Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

[Evening Standard] The new owners of Stansted today launched a battle of the skies as they vowed to take passengers from Heathrow and Gatwick after competing the £1.5bn purchase of the Essex airport.

Manchester Group promises flights to 40 new long-haul destinations including the US, Caribbean and the Middle East.

Manchester Group promises flights to 40 new long-haul destinations including the US, Caribbean and the Middle East. Photo: Wikipedia

They promised to take the airport, traditionally a stronghold of budget airlines, into the premier league with flights to 40 new long-haul destinations including the US, Caribbean and the Middle East.

Owners Manchester Airport Group (MAG) pledged to double annual passenger numbers 35 million, build new stands for the A380 superjumbos and spend £40m on new shops.

But MAG insisted there were no imminent plans to build another runway at the Essex airport – even though it is being considered by mayor Boris Johnson as a site for a “super-airport” to solve the southeast’s aviation capacity crisis.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airport Group (MAG) said: “If we get the right level of customer experience and the right product, which is the right airlines flying the right planes at the right price, we will start to move volume around London. Some will always go to Heathrow and Gatwick but if it’s a strong product we hope to take volume not just from the north but the south” Mr Cornish said.

MAG calculates that 50 million people live within two hours’ drive of the Essex airport.

MAG purchased Stansted after Heathrow owner BAA was forced by the regulator to sell up to create more competition in the market.

The acquisition by MAG, which also own East Midlands and Bournemouth, includes a 35 per cent stake for…..

Read the full story at The Evening Standard…..


Evening Standard
Mar 1st, 2013

[Economic Times] MUMBAI: In what is seen as a step towards closing its proposed investment plans in Jet Airways, Etihad Airways on Wednesday said it has paid $70 million to buy three slots of the Naresh Goyal-promoted airline at Heathrow airport in London.

Etihad, which is in talks with Jet on possibly taking a stake in the firm, said discussions about further investment were continuing.

Etihad, which is in talks with Jet on possibly taking a stake in the firm, said discussions about further investment were continuing. Picture: Wikipedia

“Etihad Airways can confirm that it has concluded a transaction with Jet to purchase Jet’s three pairs of Heathrow slots for $70 million. The purchase is part of a sale and lease back agreement signed yesterday,” Etihad said in a statement.

The statement further said Jet will continue to operate flights to London utilising these slots.

The deal further strengthens the existing commercial relationship between the two airlines, which came into effect in July 2008, making provision for code-sharing, Etihad said.

On the ongoing stake sale talks between the two, Etihad said they continue to progress with discussions about further investment in Jet.

However, on the 24 per cent proposed stake sale toEtihad, Jet sources said, Jet has reportedly agreed to cede more management control, including more board positions to Etihad. However, this could not be officially verified with either Jet or Etihad officials.

This is to enable sealing the deal that has of late hit some air pockets with the UAE-based airline saying that it wanted to re-look at its investment plan in Jet……

Read the full story at The Economic Times of India…..

Economic Times
27th Feb, 2013

[Times of India] ABU DHABI: Etihad Airways, the fast-growing carrier of Abu Dhabi, posted a 200 percent rise in net profit in 2012 and a 17 percent increase in revenues, the airlines said in a statement Monday.

Etihad posted a net income of $42 million last year compared to $14 million in 2011

Etihad posted a net income of $42 million last year compared to $14 million in 2011. Photo: Wikipedia

Etihad posted a net income of $42 million last year compared to $14 million in 2011 when it made its first ever profit, said the statement which attributed the rise to strong improvements in revenues, passengers and cost control.

The flag carrier of the Emirates capital Abu Dhabi said revenues increased 17 percent to $4.8 billion in 2012 compared to $4.1 billion the previous year.

The number of passengers grew a healthy 23 percent to 10.3 million compared to 8.4 million in 2011, significantly boosted by Etihad’s partnerships which delivered more than $600 million in total revenue.

“This has been a game-changing year for Etihad Airways,” James Hogan, the airline’s president and chief executive officer said.

“We have delivered improved net profit, the second consecutive year we have been in the black, a remarkable achievement given the youth, ambitious growth and ongoing investment made by this airline in a challenging global economic environment,” he said in the statement.

