said  Mr Mawadri.
Kenya Airways efforts to boost its business in Europe have stiffened competition on this route to the East African region.
"The European region registered the highest growth of 14.7 per cent largely due to introduction of flights to Rome and double daily weekend flights to London," Titus Naikuni, Kenya Airways chief executive said.
BA said it was seeking for partnerships in emerging markets to grow its operations and maintain its 2011 revenues and the Far East was a target market, the airline said.
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways has launched a flight to Kigali and Doha, which is expected to help grow Rwanda's investments and trade volumes with Asia.
The Qatar airline QR 536 flight to Rwanda's capital puts its African capacity up to 132 passenger flights every week across a diverse network of cities.
The Qatar Airlines and BA flights come on the aviation industry to compete with regional power houses such as Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways as well as international airlines such as Brussels Airlines and South African Airways.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Air NZ launches 30,000ft putting challenge

New Zealand: From today, passengers on board Air New Zealand's all black A320 will be invited to take part in a world first for in-flight entertainment on selected services between Auckland and Queenstown.
To celebrate Air New Zealand's sponsorship of the NZ PGA Pro-Am tournament, the airline is running the '30,000ft in-flight putting challenge' where passengers will be invited to putt down the aisle of the aircraft.
Air New Zealand's Head of Sponsorship, James Gibson, says the airline is excited to be able to show its support for the upcoming NZ PGA Championship via this quirky in-flight competition.
"At Air New Zealand we're crazy about rugby on the outside of our planes and we're crazy about golf on the inside. We can't wait for customers to get a slice of the NZ PGA action, before they even set foot on the ground in Queenstown, by taking part in some fun mid-air putting.
"This world-first for entertainment onboard is sure to show off some skills and provide a few thrills for passengers travelling on the all black A320 over the next few days," says Gibson.
Four passengers on each flight will be given the opportunity to putt down the aisle to win a range of golfing prizes. The overall champion will be awarded a prize pack consisting of a VIP trip for two to watch the final day of the inaugural NZ PGA Pro-Am Championship, including flights, accommodation and a brand new set of custom-fitted Callaway RAZR clubs kindly supplied by Callaway, another tournament sponsor. The competition will conclude on Monday 26 March with the winner announced on Tuesday 27 March.
The NZ PGA Championship is being held at The Hills Golf Course in Arrowtown, from 29 March - 1 April, and is expected to draw close to 20,000 spectators as well as golfers from around New Zealand and overseas including a few famous faces.

Malaysia Airlines Increases Regional And Long-Haul Network Frequencies

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines is offering increased full-service weekly frequencies effective tomorrow between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, Manila, Phnom Penh, Los Angeles, Taipei, Bangkok, Medan and Jakarta, taking advantage of an expected rise in demand on these routes.

These sectors will see a gradual increase in total capacity from the current 19,540 seats to 24,820 by May 1, the airline said in a statement here today.

The company said these routes would mainly use B737-800 and B777-200 aircraft, all equipped with in-seat personal TV screens and more leg room for customers' comfort.

The additional frequencies also seek to offer travel enthusiasts from Malaysia more convenient connections to enjoy events like the Penghu Fireworks Festival in Taiwan, Beijing International Book Fair and Cocoa de Flores in Manila.

The company said travellers can now take advantage of the 50 per cent increased frequency of 21 weekly flights between Kuala Lumpur and Manila at all-inclusive return economy class fares starting from RM1,357.

For travel to Phnom Penh, customers can enjoy return economy class fares from only RM814 and more flight choices with the 55 per cent frequency increase to 14 weekly services by May 1.

For Indonesia, passengers will have more flight choices with all-inclusive return economy class fares from RM647 to Jakarta and RM477 to Medan as Malaysia Airlines increases weekly frequencies to 42 flights for the Kuala Lumpur-Jakarta route effective tomorrow and double daily for the Kuala Lumpur-Medan route.

As for travel to Bangkok, all-inclusive return fares start from RM883 as the national carrier commences four daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, also effective tomorrow.

Air India carries to add extra flights to Gulf

Delhi-India: Air India is set to increase the number of its flights to the Gulf region. Extra flights have been planned to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Union Ministry Of Civil Aviation made an announcement to this effect. Air India and Air India Express will increase its services from 430 per week to 471 per week for the summer schedule which begins on Sunday.

The number of flights will go up from 94 to 109 on Dubai route, while on Abu Dhabi route it will increase from 39 to 47 . On to Sharjah route, it will increase from 33 to 49 while on Doha route nine more flights will be added 12 to 21 . The National Air carrier has also increased the number of flights to Saudi Arabia from 42 to 48 .The services of Air India and Air India Express will further increase to 577 in winter 2012.

A new route to Visakhapatnam is being added on the existing Hyderabad to Dubai service.Air India is also introducing a direct link between Delhi and Bahrain. The frequency of operation between Delhi and Riyadh flight is being enhanced from two to four flights per week Air India will also launch two additional flights per week on the Thiruvananthapuram - Kochi - Dammam and Kozhikode to Dammam routes.

It will also operate four flights per week between Delhi and Sharjah via Amritsar and three times per week to Sharjah via Lucknow.

Qatar Airways Sat up Direct Flights to West China from Doha

Gulf carrier Qatar Airways has set up an office in Chongqing and has setting up direct flights to Chongqing-Doha, the first direct air link between southwest China and the Middle East, the Chongqing government reported Friday.
Qatar Airways now operates flights between Qatar's capital Doha and Chongqing three times a week and plans to increase the service to five times a week this year, said a market specialist with Qatar's Chongqing office.
He said Qatar will also set up a call center in Chongqing this June to deal with requests concerning the carrier's China market services.
A booming carrier, Qatar operated a fleet of 106 aircraft serving more than 112 destinations around the globe as of late March. The carrier began setting up offices in China in 2008, and currently includes Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chongqing in its global network.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Turkish Airlines to start seasonal flights to Edinburgh and Bilbao

Turkish Airlines (THY) released a statement on Friday announcing that the carrier will begin its flights to Bilbao from İstanbul  starting on May 28 and flights to Edinburgh on July 16, until October 27.

