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Old December 2nd, 2006, 12:34 PM   #281
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Great news for South African, leading the way. I wonder which model they will decide to aquire.
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Old December 2nd, 2006, 12:56 PM   #282
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Apparently they're looking at the A340-600 and 777ER.
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Old December 2nd, 2006, 02:48 PM   #283
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South African Profile


Founded: 1934

Hub and Focus Airports: OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg) | Cape Town International
Airport | Durban International Airport

Alliance: Star Alliance

Passengers (year ending 31 Mar 06): 6,500,000

Fleet
  • 11 Airbus A319-100
  • 21 Boeing 737-800
  • 6 Airbus A340-200
  • 6 Airbus A340-300
  • 9 Airbus A340-600
  • 8 Boeing 747-400


Destinations (incl. future):


Domestic Destinations
  • Cape Town
  • Durban
  • East London
  • Johannesburg
  • Port Elizabeth


International Destinations
  • Luanda
  • Abidjan
  • Accra
  • Nairobi
  • Blantyre
  • Lilongwe
  • Mahebourg
  • Maputo
  • Windhoek
  • Lagos
  • Dakar
  • Dar es Salaam
  • Zanzibar
  • Entebbe
  • Lusaka
  • Livingstone
  • Harare
  • Victoria Falls
  • Bamako
  • Libreville

Intercontinental Destinations
  • Hong Kong
  • Mumbai
  • Paris
  • Frankfurt
  • Munich
  • Zrich
  • London
  • Chicago
  • New York City
  • Washington D.C.
  • Melbourne
  • Perth
  • So Paulo
  • Buenos Aires


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Old December 2nd, 2006, 03:59 PM   #284
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Kenya Airways Profile


Founded: 1977

Hub and Focus Airports: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Nairobi) | Moi International Airport (Mombasa)

Alliance: SkyTeam Alliance

Passengers (year ending 31 Mar 06): 2,400,00

Fleet
  • 4 Boeing 737-300
  • 4 Boeing 737-700
  • 3 Boeing 737-800
  • 7 Boeing 767-300ER
  • 3 Boeing 777-200ER
Future Fleet Aquisitions
  • 3 Embraer 170
  • 2 Boeing 777-200ER
  • 6 Boeing 787


Destinations (incl. future):


Domestic Destinations
  • Nairobi
  • Mombasa
  • Kisumu
  • Lamu
  • Malindi


International Destinations
  • Cotonou
  • Bujumbura
  • Douala
  • Yaounde
  • Moroni
  • Kinshasa
  • Lubumbashi
  • Djibouti
  • Cairo
  • Addis Ababa
  • Accra
  • Abidjan
  • Lilongwe
  • Dzaoudzi
  • Maputo
  • Lagos
  • Dakar
  • Mahe
  • Freetown
  • Johannesburg
  • Khartoum
  • Dar es Salaam
  • Zanzibar
  • Entebbe
  • Lusaka
  • Harare

Intercontinental Destinations
  • Guangzhou
  • Hong Kong
  • Bangkok
  • New Delhi
  • Mumbai
  • Amsterdam
  • London
  • Paris
  • Istanbul
  • Dubai


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Old December 2nd, 2006, 06:44 PM   #285
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Ethiopian Airlines Profile


Founded: 1945

Hub and Focus Airports: Bole International Airport (Addis Ababa)

Alliance: N/A

Passengers (year ending 31 Mar 06): 1,500,00

Fleet
  • 5 Fokker 50
  • 1 Boeing 737-260
  • 5 Boeing 737-76W
  • 6 Boeing 757
  • 8 Boeing 767-300ER
Future Fleet Aquisitions
  • 10 Boeing 787


Destinations (incl. future):


Domestic Destinations
  • Addis Ababa
  • Arba Minch
  • Asosa
  • Axum
  • Bahir Dar
  • Beica
  • Dembidolo
  • Dessie
  • Dire Dawa
  • Gambela
  • Gode
  • Gondar
  • Gore
  • Inda Selassie
  • Jijiga
  • Jimma
  • Jinka
  • Kabri Dar
  • Lalibela
  • Mekane Selam
  • Mek'ele
  • Mizan Teferi
  • Shilavo
  • Tippi


International Destinations
  • Abidjan
  • Accra
  • Amsterdam
  • Bamako
  • Beirut
  • Brazzaville
  • Brussels
  • Bujumbura
  • Cairo
  • Dakar
  • Dar Es Salaam
  • Delhi
  • Djibouti
  • Douala
  • Entebbe
  • Frankfurt
  • Guangzhou
  • Harare
  • Hargeisa
  • Johannesburg
  • Juba
  • Khartoum
  • Kigali
  • Kilimanjaro
  • Kinshasa
  • Lagos
  • Libreville
  • Lilongwe
  • Lome
  • Luanda
  • Lusaka
  • Nairobi
  • Ndjamena

Intercontinental Destinations
  • Bangkok
  • Beijing
  • Dubai
  • Hong Kong
  • Jeddah
  • London
  • Mumbai
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • Stockholm
  • Tel Aviv
  • Washington D.C.



