Doha to levy new $8 development fee

All airlines operating from Doha airport will charge an extra QR30 (about $8) on each ticket beginning April 1. The "airport development fee" is being introduced in line with instructions from the concerned authorities, a report said.

Saudi carrier sees record Haj season

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabian Airlines transported a record 390,000 pilgrims from 57 international and 25 domestic destinations during this Haj season. Airline director Dr Khaled bin Bakr said the airline had also achieved 90 per cent on-time performance and 100 per cent safety during the Haj operation.

Hilton 2001 profits edge up 1.3pc

LONDON: British hotels and gaming company Hilton Group Plc reported a 1.3 per cent rise in annual profits and said trading at its hotels in major European gateway cities was showing signs of progressive recovery. The operator of Hilton hotels outside the United States and the Ladbrokes betting business reported 2001 pre-tax profits before exceptionals of £280.2 million ($397.3 million), at the lower end of expectations of £280-285 million.

New look for Gulf Air ground staff

MANAMA: Gulf Air ground staff at are wearing new uniforms. The new collection, which includes a men's uniform and three women's outfits, was designed by French fashion designer Pierre Balmain, who also designed the airline's cabin crew uniform two years ago. Gulf Air said it would distribute the uniforms to its more than 1,000 ground staff.

Emirates signs $1.5bn engine order

SINGAPORE: Emirates has signed a memorandum of understanding with Pratt & Whitney and General Electric Company for the supply of engines for 22 huge A380 superjumbo planes and for a possible 10 further aircraft the carrier has taken options on. The deal was signed by Emirates' chairman Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum and Lloyd Thompson, president of the Engine Alliance, which the two companies have formed.

Taj offers spa gift certificates

DUBAI: Ayoma Spa at the Taj Palace Hotel Dubai is offering gift certificates which it says would make an ideal gift for family, friends and business associates. Available in denominations equivalent to any of the various Ayoma Spa treatments, the certificates can be redeemed for any treatment or products on offer at the Ayurvedic spa.

Business focus pays off for hotel

DUBAI: A new marketing strategy to capture the business travel sector has paid rich dividends for Dubai's Four Points by Sheraton Bur Dubai hotel. General manager Habib Khan took a calculated risk when he relinquished a 35-room airline occupancy contract to free up space for the business market. Since then, corporate business occupancy has grown by 190 per cent and the sector now accounts for three-quarters of the hotel's room revenue, the hotel said.

Royal Spa offers healthy packages

MANAMA: The Royal Spa at Bahrain's Le Royal Meridien is offering special package rates to attract weekend visitors and those seeking a healthy getaway. The spa packages offer special room rates with single room starting at BD188 ($499), breakfast, airport transfers and face and body treatments, a hotel spokesperson said. A double room could be booked at BD196 for a couple with the wife taking the spa treatments.

Hotel dive centre gets instructor status

DUBAI: The Jumeirah Beach Hotel's diving centre and school has been promoted to the status of 'PADI Gold Palm Instructor Development Centre'. The Pavilion Dive Centre will offer PADI Instructor Development Courses twice a year in May and October, the hotel said in a statement.

UK cruise line to start Dubai ops

DUBAI: Imperium Cruises, a division of UK-based Imperium Holdings, has announced plans to base two ships in Dubai this year, operating itineraries to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean from the Arabian Gulf port. According to chief executive officer, Kaiser Helman, the operation will make Dubai a regional cruise hub, and eventually bring in between 120,000 and 150,000 passengers annually through the Dubai Cruise Terminal.

Ritz-Carlton wins Dubai Quality Award

DUBAI: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Dubai has won the 2001 Dubai Quality Award. The award, which recognises performance excellence and quality achievement, was presented by Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Defence Minister, Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at a ceremony at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The award takes into account several factors including leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, information and analysis, human resources focus, process management and business results.

Royal Brunei to resume Bahrain services

MANAMA: Royal Brunei Airlines could relaunch its service to Bahrain as early as this autumn in an effort to boost tourism links between the two countries. The carrier suspended its flights to Bahrain on September 10, 1996, citing technical and logistics problems. Brunei charge d'affaires Haji Mulok Haji Jumat said the weekly service will likely involve a flight diversion from the UAE.

Study starts on Jeddah airport expansion

JEDDAH: A Dutch company has started a viability study on the expansion and renovation of the King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah. The study covers the problem of rainwater drainage and rising ground water level in the airport area as well as the upgrade of the runways and taxiways. Tender for the airport development project will be invited shortly, according to a source at Saudi Arabia's Presidency of Civil Aviation (PCA).

Work to begin on Oman tourism academy

MUSCAT: Construction work is set to begin this month on Oman's first dedicated tourism academy, which is being jointly established by the government and an Austrian consortium. The college will be built in phases on a plot of land behind Seeb Novotel Hotel at Seeb. A 17-classroom facility is envisaged, complete with support infrastructure akin to a major hotel institution.

PIA to buy new planes, revamp ops

KARACHI: Pakistan flag carrier Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is considering purchase of new aircraft and a restructure of its operations, its chairman Lieutenant General (retd) Hamid Nawaz Khan said. He said the airline, which will cease operations in loss-making routes and increase frequencies on popular ones, is hungry for new aircraft, either on lease or purchase.

Dubai air traffic grows 32pc

DUBAI: Dubai's air traffic soared 32 per cent between 1996 and 2000, according to the recently released Dubai Municipality's Statistical Yearbook for 2000. Eighty-two per cent of the flights operated through the Dubai International Airport in 2000 were scheduled, 15 per cent were non-scheduled and the rest were military flights, the yearbook said.

Hotel joins save water campaign

DUBAI: A Dubai hotel has responded to calls in the UAE to save water by launching its own water conservation policy. The Oasis Beach Hotel in Dubai, part of the Dutco Hotels group, said its new "Bed & Bath" policy provides guests with the option of reusing their bed linen and bath towels, thereby helping cut consumption at the hotel.