According to the statement, THY will fly to both destinations four times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, until October. Additionally, the frequency of flights to selected locations will be increased with the start of the summer schedule. In routes serving North America, flights to Los Angeles from İstanbul  will be increased from four times a week to seven, flights to New York from 14 times a week to 21, to Toronto from three times a week to four and flights to Washington, D.C., will be increased from five times a week to seven. Flights to Riyadh will be doubled in the upcoming season, flights to Tehran will change from 14 flights a week to 21 and flights to Belgrade will be increased from seven times a week to 14. In December, THY announced that the company is targeting to carry 38 million passengers and earn $7.8 billion in revenue for 2012.

Turkish airlines introduces three weekly flights to Novosibirsk

Turkish Airlines has just launched three weekly flights to Russia with 167-seat 737-800s 's third-largest city Novosibirsk from its Istanbul Atatürk hub and is now the biggest foreign airline serving the Siberian city. Still, China is by far the biggest international country market at the airport. Tolmachevo Airport, which serves Russia's third-largest city Novosibirsk, ranks as the sixth-largest airport in Russia after the three Moscow airports, St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, and is the busiest in Siberia.
Except after the Russian financial crisis of 1998 and the global economic downturn in 2009, the airport has experienced healthy growth in the last 15 years with 2011 passenger numbers well over the double those of 1998. However, growth has been particularly strong after the most recent recession. Last year alone, international passengers in Novosibirsk grew by 45% and domestic figures were up by 13%, resulting in an overall growth of almost a quarter of the airport's total passengers.
Growth continues this year. In January and February, total passengers were up by a third over the corresponding period last year. Again, it is international traffic that grows the fastest; +37% compared with 31% growth in the domestically.
64% of the airport's passengers travel on domestic services, with the remaining 36% contributed by international travel. Among the top four domestic destinations are routes to the three Moscow airports Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo. The combined seat capacity to these airports make up more than half of Novosibirsk's domestic seat capacity. The third-busiest route is notably to Khabarovsk in the Russian Far East, which ranks ahead of operations to both Moscow Vnukovo and St Petersburg.

BAA traffic boosted by surge in flights to Brazil

Traffic at airports operated by BAA rose by 2.5 percent in February, compared with the same period the previous year, with London's Heathrow benefiting from a surge in demand for flights to Brazil.
BAA, which is Britain's main airport operator and majority owned by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, said on Monday that its airports carried 7.3 million passengers last month. The figure was inflated by an extra day because February was a leap year.
Nearly 4.8 million passengers passed through Heathrow, a rise of 3.8 percent on the year before.
"BAA's airports have continued to demonstrate their resilience in the weak economic environment we currently face," said BAA's Chief Executive Colin Matthews.
At Heathrow, the best performing destination was South America which saw passenger numbers rise 51.5 percent, with Brazil showing an increase of 89 percent.
Matthews said, however, that capacity constraints were in danger of preventing Britain's airports from adding new routes from other airlines which could bring jobs and growth to the UK. He noted that Britain's airports will add one new route to China this year compared to seven by European competitors.
"The centre of gravity in the world economy is shifting to emerging markets and we need to forge new links with them. Instead, because of capacity constraints, we are drifting towards a future where the UK will be cut off from some of the world's most important markets," Matthews said.
BAA said there was strong demand for all destinations except Britain and Ireland. North Atlantic flights were up 7.4 percent, with other long haul destinations up 1.3 percent.
Britain's Civil Aviation Authority said on Monday it had not found evidence Heathrow's airport charges were unreasonably discriminatory following a complaint from Lufthansa's UK unit bmi.
Bmi had complained Heathrow had discriminated against it and other short haul airlines on domestic services following changes to charges introduced in April 2011.

India as a source market for tourism to South Africa

"The number of Indian tourists travelling from India to South Africa has steadily increased by over 122 percent between 2005 and 2010 and South Africa is continuing to attract Indian tourists in great numbers - with 67 039 Indian tourists travelling to South Africa between January and September 2011, 29% more than over the same period in 2010."
So said tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk on his two-day visit to India form January 30, 2012. Van Schalkwyk hopes to promote South Africa as a tourism destination and highlight the potential and importance of India as a source market for tourism to South Africa.
"The importance of India as a source market for South Africa cannot be underscored as India is an emerging travel market with massive growth potential. India's economic growth is also expected to continue over the next 40 years and by 2050, India is expected to be among the top-three global economies," he said.
India is ranked 7th in overseas top 20 source markets for South African Tourism. Rising incomes, changing attitudes and a desire to travel abroad increase demand for outbound travel. Since 2005, South African Tourism has been promoting the destination very successfully in India.
Air connectivity between the two countries comprises South African Airways operating four frequencies a week, while Jet Airways operates five times a week. There are also daily flights to South Africa from eight different cities via Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways.
According to Bua News, South Africa recently won the bid to host the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI) Convention which attracts an average of 1 000 delegates, excluding accompanying parties.
The conference serves as a platform for professional development, tourism information and intelligence exchange as well as a super familiarisation trip where delegates get to explore the tourism potential and attractions of the hosting region.
This will be held in KwaZulu-Natal in November this year. The TAFI Convention is a major milestone and the first of landmark events following the alliance formed between TAFI and Southern Africa Tourism Association (SATSA), and it will give the Indian Travel fraternity great exposure to South Africa. South Africa is also bidding to host the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) Convention in 2013.
SATSA is currently training over 1 000 Indian travel agents and tour operators to ensure they have the necessary skills and experience to sell South Africa.