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Old December 4th, 2006, 07:55 PM   #286
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Kenya Airways voted 'Most Respected Company' in East Africa

Kenya Airways (KQ) has been voted as the most respected company in East Africa for the second year in a row.

The airline takes the 2006 East Africa’s Most Respected Companies Award for the second year in a row after business leaders threw their support behind it’s massive expansion into Africa, the Far East and Europe.


KQ also emerged as the most respected company in Kenya, with Tanzania Breweries taking the honours in Tanzania. MTN won Uganda’s most respected firm award at the 7th annual survey, whose results were released on Saturday.

Within the industry sectors, Homegrown was for the third year voted the top firm in agriculture sector.

Standard Chartered Bank won the financial services sector for the second year running, while Serena Hotels came out top in the hotels and tourism sector.

East African Breweries took the manufacturing sector award, while Nakumatt, thanks to its growing market share and massive expansion programme, was named the top company within the Services sector.

Safaricom, with a subscriber base of 4.7 million, maintained its lead in the Telecommunications and ICT sector even though it had to beat off a tough challenge from MTN Uganda and Celtel (Tanzania).

New entrants among the to-ranked companies were Precision Air of Tanzania, which was third in the Services sector, and Kempinski Hotel (Uganda), which took the second position in the hotels and Tourism Sector.

Mumias Sugar moved from the third place in 2005 to second this year in the agriculture, while Mukwano Group of Uganda took the third place in the manufacturing sector after EABL and Bidco Oil.

PricewaterHousecoopers (PWC) country leader, Mr Charles Muchene, the director of the survey said a total of 308 CEOs participated this year’s survey, an increase from the previous year’s 291.

Participation levels in Uganda had increased to 96, while Tanzania had 102 respectively.

Muchene said business leaders are placing more premiums on the need for focused expansion, strategy and visionary leadership.

The quality of services and products were also key factors that influenced the voting patterns.
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Old December 6th, 2006, 05:15 AM   #287
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Nigeria accuses foreign airlines of tax evasion

LAGOS, Dec 5, 2006 (AFP) - Nigeria's Aviation Minister Olufemi Fani-Kayode has accused foreign airlines operating in the country's airspace of evading payment of taxes totalling 500 million dollars, state media said Tuesday.

"A total of 500 million dollars is being owed the country as backlog of taxes by the foreign airline operators,'' the minister was quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) as saying on Monday.

He said most of the affected airlines were "not even registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and have a backlog of unpaid taxes," he added.

The minister, who was appointed last month to sanitise the ailing industry, urged the defaulting airlines to pay their taxes and register with the appropriate authorities.

He said the west African country needed the money to overhaul the under-performing industry which has seen several air crashes in recent months.

Some 400 people had been killed in the past seven months following a series of fatal air crashes, blamed in part, on ageing planes, lack of maintenance and poor weather.
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Old December 6th, 2006, 07:58 PM   #288
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Ethiopian Airlines Aims to Become Top African Carrier By 2010

ETHIOPIAN Airlines has developed "Vision 2010" where it aims at becoming Africa's world-class carrier. Catherine Namuddu talked to Girma Wake, the chief executive officer.

How is business?

It is very good. We fly to 48 destinations worldwide and to 22 domestically.

Our strength is in our human resource and our facilities. We have a workshop for maintenance and repairs. We have three maintenance hangers, engine overhaul facilities, engine-testing equipment and , a B757/767 simulator. Soon we shall have a 737 simulator. We also have a cargo-handling facility.

We have a pilot-training school, which will be upgraded to an aviation academy soon. We train our pilots every six months. We do maintenance for ourselves and other organisations. We have the best school for pilots, technicians, marketing and finance people and cabin crew. We train people already working and those who are taken directly from the training school. We are approved by the Federal Aviation Authority of America.

We also operate a number of freighter aircraft. We are affiliated to the International Civil Aviation Authority. We do something else that other airlines don't.

