Monday, January 30, 2012

Qatar Airways’ Opens London Lounge, Eyes Major 2012 Expansion

Qatar Airways launches its premium lounge at London Heathrow which marks the beginning of another eventful year for the Doha based airline. 2012 will be all about capacity enhancement on existing routes and addition of new routes on the Qatar’s network.

The Doha-based Qatar Airways has launched its new premium lounge for first and business class travellers at Terminal 4 of the London’s Heathrow Airport.

The premium lounge has been designed like a boutique hotel instead of the traditional lounge facility for an airline at the airports, and is staffed with employees hired from five star hotels and restaurants. The lounge has a capacity to house 90 passengers and features a theatre-style Global Brasserie kitchen, innovative Delicatessen, Signature Martini bar, private shower services, heated floors and mirrors, hotel-style towels, branded toiletries, etc.

The free Wi-Fi network and discreet power sockets at each seat are other facilities provided to the passengers booking tickets for on Qatar flights to London from Doha, and return.

At the launch of this premium lounge, the CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar al-Baker said: “The lounge is the latest development in our rapidly expanding global route network and we are eyeing opportunities to open further airport lounges in destinations where we operate more than two frequencies a day”.

Qatar’s 2012 Route Expansion Plan

The airline has announced additional capacity for its Heathrow – Doha route by increasing the present four flights to five, effective March 25. This will considerably add to the daily inventory of economy class tickets for passengers looking for cheap flights to London with the airline.

More importantly, in the year 2012, the airline is planning to operate several new flight routes. The expansion begins with Baku in Azerbaijan and Tbilisi in Georgia with flights launching on February 1. This will be soon followed by flight to Kigali in Rwanda on March 21; Zagreb, Croatia on May 9 and Perth, Western Australia on July 3. The dates for flights to Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Helsinki (Finland), Mombasa (Kenya) and Zanzibar (Tanzania) are yet to be declared.

Operations to Perth is set realise Qatar’s capacity enhancement goal for Australia that the airline has been considering since it launched direct flights to Melbourne in December 2009. Flights to Perth will use Boeing 777 with two class configuration – 42 Seats for Business and 217 economy class.

Qatar Plans to Operate First Dreamliner from Heathrow

Qatar Airways is aiming to become the first airline to operate the Boeing 787 from the UK. Boeing 787 Dreamliner is considered to be unbeatable in terms of fuel efficiency and passengers can expect that airlines may pass on the fuel cost saving in the form of cheap flight tickets to them.

The Dreamliner will be configured with two travel classes – business class for luxury seekers and economy class for passengers looking for comparatively cheap flights tickets with the airline.

Out of five flights to London, the airline will be offering one daily flight with the Dreamliner later in 2012. The airline is scheduled to get the delivery of its first 787 in the coming summer and will make London as its first destination outside the Gulf.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Emirates and Alaska Airlines Announce Frequent-Flyer Partnership

Dubai’s Emirates, one of the world’s largest airlines, and Seattle based Alaska Airlines have decided to join hands. The two major carriers have come together to launch a new frequent flier partnership.

Dubai based Emirates and Seattle based Alaska Airlines have launched a new frequent flier partnership.

The deal between these two major players will allow passengers to collect Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan miles when they travel to any of Emirates’ numerous destinations worldwide. Similarly, the collaboration will make it possible for Emirates’ Skywards members to accrue miles across the Alaska Airlines flight network that encompasses the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“As part of our commitment to Seattle, we are launching our service by partnering with Seattle’s hometown airline to offer customers the convenience of a frequent flier partnership as well as one-stop check-in and through checked baggage,” Nigel Page, Emirates’ Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations for the Americas, was quoted in news reports.

He continued: “Emirates looks forward to welcoming Alaska Airlines customers with our affordably luxurious service both on the ground and in the air.”

Caroline Boren, Alaska’s Managing Director, Loyalty Marketing and Customer Advocacy, appeared buoyed with this new development.