Zimbabwe: National Heritage Day to Be Launched

Zimbabwe: THE National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe will soon launch the National Heritage Day to celebrate the country's cultural history, achievements and heritage. Chief curator with the department, Mr Kundishora Tungamirayi Chipunza said celebrating such a day was one way of rallying cultural support and building the country's cultural capital.
"It is a day on which Zimbabweans will reflect and inter-relate culturally and think outside politics and identify themselves as Zimbabweans.
"We are going to hold a fundraising dinner on April 30 to start the programme. Everyone should be culture conscious and have moments to reflect on who they are, so this day will provide that opportunity," he said.
Mr Chipunza said nations were not born but they become.
The cumulative experiences of any country, he said, formed the cultural capital that anchored the culture of any country and essentially become the heritage.
"The cultural capital of Zimbabwe is very big. It has an outstanding mining heritage that shows that there were 4 000 gold mines prior to colonisation.
"There was extraction and value addition of the gold that was later sold to markets in the Far East and India. There were also 500 copper mines. Our metallurgical advancement saw us making alloys well before the whites came," he added.
Mr Chipunza said Zimbabwe had magnificent engineering and architectural skills as demonstrated in the construction of phenomenal structures such as the Great Zimbabwe, which was a capital for at least 350 other similar sites.
Great Zimbabwe was the command capital and political state running the nation's affairs with the help of Mwari (God) while the epicentre of the activities was at Matobos, which was the command capital of the bulk of Southern Africa.
He said his department was charged with the preservation and fostering of the national heritage whose history should be taught to the young generation.
"All generations in Zimbabwe should accept the currency of this capital found in the monuments. People must appreciate the heritage we have so we are deliberately rolling out a programme targeting school children.
"We run competitions on the history, culture and heritage of Zimbabwe on the 18th of May every year. We have been doing it for the past 16 years," said Mr Chipunza.
Zanu-PF Women's League chairperson, Cde Oppah Muchinguri, said the idea of celebrating national heritage was commendable.
"Every nation has a history with which they identify themselves. We identify ourselves through some of our monuments, our culture and even the heritage.
"We have the Great Zimbabwe. Egyptians have their pyramids and they respect that a lot," she said.
Cde Muchinguri said it was important to preserve the national heritage adding that most people were no longer doing so but focusing on getting an education then a job later and making money.
She urged Zimbabweans to separate politics from national issues and be proud of who they were.
Deputy Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Cde Lazarus Dokora who is also a Zanu-PF Politburo member said the idea was noble.
"Part of the burden of any nation is to foster the participation of citizens in matters that have a bearing in their identity and originality," he said.
Zanu-PF Youth League Secretary Cde Absolom Sikhosana, lauded the idea saying leadership should do more to educate the youth on the history of the country, its culture and heritage.
"Most of us are in the late-afternoon stages of our lives so we need to groom people who will take the baton from us when we depart. The educational system that was there in the recent past did not touch our history accurately.
"The young generation surprisingly knows people from the Western history more than they do our local heroes. They need to know our history. A nation without a history is lost," he said.
Tourism and Hospitality Minister Walter Mzembi, said his Ministry was happy with the idea.
"We cannot operate outside the national heritage. When tourists come to Zimbabwe they are coming to connect with our past which is part of our heritage.
"Last year I appointed a National Heritage and Tourism Advisory Council to help us in re-defining the history of the country. The council also has people from NMMZ to demonstrate that we are intricately connected. We are like Siamese twins," said Cde Mzembi.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Air France adds New Flights to Nigeria

Europe's Air France is boosting its Africa connections from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport with a new daily flight to Abuja in Nigeria from June 4 this year. Flights will be operated by an A330-200 with a total capacity of 208 seats - 40 in business class, 21 in premium economy and 147 in economy. All the airline's A330-200s are equipped with the new 'full sleep' business class seat.

The new non-stop route to Abuja is in addition to daily flights to Lagos and Port Harcourt, strengthening Air France's sto Nigeria, while illustrating the Air France/KLM group's growth strategy in Africa.

Air France/KLM and its partners will have a network of 69 destinations in Africa and the Middle East in the northern summer 2012 from Paris and Amsterdam Schiphol.

Saudi Airlines Cargo to start weekly Flights to Ghana

Saudi Airlines Cargo will launch a weekly freighter flights to Accra the Ghana capital  March 25, 2012, a company statement has said.
According to the cargo airline, the new service, which will operate once a week using the airline's B747 freighters, heralds the company's further expansion into Africa.
"Ghana is an emerging market with enormous business potential for air cargo. The addition of this new destination will help us to increase our activities in Africa, where we already operate scheduled B747 freighters from Saudi Arabia to Nairobi, Lagos, Addis Ababa, N'djamena, Khartoum and Johannesburg," said Mr Peter Scholten, VP Commercial at Saudi Airlines Cargo.
Ghana's principal airport serves as the aviation hub of the West African sub-region, the company noted. The country's export traffic consists mainly of perishables (fruit/vegetables), with bulk of over 2,000 tonnes per month destined for the European market, followed by the Middle Eastern market, it added.
Saudi Airlines Cargo operates scheduled freighter services with 12 freighters and sells the belly-capacity on 140 passenger aircraft for Saudi Arabian Airlines spanning a rapidly expanding global network of 225 destinations.

Ethiopian Airlines to Launch Flights to Cotonou, Benin


Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest growing African airline, is proud to announce that effective 15 June 2012, the airline will launch new flights  to Cotonou non-stop from Addis Ababa, the economic capital of the Republic of Benin. The introduction of the new services will expand Ethiopian extensive network in West Africa.
The Republic of Benin is a small but influential country in West Africa, with a significant amount of trader activity. Cotton is also a major contributor to Benin's economy.
Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines said, "Ethiopian Airlines offers easy and convenient access to East-West and North-South African destinations through its strategic hub in Addis Ababa. The new service to Benin will further strengthen Ethiopian Airlines' presence in the West African markets by widening flight options to its passengers."
With this new flight, Ethiopian Airlines will offer more seamless travel options for tourists, traders, and businessmen to and from Benin. Passengers from Cotonou will also be easily connected to the vast Ethiopian network worldwide, with fast and frequent flights to Nairobi, Kigali, Beijing, Guangzhou, Bombay, Hong Kong, Dubai, Riyadh, and Beirut.
Ethiopian Airlines currently operates a total of 40 weekly flights to nine West African countries with daily East-West connections within the continent.
The commencement of new flights to Benin will increase the number of Ethiopian on-line destinations to 66 worldwide and 42 in Africa. The new service will be operated per the following schedule:
FlightDaysOriginDepartureArrivalDestination
ET917Mon/Wed/FriAddis Ababa10:1013:50Cotonou
ET916Tue/Thu/SatCotonou12:3520:00Addis Ababa
About Ethiopian
Ethiopian Airlines, one of the largest and fastest growing airlines in Africa, made its maiden international flight to Cairo in 1946 and with the new additional services to Seychelles and Cotonou, the Airline will provide dependable services to 66 international destinations spanning four continents.
Ethiopian is proud to be a Star Alliance Member. The Star Alliance network is the leading global airline network offering customers convenient worldwide reach and a smoother travel experience. The Star Alliance network offers more than 21,000 daily flights to 1,290 airports in 189 countries.
Ethiopian is a multi-award winner for its commitment and contributions towards the development and growth of the African aviation industry and in recognition of its distinguished long-haul operations enhanced by the introduction of new routes and products. Recently, Ethiopian won Gold in the African Airline of the Year 2011/2012 Awards organized by the African Aviation News Portal. Ethiopian also received the 2011 AFRAA award for being consistently profitable over the years and has won the "AFRICAN CARGO AIRLINE OF THE YEAR 2011 Award" for its excellence in air cargo. Ethiopian also won the NEPAD Transport Infrastructure Excellence Awards 2009 and "the Airline of the Year 2009 Award" from the African Airlines Association (AFRAA).
With its acquisition of and firm orders for several new modern fleet, the airline is well positioned to pursue aggressively the implementation of its 2025 strategic plan to become the leading aviation group in Africa.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Etihad Airways signs MOU with China airline

