In Brief


Etihad to launch Manchester service
Etihad Airways has announced the launch a daily service between Manchester and Abu Dhabi in the spring of 2006.

Guests using this new service will fly on a luxuriously-appointed Airbus medium range A330 aircraft, carrying around 300 guests. The flights from Manchester will complement the Etihad Airways daily flights already in operation from both London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports. Etihad Airways recognises Manchester Airport as one of Britain’s and the world’s principle airports. 

Emirates to fly to Thiruvananthapuram
Emirates announced the start of it services between Dubai and India’s Thiruvananthapuram International Airport from February 1, 2006. On the same day, the airline will also boost services to two other major Indian cities – Cochin and Chennai. Emirates will fly eight times a week to Thiruvananthapuram, its sixth destination in India and second city in the state of Kerala after Cochin. On the route, the airline intends to operate its modern Airbus A330-200 in a three-class configuration offering seats in First, Business and Economy class, as well as the B777-200 aircraft in a two-class configuration.

Air Arabia in deal with Kingfisher Airlines
Air Arabia and India’s Kingfisher Airlines announced the region’s first-ever pact between two web-based carriers, whereby passengers of both the airlines can connect to each other’s destinations through Air Arabia’s website. This unique partnership offers Gulf travellers access to five more Indian cities. Customers can now connect conveniently to Kolkata, Goa, Cochin, Bangalore and Delhi (Kingfisher Airlines’ destinations from Mumbai). With one reservation confirmation, customers will be able to travel on Air Arabia to Mumbai and then onwards to other Indian destinations on Kingfisher. This alliance marks a milestone in aviation history, featuring the creative implementation of web-based technology to make travel options simpler and more affordable, which is what both airlines believe in.

Gulf Air’s flies to Dublin, Johannesburg
Ireland’s first-ever scheduled services to the Middle East began as Gulf Air’s inaugural flight from Dublin to Bahrain took to the skies. The non-stop flights allows direct travel to the Kingdom of Bahrain and onward connections to more than 40 cities in the Middle East, Africa, Far East and Australia. All flights are timed to connect with the airline’s other new destination, Johannesburg, which was also launched last month.

Qatar Airways increases capacity to India
Qatar Airways has increased the number of flights to India by 50 per cent. It has increased scheduled flights from 30 to 45 a week. The additional capacity is spread across five Indian cities, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Cochin and Trivandrum. The increased capacity, which is a mixture of additional flights and larger aircraft offering more seats, is effective until either January 31 or March 25, 2006, depending on the destination. All flights are non-stop from Doha.

SriLankan launches mobile data check
Full flight schedules, real-time departure and arrival data and aircraft types flown by SriLankan Airlines are now available at the touch of a mobile phone button following the launch of a revolutionary new hyperlink system developed in-house by the carrier’s IT team. Anyone with a GPRS-enabled mobile telephone can browse the system by keying in ‘’, doing away with the need to call the airline or airport for flight information, while a live link to the SriLankan flight control tracking system ensure that data is updated constantly.

Gulf Air brand bags international award
In a global poll, Gulf Air was voted winner of the ‘Best Client Business Transformation’ category by Landor Associates, an organisation providing a complete range of brand consulting and creative design services. The award was given to Gulf Air for demonstrating successful brand-led business transformation and was chosen against competition from extremely strong candidates such as BP, P&G and Fuji Xerox. Landor creative director Jon Brash presented the award to Gulf Air president and CEO James Hogan.

Emirates receives coveted Capa Award
Emirates has been awarded the prestigious Capa Airline of the Year Award 2005 by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (Capa) recently. The award was presented at the second annual Asia Pacific & Middle East aviation outlook summit gala dinner, which was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The award took particular note of Emirates airline’s dynamic leadership through strategic positioning, including the expansion and development of its passenger and cargo route networks and its remarkable success in creating innovative revenue schemes and operating efficiencies resulting in strong operating profits.

Private jet aviation company launched
Leader capital, an investment company, and Al Mulla Group of companies together launched a private jet aviation company named Gulf Jet. The agreement was signed between Mohammed Ali Al Abbar, CEO of Leader Capital, and Khalaf Al Mulla, head of aviation department, Al Mulla Group of companies during the ninth round of Jetex Dubai 2005. The head office of the Gulf Jet will be set up in the Dubai Airport Free Zone and will provide its services from the airport to all GCC countries. An agreement has also been signed with Jet Aviation to undertake the operations and handling of Gulf Jet. It is decided that aircraft will be bought to start with initial operations.

