Thursday, December 29, 2011

Celebrating Near year 2012 in Goa Beaches and Churches

As the year 2011 slips away quietly into the oblivion of nothingness and the New Year 2012 gradually dawns upon the horizon of time, travel freaks look out for a holiday spot where they can immerse themselves in the festive fervour.

If you are planning such a holiday, then Goa might be your ultimate holiday destination! The mysticism of India coupled with the trademark European languidness – what more can you ask for?

Goa, the smallest state of India, reflects ultimate scenic splendours through its beautiful swaying palm trees, glorious white beaches and sparkling blue water. The charms are aplenty in this region, the charisma is personified and the magnetism is irresistible.

Add to it the ever so famous Goan merrymaking and you have a tourist destination that will prove very hard to beat. The Indian state is famous for its vivacious party culture, modern cities and beautiful venues – all the ingredients that blend together to make Goa perhaps the most ideal place for New Year celebration in the region. No wonder, tourists from all over the globe book cheap flights to India and land up in Goa to revel in the festivities accompanying the New Year celebration.

Sun-drenched paradise, fun-filled beaches, lush greenery, amazing heritage, wonderful churches are some of the few attractions that welcome tourists on New Year holidays.

Think Goa, think beaches! Goa beaches are possibly the most preferred venues of parties at the New Year’s Eve. Featuring a coastline that stretches over 100 km, Goa entices approximately 2 million tourists each year with its palm-lined gorgeous beaches.

Calangute, Baga and Vegator are some of the most popular beaches in Goa with their own distinctive charm and characteristics. Incorporate water sports activities like water-skiing, sailing, snorkelling, wind surfing and kayaking to your already fantastic holidays in Goa and you just might be the hot topic of discussion in your office in the year 2012!

A number of parties take place in different resorts throughout the region and the place virtually bathes in music, dance, food and drinks. And just between you and me, while you are there try out the incredible Kaju Feni, an extremely strong local liquor that is sure to take you places (and places you might not want to be!)

A former Portuguese colony, Goa has no dearth of temples, churches and other wonderful monuments. Get splashed with New Year celebrations; get relaxed admiring the wonderful architectural wonders and your holidays to Goa will be a mind-blowing experience.

You can also enjoy your holidays in Goa with participating in the new year bash sunset on a beach in Goa scheduled at:

  • Date : Dec 30, 2011
    Venue : Querim Beach (Keri), Near Arambol Beach, North Goa Goa
    Time : 05:00 PM
  • Date : Dec 31, 2011
    Venue : Querim Beach (Keri), Near Arambol Beach, North Goa Goa
    Time : 05:00 PM


Pacha IBIZA show starting from Saturday 31st December 2011, celebrating the show with Juan Diaz & Graham Sahara and Pacha Ibiza Dancers.

New Year 2012 holidays to USA's New York and Las Vegas

The New Year is just round the corner and if you have booked your flights to USA brace yourself for a roller coaster time of fun and frolic. The immense size of the US translates as dozens of charming places to take one’s pick from for indulging in New Year festivities. In fact, you will be spoilt for choice as almost every New Year attraction is irresistible in the USA. In fact, talking about some of the most well known attractions like the theme parks of Orlando, the overwhelming festivities of New York, and the electrifying parties of Las Vegas would be just scratching the surface. Here is a just a little insight into the New Year celebrations in New York and Las Vegas.

New York

Welcoming 2012 by spending your New Year in New York will be a memorable experience of your holidays in USA. Every year, thousands of tourists pour into New York to witness the gala festivities. Although, there is no end to the events and celebrations, two of the most outstanding events are held at Times Square and Prospect Park. Times Square has been witness to the famous New Year’s Eve ball drop event for more than a century. It is a mesmerising moment as the ball is lowered amidst the countdown for the New Year and finally reaches the ground at the stroke of midnight. Prospect Park is famed for the stunning display of fireworks. Another exhilarating event is Central Park midnight marathon, where thousands participate to the accompaniment of champagne, fireworks, music, and all the trappings of merry making.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas would be the perfect place in USA for innumerable visitors for starting 2012 on a party mode. Dining out, trying out one’s luck at the casino tables, or setting the dance floor on fire at one of the many New Year’s Eve parties are some of the lures of Sin City. Especially, the street party celebration on the main Strip area is a hot draw for many visitors. Similarly, almost every hotel and restaurant will host a gala party. New Year holidays in Las Vegas also spell as a great time for celebrity watching as celebrities are invited to many of the events and functions. A couple of hot parties amongst hundreds of others on the cards for this year round are TAO with Carmen Electra at the Venetian Hotel, and Lax Nightclub’s New Year’s Eve Bash at the Luxor Hotel and Casino.

Happy New Year 2012 in Thailand

Thailand is one place where people need just an excuse to party and celebrate! So you can well imagine the magnitude and enormity of celebrations in the country as the biggest party of them all draws near.

Indeed, New Year celebration in Thailand is just epic and numbers of tourists pick flights to Thailand setting up newer tourism records with each passing year. With warm and tropical climate, there can be no better place to spend your Christmas and New Year holidays but Thailand.

Being a highly tourist-centric country, Thailand does take its New Year celebrations quite seriously, impressing even the most astute of holiday makers. There’s something in this country for everyone. Be it young or old – the sense of merriment will surely tickle you!

New Year 2012 Celebrations in Bangkok will leave you awe-struck and impressed. Its Central World Plaza is the home for the official New Years Eve countdown. It is a massive shopping centre that features some of the finest and yummiest food courts. People from all over the world come to the city to experience what Central World has to offer. It is a mesmerising spectacle that leaves travellers spellbound and one that is not to be found any where else in the world!

The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel, a world renowned hotel, also boasts of interesting and spectacular holiday decorations. Take a stroll at the foyer and experience wonderful lighting display put forth by the hotel.

Talking about lighting, it must be known that Thais just love making lighting displays and during New Year festivities one can see some of their greatest works. Bright neon lights displayed on the buildings along with perfectly choreographed lighting arrangements on streets will definitely leave you dazzled.

New Year holidays in Bangkok can only be summarised as breathtaking! Thailand is perhaps the only country in the world that celebrates New Year three times a year, but it would be a grave mistake to confer that the festive spark and local enthusiasm fades out with so much activity. In fact, Thais take New Year Celebrations a gear up with each passing year.

Holiday season results in a spurt in Thai tourism and this is when most of the nation’s hotels are fully booked. It is highly important to book hotel in advance if you are planning a New Year holiday in Thailand. Plan early, party hard and have an experience of a lifetime this year as the brand new year of 2012 settles in.

Top Holiday Destinations for New Year 2012 in Australia

Parades, New Year Eve’s balls, music shows, celebrity events, theme parties and almost every conceivable form of entertainment becomes a part of New Year celebrations in Australia. Literally, every place becomes a celebratory venue, ranging right from beaches and parklands to people’s drawing rooms and backyards. Anyone catching flights to Australia in the near future should definitely consider the following places for celebrating New Year’s Eve.


The residents of Sydney claim that Sydney is the world’s most liveable city. The city is definitely one place in Australia that beats New Year celebrations any where else in the country. In fact, Sydney is supposed to be the first city in the world to celebrate New Year. Visiting Sydney during New Year makes every penny spent on those flights to Australia absolutely worth it. The fireworks display alone makes for an unforgettable experience and draws scores of tourists. Tens of thousands of fireworks light up the night sky into a shimmering canopy of shooting stars. In fact, the fireworks display is biggest highlight of New Year celebrations in Sydney. Darling Harbour is the main venue of the fireworks displays.


