In Brief

Abu Dhabi

Qatar Airways steps up capacity to Abu Dhabi
Qatar Airways has increased frequency between Doha and Abu Dhabi with an extra daily flight to offer UAE residents with convenient morning connections to the airline’s global network of services over Qatar.

The new 0755 early morning departure from Abu Dhabi provides business and leisure passengers with a wave of suitable connections in Doha to Qatar Airways’ extensive network of services. The additional Abu Dhabi frequency is Qatar Airways’ last arriving flight into Abu Dhabi from Doha at 0140 each day and is the first morning departure from the Emirate to the Qatari capital at 0755. In addition to Abu Dhabi, Qatar Airways operates seven flights a day between Doha and Dubai in the UAE.

Air Arabia in deal with
Air Arabia announced a new partnership with leading discount accommodation broker, The airline website has the largest proportion of internet-based bookings in the Middle East region., signed the deal with Benefits are available immediately offering customers the opportunity to book discount hotel accommodation and a range of other travel services, including, villas, apartments, sightseeing and private transfers. From the outset, OctopusTravel will provide links to a co-branded web site with special rates and promotions for Air Arabia.

Etihad Airways ups flights to Asia 
Starting from June 1, Etihad Airways is increasing its frequency of flights to Asia. The airline will introduce daily flights to Bangkok, where the airline has been flying to four times each week since the launch of the route in April 2004, and will increase the number of flights to Colombo from three to five flights weekly. The expansion of Etihad flights to the Asian region comes at an important time as the airline gears up for the busy summer season.

Great Wall of China

Emirates set to go to Beijing
Emirates has unveiled plans to fly daily services to Beijing. This will be its fourth destination in China after Shanghai, Hong Kong and Dalian (cargo only). Emirates’ new non-stop daily service between Dubai and Beijing is slated to commence February 1 next year and will be operated with an Airbus A340-300 aircraft offering 267 seats in a three-class configuration plus 13 tonnes of cargo capacity. The new route is part of the airline’s strategic growth plans for its China operations, which also include an expansion of more than 40 per cent in the frequency of its services to Hong Kong, an increase to 17 flights a week before the end of this year from the present 12 flights.

GF set for more non-stop flights to London
Gulf Air is to introduce four more non-stop flights between Muscat and London. Following the success of the daily, non-stop flights from Muscat to London Heathrow, the new flights will further reinforce Gulf Air’s position as the biggest operator to the Gulf from Heathrow. All flights will be on Gulf Air’s luxurious ultra-long haul Airbus A330 aircraft, which are currently undergoing a major refurbishment programme.

Emirates steps up frequency to Seychelles
In response to increasing consumer demand for travel to the Seychelles, Emirates is increasing its services to the destination to five flights per week. Starting June 2, the airline will add one extra flight to its present four-times-a-week schedule. The additional frequency brings about an increase of 25 per cent in passenger and cargo carrying capacity. Emirates services to the Seychelles were launched in January 2005 with thrice-weekly flights. In March 2005, the airline added one more flight to the destination bringing the current total to four flights per week.

The eye-catching Cathay Pacific billboard

Hong Kong raises profile in the Middle East
A spectacular panorama of Hong Kong’s harbour skyline has been brought to Dubai with the launch of a huge billboard by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and Cathay Pacific. The 12m x 4m back-lit board on the Al Maya Lals Building on Airport Road is part of the “Hong Kong Live It Love it” campaign which is being used to build awareness of Hong Kong and its flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific. The HKTB’s ongoing promotion of Hong Kong as a destination of choice for the Middle East is part of the marketing campaign for “2006 Discover Hong Kong Year”.

Air Mauritius announces holiday packages
Air Mauritius unveiled their Mauritius Holidays in Muscat. These all-inclusive packages would be available through their GSA Mezoon Travels as well as other travel agencies in Oman. The mid- to high-income packages are targeting customers who could incorporate Mauritius in their annual plan to India as well as those looking for exclusive golfing, wedding or honeymooning packages. Ahmed Jhummun, regional manager, Air Mauritius, said, “These packages have been especially designed for this local market.” Another advantage is that a 15-day visit does not require a visa for the Indian sub-continent; the GCC nationals can stay for a month without visa. There are four weekly flights to the destination via Dubai.

Etihad Airways increases Bahrain flights
Etihad Airways is to expand its operations to Bahrain by launching daily flights to the Kingdom from October. Etihad started operations to Bahrain last August and currently operates four flights a week from Abu Dhabi. “We shall increase our flights with daily operations, starting in October,” said Etihad general manager for Bahrain and Northern Gulf Hussam Al Aseeri. “It will be later increased to 10 flights a week.”

Gulf Air tops airline catering awards
In the latest World Airline Catering Awards to be published by Skytrax, Gulf Air has clinched top position for both First and Business Class onboard catering on long-haul intercontinental flights. The latest accolades follow the strong showing by Gulf Air in the last year’s Skytrax poll, in which the airline was recognised for the Most Improved Performance 2004 as well as achieving the Best On-board Catering (First Class) and the Best Check-In Facilities (Business Class, at Bahrain Airport) awards.

Etihad bolstering European routes
Etihad Airways has announced it will offer an additional weekly flight between Abu Dhabi and Geneva and three non-stop flights per week between the UAE capital and Munich. HE Dr Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saif Al Nahyan, chairman of Civil Aviation Department in Abu Dhabi and Chairman of Etihad Airways, said the airline is meeting the needs of its guests who prefer direct connections to Europe by offering three times weekly non-stop flights to Geneva and Munich. In addition they have also announced a new route to Frankfurt, starting from June 1, 2005.