In Brief

Cape Town ... Qatar Airways has increased its flights to South Africa

QA sponsors major conference
DOHA: Qatar Airways has been named as the official sponsor of the Tasmeem Doha 2005 Design Conference to be held at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Education City, Qatar, between February 21- 24, 2005.

The award-winning airline is flying some of the world’s leading design experts into Doha for the four-day event, being organised by the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Arts (VCU) Qatar in collaboration with the Qatar Foundation. The event aims to promote fashion, graphic and interior design with hundreds of international academics, design professionals and students discussing current and future trends in the field of design.

Emirates launches Seychelles flights
DUBAI: Emirates launched its thrice-weekly non-stop services to the Seychelles.
A delegation of senior Emirates officials was at the Dubai airport to mark the departure of the first flight. Leading the delegation was Ghaith Al Ghaith, Emirates’ executive vice-president commercial operations worldwide, who was accompanied by Nabil Sultan, senior vice-president commercial operations West Asia and Indian Ocean, Hamad Obaidalla, senior vice-president commercial operations Gulf, Middle East & Iran and Mohammed H Mattar, senior vice-president airport services (Dubai).

Gulf Air backs Oman forum
DOHA: Gulf Air is a lead sponsor of Oman’s first international conference on Best: Built Environments for Sustainable Tourism, the carrier announced. The event will take place from February 5 to 8 at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel, Muscat. It is being organised by Oman’s Ministry of Tourism, under the auspices of the World Tourism Organisation and Unesco. In the last few weeks, Gulf Air has demonstrated its full commitment to tourism development in its three owner states by supporting three major tourism initiatives – title sponsorship of the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix 2005 (Bahrain) and the Al Ain Aerobatics Show 2005 (Abu Dhabi) and now the BEST conference (Oman).

Air Arabia tickets for lucky winners
SHARJAH: Six lucky passengers were awarded complimentary return tickets by Air Arabia as part of its first anniversary celebrations. The passengers were awarded as they were the first to check-in on every Air Arabia flight from Sharjah International Airport on the airline’s anniversary day. With flights that day to Alexandria, Aleppo, Damascus, Dammam, Doha and Kuwait, Air Arabia gave the opportunity to passengers from around the region, whether they were travelling for business or pleasure, to enjoy an additional travel opportunity with the airline, valid for the next year.

Boeing wins order from Emirates
DUBAI: Emirates airline has ordered 30 Boeing Electronic Flight Bags for its 777-300ER (Extended Range) airplanes, making the airline the largest customer for that Boeing-supplied system. Emirates is also the largest customer for Boeing’s Terminal Wireless technology, which allows it to send broadband data to and from airplanes from touchdown to takeoff. The EFB and Terminal Wireless make Emirates a leader in moving toward an e-Enabled air transport system, a statement said. The airline will receive its first EFB-equipped 777 in March.

QA spreads wings to South Africa
DOHA: Qatar Airways has launched two more routes with scheduled flights to Johannesburg and Cape Town, the airline’s first foray into South Africa. Qatar Airways operates four flights a week between Qatar and both cities in South Africa, using an Airbus A330-200 in a two-class configuration of 24 seats in Business and 248 in Economy. The addition of South Africa takes Qatar Airways’ global network to 59 destinations. f executive officer Akbar Al Baker.

BA to suspend Saudi services
LONDON: British Airways said it would suspend flights to two destinations in Saudi Arabia due to reduced demand. “This is a commercial decision due to reduced customer demand for these flights,” BA said in a statement on its website. Flights from London to Riyadh and Jeddah will be suspended from March 27, the airline said.  However, according to the report, BA’s director of commercial planning Robert Boyle said the Saudi market would be kept under review.

Indus Airways eyes April flights
NEW DELHI: A group of non-resident Indians and entrepreneurs has announced the launch of a new low-cost domestic airline, Indus Airways, and said the carrier was expected to start flying in April. “The company has already got all necessary clearances and is now awaiting the final nod of the Civil Aviation Ministry,” one of the airline’s backers, Kapil Mohan said. “We hope to launch our services from April with five leased 50-seater (Brazilian) Embraer RJ-145 aircraft,” said Mohan, who heads India’s Mohan Meakins Breweries. The company’s initial investment totalled Rs 150 million ($3 billion), he added. In the first phase of operations, Indus Air hopes to link major north Indian cities. It plans to later extend to southern India. The no-frills airline plans to offer fares 30 to 40 per cent below those of full-service carriers.

Qatar Airways flies to Burma
DOHA: Qatar Airways has become the first carrier from the Middle East to fly to Yangon (Rangoon), capital of Myanmar (Burma). Qatar Airways has scheduled four non-stop flights a week between Doha and Yangon using an Airbus A319 in a two-class configuration of eight seats in Business Class and 102 in Economy. Yangon becomes the airline’s 10th destination in the Far East and its 57th overall on its worldwide network. To celebrate the launch of the new flights, Myanmar Airways International is code-sharing on Qatar Airways’ services between Yangon and Doha, and onwards to Paris and London Gatwick. The agreement enables Myanmar Airways International to sell seats on Qatar Airways using its own 8M flight designator code.

Gulf Air, Sabre in joint venture
BAHRAIN: Sabre and Gulf Air have signed an agreement to create a joint venture to be based in Bahrain, it was announced. The establishment of this new company, Sabre Travel Network Middle East, brings together the world’s leading global distribution system (GDS) and the vast local expertise of Gulf Air to further extend world class products and services into the Middle East region. Sabre will have a majority ownership in the new business. The agreement includes a five-year contract with Sabre Airline Solutions for the SabreSonic suite of products for passenger management, as well as additional operational software and consulting services from Sabre Airline Solutions. Gulf Air and Sabre Travel Network have had a marketing partnership for nearly 15 years. The venture will provide technology services, bookable travel products and distribution services for travel agencies, corporations and travel suppliers in the region.choice in meeting our requirements and addressing the constant challenges of the competitive market. At the same time, Gulf Air’s regional network and strong historic and geographic ties in the region will enable us to further leverage the services we offer.”