Etihad said it succeeded in building the first “equity alliance” with investments of 40 percent in Air Seychelles, 29.2 percent in airberlin, 9.0 percent in Virgin Australia and about 3.0 percent inAer Lingus.

“We have taken great strides in building the industry’s first equity alliance … which (is) contributing significant value to our business,” Hogan said.

Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose 24 percent to $170 million, while EBITDAR (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and rentals) rose to $753 million, up 16 percent, Etihad said.

Hogan said more than 50 institutions have provided around $6.8 billion in cumulative fundingfor the airline’s ongoing expansion.

Planned fleet upgrades for 2013 include 14 aircraft, with 11 passenger aircraft deliveries and three freighter deliveries, Etihad said.

The orders are for nine wide-bodied Boeing and Airbus aircraft and five narrow-body Airbus aircraft. These will meet Etihad Airways’ immediate growth requirements.

At the end of 2012, the company had 10,656 employees, 18 percent up on 2011 with more than 125 nationalities represented.

Read the original story at The Times of India…..


Times of India
Feb 4, 2013

[BBC NewsHeathrow has said that it handled 70 million passengers in 2012, the highest number on record, as the crowded airport saw bigger and fuller planes.

Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world.Photo: Airport Informer

Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world. Photo: Airport Informer

Numbers rose 0.9% from 2011, with 3.2% growth in its staple North Atlantic business, and traffic to the Far East and Brazil boosted by new routes.

December was also a record month at the airport, with China traffic up 23%.

But the growth in passenger numbers during 2012 was balanced by a 1.3% drop in cargo passing through the airport.

Heathrow has been operating close to official full capacity for several years.

Besides the spare capacity freed up by cargo, the airport said that the higher passenger numbers had been due to an increase in the aircraft load factor – a measure of how full planes are – from 75.2% to 75.6%, as well as in average aircraft size from 194.8 seats to 197.4.

It meant that the average plane flying through Heathrow was carrying almost 2% more passengers in 2012 than the year before.

The distribution of traffic across different destinations last year reflected the changing fortunes of various countries’ economies:

  • Passenger numbers to Brazil rose 21.6%, due to an increase in the number of flights
  • East Asia rose 6.2% in the year, in part due to recovery from Japan’s 2011 tsunami, and climbed by 14.8% in December from a year earlier as new routes opened
  • The recession-struck eurozone economies of Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain saw a collective 4.5% drop in traffic in 2012
  • Middle Eastern passenger numbers rebounded 3.4% as the political situation in most of the region stabilised
  • Passenger numbers to India and Africa fell, as routes shifted away from these regions in favour of higher-growth developing economies

“The figures for 2012 show Heathrow is delivering higher passenger numbers despite a tough economic climate,” said Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews.

“At the same time, passenger satisfaction levels reached record levels.”

he airport is due to complete the reconstruction of Terminal 2 in 2014, which will increase the number of passengers it can handle, but not…..

Read the full story at BBC News…..

BBC News
15th Jan, 2013

[]  The Dubai government will initiate a new system in cooperation with airlines by the end of next year to stop blacklisted persons at their boarding points before they travel to Dubai.

Prospective travellers prohibited from entering the country.... will not be allowed to get on board the plane.  Photo: Wikipedia

Prospective travellers prohibited from entering the country…….will not be allowed to get on board the plane. Photo: Wikipedia

A database system will be in place, which will store information related to inbound travellers, and the authorities will give permission to the right persons before they board a plane to Dubai at their home port.

Colonel Khaled Naser Al Razouqi, Assistant Director-General of the e-Services Sector at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, Dubai, said that the system will help reject entry to people who had previously committed a violation in the country or those who do not obtain an entry visa. The system will not allow a person to embark a Dubai-bound plane if he or she has already been blacklisted.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Al Razouqi said that the system will let officers of the directorate to know the names and details of travellers who plan to head for Dubai by air, thanks to a link with airline companies and travel operators who will send data about their passengers to the directorate.

The directorate will consequently verify the names and contact the airlines or travel operators to provide them with the names of prospective travellers prohibited from entering the country. Such persons will not be allowed to get on board the plane.

Smart e-gates

Al Razouqi stated that Terminal 3 of the Dubai International Airport has now installed smart e-gates. All other currently operating e-gates will be replaced with the smart ones over the coming year, taking the number of the new e-gates to 100.

