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.

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.

Emirates Airline commits to promoting tourism in Zambia

EMIRATES Airlines country manager for Zambia Khalid Hassan says the airline is promoting Zambia tourism as a tourist destination throughout its worldwide network in an effort to increase the inflow of international tourists in the country.
Mr Hassan says the airline will work with Zambian and international travel agents by making connectivity easy for the tourists who want to sample the Victoria Falls and other tourist attraction sites dotted around the country.
Preliminary data shows the number of international passengers at Zambia's major airports grew by 17 percent in the first half of 2010.
He said the airline will continue to market the world-famous Victoria Falls and other tourist attraction areas such as safaris.
"This new Emirates service will further support this growth by bringing leisure and business travellers from points across the airline's global network," he said.
Mr Hassan said the airline will engage local travel and international agents to explore the local tourism industry.
He said Zambia is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and Emirates sees potential for continued growth in the future.
He said this month (April) Emirates launched its new global brand platform, "Hello Tomorrow", which positions the global airline as the enabler of global connectivity and meaningful experiences.
"The theme encapsulates life's potential and embraces the future with all the possibilities it holds," he said.
The airline flies to 123 destinations across six continents, connecting cities through Dubai.
"These new routes give Zambian travellers new opportunities to explore the world, discover new cultures and connect with people," he said.
He said the airline is providing an efficient bridge to the Middle East, Far East, North America and the Indian sub-continent; and will open new opportunities for business and leisure travellers both in Zambia and worldwide.
Mr Hassan said the main objective of the airline in Zambia is not only to grow its business but to also invest in the local talent.
He said Emirates currently employs 25 qualified Zambian staff.
The airline currently operates 170 aircraft – a mix of 162 Airbus and Boeing passenger aircraft and eight freighters.

Ethiopian Airlines to fly to Sao Paulo by summer

Ethiopian Airlines plans to start flights to Sao Paulo, Brazil, a Latin American Power house,  this summer.
Sao Paulo, one of the largest and richest cities in the world, with a population of about 20 million, is predicted to be the 6th biggest urban area by 2025. According to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), its GDP in 2006 was about USD 2.83 billion. If Ethiopian Airlines opens a flight to Sao Paulo, it would be its first venture into Latin America and the airline's fifth continent after Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
While the current North American destinations are exclusively located in the US, the airline also plans to venture to US' northern neighbor with a flight to Toronto, Canada's largest city, by the summer of this year; accommodating the substantial Ethio-Canadian community.
Ethiopian Airlines is reportedly contemplating the direct route to Brazil because of its emergence as a prominent member of the world's leading economic block; BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
Brazil recently overtook the United Kingdom to become the world's sixth largest economy.
Ethiopian Airlines expects many travelers to Brazil including a substantial business class. Brazil's famous historical and beach sites open up great prospects for tourism in both countries.
According to Marcelo A. Borges, first secretary and deputy mission at the Brazilian Embassy to Ethiopia, if the new flight route is opened it could mean a whole new market for business people and tourists.
He also said it could potentially make Addis Ababa Bole International Airport a hub for travelers from Latin America traveling to other African countries and beyond. Currently, no Brazilian airlines fly from  Brazil to Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Airlines recently launched flights to the tiny Indian Ocean island archipelago of Seychelles after 32 years of absence. It also aims to start non-stop flights to Cotonou, the economic capital of the Republic of Benin, effective by June 15. Ethiopian Airlines now flies to 65 destinations globally with multiple lines opening soon.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Precision Air Looking to launch flights to Zimbabwe