"Alaska Airlines is delighted to welcome Emirates as our newest Mileage Plan partner,” she was quoted in news portals.

"Our customers will be able to earn and redeem miles on Emirates — a carrier admired for its service and quality and with a route network that gives our members even more access to global destinations,” she said.

In a bid to promote this new partnership, the two airlines will start offering double miles on each others’ flights. Double miles will be offered starting March 1 through May 31, 2012. It sure will be a wonderful opportunity for travellers with enough air miles to redeem their miles for rewards such as cheap flight tickets and airport lounge access.

Emirates to Serve Seattle

Industry experts believe that Emirates’ frequent flier partnership with Alaska Airlines is an effort to create a buzz around the Dubai-based airline’s March 1, 2012 launch of flights to Dubai from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. It will be a daily nonstop service and a B777-300ER will be used on the route. With the commencement of operations, Seattle will become the airline’s newest gateway in the US after New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston and most recently, Dallas/Fort Worth.

Apart from serving passengers who wish to book flights to Dubai from Seattle, Emirates hopes to serve travellers who want to fly via Dubai to destinations in the Indian Subcontinent and Africa. Emirates is a full-service airline that is not really known for offering cheap flight tickets but maybe with increase in the number of options getting hands around cheap tickets may get relatively easier.

On the other hand, Alaska Airlines has also announced that it will be boost its flight services this summer from Portland, Ore., to Santa Barbara, Calif.; Bellingham, Wash.; and several cities in Montana.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ramadan 2012- The Month of Fasting this year

Ramadan 2012 - The Month of Fasting this year

• Ramadan Meaning? Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is a special Month for over two billion Muslims throughout the world. It is of a special meaning to Muslims as it is the Fourth Pillar of The Muslim Faith. Sawm (fasting) during the month of Ramadan represents more than an act of worship, as it is time for inner reflection, devotion to god and self – control. It is also thought of as a sort of tune – up for a Muslim’s spiritual life. The Ramadan 2012 is about to in the mid of this year and all the Muslim’s across the world must be waiting for this holy month very curiously.

• What are the benefits of Ramadan fasting? The fasting of Ramadan is believed to improve the physical and mental health. It gives a rest for a stomach, which is working 24 hours a day for eleven months and has been proven to be a good method of losing extra weight. The month feels like going “into maintenance” and is almost like charging one’s batteries for the rest of the year. It is also a break from the routine of modern life. Fasting is also considered as a method of self-purification by cutting oneself off from worldly comforts, even for short time, a fasting person gains true sympathy with those who go hungry. It also teaches the meaning of self-control, patience, unselfishness, moderation, will power, discipline and social belonging. You must be thinking of fasting this year Ramadan 2012 season, definitely going to be good and happy for you.

• Who fasts in Ramadan? Sawm or Abstention means complete abstention from eating, drinking, smoking and intimate sexual contact from dawn to sunset. It also means curbing of even the smallest of evil intentions and desires. Fasting of Ramadan is obligatory to every adult Muslim, male or female if he/she is mentally and physically fit and not on a journey. Women in certain conditions (period of menstruation and nursing) are exempted from fasting but must make it up if they can otherwise they must feed a needy person for every day missed. You must decide to fasts in Ramadan 2012 if possible all the ways.

• When is Ramadan 2012? Ramadan is part of the Lunar Calendar and begins with the sighting of the new moon. Since the Lunar Calendar is eleven days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, Ramadan comes eleven days earlier every year which allows fasting in various seasons and weather conditions. Ramadan 2012 for the year is expected to begin on July 20st depending on the sighting of the moon.