Melbourne welcomes the New Year with a bang. If comedians, DJs, and live bands spice up the night at Birrarung Marr parklands, the Alexandra Gardens bursts with magic shows, dances, and movie screenings. Chilling out at the Waterfront City Piazza in Docklands and picnicking on the Victoria Harbour Promenade are yet other ways to experience New Year celebrations in Melbourne. Absolutely not to be missed are the two fireworks displays, one at 9:15 p.m. and the one at midnight. Melbourne will be a truly rocking place to welcome 2011 during your holidays in Australia.


Anyone planning to take holidays to Adelaide for New Year’s Eve, 2011 is in for a treat. Taking in the sight of the most stunning fireworks display in South Australia from the Elder Park is one of the biggest charms of a New Year celebration in Adelaide. Balmy summer skies, band performances, and innumerable multi-ethnic cuisines set the mood right for some merry dancing. Conjurers and amusement rides exhilarate children and adults alike. Some of the major hotspots for New Year celebrations are the seaside town of Beachport and the Victoria Harbor port. The Pinky Flat’s family fireworks display at 9 p.m. and the Victoria Bridge at midnight are amongst the must witness events of a New Year break in Adelaide.

New York is ready to Rock You to welcome 2012

New York is ready to Rock You. Find Out How it's going to be for 2012

The empire state of New York is well worth a visit anytime of the year. Be it lip smacking culinary delights or legendary shopping and a galaxy of amazing sightseeing wonders – there are plenty of reasons to jump aboard flights to New York. The destination counts amongst the most popular hot spots in USA. In case, you are planning to travel in the recent future, there are some additional charms to look forward to.

On 19th September, Harlem’s wide boulevards will play host to the gala annual African American Day Parade. Watching this parade is a very cheap but exhilarating way to while away the time. This colourful spectacle of humanity complete with jazzily attired dancers swaying to heart thudding music snakes its way from 111th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard to 142nd Street and onwards to Fifth Avenue.

The Catskill Mountain Thunder in East Durham’s Blackthorne Resort is an epic motorcycle festival and will definitely add a thump to your holidays. Bikers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New England, and New York, all converge here to participate in the event. While the bikers are up to their dare devil antics, the onlooker may simply indulge in safe flights of fancy from the sidelines. The festival spells as four days of endless fun and excitement packed with numerous events from 16th to the 19th September. Two of the major highlights are a delectable Sunday pig roast accompanied with free beer and an antique motorcycle display.

Another forthcoming attraction is the world famous New York Fashion Week from 9th to 16th September, which will see gorgeous models decked up in spring collections setting the catwalk on fire. Menswear dominates the first two days. After that it is an all out time for women’s wear. The venue is Lincoln Center and the top names from the world of fashion would gather in New York. This is also the time to steal magnificent hotel deals in New York. Book your flights to New York right now to enjoy the extraordinary fun and lifetime holiday experience.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

IAG Acquires BMI; Virgin Slams the Deal

IAG, British Airways’ owner, beat competitor Virgin Atlantic in the bidding battle for Lufthansa's loss-making airline BMI. This will help the group to secure its future growth at Heathrow, one of world’s busiest airports.

British Airways’ owner International Airlines Group (IAG) has won the race to buy loss-making BMI. IAG has edged out Virgin Atlantic by acquiring BMI from Lufthansa with a 172.5 million-pound ($271 million) bid.

Buying Heathrow airport's second largest airline will add 56 slot pairs to IAG’s portfolio at UK’s primary airport. This will raise the BA’s share from about 44% to 53% at the airport, consolidating the carrier’s position at Heathrow.

BMI has operations to Middle East, Europe and Africa and has 8.5% of the Heathrow landing slots. BMI also owns BMI regional and BMIBaby, a low fare airline known to offer cheap flight tickets. IAG has made it clear that it is only interested in BMI’s mainline business. The group warned there will be “significant price reduction” in case Lufthansa is not able to sell off BMI Regional and BMIBaby before the deal finalises.

Virgin Atlantic Not Happy

Beaten in the race to buy BMI, Virgin Atlantic does not seem to be taking the defeat very sportingly! Virgin’s founder Sir Richard Branson claimed the deal to be bad for the industry and urged European competition authorities to block it.

News websites quoted Sir Richard as saying: “BA is already dominant at Heathrow and their removal of bmi just tightens their stranglehold at the world's busiest international airport. We will fight this monopoly every step of the way as we think it is bad for the consumer, bad for the industry and bad for Britain.”

A spokesman for Virgin added further: “If the acquisition is completed, it will tilt the competitive landscape dangerously towards BA and cast a shadow over the British travelling public. We will be asking the competition authorities to stop this deal and to protect the many millions of passengers on routes where BA and BMI currently compete.”

He also implied that the monopoly of BA on London Heathrow is going to be bad news for travellers who seek cheap flight tickets from the airport.

“With Heathrow sewn up, BA can use its monopoly power to force up prices at the expense of the consumer,” he was quoted news portals.

‘Target Asia’

British Airways is one of the world’s largest carriers with a strong presence in many parts of the world. Sources indicate that UK’s flag carrier will now be looking to exploit some of BMI’s slots by switching them to inter- continental routes once the airline gets the delivery of 12 Airbus SAS A380 super jumbos and 24 Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliners in 2013. IAG may start offering flights to Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea and Vietnam, and boost its services to China from Heathrow.

BA has never operated flights to Incheon airport - the biggest hub in South Korea, and the airline discontinued its flights to Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) in 2001 to focus more on Bangkok and Singapore.

However, Sir Richard alleged the plan about new markets from Heathrow is just a “smoke-screen."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Etihad Airways - Biggest Single Stakeholder in Air Berlin

Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi and German airline, Air Berlin has announced a strategic deal making Etihad Air Berlin’s biggest stakeholder with access to new European networks as it seeks to maintain pace with its major opponent, Emirates.

The fast-growing Gulf airline, Etihad Airways has accomplished its goal of expanding in Europe by becoming the biggest stakeholder in Air Berlin, a key German carrier. Etihad Airways, which earlier only had less than 3 percent stake in Air Berlin has now boosted it to 29 percent.

As per the deal announced on Monday, Etihad Airways will give approx $255 million (£162 million) of funds for the fleet development and network expansion at Air Berlin and in return will take two seats on the board of Directors of Air Berlin.

Moreover, the deal also includes a code share agreement that will grant Etihad access to Air Berlin’s European short-distance network, and to the German capital of Berlin.

“The strategic partnership with Etihad Airways opens up enormous opportunities for the future of our company.” Air Berlin CEO, Hartmut Mehdorn said.

Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer James Hogan welcomed this deal and said, “This new partnership expands our network reach, gives us access to 33 million new passengers, and provides us with a real opportunity for global growth. Through Air Berlin, we gain immediate access to a broad and complementary European market, with outstanding connectivity options for customers of both airlines.”

Moreover, the German carrier has also decided to move its Middle East operation from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and will offer flights to Abu Dhabi from Berlin four times a week. This deal will possibly be very rewarding for the budget-oriented European travellers seeking cheap flight tickets to travel to Abu Dhabi.