How are you planning for the future?

We want to grow our traffic and expand our network. We have ordered for 10 Boeing 787 aircraft worth $1.3b that will be delivered in 2008.

We have two aircraft on lease to cater for the increasing number of passengers. We plan to start a $12m catering facility, a $30m hotel near Bole International Airport and have embarked on a re-positioning strategy. We want to be a hub in West and South Africa for distribution of traffic.

Many airlines have been forced into partnerships. Do you have plans of doing the same?

We can exist without entering into partnerships. The advantage of partnerships is that they increase your presence in the market and help you grow more.

What is your relationship with civil aviation authorities in Africa?

It is good, be it in Africa or outside Africa.

In Africa, it is even better. Africa is a big continent and we cannot say the relationship is the same everywhere. Our relationship with the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is exceptionally good. CAA has been one of the leading civil aviations in the African aviation field.

Cape Verde and Uganda are two exceptionally good civil aviation authorities in Africa. The relationship with Tanzania and Kenya civil aviations is good.

But the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has denied you permission to resume operations on the Nairobi-Entebbe route?

We have complete rights to operate between Nairobi and Entebbe. There is no restriction in the bi-lateral agreement. KCAA has not restricted us on their own free will. I don't think they believe what was done was right. We have no problem with Kenya Airways. Unfortunately, some individuals in Kenya Airways misled the Kenyan authorities.

It is the first time this kind of standoff is happening?


Naturally, Kenya Airways has to be protected. To me, that is short-sighted. It is divisionary for Africa. I don't know the intention of the person who did this. He must have had an intention that is completely different from Kenya Airways. I am sure Kenya Airways understands that this is not in their best interest.

The authorities admit that this was wrong. By the way, Kenya Airways operates between Addis Ababa and Djibouti. We could have stopped them.

They claim they denied to fly to Jeddah from Addis Ababa. But they have never asked. Jeddah is not in Africa. Saudi Arabia is neither a member of the African Union nor a member of COMESA.

The rules that govern Jeddah are different. Even if they were denied, they should not have used that as an excuse to deny us the Nairobi-Entebbe route.

Who misled the authorities?

I can't pin-point at anyone. The authorities admit that someone misled them.

They may not even be Kenyans.

The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority welcomes all African airlines.

Can the authorities in Addis Ababa stop Kenya Airways from operating there?

We will never restrict Kenya Airways. Two wrongs don't make one right. We shall continue to follow bilateral agreements.

The Ethiopian government can talk to the Kenyan government. We don't believe it is a government issue yet. It will become a government issue if they continue to do that. The Ethiopian government has no intention of talking to the Kenyan government. That is what the people who are doing this want to see.

Kenya Airways is monopolising the Nairobi-Entebbe route, yet their fares are too high. Are the authorities doing anything about this?


We are talking to them. One of the reasons they gave for restricting us was that if we operate on the route, the fare will go down.

If the fare goes down, people will move to us or Kenya Airways will have to adjust theirs. We charge what we think is reasonable and appropriate.

If Kenyans don't want to do that, it is a different story. They charge less than us in Addis and we never stop them.

It is okay if they can support their operations, but I believe the fare is not the main issue.
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Old December 6th, 2006, 09:24 PM   #289
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Air Austral heads east


Air Austral, the Reunion-based French airline with an extensive route network between the Indian Ocean islands, is expanding its long-haul network to include destiantions in the Far East.

After starting its routes to mainland France two years ago (Paris daily, and bi-weekly flights to Marseilles and Lyons) with its B777, Air Austral is now inaugurating its first destination in the Far East.

As from 24 November 2006, two flights a week will be operated from Reunion to Bangkok. Direct flights leave Reunion on a Monday and a Friday, return on a Tuesday and a Saturday.

Flights are operated in code-share with Air Madagascar with a B767.

An agreement concluded with Thai Airways will enable passengers to connect from Bangkok to numerous destinations in the East, among others Singapore and cities in China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia.

Regionally, within the Indian Ocean and Africa, Air Austral flies to Johannesburg, Mauritius, Madagascar (four destinations), Mayotte, Comores and Seychelles.

Air Austral is more than ever committed to promoting Reunion Island and is increasingly investing in the Indian Ocean region.

Their weekly flight on a Sunday takes travellers from Johannesburg to Reunion in just under four hours, while additional flights on a Thursday cater for increased demand in high season.

The airline currently has a special offer to Reunion of R2300 return and to Mauritius (via Reunion) return for R3560 excluding taxes. These fares are subject to availability and valid until 10 December.