• How is Ramadan in Dubai? Ramadan in Dubai is a unique and different experience due to the fact that people from different parts of the world live and bring their own cultural heritage to this cosmopolitan city. The working hours are slightly altered During Ramadan and all restaurants and coffee shops remain closed from dawn to sunset. While Public Restaurants and coffee shops outside hotels remain closed during the day, Restaurants at hotels remain open during the day and food and drinks are freely served in those areas. Each hotel has a different policy on which and how many food & drink outlets are open so it is advisableLink to check with your hotel. While non-Muslims are not required to fast, they are obliged by law not to eat; drink and smoke in all public areas such as streets, shopping malls, cars and public offices during the fasting hours. All hotels currently serving alcohol can continue to do so after Iftar i.e. from 19:00 until 02:00.

Dubai is generally very tolerant with regards to clothing in public areas and on private beaches. In Ramadan It is advisable to have sensible attire when out in public areas especially during the day. Swim suites are allowed on Private beaches.

• What goes on after sunset? The city is bustling with life in the morning and until the early afternoon when it is time to break fasting (Iftar in Arabic). Traffic clearly slows down during the Iftar period. The city goes back to the very busy mode of the morning and remains so until the early hours of the morning. Shopping centers and Souks open up for business after Iftar and remain so until late at night. It is customary to see people doing their shopping as late as 01:00 or 02:00. Fasting people go out after Iftar to one of the hundreds of coffee shops in the city to enjoy the evening and stay up until late at night chatting, eating and drinking special Ramadan delicacies. Most hotels especially those on the beach set up their own (Ramadan tent) out in the open and by the beach to entertain guests all night.

• What happens after Ramadan? The end of Ramadan is announced by the sighting of the moon and the festivities (Eid in Arabic) go on for three days. The 1st day of Eid begins at dawn when all Muslims go for prayer out in the open. Visits to relatives and friends especially the sick and the elderly take place all day and special sweets are made for the occasion and new clothes are purchased for the children. All public offices and some private sector offices remain closed for the festivities.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Emirates Launches Dubai-Dublin Flights

Dubai’s Emirates launched its new Dublin route on Monday. It is the third new route to be added to the airline’s route network in 2012. Dubai-Dublin will be a daily service and is set to offer convenient connections to travellers.

Adding a major tourism and business link to the Middle East, Emirates Airlines began its operations between Dublin and Dubai from Monday.

The Dublin service is Emirates’ third new route to go underway in 2012 after the launch of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and Buenos Aires in Argentina in the first week of 2012.

New flights to Dublin will provide an efficient course to travellers in key markets like Australia, India, Thailand and China.

Tim Clark, President, Emirates airline; Salem Obaidalla, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Europe & Russian Federation; Ram Menen, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President-Cargo; Ciaran Madden, Ireland’s Ambassador to the UAE; Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport; Colm McLoughlin, Vice Chairman, Dubai Duty Free; and Niall Gibbons, CEO Tourism Ireland were some of the luminaries who were on board the inaugural flight from Dubai - Ireland.

Dubai-based Emirates will be providing daily flights to Dublin. The airline will ply an Aircraft A330-200 on the route that will feature a three-tier configuration. Ample options will be available for travellers who look for luxury while travel as well for those who seek comparatively cheap flight tickets with economy class.

Flight EK 0161 will take off from Dubai airport at 0700hrs and is scheduled to land at Dublin Airport’s Terminal 2 at 1130hrs. On the return journey next day, Flight EK 0162 will take off from Dublin at 1255hrs and arrive at Dubai at 0025hrs.

Tim Clark, President, Emirates described the new flight launch as an excellent development for both Irish business and Irish tourism.

“We are now connecting Ireland not only to Dubai, but also to over 100 destinations throughout the world. Solid early bookings have demonstrated that the demand is there, opening up new markets for passengers and cargo to and from the Republic,” news reports quoted Tim Clark as stating.

Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport also hailed Emirates’ new launch.

“The inauguration of this new daily service between Dubai and Dublin is a huge boost for Irish tourism, business and aviation. With a daily direct service between Dubai and Ireland, trade, tourism and relations between the two countries and beyond will continue to grow,” said he said.