Etihad Airways has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China Eastern Airlines, encompassing joint route and schedule coordination and codesharing between the UAE and China.
The landmark agreement was signed at a meeting in Shanghai between president and chief executive officer of Etihad Airways James Hogan and China Eastern Airlines chairman Liu Shaoyong.
The MoU also includes codesharing on each other's networks, full frequent flyer reciprocity, reciprocal airport lounge access, joint product development, and technical and cargo cooperation.
Hogan said the MoU with China Eastern Airlines was an important development in Etihad Airways' China strategy.
"The partnership with China Eastern Airlines will allow us to extend our reach into the dynamic Chinese travel market in a commercially viable and mutually beneficial way," Hogan said.
"It will allow both airlines to offer their customers greater choice in terms of destinations and schedules and practical benefits like reciprocal lounge access and the ability to earn and burn on each other flights – so a win-win for the business and for travellers across our combined global networks.
"We will explore further opportunities to expand the cooperation with China Eastern Airlines and would welcome them operating to and beyond our home base in Abu Dhabi."
Shaoyong said: "China Eastern is very pleased to cooperate with Etihad Airways and cherishes this partnership. The signing of the MoU has great significance in terms of further strengthening the airlines' codesharing, on-ground agent service and frequent flyer program benefits."

Qatar Airways to Launch Flights to Rwanda

Qatar Airways will launch daily flights to Rwanda's Kigali International Airport on 21 March 2012.
Joining the airline's aggressively expanding route map, Kigali is the third destination launched by the carrier so far this year and latest to the African continent. In February, the airline began services to both Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Operating via Entebbe, Kigali becomes Qatar Airways' 17th route in Africa, joining its ever-growing global network that currently spans 112 destinations. Further expansion is planned across East Africa during 2012 with new flights to Mombasa, Zanzibar and Kilimanjaro.
"We are pleased to be reinforcing our presence in Africa with the addition of scheduled flights to Rwanda, allowing us to further expand our business on the African continent," said Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer, Akbar Al Baker. "There is clearly demand and huge potential to and from Rwanda, one of many underserved markets across Africa. As a network global carrier we are able to fulfill the needs of the travelling public from such markets and for those wanting to travel there from destinations we serve around the world."
Rwanda is fast emerging as a growing economic centre, forming strong trade links with Europe and Asia Pacific, thanks largely to its rich mineral resources. Key feeder markets include India, Australia, China, the United States and United Kingdom.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kenya Airways will fly to New Delhi four times a week on a Boeing 767-300

Kenya Airways has announced its commencement of flights to New Delhi, the Indian Capital city,  starting May 15th 2012. The much anticipated service marks Kenya Airways' 57th global destination and 2nd in India subcontinent.

The launch of this new route highlights KQ's efforts to provide seamless travel and accessibility to travelers from Africa to India 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 sub continent as part of our 10 year expansion strategy," said Dr. Titus Naikuni, Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer.

Dr. Naikuni noted that the destination has great business prospects as New Delhi is one of the largest cities in India, and the most preferred city in terms of information technology, investments, healthcare and government relations.    

India's economic growth has averaged around 7% each year since 1997, making it one of the world's largest emerging markets. According to industry forecasts, traffic flows between sub-Saharan Africa and India are expected to grow at a rate of 7.1% per annum over the next decade.

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 travelers in the continent.

lndia 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.

India is Kenya's sixth largest trading partner, with a vast business presence in the country. Recently, Kenya-India relations have improved buoyed by increasing bilateral trade that hit US $4.8 billion in 2010/2011.

Recently the airline announced a right issue offer to be launched on March 30th. The company hopes to raise Kshs20.7 billion from its shareholders.

Proceeds from the rights issue are projected to fund implementation of an ambitious 10-year expansion plan dubbed Project Mawingu; which would see the airline increase it number of destinations from the current 56 to 115 destinations by the year 2021.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Etihad Airways to add 4 flights to Cairo route

Etihad Airways, the flag carrier of Abu Dhabi, unveiled plans to further expand flights to Egypt, Arabian Business reported.
The carrier said it will add four additional flights, taking its total weekly flights to Cairo to 18, starting from June.
Despite the Arab Spring's impact, this route has continued to perform strongly, James Hogan, Etihad Airways president and CEO said.
He also expected to see continuing strong demand on this route, particularly from government and business travelers, as well as the Egyptian expatriate population living in Abu Dhabi and across the UAE.
The extra Airbus A320 services will also significantly improve connectivity over the airline's Abu Dhabi hub to key destinations in Southeast Asia and Australia, Etihad said.
Etihad Airways started flight operations to Cairo in November 2004.