If you're planning on hopping around the region, the Indian Ocean pass (in collaboration with Air Mauritius and Air Seychelles) allows for easy travel between a range of stunning tropical islands. The pass can only be bought by passengers residing outside the Indian Ocean region, in conjunction with an international air ticket and fares are based on sectors required.

Air Austral operates several flights a day between Reunion and Mauritius, daily flights to Mayotte, several flights a week from Reunion and from Mayotte to Nosy Be as well as regular scheduled flights to other Indian Ocean destinations.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 08:57 AM   #290
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Moroccan airline plans tender for new aircraft

RABAT, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Moroccan low-cost airline Atlas Blue will launch a tender to buy new aircraft this month as part of a plan to expand its fleet to 18 from eight by 2013, it said on Wednesday.

"A tender will be launched before the end of the current year to acquire new-generation planes to increase its fleet to 18 in 2013," it said.

Atlas Blue, a subsidiary of state-owned flag carrier Royal Air Maroc, said the planned purchase was designed to trim plane use costs and make its fleet "homogenous".

It has seven Boeings and one Airbus . It did not specify how many planes it planned to buy in the December tender.

Based in Marrakech, Morocco's main tourist destination, Atlas Blue's turnover has grown rapidly since 2004, when it began operations.

It expects a boom in passenger traffic this year and next, as Morocco aims to increase the number of tourists to 10 million in 2010 from about 6.5 million expected this year.
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Old December 12th, 2006, 04:33 AM   #291
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EgyptAir made profit of $88.4 mln in 2005/6

CAIRO, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Egyptian state carrier EgyptAir, 20 percent of which the government is preparing to sell, made a profit of 505 million Egyptian pounds ($88 million) in the financial year ended June 30, the cabinet spokesman said on Monday.

EgyptAir made 431 million pounds in the previous year, the chairman said in March.

Cabinet spokesman Magdy Rady said the company's total revenue in 2005-6 was 9.8 billion pounds, compared with 3.8 billion in 2002/3. He did not give a 2004/5 figure.

The government has been talking about a partial privatisation of the company since at least February but has given different versions of its plans.

Civil Aviation Minister Ahmed Shafiq said in June that the partial privatisation would take the form of a capital increase to raise money for new planes.

He said in June that one preparatory study for the privatisation was almost complete but a second study by an international bank would also be needed. ($1 = 5.71 Egyptian pounds)
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Old December 13th, 2006, 11:57 PM   #292
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Delta Airlines in Ghanaian Skies
11th December 2006

As part of Delta Airlines global expansion strategy, the airline has begun its four times a week service to destinations throughout the United States from Accra.

Mr. Frank Jahangir, Vice President, Sales and Affairs Europe, Middle East and Africa disclosed at a press briefing in Accra yesterday to outline the activities of the airline and its operations in Ghana.

He said in 2006 Delta has experienced a massive expansion and " is the fastest growing U.S. carrier to Latin America and the Caribbean with a goal of reaching number two position in destinations over time."

He said the airline is the only airline to serve five continents from New York City The airline decided to operate in Ghana because, "We are very confident that Ghana is firmly on the move".

He explained that an estimated one million Ghanaians are living in the US and with the operation of the airline Ghanaian can come home very easily without going through the stress of transiting from country to country.

He said: "A key to our success is the network strengths" and explained that the airline serves more destinations worldwide than any other carrier and it's the only airline to serve all fifty states.

He explained that Delta would operate the new service with a Boeing 767-300ER and the aircraft has been configured to carry 214 passengers with 35 seats in BusinessElite.

Mr. Jahangir said the airline has upgraded its BusinessElite seats on B767s and the contour sleepers' seat on select B777 in 2008 and five more languages added on their website.

Martin Mireku, Acting Executive Director, Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) said the Board was very happy Ghana has been selected as part of the airline's Africa Expansion Strategy.

He said Ghana stands to gain from the operation of the airline which is number one in several areas.He said the operation of the airline in Ghana is very timely because "in 2007 the country is going to have major events and without easy access to Ghana, these events wouldn't achieve the economic impact on the country."

He revealed that "All effort to get Charter next year to make Ghana very accessible has failed and therefore the operation of Delta airline couldn't have come at a better time." Martin Mireku stated that over forty thousand US tourists come to Ghana annually and with the operation of Delta, the number may double because it will be so convenient for visitors connecting to Ghana from any part of the USA.

