In brief


November passenger traffic up 6.7pc
THE year-on-year international passenger traffic growth for November 2006 rose 6.7 per cent, the highest growth rate recorded since May, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

International freight traffic growth for the same period remained sluggish at 3.1 per cent but year-to-date passenger traffic was up 5.8 per cent and freight traffic by 4.8 per cent, it said. The average passenger load factor remained strong at 73.9 per cent in November and is at 76.1 per cent year-to-date. The Middle East remains the fastest growing region posting an increase of 18.3 per cent in passenger traffic in November. However, for the second consecutive month the rise in capacity (20 per cent) outstripped demand in that region. Africa recorded a 7.5 per cent increase followed by North America (7 per cent), Europe (6.1 per cent), Asia Pacific (5.6 per cent) and Latin America (-2.4 per cent).

BA launches turn-down service
BRITISH Airways, the UK’s flagship carrier which operates 24 weekly flights from the UAE to London Heathrow, has introduced a turndown service for passengers travelling in First, the first-class cabin, on all flights to and from the Emirates. The First enhancements follow the recently unveiled overhaul of the airline’s Club World business class cabin. The airline also plans to make further changes to the First menu options and table layout, including designer crockery.

Saudia passenger figures up
Saudi Arabian Airlines passenger figures were expected to rise by up to 15 per cent a year and the number of pilgrims visiting the country could rise to 20 million in 10 years from 3.5 million, the airline’s director-general Khaled Al Mulhim was quoted as saying. He said the airline is not planning immediate aircraft orders and does not know how much it would spend on any future purchases. Recent media reports quoted unnamed sources as saying the firm was discussing with Airbus and Boeing the purchase of $12 billion of aircraft.

SriLankan ups Bahrain, Doha services
SRILANKAN Airlines has introduced an additional flight between Colombo, Doha and Bahrain from the end of 2006, as part of an ongoing initiative to improve service in the Middle East region. The circle flight operating on Fridays, adds to the two non-stop flights from Doha to Colombo and another two flights via Bahrain. The additional flight pushes up SriLankan Airlines' services into the Middle East to about 46 a week.

Jet launches roving check-in
WITH a view to ease the process of check-in Jet Airways, the Indian carrier has added yet another customer oriented solution of ‘check-in while walk-in’ (roving check-in agent) at Mumbai whereby a passenger can be checked-in by the agent with the help of a hand-held interface device and a hip printer. The roving agent is like a check-in counter on the move and will help Jet Airways to improve customer service by processing passengers even before they reach the check-in counters, effectively bypassing long queues.

Swiss-Lufthansa double offer
SWISS International Air Lines, through its partnership with Lufthansa now offer passengers a twice daily service from Dubai to Zurich. Swiss’ daily non-stop service to Zurich is now supplemented by a second service which transits via Munich. The twice daily flight is available throughout the winter, until March 24, with passengers able to choose from a day or night time departure, said a statement.