Further, as per the agreement, Air Berlin will initially serve four A330-200 flights between Berlin and Abu Dhabi per week from January 15, 2012, which will enable the European travellers to access 29 flights per week between Abu Dhabi and four German hubs. This frequency can go as high as 42 flights from mid April.

Every year millions of Europeans book tickets for flights to Abu Dhabi and land at the city’s airport to experience blissful holidays. The agreement between the second largest airline of Germany and the flag carriers of UAE has raised the chances of these travellers being able to net cheap flight tickets.

For maintaining the cost efficiencies across the two companies, both the airlines have planned to create a combined procurement panel to handle areas like fleet procurement and operation, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and other general procurements.

Hartmut Mehdorn was quoted in online reports as saying: “This partnership opens enormous opportunities. Abu Dhabi will become our new gateway to Asia and Australia.”

James Hogan showed his contentment with the agreement and referred it as the most important one in the history of Etihad Airways.

With the agreement, Etihad Airways has raised its stake in Air Berlin from 2.99 percent to 29.2 percent followed by ESAS, Pegasus Airlines’ parent company.


New Airline May Rival BA on All-Business Class Route to NYC

Mysterious Odyssey Airlines might soon woo executive flyers with all-business class flights to New York from London city. The airline is predicted to strike a concrete blow to British Airways with use of Cseries jets eliminating an enroute refuel stopover.

Odyssey Airlines, a new entrant in the British air travel industry which is yet to be launched, is anticipated to woo business class flyers with its non-stop all-business class services. Various online sources indicate that the venture would fly the aircraft in an all business class configuration with an unspecified number of seats from London City Airport to New York and several other locations.

If analysts are to be believed, the yet-to-be-launched venture directly targets British Airways and help the CSeries jets manufacturer, Bombardier, strike a more concrete blow to Airbus.

The mysterious airline is expected to offer direct and non-stop flights to New York. Odyssey airline is expected to use the future CSeries jet that would eliminate the necessity of fuel stop in Ireland for those taking its flights to New York. This could actually give the new carrier an edge over BA as its twice-daily flights from London City to New York airport, by contrast, must stop and refuel in Ireland on westbound flights because of Airbus A318’s fuel carrying limitations.

According to one online source, the new airline aims to target the bankers and other professionals by offering a non-stop transatlantic business travel. While the key users would mainly be corporate executives, it is no surprise that some business class leisure travellers and holiday makers would also like to take advantage of the shorter transatlantic travel time, though definitely with some premium on ticket price – the airline by no means seems to make cheap tickets its USP.

Cheap flights or no cheap flights, the airline is sure to grab the attention of the frequent business class travellers to New York and offer enough incentive, perks and advantages to tempt off business flyers to renounce their loyalty program points.

However, considering the past closure of many all-business airlines due to the high costs and the difficulty in matching benefits offered by several big players it can be said that Odyssey’s path may be strewn with financial hazards. Numerous projects in North America and Europe also failed in the last few years, like the U.S.-based Maxjets, that filed for bankruptcy in 2007 and UK-based Silverjet, which foundered in 2008.

Mystery Around Odyssey Airlines

Adding to the mystery of the yet-to-be-launched airline, online sources cited Bombardier spokesperson John Arnone as saying, "We do have unidentified customers for the CS100."

Furthermore, the company confirmed sale of 10 CSeries to an unidentified European customer back in June, which has further added to the mystery over the newest industry entrant.

Bombardiers Advantage

Several online sources reported that Bombardier, primarily a train and plane building organisation, has long sought its CSeries to penetrate the $100 billion-a-year jet market, a decision which partially instigated the Airbus and Boeing into enhancing their top selling narrow body jets’ fleet.

John Arnone was cited as saying, "Yes, the aircraft will be certified to fly over water. That's the intention."

As per the online sources, Bombardiers CSeries passenger jet, a transcontinental aircraft, intends to obtain certification to cover intercontinental routes.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Southall Travel Wins Jet Airways Best Overall Agent Award Yet Again

Southall Travel has bagged the ‘Best Overall Agent Award 2010-2011’ from Jet Airways, one of the leading airlines based out of India that operates international flights around the world and domestic flights in India. This is the fourth consecutive time Southall Travel has won this award.

Southall Travel was honoured with the award during the Agents Awards night held at the Gloucester Millenium Hotel in London on Wednesday, the 12th of October 2011.

The award was presented to Mr Jaymin Borkhatria, Director of Sales, Southall Travel by Jet Airways’ Mr. Sudheer Raghavan, Executive Vice President, Commercial and Mrs. Lydia Nazareth, General Manager Sales, UK and Ireland. Southall

Mr. Paras Borkhatria, Area Sales Manager of The Holiday Team, which is Southall Travel’s wholesale division and Mr. Mukesh Sharma, Account Manager, Jet Airways were also present at the event.

The travel agency has won the accolade for four successive years starting 2007-2008. The company closed the year 2010-2011 with a sales figure of around £243 million.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kingfisher Airlines to Become a Part of Oneworld

India’s Kingfisher Airlines is all ready to become the subcontinent’s first airline to be a part of any global airline alliance. Kingfisher will be a member of oneworld, premier airline consortium, from Feb 10, 2012.

Kingfisher Airlines is all set to become a full-time member of oneworld. The airline said on Monday it will be joining one of the world’s premier airline alliances from Feb 10, 2012.

Once Kingfisher Airlines joins oneworld, it will become the Indian subcontinent’s first carrier to become a part of any international airline group and the first of the three carriers to join the consortium in its biggest membership expansion drive in years. Germany’s airberlin is scheduled to join it shortly afterwards and Malaysia Airlines will be the third to join the alliance in the year.

Kingfisher Airlines expects the move to boost the carrier financially.

“It will strengthen us financially, through revenues from passengers transferring to our network from our oneworld partners and the cost reduction opportunities the alliance offers,” Kingfisher Airlines’ Chairman Vijay Mallya said in a statement.

“We will be flying as part of the world's leading quality airline alliance - and the first carrier from the subcontinent to be accepted into any of the global airline groups,” he said.

India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world with a blooming aviation market. And the fact that India remains one of the world’s leading holiday destinations doesn’t hurt either. India based passengers as well as international travellers who are on constant lookout for cheap flight tickets to India will surely be pleased with the news. With Kingfisher joining the alliance, there will be better connection on offer, which in turn might assist travellers in landing up with cheap flight tickets.

In addition, the membership with oneworld will allow the Indian airline’s frequent flyers club members to redeem their travel miles in other carriers of the group as well.

Formed in 1999, oneworld is an alliance of a number of carriers, including American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Finnair, among others. The addition of the Kingfisher will enable the group to serve 800 airports in approximately 150 countries. The airline consortium has a combined fleet of more than 2,250 aircraft, serving more than 300 million passengers a year.

Kingfisher to Boost oneworld’s network

Kingfisher’s inclusion in the group will allow oneworld to offer better connections on flights to India from different parts of the world.

Bruce Ashby, CEO oneworld was quoted as saying: “Kingfisher Airlines will expand oneworld’s network substantially in a key region of growing travel demand, with a carrier that matches our demanding requirements, while enabling Kingfisher Airlines to offer its customers a truly global network on quality partners. We are looking forward to welcoming them to the oneworld alliance in February.”

Currently, seven of oneworld’s airlines – American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Japan Airlines, Qantas and Royal Jordanian – operate flights to India.

Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad are the five Indian gateways that are served by the airlines presently.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Qantas Makes Peace Pact with Engineers’ Union

Qantas airline and the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) have reached a truce deal. Nearly 1,600 licensed aircraft maintenance engineers will be covered under the agreement that was presented to Fair Work Australia today.

Qantas has managed to negotiate a truce with one of the three unions at the centre of the industrial clash that resulted in the grounding of the airline’s entire fleet in October.

Qantas Airways, Australia’s flag carrier, sealed a deal with the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA) by agreeing to a 3 per cent annual wage hike for the next three years. ALAEA represents 1600 licensed aircraft maintenance engineers.

The airline and the ALAEA presented the agreement proposal to the industrial regulator today.

Qantas’ Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said the airline is pleased that finally a deal has been negotiated between two parties.

“After such a damaging industrial campaign, this is a positive outcome that will allow Qantas to move forward with certainty,” Alan Joyce was quoted as saying in the airline’s media release posted on the website.

“The proposal submitted to Fair Work Australia is a good deal for Qantas and its licenced engineers. However, it does not contain any of the restrictive demands that would have handed control of parts of the airline to the union.

“Throughout the negotiation process, we have been willing to offer reasonable pay increases and conditions – provided the union withdraw its attempts to influence how Qantas is run,” Mr Joyce continued

‘The Flying Kangaroo’ will offer a three per cent pay rise in return for agreeing to new work practices put forth by the airline. The union also agreed to drop its demand for construction of a new hangar for Airbus A380s.

With a truce deal clenched, Qantas Airways will surely breathe a sigh of relief. The airline has been embroiled in labour disputes with three major workers’ unions for quite some time now. As a result, the airline was forced to ground each and every flight to and from Australia two months ago in order to force an end to ongoing industrial action. The move did not go too well with travellers as thousands were stranded at airports with all flights to Australia being suspended. Later, the Australian carrier was forced to offer cheap flight tickets and in some case even free tickets to win back passengers.

No Deal With Others

Any sort of compromise is yet to be reached with other two employee groups - ground staff and long haul pilots. It is expected that disputes with these unions will go to binding arbitration next year. Meanwhile, Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) has filed legal action against Fair Work’s order banning all parties from taking industrial action.

Qantas has plans to launch two other carriers in Asia next year. One of them is scheduled to be a low-cost unit in Japan that will be offer cheap flight tickets for air travel.

The other is planned to be a full-service airline based in Singapore or Malaysia.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Emirates Paints Dublin Red as It Promotes New Service to City

Emirates, one of Middle East’s largest airlines, organised a dinner in Dublin, Ireland in a bid to promote its new daily service to Dublin. The event was attended by more than 800 guests including ministers and country diplomats.

Emirates, Dubai’s flag carrier, hosted a grand dinner in Dublin earlier in this week. The airline organised the event to promote its new daily service to Dublin that will start operating from 9th January.

The event saw a massive turnout with people from varied backgrounds like business, sport, art and music showing up in support of the airline. Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar and UAE Ambassadors to Ireland and the UK – His Excellencies Khalid Nasser Rashid Lootah and Abdulrahman Ghanem Almutaiwee, respectively – also graced the do with their presence.

Performance by Lionel Richie was perhaps the biggest highlight of the dinner event that was hosted at the Convention Centre Dublin.

“We can see unusually high demand for the first two weeks after launch. This is an excellent response from the Irish market and we have not witnessed this level of bookings, nor such strong interest in a new route, for many years,” said Thierry Antinori, Executive Vice President, Passenger Sales Worldwide.

“This gives us huge confidence in Ireland and the figures support the commercial research that precedes any decision we take to launch a new service,” he was further quoted in a press release posted on company’s website.

Emirates is one of world’s largest airlines and is one of the automatic options for travellers who need to travel to the Dubai or need a stopover at the city for an onward journey. Emirates is perhaps not an airline that generally rolls out cheap flight tickets but the airline’s quality of in-flight service is considered to be one the best in the industry.

From 9th January, EK 0161 will take off from the Dubai airport at 0700hrs and land at the Dublin Airport at 1130hrs. EK 0162 will depart from Dublin at 1255hrs and land in Dubai at 0025hrs, the next day.

This new flight service is going to benefit passengers who wish to travel non-stop from Ireland to Dubai. Travellers will be able to make an onward journey to various destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australasia. Australia, one of the key markets for Ireland, is served heavily by the airline with more than 70 flights to Australia every week, including an A380 flight to Australia’s Sydney.

“Dublin has always been on our radar and there are already strong levels of trade and tourism activity between Ireland and the UAE, not to mention the important equine affiliations,” Mr Antinori said.

An A330-200 is scheduled to be plied on the new Dublin-Dubai route. It will be three-class configuration with enough options for those who seek luxury as well as for those who prefer cheap flight tickets comparatively.

Moreover, the aircraft will feature 15 tonnes of belly hold cargo capacity.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Etihad Airways Orders 10 Boeing 787-9s and Two 777 Freighters

On Monday, the Etihad Airways announced that it would place an order for 10 787-9 Dreamliners and two Boeing 777 Freighters. This deal of worth $2.8 billion approx has made the airline the world's biggest Dreamliner consumer.

Being two of the most fuel-efficient aircraft in the world, Boeing 787 Dreamliner and 777 have gained much popularity in the world of air travel. With the purchase of 10 787-9 Dreamliners and two Boeing 777 Freighters, Etihad Airways is hoping that this deal would speed up the company's growth as it has been flourishing quickly since the beginning of year 2003.

The flag airline of UAE, Etihad Airways is one of the fastest-growing airlines in the world. The airline operates flights to almost 70 destinations in nearly 50 countries. The airline may not be highly popular for selling tickets on cheap flights to UAE or other destinations yet stay on the top of the preference list of millions of travellers due to its premium facilities and services. Now, with airline’s decision to purchase 10 787-9 Dreamliners, which are 20 percent extra fuel efficient, the airline is expected to reduce its operating cost and pass on the benefit to travellers in the form of cheap tickets.

If not all airline routes, travellers booking on 787 routes to and from Abu Dhabi are likely to net cheap flights to UAE and save on holiday trips to tour the country.

Abu Dhabi Airport is the hub for Etihad and with cheaper tickets, the already sought after city will also become a preferred port of entry for those planning to travel to UAE.

The first commercial debut of the 787 Dreamliner was originally scheduled for 2008 but took place only this October. Due to such an extended hold-up in the production, many airlines have reportedly withdrawn their orders Boeing.

Emirates Increases Flights to Venice; Offers Wi-Fi on A380s

Emirates will start operating double daily flights to Venice from 25th March 2012. Currently, the airline offers a daily service to the destination. Emirates has also announced its plan to provide Internet connection onboard A380s.

Dubai’s flag carrier, Emirates will operate daily double flights to Venice from 25th March next year. Emirates, one of the largest Middle East carriers, started offering flights to the beautiful Italian city in July 2007. And it is worth mentioning that Emirates remains the only airline in the market that runs a non-stop passenger service between Venice-Dubai!

Venice is a popular holiday destination that entices heaps of vacationers every year to start looking for cheap flights to the city. The city is also a commercial hub, bustling with small and medium sized companies. It is these very market segments that the Dubai based airline hopes to cater to with its introductory second daily service.

