In Brief

Victims move against airlines

Victims of 'economy class syndrome' have moved London's High Court to sue some of the world's biggest airlines over deadly blood clots they blame on cramped aircraft cabins. Fifty-six survivors and victims' relatives have banded together to claim millions of pounds in damages from 28 airlines, including British Airways, KLM Royal Dutch and American Airlines. The victims argue that cramped seats and long hours in the air are to blame for the clots that can measure up to a foot in length and invade the lungs, heart and brain. The airlines reject the claims.

Scrum time in Dubai

DUBAI: Airbus Industrie is to increase its support for the Dubai Rugby Sevens to be held this month in Dubai. In the picture are Adrian Hayes (left), Airbus area sales director and Gary Chapman, chief director, Support and Development of Emirates.

Agents suggest 'labour class' fare

MUSCAT: The chairman of Oman's Travel Agents' Association (under formation) has called for a 'labour class' fare, aimed at providing a low fare structure for workers doing menial tasks such as housemaids, office boys and so on. It was highlighted that poor expatriate labourers who earn as low as RO40 ($104) have to cough up more than RO240 for a ticket. Mohammed Al Ghazali, head of the ad-hoc association, also called for an end to the discrepancy shown in the fare structure to the Indian sector.

Visa curbs eased for families

MANAMA: Bahrain has relaxed new restrictions on sponsored visit visas to help reunite expatriate parents with their children. Relatives visiting Bahrain will be issued a one-month visa, Immigration and Passports Under-Secretary Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said. Sponsored visits were earlier granted for one month and were renewable every month, for up to six months. But this was reduced to one week, with a once-only renewal for a further week, under new rules announced last week. Construction companies were abusing the system to bring in temporary labour, said Shaikh Rashid.

Visit visa applicants need return ticket

ABU DHABI: Visit visas for people from the Indian sub-continent and other countries will be issued only if return tickets are attached with the application, a report said. Travel agents confirmed reports that a new law has been enforced by the UAE's Naturalisation and Residency Department asking individuals and firms seeking visit visas to submit copy of the return ticket to the Department.

Ras Al Khaimah to welcome Europe flights

Ras Al Khaimah: Ras Al Khaimah International Airport has struck a deal with companies in Europe to start two flights a week from European cities to the emirate, said a senior official.

Jeddah hotel gets business centre

JEDDAH: Le Jeddah Meridien completed recently its upgrade on its business center. Guest feedback and market research indicated increasing demand for state-of-the-art business center facilities. The new business center is a stylish mahogany-designed facility with four individual computer cubicles. The hotel has added four more computer terminals with Pentium 4 microprocessors and a plasma screen panel where guests can browse the Internet, send e-mails or perform simple word processing tasks in privacy.

Flamingo to run Dammam hotel

DAMMAM: The Flamingo Hotel Management Company has signed a new contract to run and manage the Dammam Palace Hotel owned by Sheikh Saeed Al Zahrani. This contract will take the Flamingo Hotel's rooms to more than 930 in Saudi Arabia. The new hotel is considered to be the most modern that Flamingo manages in Saudi Arabia.

New spa treatment at beach resort

DUBAI: A French treatment for cellulite, firming and toning is being introduced at Caracalla Spa in Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa, the first launch of the Ionithermie system at a hotel in the UAE. To launch the treatments, Caracalla is offering packages for one, three and five sessions, including a home car pack to extend the benefits of Ionithermie beyond the spa

Jumeirah picks up 'Best Hotel'

DUBAI: The Jumeirah Beach Hotel, part of Dubai-based luxury hospitality group Jumeirah International, has been voted 'Best Foreign Hotel' in a survey of readers of the The Daily Telegraph in London.

SAA to fly Dubai-Muscat bi-weekly

DUBAI: Saudi Arabian Airlines has started twice-weekly flights between Dubai and Muscat from October 31. The flights will be routed Jeddah-Dubai-Muscat and will return as Muscat-Dubai-Jeddah on Thursdays and Sundays, according to Zafar Akber, Saudi Arabian's manager for sales and marketing in the UAE.

