Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Emirates Expands Regionally – Boosts Flights to Doha and Kuwait

Emirates has announced boosting its Middle East operations by increasing its daily flights to Kuwait and Doha from August. The additional flights come in the wake of higher demand from customers on these extremely viable routes for the airline.

Emirates is expanding its Middle East operations by boosting the frequency of its flights to Kuwait and Doha in the month of August. This move will elevate the total capacity to almost 29 percent across the two routes.

Emirates will operate six flights to Doha and five flights to Kuwait per day. With the boost in the frequency of service to Doha, the city now receives the maximum number of daily flights in the Middle East region, followed by Kuwait.

Both Qatar and Kuwait are top business hubs for corporations all over the world and this flight frequency enhancement is sure to benefit business travellers. There is a total weekly capacity of 46,430 seats and the decision to add flights comes just in time to support the accelerating growth of trade and tourism in these two destinations.

While taking about the new service, Ahmed Khoory, Emirates’ Senior Vice President Commercial Operations, Gulf, Middle East and Iran was quoted as saying: “These additional frequencies have been added to accommodate increasing demand from our customers. Both Doha and Kuwait are extremely viable markets for Emirates and there is a clear indication that they will continue to grow exponentially in the coming years.”

He further added, “The Middle East is one of the most active aviation markets in the world and these additional daily frequencies, to two of the region’s key destinations, will provide even more convenient connections to onward travel through our international hub of Dubai.”

The daily additional flights to Doha will be operated by an Airbus A340-300 in a three-class configuration, whereas for operating daily flights to Kuwait, Emirates will use Boeing 777-300ER in a similar configuration. A three class seat configuration clearly hints on the airlines intention to appease travellers of all tastes and budget – right from those looking for cheap flight tickets in economy class to those who prefer first or business class tickets.

The Dubai Airport based Emirates has been operating flights to Doha since 1994. Whereas, Kuwait has been an important part of the Emirates’ network since 1989.

The airline remains in news for announcing lucrative deals and packages as well as for its world class hospitality - both in air and on ground. It offers award winning in-flight services for all its customers - be it extravagant travellers with premium class tickets or budget holiday makers with cheap flight tickets of the economy class.

The airline proclaims in its news release that “the customers travelling with Emirates will enjoy meals prepared by gourmet chefs, award-winning service from the airline’s international cabin crew, as well as the airline’s industry leading in-flight entertainment system, ice, which offers more than 600 channels of on-demand entertainment including 50 new movie releases, more than 20 movie classics and 20 children’s films."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Emirates to Introduce Boeing 777 On Newcastle Route

Emirates Airline has announced plans to add more capacity from Newcastle to Dubai.

The airline will provide 2,000 more seats per week to and from Newcastle as soon as it starts operating on the route with a much larger aircraft on its daily flight to Dubai.

Considered one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, Emirates will pump up the capacity from 1st September, 2012, which is the 5th anniversary of the route launch. As per reports, approximately 700,000 passengers have travelled with airline to and from Newcastle airport since the launch.

The airline said that it is going to replace the 278-seat Airbus A330-200, which currently plies on the Dubai- Newcastle route, with the 428-seat Boeing 777-300ER. With a substantial increase in the capacity (more than 50%), the airline hopes to cater a large number of travellers. Given the rise in seat numbers, budget travellers might have a greater chance of netting relatively cheap flight tickets on the route.

In one talks about annual figures then every year in excess of 100,000 passengers will be able to travel on flights to and from Dubai or connect on to popular holiday destinations in Australia, the Far East and the Indian Ocean.

The airline also revealed its plans regarding the travel class configuration. Travellers will be offered a two-class option with 42 lie-flat beds in Business Class and 386 seats in Economy Class. This means there will be enough number of seats available whether one is looking to explore the airline’s celebrated lavishness or one is seeking the comparative cost-effective options with cheap flight tickets on economy class.

“Our Newcastle service has come of age and with demand continuing to increase, this is the right time for Emirates to be expanding its capacity from the North East,” Salem Obaidalla, Emirates' senior vice president, Commercial Operations, Europe and Russian Federation, was quoted as saying.

“With the introduction of this larger aircraft, we will offer almost 6,000 seats every week to and from Newcastle,” Obaidalla added.

Flights to Dubai, Bangkok, Sydney, Perth, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Mauritius are the key operations for North East travellers, said the airline.

Emirates boasts 65 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and has an additional 86 on order.

Cargo Capacity to Get a Boost
Not only passenger capacity, the deployment of a larger aircraft on the route is also going to boost cargo carrying capacity. It is said that the move will result in an increase of some 22 percent in cargo carrying capacity.

Dave Laws, Newcastle International Airport’s Chief Executive, said: “This is a very significant announcement for Newcastle International.

