In Brief

Qatar Airways’ ACJ cabins

QA to service Airbus corporate jets
DOHA: Qatar Airways has been appointed by Airbus as one of a select group of Service Centres to support the aircraft manufacturer’s Corporate Jetliners (ACJ).

The centres will complement Airbus Customer Services’ existing worldwide network of spares, maintenance, training facilities and field-service teams for the jets. Qatar Airways is well placed to support the new venture. It currently operates two ACJs, with an additional unit scheduled for delivery this month. Under the new arrangement, Airbus’ Corporate Jetliner customers will be offered access to the global centres, which are run by specialists in executive and private aviation who have deep knowledge and experience of the market.

Gulf Air to double F1 numbers
MANAMA: GULF Air aims to double the number of visitors flying in on special packages for next year's Formula One. The airline brought 1,026 passengers on special packages for the first Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix in April this year. “We hope to double this number for the April 2005 event,” said Gulf Air manager, destination and leisure marketing, Mark Senior. “The World Travel Market (WTM) in London provided us an opportunity to meet a large number of European tour operators. We have already sold packages to 400 people.”

Mercator launches Chameleon
DUBAI: Mercator has launched the Chameleon system, which is set to transform the air cargo business. The new generation multi-million dollar cargo system, already in use within Emirates SkyCargo and Dnata Cargo, is now being offered to airlines and ground handlers around the world. The revolutionary system is fully owned, designed, developed and implemented by the Dubai-based IT division of the Emirates Group. Chameleon will re-affirm Mercator’s growing reputation as an airline solutions provider that delivers the answers to the industry’s challenges, said a spokesperson.

Kuwaiti government delinks KAC
KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti government has shifted the responsibility for Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) from the Finance Ministry to the Ministry of Communications and Transport. The move to reduce the responsibility of the Finance Ministry that oversees many independent and affiliated government institutions and companies comes in the wake of constant criticism of ministers by the National Assembly, according to a media report. The Minister of Communications and Planning, Sheikh Ahmad Al Abdallah Al Sabah, agreed to support the airline when he visited the offices of KAC.
EK to roll out e-ticketing in 44 cities
DUBAI: Emirates said its e-ticketing facility is rapidly being rolled out to its network and global distribution systems, benefiting customers in 44 cities across the airline’s network worldwide, from America to Australia. Emirates will also start offering e-ticketing also on flights of certain interline partners such as Continental Airlines, United Airlines, British Airways, American Airlines, Delta Airlines and SriLankan. This means, for example, that from mid-December passengers travelling on Emirates to New York or London and onwards to points in the US with Continental, will be able to use e-tickets for their entire journey.
Air France to start Riyadh service
PARIS: Air France will start a new Paris-Riyadh service from December 1, aimed exclusively at businesspeople from the oil sector heading to the Saudi capital, the airline announced. The regular flights is part of Air France’s ‘Dedicate’ operation catering to energy and infrastructure professionals that already serves Malabo in Equatorial Guinea, Congo’s Pointe Noire, Kuwait City, Doha in Qatar and Tashkent in Uzbekistan.

A330-200 joins Yemenia fleet
SANAA: Yemenia has taken delivery of the first of two Airbus A330-200s, said a report. A second aircraft will be delivered in the coming weeks. Both aircraft are being leased from International Lease Finance Corporation, and have 277 passengers in a First and Economy layout. The aircraft are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700s.

Air Arabia rewards passenger
SHARJAH: Air Arabia awarded its 500,000th customer a complimentary trip when checking in on its first anniversary. The lucky winner was Ruaida Faqeh, a Lebanese national. Air Arabia has carried over 520,000 passengers since the start of operations in October 2003. As part of its anniversary, it awarded complimentary return tickets – valid for one year – to the first passengers checking in on every flight from Sharjah International Airport on it anniversary.

Air India low-cost flight to Kerala
DUBAI: India’s national airline, Air India (AI), will start operating low-cost flights out of the UAE for the south Indian state of Kerala next year, said Ratan Bali, manager, Air India, Dubai. The flights are to be introduced in April 2005. The airline would meet the demands of the Gulf workers unable to travel to India on standard AI fares, in addition to providing a cheaper alternative to other travellers as well, a media report said. In the first phase of operations, the budget carrier would operate from Kerala to the UAE and Oman. In the second phase it would operate from other parts of the Gulf and may also be extended to other Indian cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, depending on the response. Ticket prices for the budget carrier would be 25 per cent less than the standard AI market fares to Kerala.

Swiss offers free ticket chance
DUBAI: Swiss International Air Lines (Swiss), Switzerland’s national carrier, has launched a loyalty bonus promotion for Swiss TravelClub members in the UAE. Existing regular users of Swiss, who are members of Swiss TravelClub can avail of this special offer, while travelling in the coming few months. Regular passengers that complete six flight segments in Swiss Economy from Dubai to Zurich or onward to other Swiss destinations, on return or any long-haul route will earn a free economy ticket, while Swiss Business passengers that complete four flight segments will receive an Swiss Economy ticket.

Cathay to up flights to China
DUBAI: Cathay Pacific has been granted rights to operate additional passenger services to Beijing as well as new cargo services to Shanghai and passenger services to Xiamen, according to the airline’s country manager for UAE and Oman, Philip Herbert. The airline has been allocated rights to operate four additional weekly services to Beijing during the winter 2004 season and a further seven weekly flights from summer 2005. Cathay will likewise be given rights upon designation to operate three weekly passenger service to Xiamen and 12 weekly freighter services to Shanghai which will take effect in Winter 2004. Along with this development, Cathay Pacific will also add two new non-stop flights from Dubai to Hong Kong starting December.

Qatar Air, Yemenia sign deal
DOHA: Qatar Airways and Yemen Airways have signed a bilateral codeshare agreement to link their route networks. The deal will allow Qatar Airways to carry Yemenia passengers on the Sanaa-Doha/Doha-Sanaa sectors. Yemen Airways will also carry Qatar Airways passengers on the Sanaa-Aden-Doha/Doha-Aden-Sanaa sectors. Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker and Yemen Airways’ chairman Captain Abdulkhalek S Alkadi signed the agreement. This is the second code share agreement that Qatar Airways signs with an Arab Airline, after successfully signing an agreement with Middle East Airlines in March 2004.

Syrian Air to buy planes
DAMASCUS: Syrian Air wants to buy seven new aircraft for up to $500 million by next year, the company’s chairman said. “We want to buy seven new planes, four medium (body) with 200 passengers and three wide of 300 passengers,” Nachaat Numir said. “The company has put the conditions and we announced a tender in the international market. Right now we are waiting for offers,” he said, adding the airline wanted to buy direct from manufacturers.

BA launches online check-in
DUBAI: British Airways has launched an online check-in facility at Dubai airport as part of its efforts to enhance services. To experience this new facility, customers need to log onto Customers may then check-in online, given that they arrive at the airport a minimum of 75 minutes before departure time. On arrival at the airport, customers can advance directly to the British Airways ‘Fast Bag Drop’ desk to collect their boarding pass. This facility is available to both customers with hand luggage only and those with luggage for the hold.