Qatar Airways announce to Launch Flights to Kilimanjaro

QATAR Airways has announced the launch of flights to Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) from Doha starting July this year.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said this at the ITB Berlin, the world's largest travel show that took place in the German capital last week.
A statement issued by Qatar Airways and a copy availed to the 'Daily News' in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday said the airliner will serve KIA with Airbus A320 via Nairobi. On his part, CEO of Kilimanjaro Airport Development Company (KADCO), Mr Marco van de Kreeke, said the link with Qatar Airways which enjoys strong global network will improve connections to the Middle East, India, China and other Asian destinations.
He was optimistic that the daily service to Doha will further stimulate the growth and help the airport fulfill its mission of becoming the most preferred gateway to the Northern tourism circuit of Tanzania."We are very happy with the Qatar Airways move to fly to KIA. Flights to Australia and New Zealand will also improve.
Travellers from Europe and America will have another option to reach Kilimanjaro", he said. He said the Doha hub provides many connection opportunities to big capitals and cities around the world. "For example, London which will be soon served from Doha by Qatar Airways five times a day is the biggest market source for Kilimanjaro", he added.
The Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) Managing Director Dr Aloyce Nzuki while commenting on the importance of the new route, said there are plenty of benefits for the Northern Tourism Circuit. "Kilimanjaro, Tanga, Arusha and Manyara regions host some of the most unique and important tourist attractions in the country. We expect the benefits to spread over to the entire area", he said.
He said the Kilimanjaro route is one of the fastest growing hubs in today's aviation industry and for the development of tourism potentials in the country. Qatar Airways has been voted best airline in the world. We believe this quality product matches the many unique experiences that our National Parks offer to the discerning traveller of today," he added.
The announcement of Qatar Airways comes shortly after the company had secured 35 million US dollars (about 56bn/-) boost to give the airport a facelift. The renovation work which covers upgrading of runway, taxiways and aprons started in January this year. The project will also include building of a new taxiway to increase the capacity of the airport, upgrading and expansion of the terminal building to meet the growing number of passengers.
Kilimanjaro International Airport currently serves 650,000 passengers per year with the number of international arrivals increasing consistently by nearly 15 per cent per year since 2003. Qatar Airways currently operates a modern fleet of 105 aircraft to 112 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Turkish Airlines launches flights to Mogadishu Somalia

Turkish Airlines started flying into Somalia's war-torn capital Tuesday, becoming the first international company to launches flights to Mogadishu in more than 20 years.
Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag announced the development as he arrived in Mogadishu on the first Turkish national flag carrier flight from Turkey's Ataturk airport.
"After 20 years of a lack of international flights to Europe, Asia and America, the Turkish government has facilitated for the Somalis to travel by Turkish Airlines to the world again," Bozdag said. "Somalia will restore its lost international air lane again with the help of the Turkish government."
Turkish Airlines is scheduled to fly to Mogadishu twice a week.
"We thank our Turkish brothers for the assistance and we receive it with an open heart" said Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
Civil war and insurgency have forced international airlines to shy away from flying into the Horn of Africa nation. Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991.
Mogadishu has long been a battleground during Somalia's civil war. But al-Shabab withdrew from most of its bases in August and recent pushes by the African Union and Somali troops have helped bring partial security to more of the city.

Precision Air prepare to launch Flights to Zimbabwe

TANZANIAN airline, Precision Air, is set to flights to Zimbabwe soon, as it emerged that officials from the airline will visit the country this week to meet authorities in the aviation industry. The team will also meet officials from the tourism industry.
Precision Air's national sales manager, Tuntufye Mwambusi, told a Zimbabwean delegation on the sidelines of the premier world and travel fair in Berlin of its intentions to fly into the country soon.
The Zimbabwean team had officials from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).
Mwambusi further revealed that they recently acquired a Boeing 737 aircraft, which is set to be delivered in April this year.
The aircraft will service the Harare-Dar-es-Salam ro-ute.
Previously, this route was being serviced by the national carriers of the two countries, Air Zimbabwe and Air Tanzania, both of which have since pulled out owing to viability problems.
Commenting on this development, ZTA chief operating officer, Givemore Chidzidzi, said that the coming of Precision Air would certainly boost tourism, trade and commerce between the connected countries.
"This is a morale booster from a tourism perspective and we are convinced that this development will further enhance our tourism and bilateral cooperation with Tanzania in all spheres of life including trade and commerce", said Chidzidzi.
Precision Air was established in 1993 and listed on the Dar-es-Salam Stock Exchange last year.
Kenya Airways has 49% in the airline with the remainder owned by a Tanzanian businessman, according to its website.
Its fleet include five 70-seater ATR 72-500, four 47-seater ATR 42 and one Boeing 737. Plans are underway to expand the fleet further by acquiring a second Boeing 737-300, more E-jets and ATRs.
The carrier also set flights to Nairobi and Mombasa in Kenya as well as flights to Entebbe in Uganda.
Meanwhile, Air Namibia, which has been flying to Victoria Falls twice a week, has announced that it will be doubling its frequency and start flying to Harare on March 15 2012.
Air Namibia sales executive Ireen Schroder said this development has been prompted by the unprecedented and renewed interest in Zimbabwe by travellers.
"We used to fly two times a week into Victoria Falls but we are going to be flying to Harare now four times a week starting from 15 March", said Schroder.
Despite efforts being invested by the ZTA to market Zimbabwe globally, the issue of air access has continued to pose a menace to tourism development and this has been aggravated by the failure of Air Zimbabwe to service its routes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ethiopian Airlines to Launch Services to Seychelles on April 1st