Taking advantage of the growing tourism and travel demands in Southern and Eastern African states, Tanzania's fast-growing airline, Precision Air, is looking to start inaugural flights to Zimbabwe as a southern destination.
When implemented later this year, Tanzania's registered airline will take over the southern route once operated by Air Zimbabwe. Precision Air officials said other than Zimbabwe, the airline will extend its wings from Tanzania's capital of Dar es Salaam to Lusaka in Zambia and Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The airline plans to apply a new Boeing 737-300 to fly the route. From May 18, the airline will launch its first schedule three flights a week between Dar es Salaam, Lusaka, and Lubumbashi.
Other routes the airline is eyeing are Lilongwe in Malawi and Luanda in Angola through its expansion to cover the Southern African region.
Precision Air officials have finalized their business plans with the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to allow smooth operations of the airline.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority executive said the launching of Precision Air flights will boost tourism, trade, and commerce between Southern African member states.
Standing as a strong member of the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern African (RETOSA), Zimbabwe is looking to tourism and trade with Tanzania through regional integration.
The Dar es Salaam to Harare route was previously being serviced by Air Zimbabwe and Air Tanzania Corporation, both of which have since pulled out owing to operational challenges.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority will jointly host the Africa Travel Association's 37th Annual World Congress in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
About 300 delegates are expected at the Congress, including tourism ministers, industry experts representing tourism boards, tour operators and their product development executives, front-line agents, ground operator companies, airlines, and hotels.
The Congress will be held at scenic Victoria Falls, famously known as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Victoria Falls is a giant waterfall located in Southern Africa, shared between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe Minister of Tourism and Hospitality, Walter Mzembi said his country's greatest attraction, other than wildlife and the Victoria Falls, is the hospitality and culture of the Zimbabwean people.
Minister Mzembi is expected to assume the presidency of the Africa Travel Association (ATA) during this year's Congress.
The last ATA congress in Zimbabwe took place in 1988. ATA was established in 1975 and serves both the public and private sectors of the international travel and tourism industry, with membership comprising governments, tourism authorities, airlines, resorts, and tour operators, among others. Its last congress was held last year in Dakar, Senegal.

Friday, April 20, 2012

PROFLIGHT Zambia Will Launch International Flights

PROFLIGHT Zambia will in June commence international flights, picking two direct regional flights to Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo  (DRC) for a start to enhance its business prospects and contribute to the growth of the aviation industry.
The airline company has all along been strictly operating domestic routes and the move to go regional seems to be  a chance to take over the routes that were being operated by the grounded Zambezi Airlines.
Harare and Lubumbashi are the first two direct routes in the region that the airline would be operating following its 21 years of existence.
Speaking in an interview in Lusaka yesterday shortly after the company celebrated its Women's Day under the theme 'celebrating women in aviation', company Commercial Director Keira Irwin said the regional routes would be launched once the company finalised the necessary documentation.
"We plan to open two direct flights to Harare and Lubumbashi, this will be done once we finalise the documentation like acquiring the aircraft operational certificate and hopefully launch them by the end of June," she said.
The opening of the flights would boost both the tourism and aviation sectors thus increasing business activities between Zambia and the countries the airline would fly to.
Proflight has domestic scheduled airlines with routes from Lusaka to Livingstone, Ndola, Solwezi, Kasama Chipata, Mfuwe and Lower Zambezi.
Proflight sales and marketing manager Hellen Ngwira said, in as much as the business was growing, there was need for infrastructure development at some airstrips in the country.
She said infrastructure development in the aviation industry was cardinal as it would further boost its contribution towards national development.
"As Proflight we have taken it upon ourselves to land in areas where others can't land because of different reasons and challenges, with the most outstanding being that of poor infrastructure which also in same way hinders fast growth of the industry," she said.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Air Namibia resumes flights to Zimbabwe

Air Namibia is set to resume its much-awaited flights to Zimbabwe on May 16 and will be flying into the country four times a week.
The airliner, which stopped plying the Zimbabwe route 13 years ago, plans to use a 37-seater — in one-class configuration — all-economy plane for the Windhoek-Harare route.

In an emailed response to NewsDay, head of corporate communications Paul Homateni Nakawa said preparations for the relaunch were at an advanced stage.

"I confirm on behalf of Air Namibia that our first flights to Harare, Zimbabwe,  will be on 16th May 2012," he said.

"Officially, these new routes are starting on the 15th of May 2012.

"Air Namibia will begin flights to Zimbabwe on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays every week, hence our first flight to Harare shall only be on the 16th May 2012, as per the flight schedule."

Air Nambia's re-entry comes two months after Emirates, one of the world's fastest growing international airlines, resumed services to the country.

Emirates currently serves 19 passenger and cargo destinations across the African continent.

Several international airlines, including Egypt Air, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa and Quantas, stopped flights to Zimbabwe because of dwindling passenger numbers as tourists were scared off by political violence and instability.

Regional airlines like Air Malawi, Kenyan Airways and South African Airways are still flying to Zimbabwe.

The Namibian airline has also launched two other regional routes — Ondjiva (Angola) and Gaborone (Botswana). In addition to its growth and expansion plans, the airline hopes to become an independent profit-making entity by the end of 2016.