“The new electronic gate is characterised with so many security features. Most importantly, it automatically scans a traveller’s passport quicker. It does not require the traveller to preregister with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs as in the Emirates e-gate cards,” said Al Razouqi.

The smart e-gates consist of some developed technical devices which can read a traveller’s passport automatically, and can scan the face and eye over a high-definition camera and instantly compare the scan result with the passport. The new system can store the whole information of its users and could verify names of blacklisted travellers or those being wanted by the authorities. The entire operation takes just 12 seconds, he said.

Read more of this story at…..
2nd Sept, 2012

[] Singapore Airlines announced on Thursday that it intends to spend more than Sg$20 million ($16 million) to upgrade its airport lounges worldwide in a bid to stay ahead of the competition.

“We hope to replicate that ‘home away from home’ experience in our lounges", SIA senior vice president for products and services Tan Pee Teck.  Photo: Wikipedia

“We hope to replicate that ‘home away from home’ experience in our lounges”, SIA senior vice president for products and services Tan Pee Teck. Photo: Wikipedia

The announcement of the upgrade came nine days after the airline, facing fiercer rivalry from Asian and Middle Eastern carriers, unveiled plans to introduce revamped seats and cabin interiors as well as improved in-flight entertainment.

The upgrade of its “SilverKris” lounges will be carried out over five years starting from the middle of next year when the facility at Sydney airport will be fitted with a new design concept, SIA said in a statement.

“We hope to replicate that ‘home away from home’ experience in our lounges, along with the warm Asian hospitality that Singapore Airlines is renowned for,”SIA senior vice president for products and services Tan Pee Teck said.

The airline has 15 SilverKris lounges at airports worldwide, including one in New Delhi – to be officially opened next month – and in Seoul which is scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

SIA is regarded as a trendsetter in aviation and is famous for its cabin service, but rivals like Cathay Pacific in Asia and Etihad, Emirates and Gulf Air from the Middle East have been closing the gap while offering lower fares.

It said last week it had hired BMW Group subsidiary DesignworksUSA and James Park Associates, two renowned design companies, to develop the “next generation of inflight cabin products” expected to be introduced next year.

The changes will include revamped seats, redesigned cabins and upgraded entertainment platforms as new passenger planes from Boeing and Airbus begin arriving.

Read the original story at…..
25th Aug, 2012

(easyJet Press Release) easyJet, the UK’s largest airline, has today announced that  it will be the official carrier of the Jordanian Olympic and Paralympic teams at this summer’s Games in London.

easyJet will be the official carrier of the Jordanian Olympic and Paralympic teams at this summer's Games in London.  Photo: Wikipedia

easyJet will be the official carrier of the Jordanian Olympic and Paralympic teams at this summer’s Games in London. Photo: Wikipedia

The airline has committed to flying the entire Jordanian Olympic and Paralympic team along with key support team members to and from the Games this summer. The UK event is extra special for the Jordanians, who have nine athletes representing the Middle East country this year – the largest Jordanian delegation to feature in the history of the Games.

Under the Presidency of HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein, who is also an IOC member, Jordan has made huge strides in sport with the National Olympic Committee’s vision for it to play a greater role in the lives of all Jordanians. The Kingdom has just secured a ninth member of its delegation, with the qualification of Heavyweight boxer Ihab Darweesh , meaning that this year the largest number qualified of sportsmen and women will represent the Middle East country in the history of the games.

The Jordanian team still have an opportunity for two more wrestlers to qualify along with the basketball team but already this landmark highlights the progress being made in Jordanian sport.

This summer, three taekwondo fighters, one equestrian, and two each for swimming and athletics will join boxer Darweesh in the delegation as Jordan searches for its first ever Olympic medal.

Of the nine, four of the delegation is female with taekwondo star Nadine Dwani and horse jumper Ibrahim Bisharat taking part in their third Olympics.

Hugh Aitken, easyJet’s Commercial Manager, said: “We are delighted and honoured to be able to play our part in helping this dedicated team of athletes move closer to achieving their dreams and representing their country at the summer Games.

“I would like to take the opportunity, on behalf of everyone at easyJet, to wish them every success this summer.”

