In Brief


KLM to enhance UAE operation
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is increasing flights and undertaking product upgrades in the UAE and the Gulf due to growth in transit passenger traffic, said.

The website quoted Rajeev Patil, commercial manager for Abu Dhabi and Al Ain: “In the past two years, there has been a gradual increase in flights between the UAE and Amsterdam due to an increase in outbound and inbound passengers. From May this year there will be two daily flights from Dubai to Amsterdam. Following the recent launch of a new Airbus A330 between Amsterdam and Abu Dhabi, we will soon introduce another A330 between Amsterdam and Kuwait,” he said. Meanwhile KLM has increased capacity 15 per cent to Bahrain by replacing Boeing 767s with the new A330-200.

Emirates offers FIFA packages
EMIRATES, official partner of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, is offering passengers complementary tickets to the matches in Germany. Packages to the games start from Dh6,650 per person, and include Emirates flights to Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Düsseldorf, Zurich, Paris or Vienna; two nights accommodation from a choice of one of 12 cities where matches are being played, and a complementary match ticket to any of the games. These offers are valid for all matches between June 9 to July 9.

Royal Brunei to fly Ho Chi Minh
ROYAL Brunei will fly to Ho Chi Minh from March 26. The flight will operate three times a week from Brunei to Ho Chi Minh with connecting flights from London Heathrow. In addition, services to Perth, a key business and leisure route will increase from three-weekly to five-weekly from the same day.

EK, Oman Air enter code share
EMIRATES and Oman Air have entered into a code share agreement, giving travellers better connectivity and an extended range of services between Dubai and Muscat. The agreement boosts the available capacity between Dubai and Muscat to an impressive six flights per day in each direction on all days except Friday, when five flights will be operated in each direction on the route.

RAK to buy two planes for new carrier
The UAE emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is negotiating with Airbus and Boeing to purchase two aircraft for a new airline it was launching, Wam reported. Wam said the northern emirate’s ruler, Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, issued a decree to set up Ras Al Khaimah Airlines with a capital of Dh850 million ($231.4 million). The new firm would be the fourth carrier to offer scheduled services in the UAE federation and is meant to boost tourism in Ras Al Khaimah. The airline which plans to build a fleet of 20 aircraft will launch flights to Asia and the Middle East before expanding its services to Europe. The first flight is planned next year.

Emirates in Hamburg free stay offer
EMIRATES Airline is offering free accommodation and car rental on the launch of its daily services to the German city of Hamburg on March 1. The offer, valid from March 1 to May 31, provides travellers flying Emirates First Class to Hamburg with three nights’ stay at the Raffles Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten plus a free day’s rental of a BMW 7 Series car, or a weeks’ car rental in Hamburg. Business Class travellers can enjoy two nights’ stay at the Raffles Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten or five days car rental; while Economy Class travellers can avail of one complementary night’s stay or three days car rental in Hamburg. The car rental option includes an Audi A4 (or similar) with unlimited mileage.

BA cuts paper tickets to Bahrain
Passengers flying British Airways out of Bahrain can now only get e-tickets, unless they pay extra. Agents who issue paper tickets will be charged BD15 for each one by the airline and this will be passed on to customers who choose to book the old-fashioned way, say officials.

Etihad buys Mercedes coaches
ETIHAD Airways has taken delivery of 16 new Mercedes-Benz coaches, to serve its Coral Zone guests. The coaches will offer convenient connections for any Dubai or Al Ain-based guests travelling to and from Abu Dhabi International Airport. This service accompanies the Limousine service for all Diamond and Pearl Zone guests.

Oman Air to buy three aircraft
OMAN Air wants to buy three wide-bodied aircraft by May next year and is considering models from both Boeing and Airbus, the airline’s chief executive said. The airline is pushing through a five-year modernisation programme as it takes on fierce competition in the region. The airline wants to renegotiate fuel supply contracts to bring down costs and is looking for bank loans to fund the aircraft purchases, said chief executive Ziad Al Haremi. “Initially, we are looking for three 200 or 220-seater aircraft and are evaluating different options now. The ideal plane for our business model will be either Boeing 787s or Airbus 330s or 350s.”

Air Arabia reports $8.74m profit
AIR Arabia has announced a profit of Dh32.1 million for the year 2005, which it termed as an exceptional year. After declaring break-even financial results in its first year of operations, Air Arabia has soared to greater heights announcing a profit in 2005, Air Arabia’s chairman Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Thani said. Other highlights of Air Arabia’s 2005 financial results include a record passenger numbers of 1,132,912 – 122 per cent higher than 2004; expansion to 23 destinations, a growth of 53 per cent from 2004; 9,412 flights operated, showing a growth of 90 per cent from 2004 and improved employee productivity of over 11 per cent from 2004.

$3m profit for Oman Air
OMAN Air has posted a net profit of RO1.1 million ($3 million) for 2005 against RO828,000 in 2004. The total revenues reached RO75.89 million in 2005, up from RO65.64 million in the previous year. However, the financial results have not yet been audited. The most significant is the growth of passengers by 15.4 per cent from 984,000 in 2004 to 1,135,450 in 2005. As a result, seat factor was increased to 75 per cent from 69 per cent. Time performance and technical reliability of planes recorded 99.6 per cent, which is considered even higher than the global standard of 97 per cent.

Gulf Air and AFS in gateway deal
GULF Air and Arab Financial Services (AFS) have announced an agreement for a payment gateway that facilitates credit card payment processing as part of an on-line payment solution. The agreement covers the provision of a payment mechanism, which will create a streamlined end-to-end purchasing process that will complement the airline’s e-ticketing system. It also includes credit card payment management for Gulf Air in terms of which AFS will act as an acquirer for MasterCard and Visa transactions in addition to processing, clearing and settlement for online transactions.

QA to fly daily to Singapore
QATAR Airways has announced its flight schedules between Singapore and Doha are being revamped to offer daily services and more convenient connections during the Summer 2006 flying programme. The Singapore route is operated in a two-class configuration of up to 247 seats in Economy and 24 in Business. Beginning May 2, Qatar Airways will bring a number of its key destinations closer to travellers from Singapore with vastly improved connections to cities across Europe, Middle East and Africa via its Doha hub.