Durban and KwaZulu-Natal win right to host 2013 International Congress on small and medium enterprises

Osiba Research, the city of Durban and province KwaZulu-Natal have won the right to host the 2013 International Conference on Small and Medium Enterprises. The Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau, EThekwini Business Support Unit and Department of Economic Development and Tourism successfully assisted a Johannesburg based organisation, Osiba Research, that has been particularly successful in the realm of Small and Medium Enterprise research, development and workshop organisation, to put forward a winning bid to host the 2013 international Conference on Small and Medium Enterprises.

This event is organised through the World Association of Medium and Small Enterprises. Mr Bakula's, who is the only South African members of WASME, bid was initially short-listed. He was then expected to deliver a formal bid presentation regarding the ability of Durban and province of KwaZulu-Natal to host the 2013 international Conference on Small and Medium Enterprises on the 7th of April in Cairo, Egypt. This presentation secured the bid for Durban.

"This event is expected to lure some 700 foreign delegates to the city and province and just the spend of these delegates is expected to generate well in excess of R5mn of economic impact for the metropolitan area of Durban in terms of direct tourism spend", said an elated James Seymour, CEO of the Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau. "The most important impact of this event, will however be the fact that it will heighten the level of awareness of the need to stimulate more SME economic activity in KZN, South Africa and Africa and bring about important training and capacity in this regard".

This congress is expected to be integrated into the Durban Business Fair which will take place in at the Durban ICC in September 2013.

"This congress is the 27th bid which the recently established Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau has assisted in securing. The total impact of these events is expected to be in excess of R1 billion", stated James Seymour.
To get participate in this event you have to secure your flights to Durban. So to get cheap flights to Durban and get more details regarding accommodation and hotels you can call our reservation experts on 02079936219.

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 Airlines' 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.

Qatar Airways keen to expand Canada services

The CEO of Qatar Airways has said he is struggling to secure more landing rights to boost flights to Canada.

Akbar Al Baker said in a speech in Montreal that Canadians deserved a better airline service to the Middle East but government restrictions were hindering progress.

"Qatar is of course interested in forging even closer ties with Canada but we are struggling with being granted additional landing rights," he said in comments pubished by Canada's Globe and Mail.

"You Canadians deserve that. It clearly shows the need for more flights. More capacity and more frequency drive greater competition and have only positive economic impact for the benefit of both countries."

Already, the three weekly flights launched last June are running ahead of expectations and travelling 85 percent full, he said.

He added that that Qatar's expansion efforts were not designed to undermine Air Canada, which has previously opposed any additional flights from Middle East-based rivals.

The Canadian carrier has complained that the partially state-owned Middle Eastern carriers benefit from an unfair advantage.

"Air Canada should not get worried of competition. Competition makes other airlines very strong," Al Baker said.

Montreal is Qatar's fourth North American gateway, in addition to Houston, New York and Washington.

Last month, it was reported that relations between Canada and the UAE were back on track following a spat over airline landing rights two years ago.

Relations between the oil-rich UAE and Canada deteriorated rapidly after Canada's transport agency refused to give Gulf carriers Etihad and Emirates new landing rights.

The Gulf state retaliated with the closure of Camp Mirage, a secret military base located outside Dubai and used to supply Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

Separately, Qatar Airways said it plans to start flights to Atlanta, Chicago, Boston and Detroit within the next year, doubling its US network.

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, Al Baker said in comments published by Bloomberg. 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 US flights.

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.

Etihad Airways Commences Flights between Abu Dhabi and Basra

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, today launched its inaugural flights to Basra in southern Iraq from Abu Dhabi .
Flight EY553 took off from Abu Dhabi airport at 9.45am and landed on schedule at Basra International Airport at 10.50am.
The new Airbus A320 service, with 16 Pearl Business class seats and 120 seats in Coral Economy class, will operate four times a week from April 15.
Basra is Etihad Airways' third destination in Iraq.
"These new services are an important step for Etihad Airways and for the UAE, reflecting a commitment to strengthening ties in the region," Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, James Hogan, said.
"Basra is an important industrial and transport hub but currently has limited access to air services. Our new flight will make a significant contribution to improving this situation for the people of the region."
Oil and gas represent the backbone of the local economy and major companies rotating staff in and out of Basra have expressed strong interest in the new flights.
His Excellency Abdulla Ibrahim Al Zowi Al Shehi, UAE Ambassador to Iraq, said: "We have witnessed the dramatic growth in bilateral relations recently between the two countries on all levels. Iraq and the UAE have great potential for cooperation and mutual development. Etihad's services to Baghdad, Erbil and now Basra are vitally important on government and social levels as they strengthen the bridges of understanding between Iraq and the UAE, as well as increasing trade and tourism."

