In brief

The Airbus A340-600.

Emirates offers air miles at sea

UAE airline Emirates has teamed up with local cruise operator, Danat Dubai Cruises, to offer more incentives to its frequent flyers. Members of its Skywards frequent flyer programme will be able to earn and redeem Skywards Miles whenever they take a cruise along the shores of Dubai and Sharjah with Danat Cruises, said Skywards' general manager Brian LaBelle.

Gulf Air to launch Internet bookings

MANAMA: Passengers travelling on Gulf Air will be able to book their tickets on-line beginning September, the airline has announced. But they can already benefit from a Internet-based guide of personalised travel and destination information, called Virtually There, which is available on-line on website Meanwhile, the airline has launched a new advertising campaign in the Middle East aimed at re-establishing it as the leading carrier to, from and within the Gulf.

BIT named Club Med agents

MANAMA: The popular Club Med holiday experience is now available from Bahrain through Bahrain International Travel (BIT) who were recently appointed sole agents for the global programme. Forty-eight Club Med villages throughout the world offer a complete holiday for the entire family.

Jumeirah International 'eyes London hotel'

DUBAI: Dubai's Jumeirah International will make its debut in Europe through the management of London's Hyatt Carlton Tower and Lowndes hotels starting next January 1, a report quoted Isabel Tapp, Jumeirah International public relations manager as saying. The five-star, 18-storey Hyatt Carlton Tower has 220 rooms, 60 suites, one presidential suite and other guest services and facilities. The four-star Lowndes has 78 rooms, four studio suites and one executive suite.

BA awards for 28 Saudi agents

DUBAI: British Airways has honoured 28 travel agents from Jeddah and Riyadh with Sales Excellence Awards as part of the company's annual awards programme. Fursan Travel, Kanoo Travel and Al Tayyar Travel received this year's Gold Awards in Riyadh while Alireza Travel & Tours, Attar Travel, Caravan Travel, Elaf for Tourism & Travel, Kanoo Travel, Mirage Travel & Tours, Portfolio Travel Limited were the winners in Jeddah. The airline also presented Silver Awards and special awards to other agents.

Bank offers interest-free air tickets loan

DOHA: Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) is offering interest-free loans for purchase of air tickets under a new scheme. The bank said the scheme, being implemented through Cleopatra Travels, allows ticket buyers to clear their arrears over 18 months.

Air-India suitor threatens to walk away

NEW DELHI: Chennai (Madras)-based bus and truck maker, Ashok Leyland, one of the only two bidders for a 40 per cent stake in Air India, has indicated it may withdraw if key clauses concerning management are not accepted by the Indian government.

ADNH plans to raise capital

ABU DHABI: The Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH) will shore up its capital from the current Dh200 million to Dh240 million, in its bid to step up services and promote tourism. A senior official of ADNH said the company which owns and administers a number of hotels and also runs a string of government and private hotels, is launching a major thrust to promote tourism in the UAE.

Fujairah's new Meridien resort takes shape

FUJAIRAH: Construction of the Le Meridien Fujairah Beach Resort in Al Aqqah, 45 kilometres north of Fujairah city is on track, chairman of Fujairah Tourism Bureau, Shaikh Saeed bin Saeed Al Sharqi, said. The 20-storey hotel, which is owned by Emirates, is being built at a cost of around Dh150 million ($40 million) and should be complete by the beginning of next year.

Grand Hyatt Muscat launches Club card

MUSCAT: Grand Hyatt Muscat has joined 77 Hyatt hotels and resorts internationally to offer the exclusive Club at the Hyatt privilege card, entitling the bearer to a host of dining and accommodation discounts at Hyatt Hotels around the world. The hotel is launching the Gold Club at the Hyatt card and a supplemental card for spouses at special introductory prices. National Bank of Oman will also offer Club at the Hyatt Gold cards to its 'Privilege Banking' customers under an alliance with Hyatt.

New hotel to lift Oman tourism

MUSCAT: A new hotel project is expected to give a major boost to tourism in Oman's interior areas. The Al Sharqiya Sands Hotel in Ibra-Sur region will be a major milestone in providing basic infrastructure for tourists to the region with important heritage sites such as ancient villages with traditionally built dwellings, historical forts and falaj systems. The hotel will also be near the famous shifting sands of Wahaiba.

