In Brief


Excitement for F1 sky high
The official airline for the 2008 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix has dressed up a whole aircraft body with a Formula One theme livery, which was unveiled last month by Gulf Air chief executive officer Bjoِrn Naf at a ceremony held at the Bahrain International Airport.

“Gulf Air, as the national carrier of the Kingdom, is taking this carnival atmosphere to greater heights by dedicating an aircraft painted with F1 theme livery,” he said. The entire idea was conceived and created by Bahraini Bader Yousif Murad, aircraft analysis manager with Gulf Air Corporate Development department and an artist with a passion for aviation. The aircraft will fly throughout the year promoting Bahrain and the F1 sport.
Upwardly mobile Jazeera Airways
JAZEERA Airways announced plans to equip its entire fleet with technology that enables travellers to use their mobile phones, blackberries and email on board in 2009. The announcement was made during a joint press conference with NBK Capital, acting as listing advisors, on the eve of Jazeera Airways’ listing of shares on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE). The new service will be available to all passengers for a fee. The airline carried 600,000 passengers in 2006, and 1.2 million in 2007. Last June Jazeera Airways increased its confirmed order for Airbus A320s from 10 aircraft to 40 aircraft and began taking deliveries in February and will continue to until 2014.
New services to India
AIR Arabia launched a service between New Delhi and Sharjah on March 31. Flights will initially operate four times a week, and by  the beginning of May, the service will become daily. The low cost carrier has also started a non-stop service between Sharjah and Kozhikode (formerly Calicut), in the Indian state of Kerala. Flights will initially operate three times a week, increasing to six times weekly by the end of May. The other two destinations Air Arabia serves in Kerala are Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. The airline also flies to seven other destinations in India, including Ahmdedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Jaipur, Mumbai and Nagpur.
Jeddah to Alexandria with Sama
Sama, Saudi Arabia’s low cost airline, has launched its first flights from Jeddah to Alexandria, Al-Nozha International Airport. Sama is launching four weekly flights between Riyadh, Jeddah and Alexandria. Andrew Cowen, CEO of Sama, said, ”Sama is very close to achieving the milestone of one million passengers booked, which we expect to hit within the next few weeks, with the help of this Alexandria route launch. The millionth passenger to book with us will receive free travel on Sama to anywhere on the Sama network for him and his immediate family for a year.” With the launch of Alexandria, Sama’s international destinations increase to eight (Abu-Dhabi, Sharjah, Amman, Damascus, Latakia, Aleppo, Beirut, and Alexandria).
Etihad’s expanded summer schedule
Etihad Airways launched its new summer flying programme on March 30, and will operate a total of 728 weekly flights this summer compared to 494 in the same season last year.  Highlights of the schedule will be the launch of new services to Beijing in China on March 30 and Calicut in India in June. The airline will also increase the frequency of its flights within the GCC, Middle East, Europe, Indian sub-continent, Africa and the Asia Pacific region from its Abu Dhabi base. Extra weekly services from Abu Dhabi to Amman (six flights at present to 10), Beirut (eight to 11) and Damascus (six to 10) are included.