Ethiopian Airlines is pleased to announce that it will operate nonstop flights from Addis Ababa to Seychelles as of April 01, 2012.
The Republic of Seychelles comprises 115 islands occupying a land area of 455 km² and an Exclusive Economic Zone of 1.4 km² in the Western Indian Ocean. Of these 115 islands, 41 constitute the oldest mid-oceanic granite islands on earth while a further 74 form the low-lying coral atolls and reef islands of the Outer Islands. The country is a world leader in sustainable ecotourism which attracts a number of visitors every year.
Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines said, "Ethiopian is pleased to fly to the legendary beauty and exotic Seychelles, which is a home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Aldabra, the world's largest raised coral atoll and Praslin's Vallée de Mai, once believed to be the original site of the Garden of Eden."
Seychelles will be Ethiopian's 41st destination in Africa and 65th worldwide. The flight schedule will be as follows:
Flight Days Origin Departure Arrival Destination
EET879Tue/Thu/Fri/SunAddis Ababa10:1015:25Seychelles
EET878 Tue/Thu/Fri/SunSeychelles16:2519:40Addis Ababa
"Ethiopian will now provide more options for passengers flying from any part of the world to the Seychelles and vise versa to the cosmopolitan city of the living museum of natural history, where colourful blend of peoples of different races, cultures and religions are found," added Mr Tewolde.
As this route commences, Ethiopian announces a promotional fare from Addis Ababa to Seychelles. As before, Ethiopian also offers special fares for tour packages to the major African tourist destinations such as Mombasa, Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro, Dar-Es-Salaam, Johannesburg, Malindi, Maputo, Djibouti and Cairo.
About Ethiopian
Ethiopian Airlines, one of the largest and fastest growing airlines in Africa, made its maiden international flight to Cairo in 1946 and now the Airline provides dependable services to 64 international destinations spanning four continents.
Ethiopian is proud to be a Star Alliance Member. The Star Alliance network is the leading global airline network offering customers convenient worldwide reach and a smoother travel experience. The Star Alliance network offers more than 21,000 daily flights to 1,290 airports in 189 countries.
Ethiopian is a multi-award winner for its commitment and contributions towards the development and growth of the African aviation industry and in recognition of its distinguished long-haul operations enhanced by the introduction of new routes and products. Recently, Ethiopian won Gold in the African Airline of the Year 2011/2012 Awards organized by the African Aviation News Portal. Ethiopian also received the 2011 AFRAA award for being consistently profitable over the years and has won the "AFRICAN CARGO AIRLINE OF THE YEAR 2011 Award" for its excellence in air cargo. Ethiopian also won the NEPAD Transport Infrastructure Excellence Awards 2009 and "the Airline of the Year 2009 Award" from the African Airlines Association (AFRAA).

Qatar Airways prepared for Zimbabwe flights

QATAR Airways could begin flights to Zimbabwe before the end of the year as international airlines continue to feast on Air Zimbabwe's carcass, a minister said on Monday.
Transport Minister Nicholas Goche said Qatar Airways – the flag carrier of the Middle East economic powerhouse – were currently evaluating route options.
"I have had discussions with Qatar (and) they are coming," Goche told the House of Assembly's Committee on Transport.
"The only decision to be made is whether they are going to fly directly to Harare, or they will pass through other countries in both directions... but they are coming."
Qatar Airways, headquartered in Doha, currently flies 115 international destinations with its fleet of 105 planes.
A decision to fly to Zimbabwe would link the country to destinations in the Far and Middle East, Indian sub-continent, Europe and Australasia via the airline's hub in Doha.
Qatar Airways' regional rival, Emirates Airlines from Dubai, opened a new route to Harare in February. Emirates flies a five-day-a-week schedule to Harare via Lusaka, Zambia.
Zimbabwe's flag carrier Air Zimbabwe suspended all flights last December after being engulfed by a debt crisis which saw its planes being impounded in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
Goche announced last week that the government was assuming Air Zimbabwe's debt of over US$150 million, while simultaneously disbanding the company to allow for restructuring.
But the arrival of the new airlines could be a boon for the country's tourism sector which has suffered over the years due to the irregularity of flights in and out of Zimbabwe.
South Africa Airways has been the biggest beneficiary of Air Zimbabwe's troubles after trebling its flights to Harare and Bulawayo since December. SAA now flies 22 times a week to both cities.
Goche insists Air Zimbabwe will return for the long term, and confirmed that the airline had leased an Airbus A320 and was actively trying to partner with an international airline before taking back to the skies.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thai Airways’ first A380 makes maiden flight from Toulouse

MANILA, Philippines — The first A380 for Thai Airways International (THAI) took off for its maiden flight on Tuesday following completion of the airframe assembly and system tests in Toulouse, France.
After a successful flight of more than four hours, the aircraft landed in Hamburg, Germany, where it is entering the next phase of production, covering cabin installation and painting.
THAI will become the ninth operator of the A380 when it takes delivery of its first aircraft in the third quarter of 2012.
The airline has firm orders for six A380s and will operate the aircraft on its premier routes from Bangkok to Europe.

Qatar Airways will Launches Maiden Flight to Kigali

Qatar Airways will make its first commercial flight to Kigali on March, 21, with its AirbusA320, giving more choices to air travelers.
We have recruited a good number in sales, airport, administration and reservation departments and ready to commence operations in Kigali
The Kigali to Doha route, via Entebbe in Uganda, is one of the latest routes by Qatar, which plies more than 100 destinations worldwide.
The airbus has a capacity to carry 144 passengers, including 12 seats in business class and 132 in the economy class.
"We have recruited a good number of staff in sales, airport, administration and reservation departments and ready to commence operations in Kigali," said a Qatar official, who refused to be named because he does not speak on behalf of the airways.
According to Richard Masozera, the Director General of Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, the coming of Qatar Airways offers Rwandans more travel options.
Masozera said with its huge network, Rwandans will be connected to the Middle East and beyond, thus increasing the visibility of Kigali on the international scene.
"It's a big boost to the aviation industry; Qatar is the most prestigious airways with very high operating standards. I'm happy that Rwanda is becoming an important destination to modern airlines," Masozera said.
Recently, South African Airways resumed its operations in the country, and Turkish Airline is also projected to commence operations next month.
"The more players in the industry, the more choices for services, and not only services but quality services," Masozera added.
In a recent interview, RwandAir's Chief Executive Officer, John Mirenge, told Business Times that the national carrier is ready for the competition.
"New entrants are very much welcome. It is the only way we will grow the air travel market in this country. Competition is healthy as it gives passengers options. It puts the burden on operators to work hard and be smart to retain customers," he noted.
Kigali International Airport (KIA), last year, handled over 320, 000 passengers, and air traffic is expected to grow by 50 percent, following the increase of scheduled flights to 300 per week from 200 in 2011.