Four Seasons wins top honour

SINGAPORE: Four Seasons Hotel Singapore has won top honours in the Zagat Survey 2001 Top International Hotels, Resorts & Spas publication which awards the best hotels, resorts and spas in the world. Four Seasons Singapore was named one of the best 10 hotels in Asia. The hotel received an `Extraordinary to Perfection' rating for its rooms, service, dining, public spaces and facilities.

Lufthansa studies Bahrain relaunch

MANAMA: German flagship carrier Lufthansa is studying the local market to determine the feasibility of re-launching passenger service to Bahrain. The airline's area manager in Dubai, Wolfgang Klaws, recently visited Bahrain to see if market conditions had improved in the five years since Lufthansa scrapped regular Bahrain-Frankfurt flights. He said he was encouraged by statistics showing a marked improvement in passenger load factors between Bahrain and Germany.

Swissair, Sabena in golden offer

Dubai: Swissair and Sabena are offering additional privileges and benefits to Middle East travellers with the launch of their Travelclub Gold, an enhancement to the Qualiflyer frequent flyer programme. Travelclub Gold also offers travellers the option of redeeming their collected miles for VIP access to some of the world's leading events including tickets to the Wimbledon men's tennis finals, Monte Carlo Grand Prix and the Edinburgh Music Festival.

Malaysian Airlines offers holiday packages

MUSCAT: Malaysian Airlines is offering special holiday packages to Malaysia, Singapore and other points in southeast Asia from Oman. The airline also announced a special low price of RO240 ($625) for a one-year return ticket to Manila which also offers a stopover at Kaula Lumpur, sales and marketing manager for Gulf, Shaz Peshiman, told a seminar here.

IA to dry-lease 10 more planes

DUBAI: While waiting for a strategic partner to turn its fortunes around, Indian Airlines is going in for an interim dry-lease arrangement on 10 aircraft this year, deputy managing director V P Arora said in Dubai where he launched a new Dubai- Hyderabad flight. Flight IC951 from Hyderabad to Dubai will leave at 9pm on Fridays, Sundays and Mondays, and arrive in Dubai at 10.50pm, while IC952 from Dubai will leave at 12.50am on Saturdays, Mondays and Tuesdays, arriving in Hyderabad at 5.50am.

Gulf Air goes online

MANAMA: Gulf Air has gone online with, a portal which enables passengers to view their seat bookings, once they have been confirmed by their travel agent. The link with the Sabre portal will call up an entire itinerary of a confirmed journey on the computer screen, when certain information such as reservations code, passenger name(s) and time format have been fed.

Emirates names online promo winner

DUBAI: UAE airlines Emirates has announced the winner of a "Test-Pilot, Fly-Drive" radio competition based on a Emirates 777 to Porsche 911 online promotion aimed at driving customer awareness of its website The winner received a unique test-flight in the Emirates 777 Flight Simulator, and an exhilarating test-drive experience in the latest Porsche 911, in addition to an all expenses paid weekend for two at the Emirates Towers Hotel.

BA honours outstanding agents

DUBAI: British Airways World Cargo has honoured its agents in Dubai for their "outstanding support" during the year 2000. Representatives of Reliance Freight, Dart Express, Expeditors, Fritz and Westar Cargo were presented with awards by BA's visiting regional cargo manager for the Southern region, Tony Notham.

Iran seeks Airbus help to modernise fleet

TEHRAN: Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has urged greater cooperation between Airbus and flag-carrier Iran Air to help modernise his country's ageing fleet of aircraft. His call during a meeting with a French diplomat, came amid growing domestic pressure on his government to stop using Russian planes and buy "more sophisticated" Western aircraft. Iranian airlines are seeking to refurbish their ageing fleet and meet rising passenger volumes. But US sanctions bar the sales of Boeing airliners to Iran and hinder the acquisition of other aircraft, many of which rely on US-built components.