Lana Al Jaghbeer, Jordan Olympic Committee Secretary General, added: “We are delighted that easyJet has stepped forward to offer our athletes travel to and from the Games. In today’s financial climate sponsorship is crucial for our athletes and this contribution is very much appreciated by all.”

easyJet launched its London Gatwick route to the Jordanian capital of Amman in March 2011 and to date the airline has flown more than 55,000 passengers to and from the city of Amman.

Read the original easyJet press release here….

11th June, 2012

[NEW YORK and ISTANBUL] JetBlue Airways, New York’s Hometown Airline, and Turkish Airlines, the fast growing global carrier, today announced an interline agreement to connect the carriers’ networks at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport.

This summer, Turkish Airlines plans to bolster its already robust schedule from New York by offering three daily nonstop flights to the thriving city of Istanbul

This summer, Turkish Airlines plans to bolster its already robust schedule from New York by offering three daily nonstop flights to the thriving city of Istanbul.  Photo: Wikipedia

 – New global connections available via New York, Washington, and Istanbul –
– Turkish to offer three daily nonstops from New York to Istanbul this summer –

Through this new partnership, customers will be able to transfer in either U.S. city between Turkish Airlines- and JetBlue-operated flights while enjoying one-stop ticketing and check-in plus hassle-free baggage transfer and other benefits. JetBlue offers connections to and from dozens of cities throughout the United States including Boston, Massachusetts; Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York; Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina; Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

This summer, Turkish Airlines plans to bolster its already robust schedule from New York by offering three daily nonstop flights to the thriving city of Istanbul – the most of any airline serving the market. Turkish also offers daily nonstop service between Istanbul and the U.S. capital. The carrier’s transatlantic flights are operated in the comfort of its Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 fleet, offering travellers three classes of service, premium meal options, internet connectivity, and a wide array of personal in-flight entertainment choices.

Turkish Airlines has rapidly grown to become one of the world’s largest carriers, serving the most destinations of any European airline from a single airport. Its network touches nearly 200 cities across five continents, affording connecting travellers service throughout Europe, the Middle East, all corners of Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and Asia Pacific. JetBlue’s new relationship with Turkish Airlines expands travel options by opening up a number of exciting new destinations in Europe, Africa, and Asia that were previously unavailable through its other partner airlines.

At New York's JFK Airport, Turkish Airlines operates from Terminal 1

At New York’s JFK Airport, Turkish Airlines operates from Terminal 1

In the United States, Turkish Airlines also serves Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.

Known for its award-winning customer service, JetBlue offers Turkish Airlines transfer travellers a premium experience that includes all-leather seating, unlimited free snacks and drinks, plus the most legroom in economy class (based on average fleet-wide seat pitch) as well as the most free live entertainment of any U.S. airline. JetBlue also operates one of America’s youngest and most fuel-efficient airline fleets, with 172 Airbus and EMBRAER aircraft.

At JFK Airport, Turkish Airlines operates from Terminal 1 while JetBlue operates from nearby Terminal 5, a quick ride away on the airport’s free AirTrain service. JetBlue’s Terminal 5, the newest at JFK, offers customers an impressive airport experience complete with unique retail and dining options. Learn more about T5 at

“Turkish Airlines has quickly established itself as one of the world’s leading airlines, and we are pleased to be partnering with them during this impressive period of growth,” said JetBlue Chief Commercial Officer Robin Hayes. “With service from Washington plus three daily flights from JFK to Istanbul and beyond, our new partnership with this respected carrier will allow JetBlue customers to travel virtually anywhere on Earth with a single ticket.”

Turkish Airlines’ Chief Investment and Technology Officer, Ahmet Bolat, Ph.D. added, “We believe that this new partnership will boost traffic between Turkey and the U.S. with JetBlue’s wide-ranging network via New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport. We’re very excited to bring JetBlue service to Turkish Airlines’ customers.”

