In Brief

Emirates’ award-winning amenity kit

Top honours for EK kits
DUBAI: Now it’s official: Emirates’ amenity kits do have it all –sleekest lines, highest quality leather and lather, and top-of-the-range items from colognes and scents to balms, lotions, moisturisers, combs, dental and shaving kits – and are the best in the skies, according to Global Traveler, the leading US travel magazine. In its November issue, the magazine scored Emirates’ kits tops in several premium class categories including: “Best Overall Amenity Kit” for both First and Business Class; “Women’s Fragrance” – both First and Business Class; “Spa Products” – First Class; and “Shaving Supplies” –Business Class. Having tested amenity kits from top carriers around the globe, the publication heaped praise on the airline’s offerings, noting: “Emirates’ first-class “vanity tray” was the clear winner.

EK signs $130m lease
DUBAI: Emirates signed a $138 million Japanese Operating Lease (JOL) for the acquisition of a new Airbus A340-500 – the airline’s eighth from a total order of 10.

This is the first time ever any airline in the world has used this attractive JOL structure on an A340-500 wide-body aircraft, signaling a strong vote of confidence from the Japanese investors in Emirates. The lease, structured as a 13-year JOL, is funded using a combination of Japanese equity and commercial debt.

SIA offers live TV news
SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) has become the first commercial carrier to bring live international TV to the skies. SIA and Connexion by Boeing, a business unit of the Boeing Company, have signed a definitive service agreement for the installation of high-speed in-flight internet service on the carrier’s long-haul fleet. The agreement positions SIA as one of the first carriers to offer real-time broadband service for its passengers.

QA link to Seychelles
DOHA: Qatar Airways has launched non-stop scheduled services between Doha and the Indian Ocean islands of the Seychelles. Qatar Airways operates four flights a week on the Seychelles route in an Airbus A320 configured in 12 Business Class seats and 132 Economy.

AI to start low-cost service
DUBAI: Air India’s budget airline plans to launch services to the UAE and Oman in late March, a report said. Fares in the Air India Express are expected to be 25 per cent cheaper than the regular carrier, Gilf News quoted officials as saying. The launch of Air India Express will signal the end of the executive class from Abu Dhabi and Muscat to Indian destinations. From Dubai, Air India will operate its regular flights in addition to operating Air India Express to Kerala. Air India Express will operate a new type of aircraft, the 181-seat Boeing 737-800 series that will be leased. “All flights from Abu Dhabi to India will be on Air India Express from the end of March, and that includes to Mumbai, New Delhi and three destinations in Kerala Trivandrum, Kochi and Calicut,” said Bharat Chaturvedi, Air India’s manager in Abu Dhabi. Air India Express will also fly from Al Ain to Calicut, he said.

QA boosts Dubai services
DOHA: Qatar Airways has increased frequency between Dubai and its operational base of Doha International Airport to seven flights a day. The move takes total capacity between the two key markets to 49 scheduled flights a week. It also strengthens links between the major regional economic centres and helping travellers in Dubai to take advantage of Qatar Airways’ extensive global network.

Top award for Gulf Air
BAHRAIN: Gulf Air has won one of the three main prizes at the Inflight Sales Person of the Year (ISPY) Awards 2004. Tara Coady, a flight attendant at Gulf Air, was named overall winner in the scheduled airlines category and received the award at a gala reception in the UK. This is the second successive year in which Gulf Air and its duty free concessionaire, Aer Rianta International Middle East/Bahrain Duty Free Shops, have been successful. The awards, which saw 50 cabin crew representing 30 airlines around the globe vying for honours, were made following three days of intensive workshops, training and assessment for cabin crew at the bmi training centre in London, where the subjects covered included sales awareness, sales techniques, product merchandising and the use of the PA.

Saudia to fly Turkish pilgrims
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabian Airlines is to fly in 100,000 pilgrims from Turkey during this Haj season. An agreement in this regard was signed by the airline with Diyanat, the Turkish religious affairs organisation in Istanbul recently. Of the total, 40,000 pilgrims would fly Saudia through arrangements with travel agencies. The pilgrims would be flown from five embarkation points in Turkey – Istanbul, Adana, Ankara, Izmir and Antakia, to Jeddah and Madinah and back.

GCAA accredition for Emirates
DUBAI: Emirates is the first UAE airline to be accredited by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) for its Aviation Security training programmes, run by the Transguard Education Academy. HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation and Emirates’ chairman, and HE Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the Chairman of the Board of the GCAA and the UAE Minister of Communications, signed an agreement officially recognising the programmes.

Mövenpick, QA in deal
DOHA: Qatar Airways and Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts have signed an agreement over the Qatar Airways Privilege Club frequently flyer programme. The deal allows frequent flyers with Qatar Airways to earn bonus miles when staying with the international hotel chain. Members of the Qatar Airways Privilege Club can now collect miles not just when they’re in the air but also on the ground, by staying at any one of the Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts. Each stay is rewarded with a minimum of 500 miles. Till February 15, frequent-flyer members also benefit from a triple mile bonus, with each stay rewarded with 1,500 miles.To be eligible for the bonus miles guests simply need to book a publicised Rack Rate, a Corporate Rate with a maximum of five consecutive nights or a Weekend Rate with a minimum stay of two nights including Saturday.

BA code-sharing for Calgary
DUBAI: British Airways has expanded its oneworld alliance with American Airlines to offer GCC customers a codeshare route to Calgary in Canada. “The expansion of our codeshare agreement with American Airlines is in line with our overall business strategy to provide better service to our valued customers,” says Steve Harrison, British Airways’ area manager, Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. “The addition of Calgary specifically facilitates those working in the oil industry. The codeshare route will allow passengers further choice and more convenient travel itineraries.”

EK Flight Catering honoured
DUBAI: Air France has honoured Emirates Flight Catering Co for its service delivery excellence. It was awarded runner-up in the best worldwide caterer awards. The award was based on the criteria of quality, service, competitiveness and the working relationship between the airline and their flight caterer. Emirates Flight Catering came a close second to the US-based caterer Flying Food, of the 41 companies worldwide which supply catering on Air France flights.