In brief


Traffic booming but room for growth
MIDDLE East air traffic growth surged by 18.8 per cent in July, three times the global average, and the rate is accelerating.

The figure took the growth rate in the first seven months of 2007 to 16.8 per cent, according to Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation and IATA. The gap between Middle East traffic growth and the rest of the world is also widening, with July traffic some 12.9 percentage points above the global average, compared to 7.7 percentage points in July 2006. The Middle East region’s airlines also have room to manoeuvre as significant amounts of fresh capacity join the region's fleets over the short term.

ADIA posts significant growth
ABU Dhabi International Airport (ADIA) handled a total of 707,671 passengers in August 2007, a 32 per cent rise over the 536,201 passengers seen in August 2006. The number of aircraft movements increased 10 per cent during the same period, rising from 6,156 in August 2006 to 6,785. Cargo volume increased to 27,015 tons in August 2007 from 23,601 tons last year, a growth of 14.5 per cent. The number of aircraft grew especially strongly in August driven by the new services added during the year by Etihad Airways and new airlines Oman Air and Ethiopian Airlines.

Sama launches new routes
SAUDI Arabian domestic carrier Sama has launched six new routes, according to Arab News. The airline will now offer services from Hail to Dammam, Arar, Tabuk, Rafha, Al Gurayyat and Al Jouf, while two new aircraft, Sama’s fifth and sixth, will arrive within weeks to help support the additional destinations. Sama hopes to have 35 planes by 2010.

Thai promotes UAE visa run
WITH convenient Dubai/Kuwait/Dubai evening flights, passengers holding valid UAE employment or visit visas are able to complete a visa change flight with little impact on the normal working day.
Valid on flights TG 519 outbound from Dubai to Kuwait, departing Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1705, passengers holding a valid UAE employment or visit visa can enjoy a full service flight with evening meal and in-flight beverages, returning the same evening on TG 520 departing Kuwait 1905 and arriving in Dubai at 2105.  Approximately one hour is spent on the ground in Kuwait.

Kuwait considering $4bn plane deal
KUWAIT is negotiating a deal with Boeing and Airbus to buy 36 aircraft for around $4 billion, reported Reuters, citing a source close to the talks. The planes being considered are the Boeing 787 and Airbus A320. State-owned Kuwait Airways had recently scrapped an order for 19 planes worth about $3billion from a local leasing company after parliament refused to approve funding. The Middle East's fourth-largest oil producer is looking to buy aircraft, said the source.