Bahrain-Qatar in ID card pact

Citizens from Bahrain and Qatar can travel between the two countries by using identity cards, it was reported. The travel regulations were included in a joint communique issued by the joint higher committee for co-operation between Qatar and Bahrain which was co-chaired by Bahrain's Crown Prince and Commander-in-Chief of the Bahrain Defence Force, Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and Qatar Crown Prince Shaikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani. A similar arrangement was also agreed by UAE and Kuwait following a visit to Kuwait by a UAE Interior Ministry delegation headed by Brigadier Hadher Khalaf Al Muhairi, Director General of the Naturalisation and Residency General Directorate.

BHC profits surge 16.6pc

MANAMA: The Bahrain Hotels Company (BHC), which owns the Gulf Hotel, made BD2 million ($5.3 million) net profit last year, up 16.6 per cent on the year before. The hotel is also to get a BD1 million facelift this year, board chairman Ibrahim Al Hamer announced. He attributed the increase in profit mainly to the high occupancy rate at the hotel and bookings at the Gulf International Convention and Exhibition Centre (GICEC).

Diplomat change hits profits

MANAMA: The National Hotels Company of Bahrain posted a net profit of BD745,878 ($1.97 million) last year, down from BD883,976 in 1999. Although the company's revenue increased to BD4.826 million last year from BD4.179 million in 1999, operating expenses jumped to BD3.806 million from BD2.979 million in 1999. As a result, operating income fell to BD1.020 million from BD1.199 million.

The drop was, in part, attributed to expenses resulting from the change of management of the Diplomat Hotel.

Bass brings back business benefits

CAIRO: Bass Hotels & Resorts has introduced a new range of benefits for business travellers at Inter-Continental and Crowne Plaza hotels across the Middle East and Africa. With the relaunch of the popular Business Options programme, business travellers can now enjoy double occupancy at preferential single business rates, as well as base Priority Club points or miles for Priority Club members, and also choose one of four valuable "extras" without charge, when making their next booking at any 57 participating Inter-Continental and Crowne Plaza hotels and resorts in the region.

Saudi airline flies high

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAA) has registered a two per cent increase in the number of revenue passengers last year over 1999, the airline's executive vice-president, marketing, Abdul Aziz R Al Hazmi said. He said SAA carried 12.6 million revenue passengers last year compared to 12.3 million in 1999 with international passenger sales rising by 8.4 per cent to SR6.9 billion last year, and the overall system-wide sales touched SR8.7 billionÑan increase of 6.7 per cent, according to the Riyadh Daily.

Air India plans more non-stop flights

MANAMA: Air India is to operate more non-stop flights from the Gulf to several interior points in India. The airline's new regional manager for Gulf and the Middle East, Captain P P Singh, said a third flight from Bahrain to Cochin would also be introduced within two months. The airline currently operates 108 flights a week to India.