Emirates’ flight to Venice, EK 137, will depart from the Dubai International Airport at 1545hrs and arrive in Venice at 2000hrs. The return flight, EK 138, will take off from the Venice Marco Polo Airport at 2150hrs and will land in Dubai at 0535hrs the next day.

Emirates will be plying 267-seater Airbus 340-300 on the route. The travel configuration of the aircraft will be three-tier, with first class, business class and economy class options.

“Since launching our third gateway into Italy four years ago, Venice has gone from strength, both on the passenger and cargo side,” Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ senior vice president, Europe and Russian Federation, was quoted as saying in different news reports.

The announcement of the new daily flight to Venice comes a fortnight after Emirates decided to introduce a 489-seat A380 on one of its double daily flights to Rome. The positioning of the A380 on the popular route will allow travellers to enjoy the charms of the double-decker all the way through to destinations like Australia and Thailand - markets served by the A380. And given the number of seats available for economy class travellers in the world’s largest passenger airliner, the fact that cheap flight tickets will perhaps be easy to grab on the route cannot be completely discounted!

Emirates Launches In-Flight Internet on A380s

Talking of Emirates’ A380, the airline has decided to offer Wi Fi connectivity for its passengers on Airbus A380s. Passengers will now be able to operate Wi Fi enabled devices including smart phones, tablets and laptops in air.

Internet service will be provided by OnAir, with prices starting from US $7.50 for mobile devices and US $15 for laptops.

Travellers who would rather prefer cheap air tickets with Emirates than Wi Fi connectivity must not lose sleep as it is an option ancillary service and the charges for it will not be incorporated in air tickets. Travellers who wish to take advantage of the service would have to pay separately.

Initially, the new Wi-Fi services will launch on 11 of 19 in-service Emirates A380s and gradually it will be installed across its entire fleet of A380s.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Emirates Jacks Up Flights to Paris; Launches A380 to Rome

Dubai’s Emirates is increasing its weekly scheduled flights to Paris by adding five more services in response to strong demand. Emirates also expanded its A380 network by making Dubai-Rome route an A380 one.

Dubai’s Emirates Airline will start offering additional five weekly flights to Paris by the end of 2012. The airline has announced the move in response to the steadily growing passenger demand on the Dubai-Paris route.

Emirates, one of the Middle East’s leading airlines, will start providing an additional four flights a week to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport from March 25. This will be in addition to already operational double-daily flights to the airport. Further, the flight frequency to Pairs will be heightened to five additional weekly flights in the winter of 2012. The total number of weekly flights to Paris from Dubai is set to rise to 19 by the end of the next year.

Salem Obaidalla, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation, Emirates, was quoted as saying: “Demand to and from France, particularly from business travelers, is such that a third frequency has always been an objective for Emirates.

“With these additional services, we will help to satisfy that demand, while providing more opportunities for travel between Paris, Dubai and beyond to our network of more than 100 destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australasia,” Obaidalla further added.

Additional four flights to Paris will start operating from March and will run on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The fifth extra flight, scheduled to be launched in October, will be operated on Tuesdays by the airline.

Additional frequencies will be operated with aircraft 777-300ER, with a configuration of eight first class private suites, 42 lie-flat seats in business class and 310 economy class seats for those with cheap flight tickets on their minds.

Flight EK 071 will take off from the Dubai airport at 0355 hrs and land in French capital at 0905 hrs. For the return journey, Flight EK072 will depart from the Paris airport at 1110 hrs and will arrive at Dubai at 1940hrs.

Emirates' Rome A380 Flight Underway

Emirates boosted its network of A380 connections by launching A380 services to Rome. It will be a daily operation.

“With the A380 forming part of the double daily service to Rome, twice daily flights to Milan and a daily offering into Venice, Italy is becoming an increasingly active market,” Salem Obaidalla was quoted in various news reports.

Flight EK 097 that takes off from the Dubai International Airport at 0910hrs and lands in Rome at 1235hrs will now be now utilize the services of the double-decker. The largest aircraft in the world will ensure that there are 250 seats extra each day on the popular Dubai-Rome route. Budget conscious travellers who look for cheap flight tickets are more likely to end up with cheap tickets when the availability is ample.

A380 on Dubai-Rome route will feature 399 seats in Economy, 76 fully-flat, mini pods in Business Class and 14 First Class Private Suites.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Air India Aims to buy 27 Boeing 787 Dreamliners

The flag carrier of India, Air India has planned to purchase 27 Boeing 787s. The airline is intending to go for a sale-and-leaseback agreement in order to fix the financial burden this would implicate. Read below to get the wider picture of the news.

Air India, the flag carrier of India is heading to purchase 27 Boeing 787 aircraft. The airline initially decided to obtain it in the year 2006.

Air India is a renowned carrier and perhaps the first preferred airline for booking tickets for flights to India. Behind Jet Airways, Kingfisher and IndiGo, Air India has the fourth largest contribution in India's domestic air travel market. However, from the past sometime, the airline has been in the red.

As per the conference held on Tuesday, the cash-strapped airline’s board members have decided that rather than going for outright purchase, the airline would opt for a sale-and-leaseback arrangement that would help it to handle the financial burden this deal will include.

Moreover, the airline also has plans to lease out some of its new and old planes to reduce its thumping debts of Rs 43,777 crore.

To bring down its material consumption, Air India is considering the proposals of substituting the full meals with a snack for onboard flights of less than 90 minutes and ceasing the service of hot meals completely on flights of less than one hour.

The carrier intends to lease out its surplus capacity of two Boeing 747-400 planes and some Boeing 777-200 long-range planes as soon it will get the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

World’s best fuel-efficient airliner, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is possibly a boon for budget travellers looking for cheap flight to India. However, cheap flight tickets due to higher fuel efficiency is not the only plus point of the airliner. Boeing 787 also features amazing interiors for more stress-free medium and long-haul flights to and from India.

Tussle Between Indian Airlines and Air India to Fly the Dreamliner

Since the time Air India has planned to purchase the Boeing 787 aircraft, the pilot associations of the integrated Indian Airlines and Air India have been going under a big tussle over the right to fly it.

However, Air India put forward a policy of 1:1 which states one pilot each from Indian Airlines and Air India will be assigned the flight duty on the Boeing 787 aircraft. Even though, Air India and ICPA (representing the IA pilots) have favoured this policy, IPG (representing AI pilots) have contradicted it. IPG feels that its pilots have elite right and seniority to fly the 787s. Consequently, IPG has challenged the carrier’s step in the court.

Now it is to be seen how Air India will handle the situation emerged due to conflicts between the IPG and Indian Commercial Pilots Association over the airline’s intended policy of 1:1.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Virgin Australia-Singapore Airlines Pact Gets Final ACCC Stamp

Australia’s competition regulator has given its final nod for an alliance between Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines, saying it will boost competition. Meanwhile, SIA’s subsidiary Scoot announces to kick off with Sydney-Changi flights.

Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines have been provided with the final authorization required to form an alliance.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australia’s competition regulator, gave the green signal for the deal on Thursday saying the tie-up is likely to augment competition for international air travellers. In October, the regulatory body gave its preliminary approval for the alliance.

This will enable the two carriers to cooperate on pricing, scheduling, marketing and sales on Australia-Singapore flights as well as international and domestic connections.

