In brief


Record online bookings for BA
British Airways has revealed Middle East leisure travellers are increasingly logging directly onto to book their tickets.

The carrier's online sales for the first half of 2007 – which have surged to the highest levels on record this summer – have brought the regional ratio in line with the more established markets of Europe and North America. The UK’s flagship carrier operates 49 weekly flights from the GCC to London Heathrow.

American to offer on-board Internet
AMR Corp’s American Airlines is preparing to be one of the first US carriers to offer Internet access on domestic flights. AirCell, a provider of aviation communications systems, said it will team up with American to test its new system for providing on-board Internet access -- AirCell's first partner on the project.

Air Arabia Sharjah-Bahrain traffic up
Air Arabia's passenger traffic on its Sharjah-Bahrain route for June and July 2007 increased roughly 100 per cent compared to the same period in 2006. The company has also seen a significant capacity growth for the same period with 14 flights per week between Sharjah and Bahrain. In June and July this year, Air Arabia flew a record 18,451 passengers on the Sharjah - Bahrain route.

New security measures at airport
Passengers from Bahrain will have to undergo extra security screening for liquids, gels and aerosols at the airport, starting September 30. This is in response to security guidelines issued by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), said Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA) Assistant Under Secretary for Aviation Services Ahmed Nemat Ali.

Seats on A380 flight up for auction
Singapore Airlines, which will be the first to fly the new Airbus A380, said it would auction seats on eBay for the carrier's first flight of the superjumbo this year. The money will go to Medecins Sans Frontieres, Singapore's Community Chest and two children's hospitals in Sydney. The first commercial flight on the double-decker airliner, which can seat 555 passengers, is due in October from Singapore to Sydney and back.

Lufthansa traffic soars to 27m
Lufthansa Airlines has come up with its best-ever traffic figures in the first half 2007. Around 27 million passengers took flights with Lufthansa from January to June, 5.9 per cent more than in the same term in the previous year. Revenue-passenger kilometres rose year-on-year by 7.7 per cent to 56.8 million. The seat load factor improved by 2.1 percentage points to 76.1 per cent.

Royal Jet expands fleet
Royal Jet, the international luxury executive flight services company headquartered in the UAE, has expanded its current fleet of executive jets with the addition of a fifth Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), confirming the company as the largest BBJ operator in the world. The multi-million dollar deal has been made in partnership with First Gulf Bank, which has financed the purchase of the aircraft. 'Each of our BBJs is typically flying around 1,300 hours each year. They are based all over the world, not limiting themselves purely to local markets. They can be found in Africa, China, India, North America and Europe and are a highly popular and cost effective choice for businesses not wishing to be tied down by restricted flight times offered by commercial airline companies,” said Royal Jet’s president and CEO Shane O'Hare.