His Excellency Arshad Tawfiq, Iraqi Ambassador to the UAE stated: "The opening of direct air routes by Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi to Basra, Baghdad and Erbil is an important step to promote trade and tourism between the two countries. It facilitates the movement of business people from both countries and paves the way for investors travelling to Iraq through the UAE to source opportunities in the country, as well as offering services to the Iraqi community residing in the UAE."
The flight schedule provides both morning and afternoon departures between Abu Dhabi and Basra and will provide seamless connectivity over Abu Dhabi for Etihad Airways flights from Europe to Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and Australia.
Etihad Airways has been operating services to the capital, Baghdad, since April 2010, and Erbil in the north since June 2010.
Last year Etihad Airways carried more than 100,000 passengers between Abu Dhabi and these two cities, with the Baghdad route enjoying particularly strong growth.
Etihad Airways launched cargo operations to Iraq in September 2009. Today, these operations are performing strongly and Etihad Cargo has increased frequency from two to three weekly services to Erbil.
Basra schedule, effective Sunday, April 15, 2012:

Flight # Departs Departure Time Arrives Arrival Time Frequency
EY553Abu Dhabi (AUH)9.45Basra (BSR)10.50Sundays and Mondays
EY553Abu Dhabi (AUH)14.55Basra (BSR)16.00Wednesday and Thursdays
EY554Basra (BSR)11.55Abu Dhabi (AUH)14.40Sundays and Mondays
EY554Basra (BSR)17.05Abu Dhabi (AUH)19.50Wednesday and Thursdays

Air France inaugurates services to Wuhan, China

Air France is the first airline launching flights to Wuhan to link Europe with  China, operating three times a week from its international base at Paris-Charles de Gaulle. With seven daily flights to Paris from London-Heathrow and regular connections from 10 UK regional airports, Air France also gives UK travellers easy access to its expanding network to the world's second-largest economic region.

Air France was the first European carrier to start services between Europe and China when it inaugurated its Paris-Shanghai service in 1966. The Air France-KLM Group, together with its SkyTeam alliance partners, China Southern and China Eastern, now offer 135 weekly flights to nine destinations in Greater China (Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Wuhan and Taipei) including onward services to Chinese provinces. The Air France-KLM Group is the leading airline group to China, meeting burgeoning demand for travel to the region. Last year the group carried almost two million passengers on the routes.

Only three destinations within Greater China are served directly from London-Heathrow: Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

The new Air France service to Wuhan will depart Paris on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, returning from Wuhan the following day. Flights will operate with a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, configured with 35 Affaires (business class) seats, 24 in Premium Voyageur (premium economy) and 250 in the Voyageur/Economy cabin.

All aircraft serving Wuhan are equipped with the full sleep Business class seat, which is longer, wider and more spacious. This new seat has drawn positive reviews from over 90% of Air France customers who appreciate the quality of sleep provided during the trip, its horizontal position and additional legroom.

"With 36 daily flights to Asia in 21 destinations, AIR FRANCE KLM is the leading airline group to the Far East. By launching the first non-stop flights from Europe to Wuhan today, Air France reaffirms its commitment and leading position in China. We continuously invest in our Asian network and are happy to be contributing to the economic development of this region" stated Henri Hourcade, General Manager, AIR FRANCE KLM UK & Ireland.

More KQ flights between Kenya and Mumbai will boost tourism in Kenya

Stretching its reach across India, Kenya Airways has released plans to launch new four times weekly flights to India, between Nairobi and New Dehli.
Commencing from 15 May this year, the new services are in addition to the airlines current ten weekly flights between Mumbai and Kenya and will contribute to the country's tourist board plans to increase travel from India by 15 to 20 percent this year compared to last year, TTG Asia reported.
The airline's global destinations director Tanseem Sharafally said the airline was also looking to increase its services to four other cities to meet growing demand.
"Kenya is becoming increasingly popular for family vacations. (Travellers) want (Kenya's) safari and luxury outdoor accommodation," Tanseem Sharafally noted.
According to Kenya Tourist Board head of marketing Jennifer Opondo, India is one of Kenya's largest markets and the new services would help maintain traffic in trade and visits.
"We are culturally familiar with each other. This makes for a good platform to increase Indian (arrivals) to our country," she said.
Last year Kenya welcomed up to 58,986 Indian tourist arrivals with the majority travelling from Maharashtra, Gujarat and New Delhi.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Qatar Airways with Arab Air Carriers Organization focuses on ETS by EU