Target Markets

Australia is considered one of the key markets for this service. Heaps of Irish nationals are based in Australia and Emirates hopes to tap into this market segment. It is reported that approximately 70 passengers on the 237-seat inaugural flight came from bookings in ‘the Kangaroo Land.’

Emirates offers as many as 70 flights to Australia each week, including an A380 service to Sydney. Cheap flight tickets may not be easy to come by with Emirates’ A380 but services and amenities offered on board the world's largest passenger airliner are surely appealing.

In the coming months, Emirates will be launching flights to Lusaka, Harare, Seattle and Dallas.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Emirates Airlines to Route Flights To Ho Chi Minh City

Dubai based carrier, Emirates Airlines would be operating daily non-stop flights to Vietnam’s commercial capital, Ho Chi Minh City. The destination emirates’ 8th newly added route in 2012 as a part of its expansion plans in South East Asia.

As per its global network expansion plans, Emirates Airlines launched new routes to Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City. The Dubai based carrier revealed that it is all set to offer non stop daily flights to Ho Chi Minh City from 4th June 2012.

Emirates initially plans to use an Airbus A330-200 in a two class configuration to operate outbound flight to Ho Chi Minh City and return flight to Dubai. However, Boeing 777-300 ER in two class configuration is expected to serve the new route from 28th October 2012.

The two class configuration on the airliners will accommodate 27 Business Class seats and 251 Economy Class seats. The higher availability of economy class seats will ensure that travellers looking for relatively cheap flights’ tickets with Emirates have more options.

Emirates’ daily non-stop flight, EK 390 will depart Dubai International Airport at 0925hrs arriving at Tan Son Nhat International Airport at 1920hrs. The return flight to Dubai, EK 391 will depart Tan Son Nhat International Airport at 2050hrs arriving Dubai airport at 0045hrs, the following day.

Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said, “Following the signing of the Air Services Memorandum of Understanding between Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates in April 2011, we have been busy planning this route and it comes at a very exciting time for the airline, as our global network continues to expand.”

He further added, “Emirates will offer tourists and business travellers, particularly from the Middle East, Africa and Europe, a convenient option to access Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City is one of the most vibrant places in South East Asia and we are convinced that this will prove to be a highly popular route. We look forward to growing our partnership with Vietnam and would like to thank the Government and Airport Authorities for their support in the planning of our launch.”

As revealed by Emirates’ news release, trade between Vietnam and UAE scaled to a whopping US$24 million in 2010 and Emirates’ SkyCargo has been the prominent shipper of Vietnamese export goods to the major Asian gateways including Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong on to European, American, Middle Eastern and African markets.

The lure of a rendezvous with the swanky Emirates Terminal at Dubai Airport is sure to make this new route popular even with travellers who generally are not inclined to splurge on airfares and look for tickets on cheap flights.

Currently, Emirates offers air travel to 117 destinations in 69 countries with 168 airliners. The airline is already the largest A380 operator in the world, operating with 20 A380.

Ho Chi Minh City is Emirates’ 124th destination and eighth route launch this year. Other newly added destinations include Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro (launched on 3rd January); Dublin (9th January); Lusaka and Harare (1st February); Dallas (2nd February) and Seattle (1st March).

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Turkish Airlines Teams Up with Thai Airways & TAM

This New Year has brought big smiles on the faces of the passengers of the Turkish ALinkirlines as the airline has signed codeshare agreement with two renowned airlines - Thai Airways and TAM Airlines.

Codeshare Agreement with Thai Airways

Turkish Airlines, the Atatürk International Airport based carrier, has teamed up with the Thai Airways for a Free Sale Codeshare Agreement. This accord will enable the two airlines to operate certain flights with the help of their own code and flight numbers on a free sale basis. Turkish Airlines will now serve a wider network and will operate flights to Bangkok from its hub Istanbul and further connection to Australia.