He appealed to management of Delta to support GTB's promotional efforts as its will be mutually beneficial to all.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 02:41 AM   #293
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Virgin Atlantic announces London - Nairobi route
16th December 2006
http://www.eastandard.net/hm_news/news.php?articleid=1143962553

Britain’s most bitter airline rivalry will soon be very familiar to Kenyans as Virgin Atlantic Airways begins flights to Nairobi next year.

The airline British Airways once tried to "kill off" in a so-called ‘dirty tricks’ campaign plans daily flights between London and Nairobi from June 1. Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic, was quoted confirming this in a joint statement with the Kenya Tourism Board.

He added that his airline was attracted to Nairobi by its status as "the leading hub for East Africa".

"Around 500,000 people fly to Nairobi each year to enjoy the beautiful Kenyan scenery and wildlife it has to offer," Branson said.

"We are delighted by this decision," said KTB Managing Director Dr Ongong’a Achieng.

"This announcement is a result of several months of discussion." Ms Rebecca Nabutola, the permanent secretary in the Tourism ministry, said the airline’s entry would help meet growing demand on the route.

Branson, the UK’s best known entrepreneur, has previously expressed interest in doing business in Africa, mentioning mobile telephony and banking as areas he might be interested in.

Tourist arrivals by air and sea have been growing at an annual average rate of ten per cent and are expected to increase by an additional five per cent next year. The UK is Kenya’s largest tourist source market, contributing 20 per cent of the total international arrivals.

Currently only two airlines offer direct flights to the United Kingdom — BA and South African Airways. The former has had a long-standing rivalry with Virgin Atlantic since its inception.

In the early 1990s, Branson accused BA of "sharp business practices" including poaching Virgin customers and tampering with confidential company files.

When BA directors dismissed the allegations and said he was simply seeking publicity, Branson sued for libel. BA counter-sued over Mr Branson’s original ‘dirty tricks’ allegations but later withdrew the counter-claim after a protracted legal battle that cost them over $7 million.

Nairobi is Virgin Atlantic’s fourth service to Africa. The airline will run an Airbus A340-300 aircraft with 240 seats — 34 Upper Class, 35 Premium Economy and 171 Economy — from Heathrow to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

The flights from Heathrow will depart at 7.15pm and will arrive in Nairobi the following day at 6.05am. Return flights from Nairobi depart at 8.20am from JKIA and will arrive at 2.55pm at Heathrow.

Virgin Atlantic can count on its sister company Virgin Holidays for some of its traffic.

"Virgin has offered holidays to Kenya in our worldwide brochure for a number of years and it has always proved popular with our customers," said Ms Amanda Wills, the travel arm’s Managing Director. "Now that Virgin Atlantic will be offering direct flights we are sure that demand will grow."

Since it was founded in 1984, Virgin Atlantic has become Britain’s second largest carrier serving the world’s major cities. Now based at both London’s Gatwick and Heathrow airports, it currently operates long haul services to 27 destinations around the world.

Virgin Atlantic currently has a fleet of 36 aircraft, which includes thirteen 747s and five A340-300s and eighteen A340-600s. The airline plans a route launch to Chicago in April next year and Mauritius in October 2007.
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Old December 19th, 2006, 12:36 PM   #294
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Kenya Airways Sign Deal for 3 Additional 787s-8s
http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/...61215f_nr.html



Nine 787s to join four 777-200ERs as East African carrier expands its international fleet

Seattle, Dec. 17, 2006 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] and Kenya Airways signed an order in Nairobi on Dec. 15 for three additional 787-8 Dreamliners. The airline now has nine 787s on order, and also holds four options for Boeing's fast-selling new airplane. The airline's original order for six Boeing 787s was made in March and included six options. The three additional 787s will be added to Boeing's Orders & Deliveries Web site this week.

"We have had remarkable success with Boeing's 777," said Titus Naikuni, Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer. "When one weighs the operational advantage these two models bring in tandem, we felt it most prudent that we move now to ensure Kenya Airways retains the best value, and brings a world-class standard of service, for visitors flying to the wide open spaces of Africa."

With the delivery of a Boeing 777-200ER in 2004, Kenya Airways became the first carrier in sub-Sahara Africa to offer 777 service to and from the region. The airline will take delivery of its fourth 777 in February, and has complemented its fleet of Next- Generation 737s with three new 737-800s this year. Kenya Airways will receive its first 787 in October 2010 with the deliveries of the nine Dreamliners extending out to late 2012. Since 1996, Kenya Airways has ordered 19 aircraft directly from Boeing and currently operates another 12 Boeing airplanes on lease.