GCAA to take tough measures against international airlines

Accra: Air Commodore Kwame Mamphey, Director-General of Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), has said the authority would take tough measures against international airlines that failed to heed calls to charge moderate fares and provide quality services to passengers.
     He said although it was not government's policy to determine airfares, it was of the position that the development and provision of a safe and conducive aviation environment coupled with market forces would ultimately have an impact on airfares.
     Air Commodore Mamphey said these in a release issued in Accra on Monday, after a meeting with Ghana Airports Company Limited and foreign airline operators on their challenges in providing passengers with the best of services.
     "Airlines that ply the Ghana route enjoy similar or in some cases even better air navigation and regulatory services as in Europe and the Americas but pay relatively very little for such services. It is however ironic that even with the low charges, Ghanaian passengers still pay comparatively high fares," he added.
     Air Commodore Mamphey said for the sake of providing quality service for passengers, such meetings would be held quarterly to address issues affecting operators, airlines and management of GACL and make operators part of the decision making process towards the industry's development.
     He said the GCAA was making efforts to make Ghana's airspace even safer than it already been and the interventions include installation of several state-of-the-art air navigation and weather monitoring technology adding that the Authority would soon introduce a new flight plan format by the end of 2012.
     Mrs Catherine Hoffman, Acting Director for Economic Regulation, GCAA, said airline passengers often complained about ill treatment received from flight attendants, older aircraft plying African routes and High Air Fares for routes in these parts of the world compared to similar distances elsewhere.
     She reiterated the need for passengers on African routes, especially on the Ghana route, to be treated with dignity since they were paying hugely for such services.
     Mrs Hoffman said GCAA intended to adopt the Eurocontrol model for en-route charging in order to help it recover at least the cost of providing the en-route services since it was currently under-recovering revenue for the services provided for airlines.
     "This system of charging is not new to the foreign airlines as they are already paying for En-route services in Europe using the same formula," she added.
     Mrs Hoffman said that domestic airlines would continue to enjoy subsidised services from GCAA, as it was anticipated that if the international flights paid appropriate charges then it would cover up for the growing domestic industry.
     Mrs Doreen Owusu-Fianko, Managing Director of Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), appealed to the airlines and passengers to bear with them, as works were on going to expand facilities at the Kotoka International Airport to meet the growing demand.
     While acknowledging the rapid growth in the industry, she said that construction works could not be completed overnight and urged for consideration and cooperation to ensure that current works were not done haphazardly.

Ghana Tourist Board to promote domestic tourism

Accra-Ghana: The Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) is to embark on an aggressive drive to promote domestic tourism in the country.
The GTB has therefore appealed to parents to encourage their children, especially those in the secondary schools, to patronize tourist sites to enable them not only to have fun but to also learn more about the country’s history.
Mr William Agambire, Northern Regional Director of GTB, told the GNA in an interview that to make tourism attractive and affordable, students and Ghanaians in general would be made to pay a token when they visit tourist sites unlike foreigners.
He mentioned some of the interesting tourist sites in the north such as the Mole National Park, the Larabanga Mosque and the mysterious stone, the Daboya smock industry and the Kulmasa crocodile pond.
He said it was regrettable that most of the tourist sites in the region were not in good shape and therefore unattractive to tourists.
Mr Agambire appealed to the government to tar the Larabanga road leading to the game reserve to make it motorable and comfortable for foreign tourists who visit the place.
Mr Agambire said the GTB was repacking tourism in northern Ghana as a Savannah destination point and in this regard it was giving a facelift to the tourist sites and also improving upon services.

Turkish airlines begins flights to Somalia

Turkish Airline's Flight TK 686 to Somalia touched down to local fanfare Tuesday morning in what was the first voyage by a major commercial airline to the war ravaged country in more than 20 years.

Turkey's deputy prime minister Bekir Bozdağ led a delegation of government officials and businessmen off the plane as the national carrier followed through on a government announcement last month that it would operate regular flights to Mogadishu.
The airline, which flies to 146 other destinations, says it will run twice-weekly flights from Istanbul to the Somali capital, with a stopover in Khartoum, Sudan.
Somalia has been without a functioning central government since early 1991 when Gen Siad Barre's regime was ousted by a rebel group known as the United Somali Congress.
Major airlines such as Saudi Airlines, Kenya Airways, South Yemen's Al-Yemda and Aeroflot then halted scheduled flights. Others such as Alitalia and Egypt Air had earlier suspended flights while Germany's Lufthansa and other carriers resorted to mainly cargo operations.
Most flights to the country have been by small commercial firms and aid groups operating in the region, mainly out of Kenya.
Mr Bozdağ was received by high-level Somali officials President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and Speaker of the Parliament, Sharif Hassan Aden.
International diplomats led by Dr Augustine Mahiga, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General to Somalia were also at the seafront airport of Aden Adde to mark the occasion.
The airport and roads to the airport were lined with Somali and Turkish flags, while billboards and other advertisement materials in Somalia language had also been erected.
Security had been visibly heightened with barriers on main roads to the airport erected by heavily armed troops.
Somali residents have welcomed the flights and say their relatives in the diaspora will find it easier to visit the recovering country that has seen former colonial powers Italy and Britain seek to open diplomatic offices in the country.
The UN has also moved its Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) from Nairobi to Mogadishu as pro-government troops and African Union peacekeepers push out militant groups such as Al-Shabaab.
"Everybody is talking about Turkish Airlines," French news agency AFP quoted Mogadishu resident Hidig Ali, as saying.
"This is a big deal, as it can help many people outside the country to come back and see their homeland and family."
The Turkish deputy premier will open the carrier's Mogadishu office and also initiate a raft of development projects as it shores up its burgeoning relationship with the Horn of Africa country that threatens to eclipse that of other Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq.
Turkish experts are also building a modern control tower and other supporting infrastructure at the airport including a runway.
Currently, Turkey is Somalia's largest development partner and has been active since last year in humanitarian programmes in the war and drought-ravaged country of an estimated nine million.