Travel analysts believe that the pact is likely to cause concern to Qantas Airways, which is the biggest competitor to Virgin Australia in the segment. However, it sure spells good times for budget conscious passengers as amplified competition is expected to bring in cheap flight tickets for the travellers.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims was quoted in a statement: “The ACCC considers that the alliance is likely to lead to increased competition for international air passenger services.”

ACCC said the alliance would “be attractive to both corporate and government passengers” and is unlikely to be anti-competitive in any of the relevant markets.

Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti welcomed the ACCC’s stamp of approval: “This is excellent news for Australian travellers as it provides our guests with access to around 70 additional destinations across Asia, India and Africa, with one of the best airlines in the world.

“The alliance will also be positive for tourism in Australia, as it will enable us to provide Singapore Airlines’ customers with seamless travel through to over 30 destinations around Australia and we will jointly promote these destinations”, Mr Borghetti said in a press release.

Mr Borghetti further spoke of the benefits that travellers are set to enjoy because of the alliance.

“Through reciprocal codeshare, frequent flyer recognition and lounge access with each of our alliance partners, Virgin Australia will be able to offer guests a first-rate seamless travel experience that spans the globe with four of the world’s best airlines”, he said.

SIA’s Scoot to Offer Sydney-Changi flights

In different yet not completely unrelated news, Singapore Airlines’ long haul budget airline Scoot announced to commence its operations by offering flights to Sydney, Australia. Scoot, launched last month, said it is planning to operate daily flights to Sydney from Singapore's Changi airport from the mid of 2012.

Cheap flight tickets will be on cards as the airline promises to offer air tickets up to 40 percent lower than full-service airlines. Initially, Scoot will be operating its services with a fleet of four Boeing 777s which it plans to expand to 14 by 2015.

New Zealand, North Asia, Europe and India are other potential destinations that have been named by Singapore Airlines’ long haul low cost subsidiary.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Airlines Cancel Flights, Issue Advisory for UK Public Sector Strike

Travellers with scheduled flight to London today (Wednesday, 30 Nov) would do well to check out their flight status as airlines around the globe are cancelling services in the wake of nationwide industrial unrest in the United Kingdom.

Many public sector unions, including the UK border agency staff and those representing immigration have joined the protest that erupted over planned changes to public-sector pensions. Chaos and long waiting queues are expected at different airports around the country, especially London Heathrow.

While almost every airline that operates to and from the UK has issued travel advisory for the passengers, few airlines have gone ahead and cancelled flights to London to avoid any sort of inconvenience at the airports.

British Airways, UK’s flag carrier, has plans to run a normal flight schedule on the day of strike. BA is the largest operator at Heathrow and is offering free of charge flight changes to travellers who are willing.

Hong Kong’s flag carrier, Cathay Pacific has confirmed on its website that it will be operating normal schedule. However, the carrier advised passengers to avoid non essential travel on the day. Travellers will not be charged anything for flight tickets changes if they opt to do so, the website said.

Delta Air Lines has cancelled few flights to and from the UK. The airline posted a travel advisory on its website warning customers to expect delays of up to eight hours. Passengers who are planning for a ticket reissue must do so on or before Dec. 2 for a travel no later than Dec. 7.

Singapore Airlines’ flight SQ308 (Singapore-London) and SQ319 (London-Singapore) have been cancelled for 30 November due to the strike. The airline’s website said that alternative travel arrangements will be made for the impacted passengers.

Air India, India’s national carrier, has also decided to cancel four flights to London. Amritsar-Delhi-London (AI-115), London-Delhi (AI-116), Delhi-London (AI-111) and London-Delhi (AI-112) will be grounded and arrangements for travellers have been made on other flights.

Ryanair, an Irish airline popular for cheap flights, is operating a normal flight program for 30 November. However, the budget carrier has made it clear that travellers may face delays at passport controls/immigration. Another airline popular in Europe for doling out cheap flight tickets, EasyJet is also operating a full schedule of flights.

Emirates, the Dubai based carrier, has cancelled flights to the UK on the day of walkout to avoid any sort of disruptions. Emirates grounded EK029 from Dubai to London Heathrow and EK030 from London Heathrow to Dubai.

Virgin Atlantic’s flight program is unaltered by the industrial action. However, the airline has suggested travellers to mull over flight changes so as to avoid inconveniences.


Monday, November 28, 2011

UK Strike: Crowds & Chaos Expected on Wednesday at Airports

Come Wednesday and the airports all over the UK just might bear pictures of utmost frenzy as travellers may face a waiting period of up to 12 hours to clear immigration as fewer than half the immigration desks will be manned.

Mass flight cancellations are on the cards due to next week’s public sector strike that is set to engulf UK international airports.

London Heathrow is expected to be most affected airport as it is the busiest one in the entire European continent. Add to it the flight pattern of the airport and the problem augments for the travellers. Almost 100 long-haul flights are scheduled to land at Heathrow before 9am on Wednesday.

“Modelling of the impacts of strike action on passenger flows show that there are likely to be very long delays of up to 12 hours to arriving passengers,” Normand Boivin, Chief Operating Officer of Heathrow wrote in a letter posted on the airport's website.

Mr Boivin also urged that carriers with flight operations to Heathrow on 30 November to half the passenger load to reduce delays.

“We will plan for a normal flight schedule, but we are requesting all carriers to reduce load factors on each international flight arriving into Heathrow on 30 November to 50 per cent of normal levels,” he wrote.

Gatwick has also warned of “significant disruption” on Wednesday if the unions opt for the strike.

Scott Stanley, Gatwick's Chief Operating Officer, warned: “Unfortunately, airport staff can not man the desks at the Border Zone but we will provide all necessary assistance to the Border Agency and we are determined to make sure that the needs and welfare of all our passengers will be met on the day.”

The row is over planned alterations to public sector pensions.

Almost every airline with flight operations to the UK has issued travel warnings to its passengers for Wednesday. Most of them are offering flight changes free of cost to reduce troubles for passengers who were lucky enough to grab cheap flight tickets. So far, very few carriers like Etihad have announced flight cancellation for the day.

Qantas is offering to rebook on alternative flights between 28 November 2011 and 07 December 2011 for passengers who are scheduled to arrive at London Heathrow on Wednesday. British Airways is also offering free of cost flight changes for passengers.

Easyjet, a no frills airline known for doling out cheap flight tickets, has warned travellers to be prepared for hold-up and allow for delays while making further travel plans.

Airlines in the Gulf have also issued warnings to put the travellers on alert who have bookings on flights to UK on Wednesday. Gulf Air warned that flights to UK may face massive delays on the 30th.

News Reference

Qatar Airways stated flights to London Heathrow and Manchester will most likely be affected by the strike.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Qantas Labour Dispute to Be Settled By Arbitration

Australian airline Qantas Airways’ talks with the unions of pilots and ground-staff were unsuccessful in reaching any new agreement. Each party has concluded that the issue would now go to obligatory arbitration.

Qantas Airways has been involved in a bitter conflict with employee unions over pay and moving jobs to Asia for some time now. But it seems that the dispute will now come to an end as Fair Work Australia is set to interfere through binding arbitration with talks between the warring parties failing to reach any logical conclusion.

On Monday, negotiations between Qantas and the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA), the only holdout for a negotiated settlement, failed to crop up any sort of agreement. Now all parties must accept Australia's industrial umpire settlement.

“We haven't been able to reach a new agreement with the ALAEA, so will now let the independent umpire decide,” Qantas' Chief Executive Officer, Alan Joyce, said in a statement.

