In Brief


New vacation ownership project in Palm
DUBAI: Arabian Falcon Holidays has announced the launch of the first ‘vacation ownership’ project in Dubai, The Royal Club at Palm Jumeirah.

The project is a joint venture between Arabian Falcon Holidays, a UAE-based tourism marketing company and a UK real estate developer. Arabian Falcon’s Royal Club at Palm Jumeirah, valued at Dh44 million, is a luxurious 50 apartment development of one and two bedroom units. The spacious apartments are situated on the trunk of the Palm Jumeirah in the shoreline apartment blocks currently under construction by Nakheel, the official developers of the Palm Island projects. Each apartment is divided into 51 weeks of holiday occupancy time and one week is left free for annual maintenance.

Double win for Dnata
DUBAI: Dnata has recently celebrated a double achievement at the annual ceremony of the prestigious Dubai Quality Awards, when the company received two appreciation awards.Ismail Ali Albanna, executive vice-president at Dnata, and Rashid Al Noori, senior vice-president of Dnata Agencies, received the awards from HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Mak-toum, chairman of the Emirates Group and president of the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation. The Dubai Quality Awards recognise “role-model” companies that demonstrate a commitment to best practice in their respective fields. It is awarded by a panel of highly-respected assessors from both public and private sectors after a thorough audit of the nominees) operations and business practices.

Hertz UAE rolls out specialty vehicles
DUBAI: Hertz UAE has set its sights on becoming the leading provider of specialty luxury and sports vehicles in the country and has added a large selection of cars with a difference to its fleet. The new additions include the 2005 Lexus ES 300 and LS 430. Sporty types are also likely to enjoy the new BMW 318, Mercedes C200 and the similar in size Audi A4. For the ultimate luxury driving experience, there are the Audi A6 and the A8, as well as the new Mercedes S Class, all combining power, comfort and top design and guaranteed to turn heads. Four-wheel-drive enthusiasts are also spoilt for choice with new options available such as the Jeep Wrangler, Ford Explorer and the luxurious Volkswagen Touareg.

Budget, Renault in deal
MANAMA: Budget Car Rental and Y K Almoayyed & Sons, Renault Service Division, signed an agreement to operate a Renault Courtesy Car Service, that would offer a perk for all Renault car owners where repair time exceeds two days. The agreement was signed in the Renault-Nissan showroom in Sitra. Sunil George, general manager, Renault, said, “This just another step in Renault’s quest to achieve excellence in customer service. The number of Renault customers has more than doubled recently with the influx of over 30 new models of Renault coming into Bahrain, and we have introduced this innovative new service because we want everyone to experience them.”

Fast Limo in Dh24m expansion
DUBAI: Fast Limo, the UAE’s premier luxury limousine service, announced that it has invested Dh24 million in fleet expansion and added 150 Mercedes-Benz E- Class sedans to its fast expanding fleet of luxury vehicles. The cars will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for transfers to and from Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Dubai International Airports as well as for inter-city services.

Roadshow focuses on Swiss tourism
DUBAI: Representatives from 20 major destinations and hotels in Switzerland took part in a GCC roadshow in Dubai to meet with travel trade, media and alliance partners in a bid to boost arrivals from the region in 2005. The roadshow, which also takes in Jeddah and Kuwait, has been organised by Switzerland Tourism, the international marketing arm of the federal tourism authority, which has identified the GCC as one of its top five emerging markets. According to Federico Sommaruga, director of Switzerland Tourism for the GCC, India and Russia, expectations for 2005 are optimistic.

Bahrain Hotels profit up 79pc
MANAMA: The Bahrain Hotels Company (BHC), which owns the Gulf Hotel and the Ocean Paradise Resort, in Zanzibar, has announced a 79 per cent increase in net profits for last year, compared to 2003. Its net profits reached BD3,323,568 ($8.837 million) last year, up by BD1,468,626 from the previous year. Gross operating revenue also increased by 21 per cent to BD16,979,256. Meanwhile, a new BD5 million serviced apartment block is due to be completed at the Gulf Hotel in March next year. The board has also sanctioned an internal and external refurbishment of the hotel at an estimated cost of BD4 million.

Al Tayyar plans IPO, domestic airline
JEDDAH: One of Saudi Arabia’s leading travel agencies, Al Tayyar, plans to go public within two years and set up its own domestic airline, CEO Nasser Al Tayyar said. The firm, which has 130 branches nationwide and six abroad, has already sold 40 per cent of its shares to firms and individuals within the travel industry. Tayyar said the shares were snapped up by 25 buyers. These include the national carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines and the owner of Hilton hotels in Jeddah and Madina.

Sharjah Airport operation up 27pc
SHARJAH: Sharjah Airport, already one of the Middle East’s busiest air cargo hubs, is rapidly becoming one of the region’s fastest growing passenger hubs, airport officials said. The airport has experienced strong increases in passenger figures, in terms of flights operated and passenger throughput in 2004. The airport exceeded its targets for 2004 in terms of overall operational performance and revenues earned. According to recent figures, the airport saw a 16 per cent increase in aircraft movements and a 33.23 per cent increase in passenger movements, airport officials said

Abu Dhabi Terminal 2 to be ready soon
ABU DHABI: The Abu Dhabi International Airport’s second terminal is to be operational by August. It is approximately 700 m from Terminal 1 and is an interim solution until a new airport is built, said Dr Sheikh Ahmad Bin Saif Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Department of Civil Aviation. This terminal is expected to handle 8 million passengers annually by 2008, after which the new airport will be built, he said. “Terminal 2, being built as a fast-track project to be ready by August this year, will have two separate buildings, one for arrivals and one for departures,” he said.