The Executive Committee of the Arab Air Carriers Organization held its meeting in Doha, during which the spotlight turned on the controversial Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) implemented by the European Union on airlines entering EU airspace.
Members – including Qatar Airways – of the regional aviation body, which represents the interests of commercial airlines across the Arab world, discussed the EU's persistence in applying its ETS programme despite objections voiced by governments around the world about the scheme's legality.
The Executive Committee called on the EU to listen to voices around the world, calling on it to work with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on a global, rather than Europe-wide, solution on how to deal with the environmental footprint of civil aviation.
The Committee decided to call on the EU to redirect its efforts on the environmental issue through ICAO and find a global solution and relinquish its unilateral application of the ETS.
• A unilateral application of the EU ETS is violating the essence of the Chicago convention, which stipulates that the Air Transport relations between states need to be regulated by mutual consent and agreement.
• The resolutions of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have explicitly called upon states that wish to introduce initiatives in the environmental footprint of aviation, to do that in agreement with the other states whose institutions might be impacted by such initiatives.
• The fact that the ETS holds airlines of the world responsible for their emissions before the European authorities, contradicts with the principles of sovereignty of states over their national aerospace, and that national institutions of states are responsible before its own authorities and not the authorities of other countries.
• The EU's attempts to impose its own policies on other states will only lead to conflicts and trade wars which will not help the environment, the customer nor will it help the airlines. On the contrary, these attempts will negatively impact those stakeholders thus negatively impacting as well the global economic activity.
• The environmental cause is a global one and any solution thereof should also be global arrived at under the auspices of the concerned United nations agency: ICAO
• The Arab Air Carriers Organisation is quite aware of the necessity to mitigate the environmental footprint of aviation and it supports taking global measures agreed upon within ICAO.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, who hosted members at the meeting, said the Emission Trading Scheme was one of the most controversial subjects facing the global aviation industry today.
"There has to be a systematic approach to the implementation of any such scheme and, like many airlines around the world, we feel the European Union needed to take a step-by-step consultative approach before imposing programmes and penalising an aviation industry that plays a crucial role in driving economies."

2012 PANAFEST and Emancipation Day celebration launched

Accra-Ghana: Ms Akua Sena Dansua, Minister of Tourism, on Friday said Government would continue to use PANAFEST and Emancipation Day to promote Ghana as the gateway to Africa because of her strong attachment to brothers and sisters in the Diaspora.

She said the collection of more than 60 forts and castles and other relics of the slave trade along the country's coast, and now a silent memorial of the over 500 years turbulent era in Africa's history could attest to this assertion.

Ms Dansua said: "We will continue to project PANAFEST and Emancipation Day as part of the healing process and to celebrate the strengths, achievements and resilience of Africans over the years.".

She was launching the 2012 PANAFEST and Emancipation Day celebration in Accra.

This year's celebration on the theme; "Development of the Motherland: the Role of the People of African Descent" is unique because it's the 10th Biennial celebration or 20th commemoration since it was initiated in 1992.

Since 1998, Emancipation Day has been an annual event for recollecting the horrors of the slave trade, and honouring those who worked hard to overcome the challenges of that trade.

The events over the years has served as powerful tools to get Africans in the Diaspora to retrace their steps to Africa, either to visit, settle or invest.

Ms Dansua announced that, the highlights of this year's event would be wreath laying ceremonies at Du Bois Centre, George Padmore Library and Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park; pilgrimage to slave sites in the Northern Region, a regatta of fishermen from Cape Coast to Elmina, and grand durbar of chiefs and people.

The rest are; a five-day cultural exhibition and expo, musical concert and cultural performance, a Pan African Colloquium including special women and youth day activities, reverential night, Emancipation Day at Assin Manso and a carnival at Cape Coast.

Ms Dansua expressed disappointment at the lack of support by corporate Ghana to activities of the Ministry and Ghana Tourist Authority in spite of repeated requests to support the tourism sector.