"It's wonderful to see such a good Boeing customer like Kenya Airways experiencing phenomenal growth," said Lee Monson, Boeing Commercial Airplanes' vice president of Sales for the Middle East and Africa. "We look forward to our ongoing collaboration and the shared insight from an airline team that continues to demonstrate such a high degree of professionalism."
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Old December 20th, 2006, 04:34 AM   #295
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Mauritania Airways set up in joint venture with Tunisia

NOUAKCHOTT, Dec 18, 2006 (AFP) - Mauritania and Tunisia have joined forces in creating a new international airline that should begin service next year, the two countries announced Tuesday.

With 51 percent Tunisian ownership and the rest split among Mauritania's private (39 percent) and public (10 percent) sector, Mauritania Airways -- initially counting just three airplanes -- will offer flights to west and north Africa and Europe, officials said. Service will eventually expand to the Middle East.

Still officials fret the new airline may pose competition for ailing Air Mauritanie, expected to cede 51 percent of its capital shortly to Royal Air Maroc.
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Old December 29th, 2006, 10:42 AM   #296
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Kenya Airways to add three Embraer 170s to fleet

Embraer announced that Kenya Airways has chosen to add the EMBRAER 170 to its current fleet, continuing its network expansion. The airline, based in Nairobi, Kenya, will operate three EMBRAER 170 jets under an operating lease with GE Commercial Aviation Services’ (GECAS) existing orders. There will be no changes in Embraer’s orderbook due to this announcement.

Delivery of the first aircraft is scheduled to the second quarter of 2007, when the airline celebrates its 30th anniversary. The company intends to deploy the aircraft in its growing domestic market, replacing turboprops, and on some of its significant medium-haul routes. The aircraft will be configured in a comfortable single-class 72-passenger layout with a 32-inch pitch (81 cm).

Embraer already delivered more than 1020 commercial jet aircraft from both the E-Jets and the ERJ-145 families, which are currently flying with more than 70 airlines in 43 countries around the world.

Kenya Airways serves more than 2 million passengers, annually, with the largest network in Africa. The carrier is going through an aggressive expansion program. Its network currently includes such new additions as Bamako, Dakar, Maputo, Istanbul, and Guangzhou, in China. The airline recently launched flights to Paris and to Comoros and Mayotte. The thrice-weekly flights to Paris complement the 17 weekly flights to London and Amsterdam and the regular schedules to select destinations in Asia, including Dubai, Mumbai, Hong Kong, and Bangkok.
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Old December 30th, 2006, 07:02 PM   #297
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Old December 31st, 2006, 10:48 PM   #298
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Virgin Atlantic to start price war on London - Nairobi route

The entry of Britain’s second largest airline, Virgin Atlantic, on the London-Nairobi route starting this year, has elicited mixed reactions in the Kenya travel and tourism industry, with predictions ranging from reduced fares and convenience for travellers to loss of or reduction of commissions for travel agencies.

The airline will operate a 240-seater Airbus 340-300 offering 34 upper classg, 35 premium economy seats and 171 economy on its daily flights from Heathrow to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Sources in the travel industry say they are anticipating a price war by Virgin Atlantic — famed for its rock bottom prices and dubbed “the people’s airline” — as it seeks to break the dominance of Kenya Airways and British Airways, the only two airlines currently operating direct daily flights on the Nairobi-London route.

Other airlines operating the Nairobi-London route are Swiss Air, Sabena, South African Airways Ethiopian Airways and Qatar through their home bases. Virgin has had to fight fierce pricing battles with BA over control of Britain’s travel market and the war is expected to spill over into Kenya.

“We are expecting a price war that will cut the cost of travel, which is beneficial to travellers. But there are many factors that determine the eventual rate and it is difficult to say how low the price will go,” said Nital Modasia, a sales and marketing executive with Bunson Travel.

She said Virgin Atlantic will give travellers and travel agents an option, which is good for competition.

Currently, Kenya Airways and BA are charging $699 exclusive of taxes, with a special promotion fare of $449 minus taxes. Sabena and Swiss Air currently offer the cheapest rate on the route, but both are indirect flights through Brussels and Zurich respectively. Sources in the travel market predict that Virgin Atlantic could force the fares down to $400. But industry sources say that most fares have conditions such as minimum stay or duration of the ticket that determines their real value, which the customer has to consider when buying a ticket.