Emirates opens new lounge
Emirates has continued the expansion of its network of dedicated passenger lounges with the official opening of an exclusive lounge in Terminal 2C at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport recently. In keeping with Emirates’ lounges around the world, this new facility boasts a wide array of amenities. These include extensive seating areas with a number of comfortable leather armchairs, flat-screen TVs showing the latest news and lifestyle programmes from a selection of global channels and business centres with complimentary broadband and wireless LAN access at the computer work stations as well as for laptop users. The lounge also features hotlines to both Skywards and Emirates Call Centres.

Qatar Airways launches flights to Berlin
Qatar Airways has added a third destination in Germany. The new four-times-a-week service to Berlin Tegel International Airport strengthens Qatar Airways’ presence in the German market, which already includes daily flights to Frankfurt and five services a week to Munich all operating non-stop. Qatar Airways is operating four scheduled flights a week on the Berlin route using an Airbus A319 in a two-class configuration of eight seats in Business and 102 in Economy.

Emirates receives plaque from IATA
Emirates airline’s 20th anniversary of operations was commemorated by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) with the presentation of a special plaque to the airline’s chairman, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. In a ceremony at Dubai Air Show 2005, Sheikh Ahmed was presented with the plaque on behalf of IATA by Dr Majdi Sabri, regional vice-president Middle East and North Africa at IATA.

Air Arabia launches flights to Moscow
Air Arabia is now flying to Moscow twice a week, every Tuesday and Friday. Air Arabia’s fares from Sharjah to Moscow start from Dh1,138, excluding taxes and surcharges with similar fares for the return trip. Air Arabia flies to Vnukovo International Airport. Air Arabia is the first airline to start flights between Sharjah and Moscow, offering more opportunities for business and leisure travellers from Russia to experience the UAE and other Air Arabia destinations.

Emirates launches commemorative nook
Emirates has launched a commemorative book capturing the 20-year history of the airline and its symbiotic relationship with Dubai. The book was launched at the Dubai Air Show 2005 and is written by Graeme Wilson. The 352-page hardback book, titled Emirates – the Airline of the Future, covers a year’s research and writing efforts within its pages and has more than 385 photographs, including many previously unpublished pictures and some unique shots of Dubai International Airport from the early 1960s.

Air France Industries to open logistics centre
Air France Industries is setting up a component logistics centre at Abu Dhabi airport aimed at enhancing customer service in the Middle East for the portfolio of existing and future customers operating Boeing 777 and/or Airbus fleets. Air France Industries is currently organising the stock valued at more than $10 million, and will begin operations early 2006. Air France Industries will thus be able to lower ownership and operational costs and offer an enhanced range of competitive local services to customers throughout the region for their fast growing 777 and Airbus fleets. Air France Industries currently supports more than 30 Boeing 777s and 10 A330/40s in the Gulf region under long-term agreements.

Kingfisher signs agreement with ECFT
Emirates-CAE Flight Training (ECFT) has been awarded a multi-year contract for pilot training on Airbus A320 aircraft by the new Indian carrier, Kingfisher Airlines. The training programme for this new customer includes both instruction and simulator time for training of pilots at the ECFT facility in Dubai. The agreement was signed at the Dubai Air Show 2005 by Emirates chairman, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Dr Vijay Mallya, MP and chairman of Kingfisher Airlines, and Robert E. Brown, CAE’s president and CEO. ECFT, a part of the Airbus-CAE cooperation, which combines the two companies’ expertise to provide increased access to training to customers around the globe, is jointly operated by Emirates and CAE under a long-term agreement.

Gulf Air makes online booking easier
Gulf Air passengers wishing to buy tickets online can now do so for flights originating from France, Germany, Greece and Ireland. This facility will be available for passengers booking their tickets in euros, in addition to the existing online booking available in Australia, the Gulf and the UK. Gulf Air’s online booking engine has been upgraded to make it easier for passengers from these countries to calculate in their own currencies and complete their transactions with ease. Dedicated websites for these regions have been created within the web portal so that passengers can have direct access to online booking.

Qatar Airways to serve Manchester daily
Qatar Airways is to serve Manchester with daily flights marking a significant increase in capacity to Britain’s second largest city. The airline, which currently operates four scheduled flights a week between Doha and Manchester, is increasing capacity to a fifth weekly service from February 11, 2006, rising to a daily service at the beginning of the summer 2006 season on March 26. Qatar Airways will continue operating a wide body Airbus A330-200 on the route, offering a two-class configuration of up to 24 seats in Business Class and 259 seats in Economy.