First Emirates Air Line tower completed in London

The first of three steel towers which will enable the Emirates Airline, the UK's first urban cable car, to fly passengers across the Thames has been completed.
Dubai-based Emirates Airline was named in October as the sponsor for the project in a 10-year deal worth £36m ($55.9m).
The Emirates Air Line will connect north and south London, travelling between two new stations set to be named Emirates Greenwich Peninsula and Emirates Royal Docks with the first passengers set to use the service prior to the Olympic Games.
According to the latest progress report by developer Mace, the first tower - the North Intermediate Tower - stands over 200ft tall and weighs 270 tonnes and is the smallest of the three towers.
It said the North Tower and South Tower are both under construction, were scheduled for completion by late spring.
The structure of each tower will enable up to 2,500 passengers to be carried across the Thames each hour in each direction, it added.
It is anticipated the Emirates Air Line will carry two million passengers per year.
The journey across the River Thames will take approximately five minutes, with 34 cabins arriving and departing every 30-40 seconds.
Each cabin will accommodate up to 10 seated passengers, and will be fully accessible to both wheelchair users and bicycles.
Operating hours and fares, including private cabin hire, are being finalised, the report said, adding that further details will be announced before the launch.
The £36m sponsorship deal with Emirates forms part of the funding strategy to recoup the upfront construction costs provided for the link and provides 80 percent of the overall construction cost.
The consortium of builders behind the project has been led by contractor Mace, whose past projects include the London Eye and the Shard, the iconic pyramid-shaped skyscraper under construction near London's Tower Bridge.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Turkish Airline plans direct flights to Kathmandu

Turkish Airlines has failed to operate direct flights to Kathmandu due to the lack of the fifth freedom right between Nepal and Turkey.

The airlines is planning to operate its Istanbul–Kathmandu direct flight in the near future. However, the operation of the flights has not yet been decided. According to officials at the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, it is difficult to mention the exact time and schedule for its operation but the airlines will soon start operations in Nepal.

"The company has made plans to operate flights but at present they are not sure about the exact time," said director general of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal Tri Ratna Manandhar.

"They are preparing their marketing strategies as they do not have direct flights to Kathmandu at the moment," he said, adding that Nepal and Turkey do not have the fifth freedom right which is key to start direct flights.

However, the company can have a code sharing arrangement with Qatar Airways to bring in passengers to Nepal, he said. "Either the company has to opt for code sharing with Qatar Air or has to start flights to Delhi–Mumbai to link it to Kathmandu," said Manandhar.

According to the authority, Nepal needs to review its fifth freedom right, as there are countries excluding Nepal which have already entered into sixth, seventh and eighth freedom rights.

Nepal has air service agreements (ASA) with 36 countries and 90 per cent of them have the fifth freedom right which is the right to carry passengers from one's own country to a second country and from that country to a third country. Nepal and Turkey signed an air service agreement in September 2010. The ASA allows the two countries to operate 14 flights per week between Kathmandu and Istanbul. Turkish Airlines currently flies to over 190 destinations around the world and plans to add more routes to its diverse network.

"We are trying to connect Nepal and Istanbul in the nearest future and we are moving ahead to develop a strong relation between the two countries," said Turkish ambassador to Nepal Dr Burak Akcapar here today while inaugurating the general sales agent (GSA) office in Kathmandu. Turkish Airlines is on its way to commence its operations in Nepal and it has appointed Zenith Travels as its GSA for Nepal.

Ghana Airports Company sign MoU with foreign Investor for the expansion of the Accra Airport

Accra-Ghana: Foreign Investors continue to express interest in Ghana's aviation sector. One of such foreign institutions is the Canadian Commercial Corporation.

A delegation from the group led by the Director for Business Development and Sales, Donald Olsen on Thursday paid a courtesy call on the Board Chairman of the Ghana Airports Company Limited, George Kuntu Blankson at Parliament House in Accra.

Mr Olsen told Radio Ghana that his visit is to follow-up on a Memorandum of Understanding which was signed with the Ghana Airports Company for the expansion of the Accra Airport.

The project aims at increasing the capacity of the Airport from three to five million passengers.

The Board Chairman of the Ghana Airport Company Limited, George Kuntu Blankson said the proposed project will help strengthen the relations between Ghana-Canada in advancing the development of the country.

The Deputy Managing Director of the Ghana Airports Company Limited, John Amedior hoped the Canadian Commercial Corporation which is an agency of the Canadian government will come up with a good financial proposal for the Airport expansion project.