SriLankan flies to Bodh Gaya

DUBAI: SriLankan Airlines will launch flights to Bodh Gaya in India and resume flights to Frankfurt in Germany, among other schedule enhancements, in the winter 2002 season, a report said. The Airbus A320 will be deployed to Bodh Gaya every Tuesday afternoon beginning November 12. With the addition of Bodh Gaya, SriLankan's route network increases to 30 destinations in 20 countries.

Emirates launches Kerala services

DUBAI: Emirates has launched its first operations to Kerala, with three flights a week to Cochin. It leaves Dubai at 3.50am and arrives Cochin at 9am. The flights are on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Gulf Air to open new Bahrain office

MANAMA: Gulf Air has opened a travel centre in Sanad, as part of its plan to open a network of branches all over Bahrain. The East Riffa travel centre is being relocated to Al Estiqlal Highway for the convenience of the public, said Bahrain general manager Abdul Malik Al Saei.

Online confirmation for Royal Jordanian

AMMAN: Passengers on Royal Jordanian (RJ) can now confirm their reservations on the Internet, after the airline has become the first Arab carrier to go online.

Head of RJ reservations Umran Qarden said that by accessing the airline's website, passengers around the world can enter reservation numbers and confirm trips by completing an information card.

Oman Air posts 10pc growth

MUSCAT: Oman Air has achieved good growth rates in connection with the revenues and passenger traffic during the first nine month of this year, despite aviation industry crises, said Abdul Rahman bin Harith Al Busaidi, chief executive officer of the Oman Aviation Services Company. He added in a statement that the company achieved growth of 10 per cent in its revenues which stood at RO27.322 million ($70.97 million) during the first nine months of this year, against RO24.573 million during the corresponding period on 2001.

Airline opens Khartoum office

DOHA: Qatar Airways opened an office in the commercial hub of the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. Chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker led the Qatar Airways team.Qatar Airways will fly both the Airbus A300-600 and the A-320 aircraft on the Doha-Khartoum route.

Swiss names Dnata as GSA

DUBAI: Swiss, Switzerland's new intercontinental airline, has signed an agreement with Dnata appointing the company as its general sales agent (GSA) for Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain and Ajman, a report said. The partnership will allow for joint marketing programmes, and sales activities in the UAE. According to a Swiss Press release, Dnata will provide Swiss with an official operational base offering marketing and sales support through its offices and reservations call centre.

Hyatt appoints Atom

DUBAI: The executive management of Grand Hyatt Dubai has announced the appointment of its advertising and public relations consultancies to launch their 674-room hotel property. Atom, a young marketing services agency, was awarded the creative advertising contract for the hotel. Gambate! Communications, a diverse PR consultancy driven by a multi-lingual team of media professionals, was awarded the public relations contract. Both companies are based at Dubai Media City.

Swiss golfers visit Bahrain

MANAMA: Eight Swiss holidaymakers visited Riffa Golf Club during a four-day golfing holiday in Bahrain. They were on the final leg of a golf tour which took them to golf courses in Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The tour had been organised by STO Travel from Geneva, and the owner, Slim Toumi is accompanying the group. Also accompanying the group was Swiss golf professional, Bernard Chenaux, who gave the golfers playing tips as they went round the course.

Boeing studies satellite routing

DUBAI: Boeing is working on an advanced satellite-based approach to air traffic management and has developed Connexion, a product that allows broadband Internet access in the sky. Connexion will be tried out in 2003, a report said. The airline is also looking at new technologies for existing and future commercial airplanes, Michael Sears, Boeing executive vice-president and chief financial officer said. Sears said Boeing is working on new products and services that will shape the 21st century - unmanned air vehicles, integrated battle-space solutions and missile defense. He said that the company's core businesses -- commercial airplanes and integrated defense systems, are performing well despite the huge challenges facing the industry today.