“Despite challenging economic times, the daily service to Dubai has flourished. The growth of this global brand at the airport will bring employment opportunities and increased cargo carrying capabilities. This in turn will bring economic benefit, trade and investment to the region,” he was quoted.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Air India Proposes to Launch Delhi- Melbourne Operations

India’s flag carrier, Air India has made public its intention of launching direct Delhi-Melbourne flights. The airline will use the Boeing 787 aircraft on the route once they are delivered to the carrier in mid-2012.

Air India has proposed to launch non-stop Delhi-Melbourne services in coming few months.

India’s flag carrier hopes to launch direct flights to Melbourne once it receives Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

“Air India has proposed to launch direct services to Australia from Delhi commencing from about the third quarter of 2012-13, using the Boeing 787 aircraft, which are expected to be inducted in May this year,” various websites quoted an Indian Civil Aviation Ministry official as saying.

Once this proposed launch materialises, Air India would become the only airline providing non-stop flights for India-Australia market, highlighted the ministry official.

It has been learnt that Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu, who is leading an Australian business entourage to India, had a meeting with Ajit Singh, India’s Civil Aviation Minister, yesterday. The likely launch of Air India’s flights to Melbourne from Delhi has been discussed in the meeting.

“With sizable Indian population residing in Melbourne, a Delhi-Melbourne direct Air India flight would be in their larger interest and also in the business interest of the two countries,” Baillieu said during the meeting, as reported by news websites.

Air India hopes that it will run at more than 75 per cent passenger load factor on an average round the year. The airline’s intended service to Australia has received many concessional deals from the Government of Victoria and New South Wales.

The state-owned carrier is pushing for more concessions as it conducts fresh negotiations with the governments of Victoria and New South Wales. The airline is even seeking concessions from the Airport Authority at Sydney and Melbourne. Furthermore, it is learnt that Ted Baillieu has assured the carrier of its full backing on the issue. AI said that the concessions are sought to make flights to the region cost-effective. It surely would interest the air ticket buyers if Air India decides to convert this cost-effectiveness into cheap flight tickets for them!

Industry estimates put the annual traffic between India and Australia at somewhere around 3, 35,000 passengers. Melbourne and Sydney hold the most significant portions of that traffic. As per an estimate, air traffic between India and these two Australian cities is around 1, 30,000 passengers each. A good number of passengers will be waiting for AI to launch its direct services on the travel route and many of them would also be hoping to grab cheap flight tickets on the world’s most fuel efficient aircraft!

AI January Revenue Up

In what may be a silver lining among the dark clouds of Indian aviation market, Air India posted fairly decent numbers in January 2012 with the overall revenue escalating by 30.4 percent over the same period last year.

Air India’ international revenue in January went up by 27.2 percent and its domestic revenue spiralled up by 36.6 percent.


US Airways Adds New Flights to Washington

US Airways is launching new, non-stop flight services from Cincinnati , Ohio and Des Moines, Iowa to Washington Reagan National Airport on 2 May 2012, as revealed in the airline’s press release.

If not with cheap flights to Washington, business and leisure holiday makers are sure to benefit with a wider spectrum of flight options and non-stop air travel from these destinations to Washington.

Andrew Nocella, airline’s senior VP, marketing and planning, said "Our new service from Cincinnati and Des Moines will provide a direct link to Washington, D.C. and connections to communities throughout the East Coast"

As we continue to expand at Reagan National, we remain focused on connecting customers in communities of all sizes with our nation's capital and providing them with convenient flight options and more travel choices”, he further added.

While the airline has for sure made many travellers happy when it comes to efficiency and wider choice of flights, it will be no wonder if the increased availability of flights results in availability of cheap tickets for those looking for cheap flights to Washington!!

Flight schedule and operator details as revealed on airline’s press release are as under:

From Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)

US Airways' wholly owned subsidiary PSA Airlines will operate daily service to Cincinnati on 50-passenger Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ 200) aircraft. Flight 2487 starts May 2. All other flights begin May 3.

To Reagan National (DCA)

From Reagan National (DCA)

























Operates daily with the exception of Saturday.

From Des Moines International Airport (DSM)

Republic Airlines, a US Airways Express carrier, will operate daily service, with the exception of Saturdays, to Des Moines on dual-class 69-passenger Embraer 170 aircraft. Flight 3483 starts May 2. All other flights begin May 3.

To Reagan National (DCA)

From Reagan National (DCA)



















Operates daily with the exception of Sunday.

Schedules are subject to change.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

India’s Private Airlines will Fly Overseas Along with Air India

The government of India has decided to permit private Indian airlines to expand operations on foreign routes. While this policy will boost the private carriers’ health, it spells stiff competition for the national carrier, Air India.

In a massive push to private Indian carriers, the Indian civil aviation ministry ended Tuesday the freeze on them to expand their operations on foreign routes.