Emirates, BMI offer 3 for 1 ticket

DUBAI: Emirates and BMI British Midland airlines have launched a joint promotion offering three European destinations for the price of one. The "Freedom Ticket" gives a passenger the choice to move in a continuous direction without having to backtrack or return to an airport just to make a flight connection, said an official at BMI's GCC area office in Dubai. For travel between June 16 and July 15, and December 11 and 23, the fare is Dh3,500, between July 16 and August 15, the fare is Dh2,900, and for travel between August 16 and December 10, and December 24 and June 15, 2002, the fare is Dh2,700.

Bahrain, Dubai to make MTF debut

DUBAI: Bahrain and Dubai will make their debut at the Mediterranean Travel Fair (MTF)in Cairo in September this year. They will be among companies and official representations from 18 countries which have signed up for the fair to be held at the Cairo International Convention & Exhibition Centre from September 24-26. The fair is organised by Reed Travel Exhibitions.

US firm sets up regional HQ

DUBAI: TRAMS Inc, a leading American third party solutions provider, has launched its software products in the region and announced it was setting up its regional headquarters in Dubai. TRAMS products, marketing services, support and training benefits offer opportunities for technological and practical advancements for travel agents around the world.

First successful test flight for A340-600

TOULOUSE, France: The 380-seat A340-600, Airbus' largest airliner to date, made a successful first flight recently lasting five hours and 22 minutes. The maiden flight was captained by Claude Lelaie. The team explored aircraft handling using both direct and normal flight control laws as well as various operational criteria such as buffet and stall margins and manoeuvering capability. The A340-600 is the highest capacity member of the Airbus family so far with a maximum take-off weight of 365 tonnes.

Abercrombie names UAE agent

DUBAI: One of the world's biggest deluxe travel company, Abercrombie & Kent, has appointed Maritime and Mercantile International (MMI) as its general sales agent in UAE. Abercrombie & Kent specialises in incentive and luxury travel and has 42 offices around the world. "MMI will do everything possible to establish, develop and enhance the brand name and image of Abercrombie & Kent in the UAE and through our highly trained staff MMI ensure our shared values of personal and proactive service, creativity and value is achieved for the customer," said Sundar Vasudevan, manager MMI Travel.

Tourism college planned in Oman

MUSCAT: An initial agreement has been reached with two Austrian tourism colleges to establish a tourism college in Oman, Commerce and Industry Minister Maqbool bin Ali Sultan said. He added the proposed college would be run by the Austrian Salzburg and Kerms tourism colleges to ensure international recognition for the certificates that would be awarded by the institution.

167 restaurants offer summer treat

NEW YORK: A record 167 of New York City's best restaurants took part in the 10th annual Summer Restaurant Week from June 25 to June 29 during which they offered three-course lunch menus for just $20.01 - a fraction of their usual cost. Forty three of the participants will continue to offer the special fare until the end of the year.

Snow centre to open in Mumbai

DUBAI: The first phase of the Snow World and Frozen World indoor snow centres in Mumbai (Bombay) will be ready by December and promoter Mohammed Al Otaiba Group of UAE plans to open similar centres in New Delhi and other Indian cities with a total investment of Dh185 million ($50.4 million). Spread over 9,000 square metres, the snow centre will offer visitors ice rinks, snow boarding, skiing, a winter village and alpine food restaurants.

Boeing launches Arabic online forum

Dubai: Boeing Commercial Airplane Group has launched an Arabic online edition of its monthly news publication "Forum". The Arabic Online Forum was officially launched by Emirates chairman and Dubai civil aviation department chief, Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. In addition to selecting Dubai as the launch pad for Arabic Online Forum, Boeing has also appointed ePromoseven, a full-service, interactive, e-solutions provider located at Dubai Media City to produce, manage and distribute the monthly newsletter.

Ras Al Khaimah may offer incentives

RAS AL KHAIMAH: The Ras Al Khaimah authorities will consider offering incentives such as cash prizes and excess baggage to travellers using the emirate's airport following a recommendation of such incentives by a travel workshop held last month.It will also study providing additional services such as a shuttle bus between the airport and the city centre and issue of visas through travel agencies.

New coach launch welcomed

DUBAI: Dubai-based distributor of heavy equipment and commercial vehicles, Swaidan Trading Company has launched a new range of German-built Neoplan coaches in the United Arab Emirates. The company, part of the Saeed and Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, said the launch of Neoplan's Euroliner coaches has generated interest in the country's travel and tourism industry and it expected high sales of the bus.