In Brief


Etihad launches Belarus promotion
Etihad Holidays has unveiled some holiday packages to Minsk, as the Abu Dhabi based airline launched their service to the Belarus capital last month.  Minsk, a city stacked with history, architecture and culture, has offers starting from Dh2,280 for five nights’ hotel accommodation in Minsk’s four star Hotel Victoria including return economy flights. A holiday package at the four star Hotel Minsk is priced from Dh2,435. At the higher end of the market Etihad Holidays is offering customers five nights stay, including return economy flights, at the new five star Crowne Plaza hotel from Dh3,835. The Minsk promotion also includes a break at the five star Hotel Europe with prices starting from Dh5,400. Holidays in this promotion must be booked by September 15. The travel period is until November 30, 2008. Prices do not include airline taxes and applicable fuel surcharges.

Lufthansa’s passenger count rises
Lufthansa posted a rise in passenger numbers in the first six months of 2008. More than 28 million flew with Lufthansa in the period from January through June, an increase of 5.4 per cent on the year earlier level. Capacity rose by 5.8 per cent in the same period. The seat load factor reached 78.2 per cent. Overall, Lufthansa and SWISS together carried close to 35 million passengers in the first half year, which is about 29 per cent more than in the comparable period in the previous year. Of the total, more than six million flew with SWISS. The number of flights rose by 22.5 per cent to a total of 413,218.

Young travellers reap SAS rewards
Travellers under the age of 18 are now eligible to join Scandinavian Airlines' frequent flyer programme EuroBonus. Like all other members, they can now earn EuroBonus points on flights and use them for bonus trips, hotel nights and other offers. With more than one million young travellers flying with SAS every year, the airline wanted to reward all its passengers, no matter what age. The Middle East expansion of SAS in October last year was well received by travellers. From end of October 2007 up to end of March 2008, over 64 flights carried more than 25,000 passengers according to Magnus Engstroem, general manager UAE, SAS.

Sama’s new routes from Riyadh
Sama Airlines, the newest low cost airline in Saudi Arabia, launches two new international routes between Riyadh-Asiut and Dammam-Beirut, starting from September 1. The Sama network now is increased to cover 10 international destinations within the Middle East (Abu-Dhabi, Sharjah, Amman, Damascus, Latakia, Aleppo, Beirut, Alexandira, Asiut and Sharm el Sheikh), all departing from Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah. Samer Atawi, chief commercial officer of Sama said that the airline introduced these routes to answer customer demand on these routes. The airline launched inaugural fares for these two destinations, which start from $104 for Riyadh-Asiut and $77 for Dammam-Beirut. Flights to Beirut depart from Dammam twice weekly on Tuesday and Friday, and flights to Asiut depart from Riyadh three times weekly on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Sama flies to 12 domestic destinations.