E-gate office set up at Dnata

DUBAI: The Dubai Naturalization and Residency Administration (DNRD) and the Dubai Airline Centre (Dnata Agencies) have signed an exclusive agreement to extend the e-gate registration facility beyond Dubai Airport, by setting up an enrolment centre at the Dnata offices on Shaikh Zayed Road. Travellers wishing to register for the e-card no longer have to travel to the airport and can also register at the fully operational centre at the Dnata offices. The thoroughly networked system, which is linked to DNRD's database, will ensure that all registrations are automatically recorded and updated. Dnata Agencies' e-card centre, manned by two staff members, is located on the mezzanine floor of the Dubai Airline Centre. In addition to the citizens and residents of the UAE, the system is open to citizens of those 34 countries who can obtain visas on arrival in the UAE.

'Outstanding transactions' at IHF

AMMAN : The recent International Hospitality Forum (IHF) 2002 broke records with an outstanding number of business transactions and more than 4,000 trade representatives attending, a statement said. At the event, Jordan's Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Dr Taleb Al Rifai honoured Nabih Nazzal for his extensive efforts throughout the years in the hospitality sector. Dr Al Rifai announced that the initiative of honoring personalities and institutions that contributed to the sector will become an annual event at the Forum. IHF 2003 will be held from September 16 to 18, 2003 at Zara Expo, in Amman, Jordan.

Limousine firms call for phased Saudisation

JEDDAH: Several investors in the limousine business have appealed to the authorities to appoint Saudi drivers' jobs in a phased manner, a report said. The investors have also suggested that a committee be set up for the full implementation of the recent order of Crown Prince Abdullah, deputy premier and commander of the National Guard, barring expatriates from working as taxi drivers, the Arab News reported. The investors plan to meet with Crown Prince Abdullah shortly, said Saad Al Fahd, owner of a limousine company in the Eastern Province. While 85 companies in the Eastern Province operate 4,000 cabs in the region only 15 per cent of their drivers are Saudis.

Morocco tourism receipts plunge

RABAT: Moroccan tourism receipts for the year to September totalled Dh18.13 billion ($1.73 billion), down 24 per cent from their level a year ago. A senior Finance Ministry official said the decline, which was expected in the wake of the global downturn after the September 11 attacks on the US last year, "is in line with the government forecast". "We expect to end the year with a 15-20 per cent drop in receipts," the official said. Tourism receipts in 2001 stood at a record Dh27.8 billion. Unlike, he said, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan, three Muslim countries hit hard by the psychologic impact of September 11, Morocco "has managed to limit the losses". Morocco receives 2.5 million foreign tourists and aims at quadrupling the figure by 2010.

Golf challenge launched

DUBAI: Jumeirah International and The Montgomerie, Dubai have launched the 'Emirates Towers Golf Challenge', a golf championship for amateurs providing the winner of the grand final with the ultimate opportunity to compete against the professionals in the Dubai Desert Classic Pro-Am in 2003.

Nile Hilton wins award

CAIRO: The Nile Hilton has been awarded the "2002 World Best Business Hotel Award" by Travel + Leisure. The survey was published by the American Express Publishing Corporation in the US. The Nile Hilton is one of 50 hotels around the globe to be rated as a top quality hotel for business travellers around the world, and is the only hotel in Egypt to have won this award. The Nile Hilton was the first international chain to open in Egypt in 1959.

DTCM woos Swiss visitors

DUBAI: The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and its six co-participants have won over the Swiss travel trade visitors in favour of Dubai's attraction and state-of-the art facilities in a three day Travel Trade Workshop TTW at Montreux, Switzerland, which concluded recently. DTCM director general. Khalid A bin Sulayem said that the department participated for the sixth consecutive year in ITVP. This indicates its seriousness and sincerity in marketing the emirate's luxuries, which can be availed and enjoyed by Swiss travelers. .

AACO 2003 session in Muscat

MUSCAT: The 36th session of the Arab Air Carrier Organisation (AACO) will be convened in Muscat in April 2003. A co-ordination meeting was held in the Omani capital in preparation. The AACO meeting will be held in Oman for the first time and will host about 250 representatives from different global institutions and organisations interested in the aviation industry. Abdurrahman Al Busaidy, chief executive officer of Oman Aviation and Services is the current president of the AACO.