In Brief

Etihad Airways to launch Manchester service
Etihad Airways has announced that it will launch a daily service between Manchester and Abu Dhabi in the spring of 2006.

Voted the World’s Leading New Airline is already setting new standards in the hospitality industry; believing all customers are valued guests rather than passengers. Guests using this new service will fly on a luxuriously appointed Airbus medium-range A330 aircraft, carrying around 300 guests. The flights from Manchester will complement the Etihad Airways daily flights already in operation from both London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports.

Emirates posts half-year profits of Dh922 million
Emirates has announced net profits of Dh922 million ($251 million) for the first six months of the financial year 2005-06, from April 1 to September 20, 2005.
The unaudited results up seven per cent compared to Dh865 million achieved in the same period last year, reflect a strong revenue performance driven by robust passenger and cargo demand, and better yields, which softened the impact of high fuel prices on operating costs. Emirates’ chairman, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said: “Emirates has delivered an excellent half-year result despite the fact that fuel cost rose 84 per cent compared to the first six months of our last financial year. This robust half-year performance reflects strong revenue growth, and it also demonstrates the company’s resilience and adaptability to new challenges in the operating environment.”

Qatar Airways to fly to Hong Kong
Qatar Airways has announced plans to launch scheduled flights to Hong Kong at the beginning of summer 2006. The daily flights will operate non-stop from the airline’s hub of Doha, capital of Qatar, from March 26 next year. Hong Kong will become Qatar Airways’ twelfth Far East destination that already covers Osaka, Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, Manila, Cebu, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Yangon (Rangoon) and Jakarta.

Air Arabia flies to Kazakhstan
Air Arabia marked yet another milestone in Middle East aviation history by commencing flights to Kazakhstan with their inaugural flight to Astana, followed by the first flight to Almaty. Air Arabia’s chairman Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Thani and CEO Adel Ali led the delegation of senior officials, media, invitees and passengers on the inaugural flight and were met by Mamin Askar Uzakpayevich, minister of Kazakhstan, and senior government and civil aviation officials. Astana, the current capital of Kazakhstan and Almaty, the cultural centre, also the homeland of the Dutch tulip, offers large expanses of great scenic beauty and many rare animal and flower species. The travel opportunities are boundless, ranging from hiking across picturesque mountains and camping beside vast lakes to historic city tours.

Air Arabia ups flights to Mumbai
Air Arabia LLC has added an additional daily flight to Mumbai from December 1 to January 31, 2006, to cater to increasing demand over the winter holiday season. “The Mumbai route has been one of the most popular for both business and leisure travellers,” commented Harish Kutty, head of planning and revenue management for Air Arabia. “The winter is a peak travel time, with people travelling between the UAE and India to visit family and friends, and we are pleased to be able to offer them more flight choices at an affordable fare.” Additional flights offer a convenient and affordable opportunity for students and families travelling home during the winter.

Jazeera Airways spreads its wings
Jazeera Airways, launched its operations with flights to five destinations in the Middle East, these being: Dubai, Beirut, Amman, Damascus, Bahrain, and will be adding Alexandria, Luxor and the Indian Subcontinent in the near future. “Dubai was strategically chosen to be Jazeera Airways’ first destination and is one of the most travelled to cities in the region,” said Marwan Boodai, chairman and CEO of Jazeera Airways, “We foresee major traffic to Dubai and have scheduled daily flights in order to provide flexibility to frequent travellers.” The airline is the first in the Middle East to give passengers complete control of their travel plans through a variety of booking channels including internet, a call centre based in Dubai and local travel agents. Jazeera Airways is the first privately-owned airline in Kuwait and the Middle East.

Gulf Air bags prestigious awards
Gulf Air has scooped two prestigious awards at this year’s 12th Annual World Travel Awards, held at a gala ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London last month. The airline has beaten the competition to win the Middle East Leading First Class Airline and has also won the World’s Leading Airport Lounge, for its First and Business Class lounge in Bahrain. “We have invested heavily in our refurbished planes, which has led to the creation of one of the best First Class products in the skies, and, with this award, its now officially the best in the Middle East,” said Gulf Air president and chief executive James Hogan.

OAS implements advanced security solution
Oman Air has increased the security of its information technology infrastructure in light of the growing threat which hackers and virus authors are posing toward airline companies around the world. The sole provider of airport handling facilities at Seeb International airport in Muscat, Oman Aviation Services (OAS), has implemented the latest, advanced security options available, provided by Trend Micro, one of the world’s leaders in network antivirus and content security. Ziad Al Haremi, acting CEO of Oman Air commented: “It is imperative that airport handling companies adopt the most comprehensive, advanced and sophisticated network protection available on the market, as any system downtime can seriously upset the smooth transit of passengers and cargo – causing major disruptions.”

Emirates goes to Cote D’Ivoire
Strengthening its operations in West Africa, Emirates will be launching services to Cote D’Ivoire from February 1, 2006. The airline will operate an Airbus A330-200 on the route offering 12 First, 42 Business and 183 Economy class seats as well as 17 tonnes of belly-hold cargo capacity. Emirates will operate four times a week to Abidjan via Accra. Abidjan, the commercial centre of Cote D’Ivoire, will enhance the airlines African network to 12 destinations in 11 countries. It will also be Emirates’ third gateway in the West African region after Lagos and Accra.

End-of-year special offers from Air Arabia
Air Arabia is continuing to offer lower fares to destinations across the region with spectacular offers until the end of this month. Duncan Osborne, Air Arabia’s head of marketing said, “Air Arabia is committed to offering affordable travel to customers across the region and with our consistently low fares we can offer regional travellers more opportunities to fly for business or leisure.” Take advantage of fares as low as Dh99 from Sharjah to Alexandria, Bahrain, Damascus, Dammam, Doha and Muscat; Dh149 to Assiut, Beirut, Kuwait, Luxor, Riyadh, Sana’a and Sharm El Sheikh; Dh199 to Aleppo, Aqaba, Colombo, Khartoum and Nagpur; Dh249 to Amman; Dh299 to Mumbai and Dh499 to Jeddah.

Emirates starts second daily service to NY
Emirates started its second daily service from Dubai to New York last month. The airline started flying to New York in June last year, and demand has been so strong for the service that a second daily service was required to cope with the ever-increasing passenger numbers on this route. This is something of a record for Emirates as just 17 months from launch of its initial service to going double daily is the fastest time the airline has increased frequency to double daily on any route. The start of the new service coincides with the opening of a new dedicated lounge at JFK, Emirates First and Business class passengers will have access to the exclusive lounge, where they can work or relax prior to boarding their Emirates flight. The new lounge can accommodate almost 200 passengers.