The freeze was imposed on Indian domestic carriers by the government of India in March last year so as to guard the national airline of the country, Air India, from competition on foreign routes.

The announcement made by the Indian government has brought a sigh of relief for the private operators who had been seeking for authorization to fly overseas routes, which so far were to be first offered to Air India as a part of the flag carrier’s exclusive Right of First Refusal.

While discussing the new agreement on Tuesday, the Civil Aviation Ministry of India was reported as saying: “The Government has decided to allow Indian scheduled carriers, including Air India, to utilise the allocated bilateral till such time they reach the maximum permissible limit under Air Service Agreements (ASAs)”.

In addition to encouraging codeshare agreements between Indian and foreign airlines, steps will be taken for promoting development of hubs for Indian carriers to carry Sixth Freedom traffic and attain a dominating position in the region, the ministry further said.

According to the Sixth freedom right of aviation, airlines can carry travellers or cargo from a second country to a third country by providing a stopover in their own country.

Impact of New Agreement of Air India

Air India is amongst top names that crop in mind of the holiday makers while departing India or booking flights to India. Though the state-run airline serves many destinations including Asia, Australia, Europe and North America, it has been facing several financial crises for quite long.

As per the Internet sources, the new agreement could put an unpleasant impact on Air India. The airline that at present holds over 20 per cent market share of international air travel from India will now experience tough competition from other private carriers including IngiGo, SpiceJet and Jet Airways to name a few.

On the other hand, the agreement can be really rewarding for the flyers, as with the boost in the number of flights operating on international routes, they might be able to gain cheap flight tickets. Even the international flyers seeking flights to India will also have a multiple options to choose from.

High Hopes of Private Carriers with New Agreement

The new agreement will certainly give a significant boost to the Indian domestic carriers who are willing to operate more flights on International routes.

For instance, Spicejet, a low-cost airline known for offering cheap flight tickets is presently serving flights to destinations like Colombo and Kathmandu. The airline is seeking permission to begin flights to Male, Dhaka apart from two destinations in the Commonwealth of Independent States which include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Indian Carriers Count on the Direct Jet-Fuel Import Approval

On Tuesday, Indian government panel approved a plan that authorizes Indian airlines to import jet fuel directly. This approval is likely to help cash starved carriers to cut fuel costs by up to 20 percent.

At present, Indian carriers are required only to buy jet fuel from oil marketing companies including some government owned companies like Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp.

The right to import jet fuel directly has long been demanded by Indian carriers led by Kingfisher Airlines. Jet fuel accounts for about half of the operating costs of these carriers.

The oil marketing companies as mandated by the government levy different federal and state taxes raising the cost manifold and the jet fuel prices in India rank amongst the highest in the world. Fuel costs make for the biggest lump of the tickets price and remain an important factor in deciding an airlines’ ability or inability to offer cheap flights for travel.

The authorization to allow direct fuel imports is likely to reduce costs by 15 to 20 percent. However, the authorization announced to import fuel directly is still pending approval from the cabinet.

Jet Airways, popular choice of travellers booking flights to India, has shown interest in seeking help from oil companies to import jet fuel.

Most Indian airlines have succumbed to the high fuel costs, ruthless competition and economic slowdown, in the recent years.

Indian carriers are expected to lose up to $3 billion in the current fiscal year ending March and the State-owned Air India is expected to account for more than half of this estimate, as revealed by CAPA.

Sources revealed that Indian Aviation Ministry expects the total debt of the aviation industry in this fiscal year to rise to $20 billion. Air India has been approved for a $4bn debt restructuring and may issue INR74 billion ($1.5 billion) of bonds, informed Aviation Minister, without providing details.

The move is still pending approval from the cabinet and requires buy-in from lenders, who have been reluctant to agree to any plans involving acquisition of equities in Air India or requiring large writedowns.

The panel is soon going to pass its recommendation to the cabinet to allow participation of foreign airlines to buy up to 49 percent of Indian airlines.

Passenger’s Benefit

The possibility for the airlines to pass on the savings to the travellers in the form of cheap ticket deals on flights to India and within can not be ruled out. However, it is quite certain that the airlines would first focus on paying off their debts, cut operational costs and recover losses.

While cheap flights due to this move may not be on the cards, practical judgement indicates that, if not sooner, the passengers who travel frequently on Indian carriers stand to benefit from the government’s decision at a later stage, provided other price factors remain reasonably stable.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Qatar Airways Begins 2012 expansion with New Flights to Georgia

The five-star carrier, Qatar Airways’ new 2012 expansion programme is in progress after the airline rolled out scheduled daily flights to Tbilisi, Georgia via Baku, Azerbaijan on 1st February.

The Doha based carrier, Qatar Airways rolled out its new 2012 expansion programme with the launch of its scheduled flights to Tbilisi, Georgia via Baku, Azerbaijan.