Explore Zimbabwe’s world of wonders at ATA Congress

The race to explore Zimbabwe's world of wonders, host of this year's annual Africa Travel Association (ATA) congress, has commenced with the official registration for the event by its members and others expected at the 37thcongress already in progress.
The congress, scheduled for May 18 and 22 at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, is to be hosted by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) under the auspices of the minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Walter Mzembi. The theme of the congress is "African Tourism: Partnering for the Future".
Delegates for the five-day tourism event, which is ATA's flagship programme for Africa, are to register online at Over 300 participants are expected at the event. These include tourism ministers and industry experts representing tourism boards, tour operators, and their product development executives, front-line agents, ground operator companies, airlines and hotels.
Others are the travel trade media and the corporate, nonprofit, and academic as well as African Diaspora representatives and ATA's Young Professionals Program participants.
Zimbabwe, host of the congress, presents a world of opportunities for the participants to explore its choice seven wonders, including its people and culture, history and heritage, Great Zimbabwe (grand medieval palace), Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya), wildlife and nature, Eastern Highlands, and Lake Kariba. Delegates will sample some of these wonders during the celebration of Zimbabwe Day and by participating in pre- and post-congress tours.
According to the programme of event, the ATA International Board of Directors meeting is scheduled to hold on Friday, May 18 while Saturday, May 19 begins with sessions focusing on Destination Zimbabwe, followed by an opening ceremony with cultural entertainment.
The next few days will feature 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. The event will close on Tuesday, May 22. Pre- and post-congress excursions and trips will be available to delegates.
South African Airways is the official sponsor and airline for the 2012 ATA World Congress and it offers special discount package for delegates travelling from the different parts of the world. Arik Air, Nigeria, is the media airline for the event and also offers special discounted rates.

Emirates to launch 2nd weekly cargo flight to Sydney

The cargo wing of Emirates Airlines will launch a second weekly freighter flight to Sydney in what the airline calls a sign of Australia's growing importance in international trade.
Emirates SkyCargo currently operates a single weekly Boeing 777 freighter flight on its Dubai-Singapore-Sydney-Hong Kong-Dubai route. That service launched seven months ago.
"The demand for a bi-weekly service is a good indication of Australia's growing importance as a trade partner to major international markets," said Greg Johnson, Emirates' cargo manager for Australia. "Emirates SkyCargo is committed to providing Australian businesses access to trade opportunities in the 70-plus countries we operate to via our state-of-the-art Cargo Mega Terminal in Dubai."

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 aHeathrow 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.

Flights Master Annual Get together

Flights Master is a well reputed travel agency in the United Kingdom specialized in providing reliable services to its valued travel customers from UK to worldwide destinations.
The annual get together was held at Oxford hotel in Paddington. This year CEOs and other officials of major airlines were invited along with PSAs & GSAs to our annual get together. The main purpose to invite the airline officials was to build strong integration with them and construct better business relations in the future. It was a great experience with the airline officials, in this gathering exchange of travel ideas, travel trade problems, future prospects and sharing of the information was held with our reservation staff.   It also gave a platform to our reservation consultants for expressing their own travel views, experiences and concerns with each others. It was indeed a great learning session with all the airline officials.
Just to highlight major activities in this gathering were splendid buffet dinner, exotic red wine with live folk music & much more. Our staff also enjoyed bowling, darts game and at the end a great photo session was held. In the end executive directors of Flights Master encouraged their staff by distributing awards & certificates in prominent categories.

Thai Airways launches Boeing 747 freighter service in India

Thai Airways introduced its first Boeing 747 freighter flights to India from Hyderabad on Thursday. It will deploy its second freighter from next month connecting Chennai to various European destinations.
Its first Boeing freighter, with a capacity of 100 tonnes, touched down in Hyderabad from Bangkok en route to Frankfurt. It will initially be a weekly service, with the airline having plans to increase frequency depending on demand.
The second freighter will connect Bangkok-Chennai-Amsterdam, facilitating air shipment of cargo to over 30 European destinations from Chennai. The airlines' strategy will be to consolidate various cargoes such as pharma products, electronic components, fresh fruits, flowers and textile from different regions across India at Hyderabad and Chennai airports for onward movement to Europe.
In addition, the airline may deploy chartered freighters and use additional belly space in its passenger flights to carry cargo from Hyderabad, Chennai and Delhi as demand picks up.
"We have major plans for the air cargo market in India, which we think has immense potential," Mr Pichai Chunganuwad, Managing Director of Thai Airways' Cargo and Mail Division, told media persons here.
The airline, which reported an almost flat growth in cargo throughput in 2011 at 700,000 tonnes, expects growth in the freight sector to be 10 per cent this year. "We have registered encouraging numbers in the first three months this year. We expect the second half to generate more cargo traffic," Mr Pichai said.
The airline will be earmarking an exclusive portion in the Boeing freighter to stack up heavy-density cargoes, for which it will be charging a premium. "We see a lot of potential in using this space for carrying aircraft engines of various airlines for maintenance and repair to different places in Asia. We will also be carrying high-density engineering and machinery components," Mr Pichai said.