Due to this codeshare agreement, Turkish Airlines’ passengers taking flights to Bangkok will be offered seamless connections on Thai Airways-operated flights to Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, Auckland and Kuala Lumpur. Moreover, a similar deal will also be employed to Hong Kong so that the passengers of the Turkish Airlines may book flights on Thai route between Bangkok and Hong Kong. Due to such a soaring frequency of flights, the codeshare agreement might come out as a boon for the travellers seeking relatively cheap flight tickets.

Thai Airways’ President Piyasvasti Amranand said: “By code sharing with Turkish Airlines, THAI can reach many other European cities through Istanbul, which is another gateway for THAI into Europe as well as destinations in Turkey”.

He was further quoted by news reports as saying, “Both our airlines can look forward to mutual strengthening of potential markets through Turkish Airlines’ extensive route net into Europe and through THAI’s strong network in Asia and Australia.”

Code Share Agreement with TAM Airlines

Apart from Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines has also signed a codeshare agreement with TAM Airlines of Brazil. This partnership between the two airlines will amplify the number of options for the flyers planning to travel between South America and Europe and would likely offer a wider choice of operators for the travellers seeking cheap flight tickets.

Once this codeshare agreement comes into effect, TAM Airlines’ passengers will be provided with direct flights between São Paulo and Istanbul in a Turkish Airlines’ flight. On the other hand, Turkish Airlines’ customers will be able to fly on TAM Airlines operated flights to São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Porto Alegre and Foz do Iguaçu; and Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Turkish Airlines has won the Skytrax’s World Best Premium Economy Cabin Seat apart from Best Airline – Europe award for 2011. The airline operates domestic and regional and international services across Turkey, Middle East and Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia.

Thai Airways, the flag carrier of Thailand, is another big name in the world of aviation. The Star Airline member was currently under spotlight for becoming the first carrier in Asia to operate flights using biofuels.

TAM Airlines is based at Sao Paolo-Guarulhos International Airport and is the national airline and largest carrier of Brazil.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Book Your Flights to India for Delightful Ski Holidays

No other place in the world except India can offer skiers an amazing chance to get high on the thrill of an exhilarating glide down the slopes of the looming Himalayas. Glorious Indian states like Jammu and Kashmir, Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh abound scores of Ski friendly slopes luring skiers from across the borders to hop on Indian flights. As a matter of fact, like the profusion of cheap tickets to travel to India, skiing termini are also burgeoning in the country.

The name of Gulmarg conjures the images of magnificent snow caped mountains with startling slopes. In fact, Gulmarg is known as India's premier skiing destination the altitude of 2, 730m. This amazing hill station is a no-frills "ski resort" that offers a mammoth snowy playground for skiers taking flights to India. Those looking to get the best of skiing trips should plan holidays from the months of December to April, when the snow conditions over here remain excellent for skiing. Additionally, Skiers can find all kind of modern facilities, hotels and restaurants to make their stay worthwhile.

Auli in Garhwal is yet another excellent skiing destination that lures skiers to plan skiing trips with some amazing slopes. The skiing frenzy hill settlement overlooks the towering Himalayan peaks of Nanda Devi, Kamet, Mana Parbat and Dunagiri. For those taking cheap flights to India to indulge in an isolated skiing experience, Mundali offers lofty Himalayan peaks to partake in amazing skiing without burning a hole in the pocket.

Besides Auli, Kumaon’s Munsiyari tops the itinerary of many skiers taking flights to India to partake in skiing and explore the heavenly trekking routes of Ralam, Namik, and Milam glaciers. This hill resort sees streams of skiers taking cheap flights to India to attend the venturesome national championships held during February and March.

The fascinating Himachal Pradesh abounds multiplicity of skiing spots like Kufri, Manali and far-famed Narkanda. Although, skiing tours always remains the primary agenda for those flocking to Kufri, one can also choose to take the heart-warming yak safaris amidst the captivating snowy scenery. The dreamlike beauty of Manali offers a fairytale kind of skiing experience.