While leading a high-profile delegation on the Baku and Tbilisi inaugural flight QR976, the chief executive of Qatar Airways, Mr. Akbar Al Baker said that Azerbaijan’s rising tourism sector and energy resources were main reasons that lead the airline make a decision of initiating operations there.

Al Baker further said: “We assessed Azerbaijan as a destination with great potential that would create a new air corridor providing wider choices for both leisure and business travellers”.

The inaugural Flight QR976 was greeted with an arrival ceremony at the Tbilisi International Airport.

On arrival in Tbilisi, Al Baker addressed the guests and said that Georgia was an extremely underserved region of Europe, which actuated the airline to think about opening up the route.

Al Baker added: “Tbilisi becomes Qatar Airways’ 112th destination worldwide and it gives me great pleasure to celebrate our arrival here.”

“We sincerely look forward to growing this route with additional capacity in the future and we look forward to welcoming more destinations into our ever increasing European network,” said Al Baker.

Qatar Airways is going to operate a new two-class configuration aircraft Airbus A320 on the Baku and Tbilisi routes. With 12 seats in Business Class and up to 132 seats in Economy, this aircraft will be highly rewarding for those seeking comparatively cheap flights tickets with Qatar Airways to travel to the renowned holiday spot, Tbilisi, via Baku.

Regardless of the economy class travellers with relatively cheap flights tickets or business class passengers, Airbus A320 will offer TVs with over 900 audios and videos on demand options to all its passengers.

The five-star carrier and has won the coveted Skytrax Airline of the Year Award in 2011. The airline caters over100 international destinations and offers frequent flights to Dubai, Melbourne, Muscat, Kuwait, Entebbe, Shanghai, Singapore, Bangkok, Delhi and Goa to name a few.

Qatar Airways decided to cater two more cities in South Eastern Europe in order to expand its network route that currently includes Ankara, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Bucharest, Budapest, Venice, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London Heathrow and Madrid.

In fact, the airline is one of the preferred names for travelling to Middle East with flights to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Muscat etc as well as to countless other short, mid and long haul destinations scattered in Europe, Africa, USA and Asia Pacific.

As per its new 2012 expansion plan, Qatar Airways will start flights to seven new destinations counting Kigali from March 21; Zagreb from May 9; Perth from July 3; with dates yet to be declared for other new routes – Mombasa, Zanzibar, Helsinki, and Gassim.


Heathrow Resumes Normal Flight Schedule After Cancellations

Travellers on flights to and from London got some respite on Monday as the Heathrow airport operated a normal flight schedule. On Sunday, the airport cancelled 50% of the services due to heavy snow and freezing fog.

After cancelling hundreds of flights over the weekend, London's Heathrow Airport conducted almost normal operations on Monday, allowing travellers to heave a sigh of relief.

The airport trimmed down its services almost by half on Sunday owing to heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures all across the country.

One of the busiest airports on the globe, London Heathrow normally operates around 1,300 flights a day, serving some 180,000 people in the process.

“Heathrow is open and our usual flight schedule is operating today,” the airport said in a statement on Monday.

“There will, however, be a handful of cancellations as result of yesterday's disruption. We advise passengers to contact their airlines to check before they come to the airport,” the statement added.

BAA grounded 200 flights on Saturday as heavy snow engulfed the country, forcing the travellers to rework on their travel schedules. On Sunday, more flights were cancelled even as the conditions were forecasted to be dry with a partial thaw.

Heathrow released a statement that read: “We took the decision with airlines and air traffic control yesterday to reduce the flight schedule in advance.

“By cancelling flights in advance airlines have been able to rebook some people on to flights that are departing, and passengers have had better quality information about whether they can fly or not.”

Other London airports were also affected but not massively. Stansted, Gatwick Birmingham and Luton suspended operations for some time on Saturday night but the airport continued with its normal services the subsequent day.

Gatwick airport released a statement that said the airport is “open for business” but travellers are recommended to make sure of their flight statuses before moving out of their houses. Stansted said it was “open and operating as normal.”

Different Airlines: Where they stand

Most airlines with flights to and from London were impacted by Heathrow’s cancellation of services.

Ryanair, a budget airline renowned for offering cheap flight tickets, cancelled four flights on Saturday and one on Sunday. The airline offered alternate options to affected travellers, without any charges, ensuring that travellers who book cheap flight tickets with this no-frills airline are not required to shell out more.

Emirates and Etihad Airways were also forced to cancel flights to London. On Monday, both airlines offered a normal schedule.

Indian airlines like Kingfisher and Air India were also forced to ground flights to London. While Kingfisher did away with Mumbai-London and Delhi-London flights, Air India decided to club two of its flights.

Ireland’s flag carrier, Aer Lingus axed 16 flights between Ireland and the UK over the weekend. The airline arranged for a larger aircraft to transport passengers who had their flights cancelled.