Zimbabwe: International Carnival of Victoria Ends On High Note

THE International Carnival of Victoria ended here on Sunday with Zimbabwe's representative cultural group Hwamanda, receiving recognition for its thrilling performance. So spectacular was the performance that the group was voted the best cultural group among five African groups that performed.
The Zimbabwe delegation, led by Minister of State in the Office of Vice President Joice Mujuru Sylvester Nguni, included Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Dr Sylvester Maunganidze.
Minister Nguni lauded the group for putting the country on the international tourism map, adding that the recognition came at the opportune time.
"I want to congratulate the group for its stirring performance. This came at the opportune time when we are hosting the UN World Tourism Organisation general assembly next year," he said.
The carnival, which is the brainchild of the Seychelles Tourism Board with assistance from Zimbabwe, was co-hosted by Seychelles in Victoria and its sister island, the Republic of Reunion.
The event drew over 60 participants, among them 35 international countries. There were only five African countries represented among them Zimbabwe.
The gold medal was won by Norttinghill group, silver went to Re-Union and bronze to Indonesia.
Although the Zimbabwean group did not win any price, Hwamanda Dance group leader, Mr Linnot Laimbo, said his group was impressed that it had put the country on the world map.
The group, which was performing for the second time in the carnival since its inauguration last year, lamented poor recognition by some organisations planning national factions at home.
He said there was need for the country to recognise the role played by some traditional groups that were making efforts to market the country's culture.
"Although we did not win a prize, we are impressed that at least we received special recognition from the organisers of the carnival. The competition was tough, but we are the only group that managed to exhibit the true African culture.
The Zimbabwean groups staged a splendid performance and national flags were flying all over, a development that saw it dominating the carnival that had the theme: Melting Pot of Cultures.
The carnival will be held in February next year.
Speaking at the official closure of the event at Victoria, Seychelles Tourism Board chief executive officer, Mr Allan Anges, said relations between Zimbabwe and his country were cordial, adding that there was need for closer co-operation by the two countries.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Arik Air Suspends Johannesburg Flights

The on-going dispute over yellow fever documentation which has led to the deportation of several West African passengers with Nigeria having the highest number of deportees and some denied entry or detained on the grounds that the yellow cards were either faked or not possessed.
This line of action prompted Arik air to suspend temporarily its daily B737-800 flight to Lagos, Nigeria and flights to Johannesburg, South Africa with immediate effect.
Port Health authorities claimed that in recent months the yellow cards shown carry incorrect or unrecognised batch numbers as passenger were supposed to tender the documentation before entry.   Due to this new development, 50 passengers who travelled on Arik Air on March 2 were denied entry.
Arik air said it is an iregular nature of the protocol and it is having a negative impact on its service and passengers and this has made it suspend its operation into the country.

Virgin Atlantic announces new flights from Accra to London

In response to growing demand, Virgin Atlantic is increasing the number of flights to London Heathrow. From 26 March 2012, Virgin Atlantic will be flying 5 times a week with travel between Accra and London Heathrow, also giving connections further on the Virgin Atlantic network to the United States.
In the last six months, sales have grown by more than 50% in Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class and Premium Economy cabins aimed at business travellers and those looking for some luxury. A service will now run every day apart from Thursdays and Sundays, with Thursday being the busiest day for travel between the two locations.
Nick Taylor, Virgin Atlantic's Country Manager for West Africa said, "Virgin Atlantic is making a clear commitment to Ghana and we're pleased to be supporting business links to and from the UK. We understand time is so valuable, especially to our business travellers, and we've responded to feedback increasing the number of weekly services."
This news comes hot on the heels of Virgin Atlantic's announcement to invest £100m in its business class products during the next three years. New flights to Vancouver, Cancun, San Francisco and the Caribbean have also been announced in the past six months.
Kwame Achampong-Kyei, the executive Chairman of GLICO Group; and one of Virgin Atlantic's top Flying Club members said, "This is welcome news to us who have come to value the service style and attention to detail that Virgin Atlantic brings. This is what really defines great business delivery and we look forward to more flights also being announced"

Emirates Airline will increase Its New Routes Globally

 Emirates Airline will increase frequencies on many of its global routes and is considering introducing a new Australian destination. Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and CEO of Emirates airline and Group, told Gulf News that the airline's commercial division was evaluating all its popular routes.
"You will see the frequency increasing in some flights from once to twice or even more daily; there will be new points in South and North America, Europe and China while in Australia there is a big chance of introducing a new destination," Shaikh Ahmad said. Speaking in Seattle, Shaikh Ahmad confirmed that Emirates began its fuel surcharge — confirmed last week in the face of rising oil prices — from March 1. Defending the move, he said he "cannot run a losing business at the end of the day." The surcharge could run as high as Dh610 on all business class tickets to the Americas and Dh500 for other international circuits, with increases in economy class as well.
Losses despite surcharge
The fuel surcharge issue has become a contentious one for Emirates. Tim Clark, Emirates president, told Dow Jones in an interview that the airline could take a $1.6 billion hit (Dh5.88 billion) this year to cope with the high fuel prices despite levying fuel charges. "We tried not to do it (but) you cannot afford to go out of business," Shaikh Ahmad said, pointing out that the carbon tax costs will be the next challenge before the industry. "Everybody has to pay. That's the norm for flying over Europe, failing which they will not be allowed to use the airspace."
The last couple of days saw the airline being a talking point in this Pacific North-West city, first for launching its non-stop flight to Seattle and then receiving the 1,000th Boeing 777 on Friday.
A pending order for 93 more 777s is due over the next eight years, and Emirates is also going ahead with the scheduled delivery of Airbus A380s. Asked what the utilisation plan for such a huge fleet would be, Shaikh Ahmad said: "Since we have bought the planes, we also know where they will fly. Obviously, we are not going to speak about it too early as we don't want to give a heads-up to our competitors way in advance."
Hangar space for fleet
According to a recent estimate, Emirates will start receiving at least three planes a month this year and doubts had been raised whether there was enough hangar space for them.
Asked about it, Shaikh Ahmad said: "Concourse 3 should open by the first quarter of next year and that itself can accommodate up to 20 Airbus 380s. The plan by 2020, however, is to finish Terminal 4, following which all the international carriers will be moved there while terminals 1-3 will be devoted to us."
On the growing number of competitors in the region — including Qatar Airways and Etihad — Shaikh Ahmad said: "I always believe that competition will be there, but what can you do about it? The way I see it, Qatar and Etihad are now complementing what we are doing for the whole region.
"At the end of the day, we look at the numbers to see whether our seat factor dropped and the answer is no," he said. "In the UAE itself, you now have Air Arabia, flydubai and RAK Airways. There could be more airlines from Saudi Arabia as well. That's life for you," he said.