A source in the airline industry however allayed fears of a fierce price war, saying the Nairobi-London route is still under serviced and there may be no need for undercutting by the few airlines.

But recent history indicates that undercutting is a norm for every new entry into a major route. “It was the case when Qatar Airlines entered the market and even on domestic routes when Fly540, a no-frills airline, launched the Nairobi-Mombasa route,” said Narendra Thakrar, managing director of Travel Plaza.

However, some travel agents are saying the entry of Virgin Airline and others into the Kenyan market is not necessarily good news for them. They are predicting that the growing competition in the local travel sector could push some of them out of business.

Efforts to contact Peter Karanja, chairman of the Kenya Air Travel Association (KATA), were fruitless.

“Our commission rates are set on the price of the ticket and lower prices will reduce our earnings and possibly push many of us out of business,” said a manager at a major travel firm in Nairobi. He said the current commission rate is $50 per ticket and he expects it to drop to $20 with the introduction of lower ticket prices.

He also cited the growth of e-ticketing that allows travellers to buy tickets directly from airlines as one development that has cut earnings for travel agencies. Reduced flying prices will only compound their loss. “We have no idea how low Virgin Atlantic airline will go, but history from other routes it flies is worrisome,” he said.

Mr Thakrar said the entry of the airline into the Kenyan market will offer more connections for travellers from Kenya and the region and will expand the scope of international travel in the region.

“Virgin’s vast network will obviously offer greater convenience to travellers who have had to endure long delays at overseas airports as they wait for connections to various destinations,” he said.

He added that the airline will be of particular importance to Kenya’s tourism because of its connection with the US tourist market, whichlacks direct flights to Kenya.

In a joint statement by Virgin and the Kenya Tourist Board last week, Sir Richard Branson, the owner of Virgin, said that the airline is attracted to Nairobi by its hub status in East Africa.

“Around 500,000 people fly to Nairobi each year to enjoy the scenery and wildlife,” he said.

The UK is Kenya’s biggest tourist market contributing 20 per cent of total arrivals, and the entry of Virgin is expected to boost the existing travel business.

“The Virgin brand has a strong following and its daily flights will offer quality service for the top end tourist segment we are trying to attract,” said KTB chairman Jake Grieves-Cook.

In another development in the Kenyan aviation industry, Wilson airport-based Phoenix Aviation Ltd, a chArter and aircraft maintenace company, recently took delivery of an additional Beechcraft King Air200.

The aircraft is equipped with a cargo pod that provides additional load capacity. The twin-engined prop jet aircgraft will be used for charter and medical evacuation with capacity for two patients, one nurse and a doctor. It also has a cabin for up to 10 passengers.

Managing director Sati Reel said, Phoenix Aviation has an arrangement with the Amref Flying Doctor Service for the provision of around the clock medivac srvices within Africa and Europe. Having the ability to land and to take off from short landing strips, the Beechcraft King Air fleet is used for rescue missions.”

The company further said depending on client requirements, the normal high density seating can be replaced with luxury executive seats and table for four passengers.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 10:51 PM   #299
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Qatar Airways to fly to Dar es Salaam next week

Qatar Airways will next week start flying to Tanzania to boost its East African network.

The four-times-a week flight from Doha, which starts on January 9, will see Qatar Airways spreading its wings by adding its second route in the region after that to Kenya.

The airline’s chief executive officer Akbar Al Baker told The East-African from Doha, Qatar, that the Dar es Salaam route joins the airline’s rapidly growing international network.

Mr Al Baker said the route will be operated with an Airbus A319 aircraft in a two-class configuration of eight seats in business class and 102 seats in economy.

“With the addition of Dar es Salaam, Qatar Airways’ global reach will extend to 71 destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Indian subcontinent and the Far East,” he said adding that the Dar es Salaam route is expected to be popular with tourists from around the world.

Qatar Airways has a five-star ranking for service excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency.

The airline operates a modern fleet of 49 all-Airbus aircraft, which will more than double in size to 110 jets by 2015. Qatar Airways is one of the launch customers of the twin-deck Airbus A380 “super jumbos.”

With four aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2009 to coincide with the opening of the New Doha International Airport, a state-of-the-art facility being built on reclaimed land, corporate communications manager Salam Al Shawa said the airline will be offering passengers from key markets across Europe, Middle East and Asia convenient connections through Doha to and from Dar es Salaam.
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Old December 31st, 2006, 11:00 PM   #300
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Kenya to spend $230m on upgrading of major airports

Investors in Kenya’s tourism industry are positioning themselves for a boom as the government commences an ambitious multimillion dollar project to rehabilitate infrastructure.