The development is seen as good news for Qantas Airways by industry insiders as no party can engage in any sort of industrial action while the arbitration is in process. The Flying Kangaroo would surely be relieved by the fact that there would be no more travel disruptions. Last month, the airline grounded all of its flights to force the Australia Government to interfere. As a result, an arbitration court ordered to put an end to flights grounding and offered the carrier and unions 21 days to arrive at an agreement.

Qantas Airways and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) failed to reach a fresh agreement on pay and conditions for more than 3,500 employees.

“Qantas is extremely disappointed that despite over six months of negotiations and a further three weeks of conciliation talks before Fair Work Australia the TWU has refused to remove its unreasonable demands,” Qantas said in a statement.

Alan Joyce also promised support to the government in case TWU launches a legal challenge.

Speaking about Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA), Mr Joyce said: “We did make some progress in negotiations with movement on both sides however in the end we were unable to reach a new agreement for our 1,600 long-haul pilots.”

Customers Returning: Qantas

It seems Qantas is finally beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel. As per the airline, customers have returned “in large numbers” since the carrier has resumed flying after its fleet grounding episode. Thousands of travellers with bookings on flights to and from Australia were affected by the action. Qantas has tried real hard to tempt travellers, offering them perks, cheap flight tickets and even free air tickets (to those who were affected by fleet grounding). With peak holiday travel season coming up, the airline has gone all out to woo frequent flyers by providing them more perks, offering them cheap flight tickets, etc.

Alan Joyce said that customers can carry on to book flights with total confidence that their flights will not be interrupted by industrial action.

News Reference

Airfrance A380 flights to Dubai starting from 05 December 2011

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You can now book any A380 flights to Dubai with Air France, operating on daily basis.

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The minimum airfares of Airfrance flights are starting from £349

Offers are inclusive of all taxes and charges and subject to availability booking open by 30 nov 2011

AIRFRANCE, KLM, DELTA flights worldwide special offers

Offers are inclusive of all taxes and charges and subject to availability booking open by 30 nov 2011

Special offer on direct flights to Bangkok

Economy Class flights to Bangkok From £581 pp
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Business Class flights to Bangkok From £1766 pp

Offers are inclusive of all taxes and charges and subject to availability booking open by 30 nov 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Qatar Airways to Expand Wings Around the World

Qatar Airways is all set to expand its horizon in the year 2012. The airline made public its route expansion program for the next year at the Dubai Air Show held on Friday. With the new program, the airline hopes to make its presence stronger in regions like Australia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

The five-star airline is going to launch flight to Perth (Australia), Helsinki (Finnish capital), Zagreb (Croatia), Gassim (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Zanzibar (Tanzania), Kigali (Rwanda) and Mombasa (Kenya).

While cheap tickets on flights is not exactly what people think when they hear of Qatar Airways, the rise in the competition on the seven routes will perhaps ensure that budget travellers have better chances of grabbing cheap flight tickets.

Each of the seven new routes will be operated from the Qatar Airways’ hub in Doha. As per the airline the routes will become functional over the next few months. These new flight routes will accompany flights to Baku and Tbilisi, the capital cities of Azerbaijan and Georgia, respectively that were announced earlier in the year.

Qatar Airways’ Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker spoke about the company’s aggressive strategy.

“We are continuing what we started back in 1997 when Qatar Airways was launched with new routes and new aircraft being introduced at an unprecedented rate to further strengthen what is truly a global network airline,” Al Baker was quoted in the company’s press release.

“Our mission has been to operate to key business and leisure destinations around the world, but also to underserved markets where others dare not venture into. We take bold decisions to serve certain markets because we believe it makes strong business sense.

“Today’s announcement shows the confidence Qatar Airways has in such a diverse range of destinations. We look forward to offering even greater choice to the travelling public that they so deserve,” Al Baker continued.

Qatar Airways’ New Routes

Qatar Airways’ flights to Perth will be second air travel route in Australia after it launched operations to Melbourne couple of years ago.

The airline’s operations to Helsinki and Zagreb will give a boost to Qatar’s presence in Europe. In 2011, Qatar started seven routes to Europe.

If one talks about the African continent, then the launch of three new routes will surely bolster the carrier’s business in the area. Kenya’s Mombasa and Zanzibar in the Indian Ocean are considered popular holiday destinations while Rwanda’s capital city of Kigali is a mining hub and is sure to attract business travellers.

Much closer to home lies the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the airline is in the mood to keep it closer and covered. The carrier has added fifth destination to the country - Gassim.

News Reference

Friday, November 11, 2011

Kingfisher Airlines Crisis: More Flights Cancelled

Travellers suffer the most as India’s Kingfisher Airlines keeps on cancelling its flights. The airline grounded 30 flights on Thursday, the fourth consecutive day of flight cancellations. DGCA sends a show-cause notice to the carrier.

Kingfisher Airlines cancelled flights for fourth day in a row on Thursday to cause great inconvenience to passengers all over the country. More than 30 flights were grounded yesterday. This takes the total tally of flight cancelled in past few days to well over 100.

Chaos was the order of the day at various airports around the country as confusion ruled the roost with no clear information or guidelines coming out of the airline. Very few international flights have been cancelled so far but many foreign tourists on Indian holidays were concerned about their domestic travel within India.

Kingfisher Airlines is one of the biggest names in the India’s aviation industry and the company’s massive flight cancellations have left people in lurch. Those who made advance booking with Kingfisher Airlines in a bid to net cheap flight tickets were perhaps most disappointed with the grounding of flights.

Sources in the industry said that more than 30 pilots and crew members with Kingfisher have not reported for duty in the past few days on grounds of illness. There have been other unverified reports that say that some 100 pilots had quit the airline in past few weeks.

The airline’s flight schedule has also been affected with three oil companies - HPCL, IOC and BPCL – discontinuing the grant of credit to the carrier for lifting jet fuel. The oil companies have put Kingfisher on a cash-and-carry payment mode.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said that Kingfisher has been sent show-cause notice as to why the airline had not taken the regulator's prior approval to limit its operations. The DGCA has also asked the Vijay Mallya-owned carrier to offer information regarding steps that have been taken by the airline to take care of the passengers with bookings on the flights that were cancelled.

Kingfisher is yet to reply to the DGCA’s notice.

Kingfisher Airlines had said in a statement: “For a limited period, these flights are either being cancelled or clubbed with other Kingfisher flights in a well-controlled and pre-determined manner.

“In continuation of our earlier announcement to focus on the full-service market, KFA has initiated reconfiguration of its aircraft,” it further said.

Chief Executive Officer of Kingfisher Airlines, Sanjay Aggarwal was quoted in news websites as stating, “We decided to reduce frequency in some of the routes where we had multiple flights like Delhi-Mumbai or low passenger load like Nanded-Mysore.”

Kingfisher Cancellations Cause Surge in Air Fares

Kingfisher Airlines’ cancellation of substantial number of flights over the period of four days means an increase in air fares for travellers. In the current scenario it has become extremely difficult for passengers to net cheap flight tickets for domestic travel.

Passengers at major airports in the country have complained of inconvenience. The have been forced to rebook on other airlines paying a premium of 20-40 per cent at the last moment.

News Reference

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Oneworld Alliance Members Geared Up For Lucrative Fare Sale

American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia are celebrating the first anniversary of their joint business. These oneworld alliance members have decided to offer cheap tickets with distinctive fare sale to amplify the Christmas festivities.