Emirates Airline launches new global brand platform

Emirates Airline has launched a new global brand platform and direction, themed "Hello Tomorrow" as the airline embarks on an integrated marketing communications campaign, with a new brand promise.
Under the company's strategy to evolve from a travel brand to a global lifestyle brand, the platform has been designed for the age of consumer engagement and empowerment.
"Our new corporate image and global marketing campaign both underline the confidence we have in our existing products and services, and the vision we have for the future growth of the airline," Emirates vice-chairman Sir Maurice Flanagan explained.
"Emirates Airline is not just offering a way to connect people from point A to point B but is the catalyst to connect people's hopes, dreams and aspirations."
Emirates airline has grown from its early days in 1985, when it launched with just two aircraft, to its current status as one of the world's fastest growing airlines with 171 wide-body aircraft including the world's largest fleet of Boeing 777s and A380s.
A brand synonymous with luxury and innovation, Emirates was the first to offer in-flight telephony across all classes, individual TV screens on every seat, First Class suites and an onboard Shower Spa on its A380 aircraft. From its home base in Dubai, Emirates is geographically located within an eight hour direct flight of 75 per cent of the world's population – more distant routes like the Americas are connected to the Dubai hub with long range aircraft that fly the distance direct.
The campaign features print, TV, and digital advertising, including some iconic billboards in New York's Times Square and Milan's central train station. Emirates website has also been refreshed to reflect the 'Hello Tomorrow' messaging.
Reflecting an effort to target a younger audience, the 'Hello Tomorrow' campaign is currently debuting with vignettes of the TV spots on Emirates newly launched Facebook channel. The TV commercials, outdoor and print ads will break today around the world.
Emirates operates flights to Dubai via Larnaca, Cyprus on a daily schedule from Malta.

Zambia keen to promote domestic tourism

The Zambia government is keen to promote domestic tourism, but how is that going to happen? Domestic tourism can be either citizen or resident. Many residents visit the parks and go on holidays. So we need to look at citizens.
The other day I read an article in a newspaper about Kafue National Park. It said:
"The Kafue National Park is the largest in Zambia, covering an area of about 22,480 square kilometers. It is the second largest park in Africa and is home to more than 55 different species of animals.
"Kafue National Park is the oldest and largest national park in Zambia. It was proclaimed on April 28, 1950 by Government Notice Number 108 of 1950 under the Game Ordinance, Chapter 106 of the Laws of Zambia. Its National Park status was underlined on February 25, 1972 under the National Parks and Wildlife Act and the original proclamation was revised on April 16, 1993, in Statutory Instrument No. 58 of 1993 establishing it as National Park No. 11, according to Zambia Wildlife Authority, 2010."
Absolutely no one who reads the article is going to be enthused about a visit to Kafue National Park. So our first job is to get journalists into the parks so that they can write from the heart and not regurgitations from stock articles.
The second, and biggest, problem is that most of our parks have lost their low-cost facilities. Most parks used to have camps like the ones in Zimbabwe. But they have gone – they have all become ZAWA Camps. Notable examples are Lochinvar Lodge and Ngoma Lodge. I have met very few Zambians who will happily pile a tent into their car and go off into the bush. In fact, when I chat to friends, they laugh at me and my trips. It is totally beyond their comprehension that I can pitch my tent in the middle of the bush and have a good time.
So, we need low-cost chalets to be constructed in the parks. The Wildlife Society has a few camps, which are generally used by school children… from private schools…, but we need more.
Thirdly, the costing structure has to be revised. For years the rates have been "designed" to maximize income. Residents are classed as "foreigners" and are expected to pay more. Other countries put residents and citizens together, which is much fairer. Residents live and work under the same economic conditions as citizens. There is no reason to class them differently. In fact, for us in Livingstone, residents tend to feel offended when we are expected to pay US$15 per person to go into the Mosi-oa-Tunya Park for a couple of hours. It is residents who are likely to bring "friends and family" to Zambia to visit, so their appreciation of the parks has to be promoted by lower fees.
To promote tourism industry Zambian government encourage the tourist from all over the world by facilitating in getting the visa and consequently cheap flights to Zambia from different destination around the world. For getting more information regrading Zambia Tourism, booking holidays packages and cheap flights to Zambia tourist destination you can call our reservation experts on 02079936219 or visit our website

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.