At the unveiling of the $3 million expansion and sprucing up of the Moi International Airport in Mombasa, key officials in the Ministry of Transport said the project was part of a five-year plan that will see all major travel facilities in the country upgraded to international standards.

Kenya Airport Authority managing director George Muhoho said the government was going to spend about $230 million over the five year period to upgrade all airports to international standards.

Although the rehabilitation of the Moi International Airport is targeted at the 2007 Mombasa International Cross Country Championship, the general growth in tourist numbers is expected to yield up to 500,000 more passengers passing through the airport annually.

The total figure is there-fore expected to increase to 2 million passengers annually from the current 1.5 million.

“Over the past four years, the Moi International Airport has experienced unprecedented growth in passenger traffic of about 35 per cent, from 860,000 in 2000 to 1.16 million in 2005.

“At the same time, there has been a growth in cargo from 6,000 tonnes to 10,000 tonnes over the same period,” said Mr Muhoho.

The growth in passenger numbers, the director said, can be attributed to the strong recovery of the tourism sector, a trend that is projected to continue, hence the need for preparedness.

Mr Muhoho said other airports set to benefit from the major face-lift are Jomo Kenyatta International, Kisumu and Eldoret International and the smaller Malindi and Wilson airports.

Players in the tourism industry at the Kenya Coast have been calling for the expansion of the Malindi airport to boost the number of European tourists flying directly into the town.

Italian tourists alone are expected to hit the 25,000 mark annually up from the current 15,000, once rehabilitation and expansion of the Malindi airport, estimated to cost about $1 million, is completed.

Likewise, the government had set aside billions of shillings for the rehabilitation of major roads including the Nairobi–Mombasa highway, which leads to Coastal resorts, marine and game parks.

Work on the Mombasa–Malindi road is also set to begin following the allocation of about $3.5 million in the current financial year. Also earmarked for rehabilitation is the Mombasa–Diani road on the South Coast, which leads to one of the leading tourist hubs in Kenya.

Meanwhile, hoteliers are planning expansion to tap the growing numbers of tourists, whose numbers had surpassed the 1 million mark by early last December, going by statistics from the Kenya Tourist Board (KTB).

The manager of Club Temple Point Resort in Malindi, Isaac Rodrot, said investors were looking for more land for expansion. “If we get land, we will certainly expand our facilities, because the figures are overwhelming, forcing us to turn down many tourists because we do not have space,” he said.

“The interest in Kenya as a tourist destination has increased considerably in international market and this has led to increasing numbers of tourists who want to visit the country,” said Mr Rodrot, who manages the 100-room hotel, a popular spot with Italian tourists.

Mr Rodrot attributed the good business to a vigorous and sustained marketing of Kenya by the Kenya Tourist Board (KTB). “Disasters like the tsunami that hit South Asia in December 2004 also favoured us but there is greater need to develop the facilities so that when the affected countries recover, we shall still command the market,” he said.

KTB managing director Ongong’a Achieng said efforts by the government to invest in the rehabilitation and improvement of infrastructure will boost Kenya’s image in the face of competition from neighbouring countries.

“Things are looking up in the industry. We are expecting to record over $1 billion in earnings for 2006, up from about $600 million the previous year, but for us to sustain the trend, there is a need to critically look at the infrastructure,” he said.

Players in the industry have been up in arms over the poor state of the road network and airports, electricity and water supply among other infrastructure since it hampered efforts to market Kenya as a leading tourist destination.

At one point, the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers, (KAHC) had threatened to withhold taxes due to the government and use the funds to rehabilitate the infrastructure.

A senior KAHC official, Mohamed Hersi, said the government was too slow in meeting its obligations to improve roads leading to key attractions such as game parks and beach resorts. thus threatening the industry’s revival from a major slump that hit it in the 1990s.

Tourism and Wildlife Minister Morris Dzoro said recently that the government was luring international investors to develop tourism facilities to cope with the increasing number of tourists.

He said the campaign was yielding fruit following the entry of a Canadian hotel chain that was already developing hotels in the country.

“We are optimistic that the campaign to market Kenya as a leading tourist destination will bear fruits and more investors will be coming because the government has given incentives,” he added.

Mr Dzoro said the government was now encouraging the development of ecotourism because it attracted high premium tourists.

“Ecotourism is the way to go because it attracts high spenders like celebrities and top business executives who are interested in nature and Kenya is heading towards that direction,” he said.
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