American Airlines recent news release promulgated the launch of a joint fare sale by the oneworld Airline Trio - American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia. This unique fare sale is set to lure budget travellers with cheap flights between the United States and European destinations.

The airline trio plans to offer round-trip economy class tickets as low as $224, each way. However, flyers would need to book the economy class tickets atleast seven days and business class tickets atleast 14 days prior to travel to enjoy the low fares; tickets must be booked not later than 11:59 p.m. Nov. 15th 2011 (Central Time).

As per the news release, special economy class fares to continental Europe will be lowest for travel, Sundays through Thursdays, while for UK, economy class travel fares will be cheapest Mondays through Wednesdays. However, special business class tickets would be valid throughout the week.

Tourists willing to partake in this scheme can log onto to find the schedules and book cheap flights.

Originating Dates

The originating travel dates for economy class to Europe run from Nov. 8 through Dec. 16, 2011 and Dec. 25, 2011 through April 1, 2012 with June 15, 2012 travel as conclusion date.

The originating travel dates for business class are from Nov. 15, 2011 through May 22, 2012 with June 15, 2012 as the travel conclusion date.

Embargo Dates

While the Embargo dates for economy class travel are from Dec. 17th through Dec. 24th 2011, there are no embargo dates for business class travel.

Ticket Validity

Economy class tickets will be valid for travel originating from Nov. 8th 2011 through Dec. 16th 2011 or from Dec. 25th 2011, through Apr 1st 2012, with return completed by midnight June 15th 2012.

Business Class fares will be valid for travel beginning Nov. 15th 2011, through May 22nd 2012, with return travel completed by midnight June 15th 2012.

Additionally, if the flights are cancelled before scheduled departure, partially used tickets would be valid for one year for from the travel date; unused tickets will be valid for one year from the issuing date. Conversely, if the tickets are not cancelled before scheduled departure, the ticket will have no value.

Fare Information

The tickets will be non-refundable and non-transferable and may not be available on all flights. Additionally, the change fee for economy class tickets to Europe will be $275 plus fare difference (if any) and for business class fares to Europe will be $500 plus fare difference.

The special fares will not include
  • A federal excise tax of $3.70 per U.S. domestic flight segment, defined as one takeoff and landing, of a passenger's itinerary
  • up to $18 per round trip in local airport charges
  • September 11th Security Fee of $2.50 per enplanement originating at a U.S. airport
  • government taxes and fees of up to $190 for Economy Class and $250 for Business Class, for international destinations, which may vary through destinations.
News Reference

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Virgin Atlantic to Serve Vancouver; to Add Second Flight to San Francisco

Virgin Atlantic will start operating flights between Vancouver and London Heathrow from May 2012. The services will go on till October and will be offered four times a week. Virgin Atlantic also announced a second London and San Francisco service.

Yesterday, Virgin Atlantic Airways made a significant announcement of launching a new seasonal route to between Vancouver and London Heathrow Airport.

The new flight service that will be offered four times a week from May 24th to Oct. 25th is expected to provide a boost of $54 million to Vancouver’s tourism revenue. Vancouver – London route is likely to be utilised by 40,000 travellers.

In a response to the airline’s announcement, the Honourable Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia was quoted as stating, “Today’s announcement by Virgin Atlantic, of four new weekly flights between London and Vancouver, is positive news for British Columbia’s tourism industry.”

She was also quoted as saying, “The United Kingdom is one of our key markets and also serves as a hub for other international travellers heading to our province. Virgin Atlantic is recognized around the world as a progressive airline and we look forward to welcoming their passengers to British Columbia when their service begins next summer.”

The launch of the new air travel route gains significance in the view of the Olympic Games 2012 that will be hosted by London. Then there is the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne. Both these events are likely to attract tourists from all over the world to the UK capital.

Airbus A340-300s will be plied on the new route. Aircraft will have the configuration of Upper Class, Premium Economy and Economy. Travellers with a preference for cheap tickets on flights to San Francisco will surely have much better chance of grabbing them as ample amount of premium economy and economy seats are available on the new route.

Virgin Atlantic also announced the launch of a second flight between London and San Francisco. It will start operating from March 2012 and will run until October 2012. It will be a three times a week service (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays).

“The North American market has always been at the core of our business. Our success here has been due to our investment in product innovation and our willingness to respond to customer demand,” Steve Ridgway, Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Executive said.

“With almost 20,000 people flying from the UK to Canada each month in the peak season, the UK is the largest overseas market for passengers to British Columbia,” he was further quoted.

The increased competition among the carriers will also be beneficial for passengers as it will be much easier for them to net cheap flight tickets, something that Steve Ridgway emphasised on.

“Greater competition to both Vancouver and San Francisco will benefit passengers through improved choice and better value for money,” he was quoted in news reports.

News Reference

Monday, November 7, 2011

Qantas - Free Tickets to Affected Fliers, Resumes Talks with Union

Qantas Airways hopes to tempt disgruntled travellers by offering free flight tickets to them. Offers for overseas customers and frequent fliers will be announced soon. Also, the airline met union members on Monday to start off negotiation process.

Qantas Airways is pulling out all the stops to win back customers. One of the world’s largest airlines is offering free air tickets to the travellers who were hit by the airline’s decision to ground the entire fleet in the midst of an industrial dispute.

Qantas, an airline not known for offering very cheap flights, said that passengers whose journeys were affected by the fleet grounding will be offered a free return economy flight within Australia or to New Zealand over a two-year period from Dec. 14. It sure means that the airline is doing all it can to attract travellers.

“This ticket offer is one of a range of initiatives we will be launching as a way of saying sorry as we move forward into this period of stability,” said Alan Joyce, Qantas Chief Executive Officer in a statement.

“Throughout the long period of industrial activity we have been acutely aware of the impact on our customers,” Alan Joyce added. As per the CEO, this is the Qantas’ way to gain back customer loyalty. And if reports are to be believed then ‘customer loyalty’ might cost Qantas as much as A$20 million.

The recent past really has been a troubled time for Australia’s flag carrier. Stung by a string of strikes, the airline decided to halt its operations all over the world on Oct. 29. Around 80,000 passengers were impacted by this drastic measure of the carrier.

Operations resumed as Fair Work Australia intervened. The airline and unions were given 21 days to reach a new contract or face binding arbitration.

Loyalty to be Rewarded

All the passengers will be offered compensation for all reasonable losses resulting from the fleet grounding, said Qantas.

“Now that no more industrial action can take place and the cloud of further strike action has lifted, we are 100 percent focused on what matters to customers, getting them to their destinations, safely, on time and in comfort, and in rewarding their loyalty to Qantas,” Alan Joyce was quoted.

Qantas will be making announcements for its overseas customers and frequent fliers soon. It remains to be seen what the airline doles out for these two very important segments of travellers. Will it be cheap flight tickets, more travel privileges or some other incentive?

Qantas-Union Talks Resume

Even as Qantas Airways is trying to tempt travellers with free flights, the airline met the union members for negotiations. This was the first meeting of the parties after the Australian airline grounded its entire fleet.

Secretary of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, Steve Purvinas stated that another negotiating session is slated for Thursday.

“By today (Monday), we’ll know whether Qantas are interested in negotiating an outcome or whether they’ll continue to stonewall — which has been the case up until now,” Purvinas was quoted as saying in news reports.