In Brief


Jordanian, JAL to join oneworld
Japan Airlines (JAL), together with Malev Hungarian Airlines and Royal Jordanian Airlines will start offering oneworld services and benefits from April 1.

JAL was the largest airline in the world not aligned to a multilateral global alliance until it lined up to join oneworld. It is the biggest carrier in the Asia-Pacific region and one of the top airlines in the world on any count.

Iran Air launches Venezuela
IRAN 'S national airline will begin direct flights to Venezuela this month in another sign of the two nations' increasingly close ties – and of Latin America's increasing importance for the Middle East. Iran Air will operate a weekly, commercial flight linking Tehran and Caracas in March, the Venezuelan government said in a statement. Flights leaving Tehran will stop in Syria's capital of Damascus on their way to Caracas. Iran Air opened a new office at the headquarters of Venezuela's state airline Conviasa in Caracas, and Conviasa will soon open a commercial office in Iran. 

SunExpress connects Turkey to UK
SUNEXPRESS, Turkey's leading low cost scheduled airline that was founded as a joint venture by Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, has launched a new twice-weekly non-stop service between London Stansted and the picturesque city of Antalya on the Turkish Riviera. The four-hour flight will operate between London Stansted and Antalya on Mondays and Thursdays. In March, the airline is also to introduce a second non-stop route between the two countries, between Stansted and Izmir, with a connecting service to Ercan in Northern Cyprus.
Sharjah Aviation Services launched
THE Sharjah Department of Civil Aviation (SDCA) has launched Sharjah Aviation Services to support the ongoing expansion of Sharjah Airport. The company, a joint venture between the SDCA and Air Arabia, will deliver a comprehensive range of passenger, ramp and cargo handling services for airline operators and their customers at Sharjah Airport . Passenger traffic at Sharjah Airport increased more than 36 per cent last year, and the facility received more than three million passengers.

Jeppesen to open Dubai centre
JEPPESEN has received approval to establish a new International Trip Planning Services operations centre in Dubai. The new operation will open at the Dubai Airport Free Zone in spring of 2007, giving business aviation operators throughout the Middle East access to a local staff that has intimate knowledge of the region and its unique requirements, and builds on Jeppesen's 30 years of experience and expertise in international trip planning. The staff is fluent in several languages, including Arabic, and will work closely with Jeppesen's long-established London and Frankfurt operations. All of the new Dubai-based personnel will be trained to the same high standards that exist for all Jeppesen trip planning staff around the world, he said. In addition to flight and trip planners, the new operation will include sales and account management personnel.
Gulf Air relaunches website
GULF Air has relaunched its website,, with a host of new features and more organised content making it easier and more convenient for customers to browse, plan and book their travel and purchase tickets online. Users primarily visit the site to look for deals and book online. Customers now will arrive on a welcome page which offers easy navigation to country-specific main pages with more straightforward booking forms. Alternative Gulf Air sites, such as Holidays and Careers are also one click away.
New services on Lufthansa site
TWO new functions have been added to to make its use even more convenient and attractive. From now on, tickets can also be booked for other passengers even if the person booking is not flying on the same flight. During the online booking process, passengers can also choose and reserve their preferred seat easily and directly on their own computer.

Air Arabia turnover up 82pc
LOW-COST carrier Air Arabia, has posted a turnover of Dh749.16 million ($204 million) in 2006, up 82 per cent compared to Dh 411 million in 2005. Net profit in 2006 stood at Dh101 million, up 222 per cent compared to Dh31.3 million in 2005. Passenger average load factor stood at 81.2 per cent. A total of 1.76 million passenger chose to fly with Air Arabia in 2006. This is an increase of 54 per cent compared to 1.14 million passengers in 2005. The airline also recently announced the start of flights to Ahmedabad, India, from April 3. Fares start from Dh299 for flights to Ahmedabad exclusive of taxes and surcharges and similar fares are available for return trips.