About JetBlue Airways
JetBlue is New York’s Hometown Airline(TM) with other focus cities in Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, and Orlando. Known for its award-winning service and free TV as much as its low fares, JetBlue offers the most legroom in coach of any U.S. airline (based on average fleet-wide seat pitch) as well as super-spacious Even More Space seats. JetBlue is also America’s first and only airline to offer its own Customer Bill of Rights, with meaningful and specific compensation for customers inconvenienced by service disruptions within JetBlue’s control. Visit for details. JetBlue serves 71 cities with 700 daily flights. With JetBlue, all seats are assigned, all fares are one-way, and an overnight stay is never required. For information call +1 800-538-2583 (+1-801-449-2525 from Istanbul and other foreign cities), TTY/TDD +1 800-336-5530, or visit

About Turkish Airlines
Established in 1933 with a fleet of only five airplanes, Star Alliance member, Turkish Airlines is today a four star airline with a fleet of 179 aircraft (passenger and cargo) flying to 191 cities around the world, comprised of 40 domestic and 151 international destinations. One of the fastest growing airline companies, Turkish Airlines has received several “Passengers Choice Awards” from the consumer ranking group, Skytrax. Based on 2011 results, Turkish Airlines has been chosen as the winner in 3 categories, “Best Airline Europe”, “Best Premium Economy Seats” for its Comfort Class seats and “Best Airline Southern Europe”. It has also received awards for its catering and holds a coveted 4-star designation, putting the airline in a small group of top quality carriers. Turkish Airlines was also given the Skytrax designation of “World’s Best Economy Class On-board Catering” in 2010, and Skyscanner’s “Best On-board Food 2011”. Long haul Business Class passengers also enjoy the Flying Chef service on-board. For more information visit

SOURCE JetBlue Airways
15th May, 2012

[eTurbo News] MUSCAT — Oman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, has been awarded ‘Best Business Class Airline, Middle East’ in the prestigious Business Destinations Travel Awards 2012.

Oman Air’s Business Class provides a luxurious travel experience for every passenger

Oman Air’s Business Class provides a luxurious travel experience for every passenger. Photo: Wikipedia

The Business Destinations Travel Awards are voted for by readers of Business Destinations magazine, which is published in the UK every other month.

The magazine has a worldwide readership of more than 100,000 and is distributed in premium aircraft cabins and airport lounges, to travel professionals and is sold through retail outlets.

Wayne Pearce, Oman Air’s CEO, says: “We are delighted that Oman Air has been named as ‘Best Business Class Airline, Middle East’ in the Business Destinations Travel Awards.

This follows on from last year’s win by Oman Air of the ‘Best Luxury Airline, Middle East’ category, so we are extremely pleased that the quality of our premium service has been

recognised for the second year running.

“My thanks go to Business Destinations’ readers and to all our staff, throughout Oman Air, who have played a vital role in transforming the airline into the luxury carrier it is today, and ensuring the success of our outstanding and internationally-recognised business class offering.”

The award follows the introduction over the last two years of a brand new fleet of Airbus A330s to the airline’s long haul routes, the launch from March 2011 of Embraer 175s on short haul routes, the pioneering of onboard mobile phone and wi-fi connectivity and the unveiling of superb new business class and first class lounges at Muscat International Airport. A state-of-the-art new Business Class lounge was also opened in Bangkok.

Oman Air’s Business Class provides a luxurious travel experience for……

Read the rest of this story at eTurbo News…..

14th April, 2012

[The Australian] A toddler was pulled off flight by JetBlue employees on Tuesday, the family believes it is because they are Muslim but the airline blamed glitch over no-fly list confusion.

Jetblue apologizes for removing family from plane

WPBF VIDEO: Jetblue apologizes for removing family from plane

The 18-month-old New Jersey toddler was booted from her flight in Florida after officials told her family her name was flagged on the US no-fly list.

The girl, identified only as Riyanna, and her parents were set to fly home from Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday when a JetBlue official boarded their plane and removed the family, they told WPBF-TV.

“And I said, ‘For what?'” Riyanna’s mother – who declined to be identified – told the TV station. “And he said, ‘Well, it’s not you or your husband. Your daughter was flagged as no-fly.'”

The airline employee dragged the tot’s parents off the plane as JetBlue and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) hashed out the family’s situation, the New York Post reported.

“It’s absurd,” the girl’s dad said. “It made no sense. Why would an 18-month-old child be on a no-fly list?”

The dad said he believes his family was targeted because they are of Middle Eastern descent – though they were born and raised in New Jersey and speak English without any hint of an accent…..

Read the full story at the New York Post…

May 11, 2012